Beyond Compensation: What Really Drives Employee Engagement
It takes more than financial compensation to drive genuine employee engagement.
A study funded by the Federal Reserve Bank drew surprising conclusions about the effect of employee incentive programs.
It found that while offering larger rewards boosted performance for manual labor, it actually led to poorer performance when even basic cognitive tasks were involved. Replicating the experiment in India yielded the same results.
Performance, then, seems to be linked to something other than pay.
Are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose Better Drivers of Employee Engagement?
In a compelling TED talk, author Daniel Pink uses these findings to ground a reevaluation of what really motivates employees.
Pink deemphasizes compensation’s role in motivating workers. He contends that “autonomy, mastery and purpose” are far better performance drivers than money is.
All of these contribute heavily to employee engagement:
- License to manage projects and make decisions independently
- Opportunities to face challenging problems and learn or hone skills
- Feelings of purpose, valuation and self-efficacy
But are they really better than simply paying people more? That assertion seems to fly in the face of basic market principles. It also seems to contradict to a 2008 SHRM survey that found job security, pay and benefits to be the three most important aspects of job satisfaction.
However, it does help us see the distinction between satisfaction and engagement. Money is very useful for recruiting, retaining and satisfying employees, but it’s not the best way to keep them engaged.
7 Drivers of Employee Engagement Pink’s Model Leaves Out
Independent research by Kenexa spanning 19 countries found seven additional factors that consistently correlated with high levels of employee engagement:
- Leadership communicates an inspiring vision
- Confidence in the organization’s future
- Promising future for one’s self
- Active support of work-life balance
- Corporate social responsibility efforts
- Managers make quality and improvement top priorities
- Safety is a priority
These factors illustrate that while job complexity, independence and valuation are important for employee engagement, they are only part of the picture.
What motivates you? Which of these have inspired or dulled your engagement? I’ve certainly experienced at least half of these factors for better and for worse. Let me know in the comments below!
The 5 Key Leadership Competencies That Matter in a Public Transit CEO
"A Competency is the capability of applying or using knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and personal characteristics to successfully perform critical work tasks, specific functions, or operate in a given role or position." - Michelle R. Ennis, U.S. Department of Labor
Competency modeling is an analytical approach to talent acquisition and development. It goes beyond merely defining a set of tasks or responsibilities to ask more fundamental questions about what makes employees successful.
What behaviors, traits and skills will create positive results in a given position, company, and industry? Who has been successful in this role before? What behaviors made them successful?
These are questions that should be present throughout every talent search.
Competency modeling turns job descriptions into success profiles that are outcome oriented - not just a list of tasks and technical skills. It gives you strong predictors of performance and results in a better fit between employees, roles, and the organization at large.
To give you an example, many of our clients are public transit agencies. We've done a number of executive searches for them and, in the process, discovered some core leadership competencies that make successful CEOs in the industry:
5 Leadership Competencies that Predict Success for a Public Transit CEO
1. Political Savvy
Public transit CEOs need to navigate not only the internal politics of their agency, but also those of local, county, and state government. Doing so successfully requires a high degree of political savvy.
Transit districts are either chartered by statute as quasi-public corporations or are government agencies. In both cases, politics have a direct impact on their operations. It's critical that leadership has a clear understanding of the political realities they face, can negotiate with numerous stakeholders, and can cope with the dynamism of democracy.
Good leaders know that getting buy-in from their team is as important as getting it from external stakeholders. Creating a compelling vision and communicating it effectively does both.
That requires using logic, reason, emotion and charisma to sway others and earn their commitment. Leaders with this competency can function as a catalyst for change, address areas that most need improvement, and participate effectively in a complex network of stakeholders.
3. Talent Development
Talent development helps employees stay engaged, productive and committed. Providing on-going feedback, training and a supportive environment enhances each employee's ability and desire to contribute to the success of the agency.
There's simply nothing more empowering for employees than giving them the skills and authority to get things done efficiently and effectively. Great leaders recognize that truth and surround themselves with great talent.
