Employee Engagement Is All Discretionary

It seems simple enough. Engaged employees expend more in the way of discretionary effort than employees who are not engaged. Clearly, organizations with engaged employees enjoy significantly better business results than those who do not.

At CSI, we define it in simpler terms. When employees do the right thing at the right time for the right reason, both they and the organization produce better business results.

What often gets lost in the quest for employee engagement is that the employees control the limits of their performance and productivity.

Ultimately, the best any leader or organization can obtain from his or her employees is simply what they are willing to give.

If you think about it, as managers and leaders in organizations we only control or influence the lower limits of employee performance and productivity. What I mean by that is leaders set the minimum standard of performance and those who don’t consistently meet it are the ones asked to leave the organization.

The difference between this minimum standard and the potential of employee performance and productivity is a significant delta.

It is worth remembering that the entire range of performance and productivity between the two extremes is at the employee’s discretion.

An engaged employee gives more discretionary effort. Not because they have to. But because they want to.

As a leader, your biggest job should be capturing and harnessing the discretionary effort of your work team. Any leader will be well served not only by putting in employee engagement practices but to look to remove obstacles and management practices that reduce employee engagement.

As a work team or an organization, a lack of discretionary effort leads to reduced performance and productivity.

So, if you think about it, creating employee engagement requires:

  1. You put in place and maintain practices that lead to engagement
  2. Avoid an eliminate practices that decrease employee engagement.

These leadership options are of course, discretionary!

So in the end, any improvement in employee performance and productivity is truly discretionary……..whether you look at it from the employee’s perspective or the leader’s perspective.

How many members of your work team say, “Thank God it’s Monday!”

Peter Psichogios is the President of CSI International Performance Group whose mission is to help companies create engaging employee and customer experiences.Prior to joining CSI International Peter Psichogios served as an executive member of one of the largest Instructional System Association companies in the world. In this capacity, he led all the front-end analysis and worked directly with Dr. Ken Blanchard, leading the large-scale E -Learning and employee engagement initiatives. Peter has been fortunate to work with the who’s who of the Fortune 500 and many of the world’s fastest growing companies, helping them deliver innovative learning, engagement and recognition solutions.

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