Business Transformation

Innovate to Motivate: Consider A New Leadership Role to Empower Your People

In today’s global market, executives find their employees’ welfare crammed somewhere between schedule conflicts, long meetings, and an ocean of emails. And on hectic days, it could be jammed in the copy machine for all we know.

It’s not that executive leaders don’t care. The fact remains, the Information Age has oversaturated leaders everywhere to the point that time has become a depleted commodity. And because there is only so much time, your employees’ well-being gets lost in the daily routine.

Here’s the problem.  

Poor working conditions have devastating impacts such as decreased morale, declined productivity, and increased work-related mishaps. All of which cost your business money. If you are looking to fix this problem, you can’t add another task to your mid-level managers’ already filled list and expect them to be effective. Nor can you take on the monumental duty by yourself.

So, what can you do about it?

With a little innovation and restructuring, your organization can rectify this situation by implementing a new billet, a Director of Human Empowerment (DHE). Someone directly responsible for assessing the root-causes of discontent, implement a plan to eradicate those roots, and track employee satisfaction levels using an evaluation model. The DHE initiative will keep your department heads focused on their technical craft while improving the lives of your most important asset—your team.

Where should your organization start?

For the DHE program to run effectively, tasks must be based on scientific evidence. In his trailblazing book, “Work and the Nature of Man,” Fredrick Herzberg, an American industrial/organizational psychologist, identified several workplace conditions he called hygiene factors (Herzberg 1966). Herzberg validated these hygiene factors act as banes to worker satisfaction, motivation, and productivity. And like the human body, the workplace needs a high level of hygiene to remain functioning and healthy. That’s where your DHE comes to the rescue and establishes an ideal work environment by surgically cleaning the hygiene factors plaguing your organization. To optimize your workplace motivation, the DHE must continuously run an organizational diagnostic and find/eliminate the following:

Hazardous Work Conditions: Your people deserve work conditions that are clean and safe. Your DHE should use surveys, questionnaires, and observation to assess each department’s hazards and then, based on that information, develop a corrective action plan. Nothing could be more demoralizing than having an employer that does not care about your safety.

Unclear Mission: Employees can feel out of touch if they do not know their leader’s vision. The DHE would be responsible for gaining insight as to how well your employees know your mission. Is your mission statement clear? Is it distributed in a manner that everyone has access to it? Think about this: one employee says he moves rocks while the other employee proudly states she builds castles; your vision statement is the differentiating factor in how your employees perceive their career.

Job Insecurity: The paranoia of losing one’s job is enough to bring any noteworthy employee’s motivation to a halt. Your DHE must work to espouse how directors at all levels value their team members and make employees feel appreciated. One best practice is to write a monthly employee spotlight and recognize your standout employees. It’s free, but best of all, it is effective at making people feel appreciated and secure.

Stagnation: Not being able to advance will spread dissatisfaction among workers. People have goals and desire to evolve; your DHE must work closely with the director of training and development to implement a clear, obtainable roadmap for promotion. This roadmap must highlight the milestones and certifications that an employee must attain to move up the organizational ladder. If your organization does not provide team members a chance to grow, your talent will seek the opportunity elsewhere.

Low Pay: If your employees feel underpaid compared to your near-peer competitors, you will lose them. That’s why your DHE needs to identify top-talent and work with supervisors and HR to compensate them for their efforts. Because an employee’s salary directly ties to their quality of life, nothing says thank you like a raise.

Bureaucracy: Whether you know it or not, your organization has outdated policies that clog the efficiency stream. Your people become jaded by inefficient policies and assume the “why bother” mindset. Your DHE will be responsible for conducting a periodic policy review and developing a corrective action plan to get the motivation flowing again.

When you assign a DHE, you free up your department heads to focus on their occupation’s technical aspects. You eliminate the blind spots that once drove your talent into the ranks of your competitors. Most importantly, your employees witness their workplace change for the better, and together you create an environment where people are motivated, productive, and safe.

Bibliography: Herzberg, Fredrick 1966. Work and the nature of man. New York: Thomas Y Crowell.

Written by Ernest R. Twigg. Have you read?
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Ernest R. Twigg
Ernest R. Twigg is an award-winning senior executive advisor, author, and speaker at 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. He leads 850 employees and has consulted c-suites across industries to unleash the leadership potential in their employees. Ernest's insight is sought after and is codified in his book "A Leader Provides" and various magazine articles that transcribes military leadership into private-sector gains. Ernest lives in California, where he spends his days playing chess and studying human performance, neuroscience, and leadership. Ernest R. Twigg is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on LinkedIn.