4. Technical Savvy
When it comes to efficiently managing an organization, tech savvy is increasingly important. The ability to analyze problems and apply tools to address them is incredibly valuable. Having at least a cursory understanding of technical needs and issues is equally useful in the highly technical task of delivering transit services.
5. Change Skills
Change is an ever-present reality in political entities. Achieving desired outcomes and staying on budget requires leadership that can effectively embrace, manage and reinforce transitions. This competency is very important when it comes to avoiding employee resistance and preventing relapses that might undermine the benefits of the transition.
What competencies do you look for in a leader? What makes your leadership successful? Let us know in the comments below!
Boost Employee Engagement: Job Design
It's long been said that people are what give companies a competitive advantage. The truth is, having the right people is not enough: it's the engaged people who elevate a business to the next level.
Last week, I wrote about employee engagement - what it is, why it matters, and how leadership plays a central role in creating employee engagement.
This week, I want to focus on job design. It's perhaps the most critical of the five areas that every organization should work on to improve employee engagement.
Enlarge and Enrich Jobs To Improve Job Satisfaction
The rise of industrialization in the late 19th and early 20th centuries led to regarding employees as if they were cogs in a machine. Workers were assigned narrow, specialized and repetitive tasks to maximize manufacturing efficiency. The effect on workers, as I'm sure you can imagine, was the complete erosion of employee engagement.
By the 1950's, new workplace theories emphasized increasing the scope, complexity, and variety of worker responsibilities to encourage engagement. These approaches were called "job enlargement" and "job enrichment." In the 1970's, the concepts were further refined to address five key motivational characteristics:
- Skill Variety - Employing a wide range of skills on a regular basis
- Task Identity - Being tasked with whole processes that end in a concrete, visible outcome, rather than just pieces of a task
- Task Significance - Doing work that's important to others, both inside and outside the organization
- Autonomy - Giving employees freedom and discretion when it comes to doing their jobs
- Performance Feedback - Providing consistent evaluations, input, and recognition
In recent years, the concept of job enlargement and enrichment has been broadened to include social dimensions such as job interdependence, opportunities to get feedback from colleagues, and the ability to solicit coworker support.
Design Compensation To Encourage Employee Engagement and Commitment
Compensation is an equally important consideration in job design. When creating a compensation package, you need to ask some critical questions:
- Is it more competitive with others in the industry? If not, you risk losing employees to more lucrative opportunities - but there are ways of offsetting that risk. Offering employees the opportunity to work on an innovative product or for a noble mission can make up the wage differential. Offering equity ownership also gives your employees extra value in a non-cash form.
- Does your compensation plan encourage both engagement and commitment? Performance incentives are one great way to motivate employees to go above and beyond, but they may not be enough to persuade employees to stick around. A solid benefits package and a company retirement plan can help foster long-term commitment.
- Are there non-financial elements that make your company attractive? Perks like on-site childcare, team activities, travel - even weekly lunches! - can boost your company's appeal to job seekers. They can also be a real part of the reason your employees choose to stay with you.
Taking all of these factors into account as you design your company's jobs can help you develop challenging, satisfying jobs that will help your employees feel more engaged and committed to your company. That in turn can save you time and money, and even help you win market leadership. So put your best efforts into the job design process! It's worth it.
Has your company come up with innovative job design or compensation plans that help you keep employees engaged? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Open-Air Oregon: The Top 3 Reasons To Employ a Sporting Goods Industry Recruiter
The state of Oregon is unsurpassed in its natural physical beauty. From the stacks of the Pacific coastline to the Columbia River Gorge and the vistas of the Cascades, perhaps it's no surprise that Oregon has emerged as a commercial and cultural hotbed of outdoor lifestyles, tourism, and brands.
Major outdoor manufacturing firms like Nike, Adidas and Columbia Sportswear are just a few examples of the more than 300 firms that make up Oregon's thriving outdoor industry.
