To boost engagement, focus on causes rather than symptoms

Workplace social events and new office décor are not enough. You must meet four basic psychological needs to motivate your employees to excel.

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Needing an engagement survey to determine whether you have low engagement is like needing a scale to determine whether you would benefit from fat reduction.

Staff surveys set an expectation with employees that you will make meaningful changes in response. Not following through can create cynicism that harms future engagement efforts.

Engagement is about basic human psychology, such as these fundamentals:

Managers often approach engagement issues with programs that don’t address their root causes. Those causes are few, but the symptoms can show up in many ways, and managers often address only the symptoms of the unmet psychological needs

The resulting negative attitudes are contagious and can quickly infect an entire group. Thus, disengagement becomes both a cause and effect. It’s a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break. No wonder most companies make minimal progress on improving engagement.

Company leaders must take an honest, objective view at how the culture affects the staff.

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