Employing 14,000 Oregonians at an average annual salary of $80,000 - well above the median household income of $49,420 - the sporting goods outdoor industry is a major economic boom for the state. Its vitality has also created a nurturing environment for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and existing businesses in the industry.
The region boasts an abundance of workers with experience in the industry, strong public-private partnerships and resources, and a culture that's passionate about the outdoors. Partnering with an outdoor industry recruiter can help businesses leverage these regional strengths to give them a competitive edge in the global marketplace.
Oregon's Sporting Goods & Outdoor Industry: A Climate Ripe for Growth
Oregon's sporting goods and outdoor industry is knowledge-intensive, focusing on design and management rather than manufacturing. As a result, skilled labor is a must.
Fortunately, the concentration of industry-specialized talent is rivaled by few other places in the world. Sporting goods recruiters in the region can use their extensive networks to help companies tap into this deep well of expertise.
When it comes to finding the candidates that will best serve their business needs, there's simply no substitute for a recruiter versed in this unique competitive landscape.
Public-Private Collaboration in the Sporting Goods & Outdoor Industry Cluster
The sporting goods and outdoor industry is also one of the clusters targeted by the state's economic development organizations for accelerating growth. Collaboration between public and private interests has created supportive policies, the expansion of educational programs, and resources for networking and innovation.
The Portland Development Commission, for example, offers peer-to-peer sessions for entrepreneurs, a design forum, and matching grants to participate in sustainability assessments. Sporting goods recruiters can help companies leverage programs like these to their benefit.
Holistic Business Practice: A Culture of Active Living
Oregonians value active living. For many, that's what drew them to the region in the first place. Locating talent that's both passionate about outdoor recreation and skilled in core competencies is part and parcel of what a sporting goods recruiter does.
Industry research shows that manufacturers whose employees appreciate and consume their company's products have a greater overall impact from a branding perspective. When both consumers and employees are dedicated to the outdoor lifestyle, a community will emerge and flourish around the hub of an organization.
Beyond the Oregon Advantage
These are just some of the unique advantages offered by working with a sporting goods recruiter in Oregon. At Generator Group, we go beyond these regional strengths by:
- Making connections with local talent and facilitating introductions and placements, from entry to executive level
- Introducing effective talent acquisition systems to firms through established recruitment techniques and relationships
- Developing and promoting the visibility of unique outdoor branding identities that coincide with the ethics and sensibilities of the active lifestyle
There are a great number of other key benefits that you will enjoy when you partner with an outdoor industry recruiter or sporting goods recruiter. Contact us now to learn how to leverage our industry-renowned skills to finding the best talent for your company.
Cascade Designs Welcomes New Channel Sales Manager!
Generator Group’s client, Cascade Designs, has named Donald Riha as their new Channel Sales Manager!
Cascade Designs began over 35 years ago with the simple idea of providing a more comfortable night outdoors. Since then, they have grown to become the parent company of some of the most respected brands in the outdoor industry (MSR, Therm-a-Rest, SealLine, Platypus, PackTowl, Hummingbird, Tracks). Cascade Designs believes that manufacturing the majority of their gear in their U.S.and European facilities is an essential element in maintaining quality, and that by striving to exceed their customers’ expectations of service, they will be successful for many years to come.
Donald is joining this great success story with a background in consumer electronics. In Donald’s early career, he was a Regional Sales Manager – Midwest for Sony Electronics. He has also held National Sales Manager titles with companies such as First International Digital, a consumer electronics manufacturer of MP3 players and accessories. Most recently, Donald was National Sales Manager with Ezgear Electronics, a manufacturer of iPod and video game accessories.
Looking for a job in the outdoor industry or sporting goods industry? Find out what we are currently representing at Generator Group! Follow us on Twitter and connect with us on Facebook to get the latest updates.
Take it from us, an executive search and consulting firm in the Portland, Oregon area. We deal with a wide spectrum of consumer products brands in the outdoor industry and sporting goods industry, and we know: An employer's brand makes a huge difference in attracting the best talent.
Positioning your company as a brand your employees are proud of not only helps you attract even more great people, it also increases the overall value of your brand.
Big local companies like Nike and adidas can tout their facilities. As sporting goods recruiters, we love Portland dearly, but we do know that most companies here don't have vast campuses filled with luxurious amenities.
So if you're a smaller outdoor or sporting goods company located in a medium-sized city, how do you set your employment brand apart in a competitive job market?
Four simple steps to effective employment branding
Many of the things you already do for your company can be leveraged to boost your employment brand.
1. Coordinate branding between marketing and human resources. While brand can be expressed in different contexts, there should be just one brand. Make sure your human resources department and recruitment firm (if you have one) understand your branding, and have access to all your company's marketing and branding collateral. Have your HR and recruitment folks meet with your marketing people from time to time, so they can work together and make sure your brand is communicated in recruitment ads, at job fairs and in other recruitment efforts.
2. Develop your employer value proposition. Think about your communications to potential employees just as you think about communicating to any of your target markets. You want to communicate the value of your company as an employer, just as you communicate the value of your products and services. Make sure potential employees can quickly and easily find information and get a basic understanding of your company's working environment, cultures, values, and management style.
3. Make sure all communications are on-message. From job postings to employer campaigns to online recruitment materials, ensuring consistency hammers home your brand voice and creates a sense of credibility.
4. Put your recruitment materials online. For all the time that companies put into developing compelling, beautifully designed recruitment materials, it's surprisingly rare for these to make it onto the company's website. You don't need to pay a developer to integrate them in a clever or interactive way - just link to your print materials in .pdf format. Choosing a job is a major, life-changing decision for anyone, and if you provide better information about your company, you'll get better-qualified candidates.
Looking for a great example?
Google has a reputation for extensive - and expensive - perks. But a blog post by Google's top executive for People Operations, Laszlo Bock, points out that most of what really makes Google special doesn't cost a thing. Bock offers suggestions for ways that small and medium-sized companies, too, can make employees feel valued, special and committed to the company's mission.
We're always looking for new role models to learn from. Know any other companies who do a great job of communicating brand in their recruitment efforts? What's your company doing to set itself apart? Comment below!
Leadership in Sustainability: What Makes a Successful Sustainability Executive
A topic at this weeks annual American Public Transportation Association (APTA) conference got me thinking: what is it that makes a sustainability executive successful?
Sustainability has always been an integral part of the public transportation industry and in many ways it is now at the forefront of eco-friendly innovation.
Public transit reduces emissions, fuel consumption, and traffic congestion simply by virtue of its efficiency. Those effects are now being amplified by the adoption of alternative fuels, with 29% of national bus fleets using them in 2009 - up from just 9% in 2000.
Making big strides like this is not only a key responsibility for the public transportation industry; it also pays dividends by saving agencies money, reducing waste, and engaging communities.
So how can we push this agenda forward? After doing a little research on the subject, it turns out that emphasizing these bottom line benefits may be the best way and not just for public transportation agencies, but for all businesses.
What makes a successful sustainability executive?
A recent survey of sustainability executives in big companies like DuPont, McDonalds, and AT&T found that interpersonal skills are the most important contributor to success in the role.
The ability to quantify value and actual subject matter expertise came in second and third, respectively.
It seems that the true task for any sustainability executive is getting buy-in. Part of that is building rapport with the rest of the executive team, but it also requires translating sustainability concerns into business strategy.
For example, talking about carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions is not nearly as effective as talking about energy spend and zero waste. Which brings us to...
What really drives sustainable practices
Why is this bottom line tack more effective? The reality is that the biggest drivers of sustainable policy adoption are industry trends, competitors, and customers.
The fear of losing a competitive edge and getting left behind appears to be the real motivator behind the push that has even big oil companies trying out sustainability initiatives.
Should this make us cynical? I think that instead we need to look at it as an opportunity. Knowing what contributes to a sustainability executive's success allows us to find the right person for the job, and to make real changes that serve the triple bottom line - people, planet, and profit.
Is your business or agency moving towards sustainability? How is it benefiting you? Let us know in the comments below!
5 Reasons You Need to Hire an Executive Search Firm
Clients don't pay us to roll the dice - they can do that themselves. Clients pay us to get results. Finding an executive is one thing; finding an executive who will help a business succeed is another.
There are people out there who will just send you resumes. That's not us.
The reality is if you want to find the best candidates for your opening, your team, and your company, we need to work together to develop and apply a system.
From developing success profiles to training hiring managers how to interview and evaluate candidates, we create complete talent acquisition systems - systems our clients can rely on to get consistent results.
Why you need a talent acquisition system
This may sound cumbersome, but all it takes is (1) understanding the client's needs and (2) applying a proven methodology to (3) create a system addressing those exact needs.
Our approach is nothing new - in fact, much of it is in the public domain -, which makes it surprising that it's relatively unique among executive search firms.
Why take the time to develop an entire hiring system when you're just hiring a single executive? The bottom line is it gets results, consistently. But the reasons it does are because it allows you to:
1. Identify the right criteria for success. Unless you are setting criteria, you don't know what you're measuring. More importantly, you don't know if what you're measuring serves your company's strategic needs.
2. Turn a subjective hiring process into an objective one. By taking the time to develop a scoring process with clear definitions about what, for example, a "2" means on a 5-point scale, you take the guesswork out of evaluation. It's a simple principle, but one that is consistently neglected.
3. Find candidates who fit. Assessing cultural fit is critical to finding candidates who can truly succeed at your company. There's a very strong correlation between fit and executive retention. We work closely with our clients to identify the behaviors that make your executives successful and integrate them into the evaluation process.
4. Hire people who will impact your company and your lives for the better. Anyone who's worked at a business for long enough is all too familiar with how counterproductive a bad fit can be - and how profoundly effective a good fit can be.
5. Get results, consistently. By developing a system assessing the right factors and objectively measuring them, you can reliably and repeatedly hire the right candidates. This is our value-add.
I love what I do because clients trust me to make life-changing decisions. I get to work with them on a deeply involved level. And I get to impact people's lives for the better.
The truth is, I have to sleep at night, I've got kids to put to bed, and I simply can't if I'm relocating a candidate across the country into a position where they're going to fail. When this happens, where do you think the finger gets pointed?
Executive recruitment is not about making a quick buck. It's about impacting peoples' lives and doing it right. That's why we create systems that work for our clients, our candidates, and for us.
We're in this together. There's no way around it.
Contact me at Enrique@GeneratorGroup.net to learn more about our approach and proven track record on over 50 executive searches in recent years.
The New Voice of the Blazers
Strategic Executive Recruitment Pays Off For Portland
Michael Lewellen is the new Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement for the Portland's much-loved pro basketball team, the Trail Blazers. Lewellen brings 30 years of communications, public relations, and marketing experience to the job, previously working at Nike, BET, NBC Universal, and Fox Sports Network.
Yet this highly qualified, passionate candidate could have been easily overlooked.
Lewellen did not come from another team. His experience in entertainment and sportswear fall outside the industry. While it's readily apparent how they translate to this position, it takes a strategic approach to capture and qualify out-of-industry candidates like Lewellen.
That approach paid off: "We are thrilled to have Michael on our team," said Trail Blazers Chief Operating Officer Sarah Mensah. "He brings the right balance of knowledge of our team and city, along with added new energy, leadership and experience."
Redefining Executive Recruitment
We approach every executive search as a means to serve the business objectives of our clients. The first step is gaining a clear understanding of their strategic needs.
In the case of the Trail Blazers, there was a need to proactively develop a voice for the team on a local and national level; the need for someone specifically and singularly tasked with developing a communications and public engagement strategy.
Understanding this allowed us to clearly define a success profile for the role, determine key competencies, and use the right recruitment tactics to find the best candidates for the job.
Fit Matters: The Key to Successful Executive Recruitment
We routinely look both inside and outside our clients' industries for candidates using this approach. Why? Because fit is what matters.
Finding a successful candidate hinges on finding the best fit with the organization's culture, business goals, and current executive team. Looking at executive recruitment from this angle reveals possibilities that would otherwise be ignored - possibilities like Lewellen.
Lewellen has the ideal intersection of experiences for the job:
- Driving six years of double-digit growth in ratings for Black Entertainment Television, launching some of the network's most successful programming including the BET Awards
- Directing public relations for the Goodwill Games on behalf of Turner Sports
- Working for Fox Sports Network and NBC Universal
- Developing community engagement strategies at a non-profit
- Demonstrating deep involvement in the Portland community during his five-year tenure at Nike
Now, he will be dedicating this combined expertise to developing the new voice of the Trail Blazers during a transformative time in the team's history.
We're proud to have delivered the best candidate for the job to the best pro basketball team in the country (okay, we're a little biased) and can't wait to hear the new voice of the Trail Blazers.
This is just one of more than 50 successful executive searches we've done since Generator Group was founded. For more information about Generator Group and our executive search services, please contact Enrique Washington - CEO.
Portland Executive Search Firm Places SVP for Portland Trail Blazers
Generator Group lands 30-year communications veteran for Portland Trail Blazers
September 10, 2012 - Portland, Ore.- The Trail Blazers, Portland's much-loved professional basketball team, announced the hire of Michael Lewellen as Senior Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement. Lewellen joins the Portland Trail Blazers following a successful executive search performed by Generator Group, aPortland executive search firm who specializes in retaining executives and other key employees for the sports industry, sporting goods industry and outdoor industry.
Lewellen brings nearly 30 years of communications, public relations and marketing experience at a variety of category and industry-leading brands to his new position at the Portland Trail Blazers. Lewellen will direct communications and public engagement strategies for the basketball team, and lead the Blazers' communications executive team in its media relations, community relations, and team relations work.
"We are thrilled to have Michael on our team," said Trail Blazers Chief Operating Officer Sarah Mensah. "He brings the right balance of knowledge of our team and city, along with added new energy, leadership and experience."
"This is an exciting and transformative time in the Trail Blazers' history, and I'm so pleased to have this opportunity," said Lewellen, who spent five years in thePortlandcommunity earlier in his career. "I appreciate the confidence that Sarah Mensah and the Blazers' executives have placed in me, and look forward to being a contributing member of the organization."
Lewellen returns toPortland- and its enthusiasm for sports - fromOrlando,Fla., where he was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Heart of Florida United Way. Lewellen held several different positions at Nike Inc., based inBeaverton,Ore., from 1991 to 1996. During that time, he was deeply involved in the local community, serving on the boards of the Urban League of Portland, Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs.
Lewellen's diverse experience helps him bring a high level of sophistication to the Trail Blazers' communications strategy. He led corporate communications for Black Entertainment Television for eight years, driving six years of double-digit growth in ratings, and launching some of its most successful programming, including the annual BET Awards. Lewellen has also worked for NBC Universal/Universal Orlando Resort; Fox Sports Network/Fox Broadcasting; and directed public relations for the Goodwill Games on behalf of Turner Sports.
The choice of Lewellen for the Portland Trail Blazers underlines Generator Group's emphasis on creative executive search processes. Generator Group routinely looks both inside and outside its clients' industries to find the best fit for each clients' corporate culture, business goals and current executive team.
About Generator Group
Founded in January 2000 by three former Nike recruiters, Generator Group was created to fulfill a single, unique vision: To take the successful talent-acquisition skills used by Fortune 100 businesses and develop them for small and medium businesses. Headed by talent-management experts who understand the needs of organizations with limited resources, Generator Group's goal is to increase the hiring success rate for growing businesses while providing them with the talent-management skills needed to survive and thrive.
For more information about Generator Group and its executive search services, please contact Enrique Washington, CEO.