Category: Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement

Engagement and Discretionary Energy

discretionary energy and employee engagementThe link between employee engagement and stronger performance is readily apparent, especially in today’s working environment.  With Thanksgiving upon us, many (optimistically) anticipated that by now we would be experiencing a return to, if not normal, at least something closer than our present situation.  As a result, a genuine respect and appreciation for employees who have adapted and grown in the face of a totally new kind of adversity has emerged.

Engaged employees are rationally and emotionally connected to the organization – and when these connections are present and strong, employees will often go “above and beyond” expectations to deliver for clients and fellow team members.  While it just makes sense that this brings positive organizational results, it is also substantiated by reams of industry research.

Another term for this “above and beyond” performance is Discretionary Energy – a term that has been around for many years but is truly relevant to the present season.  Discretionary Energy is defined by Susan M. Heathfield as “the energy that an employee chooses to exert in service to coworkers or customers at work – or not.”  It is the “get-up-and-go” that the employee is willing to contribute beyond the basic requirements of the job.

S. Chris Edmonds, writing for Forbes, has this observation in a post entitled “What it Actually Takes to Unleash Discretionary Energy”:

“Job requirements are really just a starting point, aren’t they?  In your heart, you don’t what people to do only what’s expected.  You want them to rock out.  To extend themselves.  To thrive.  When people thrive, they don’t just serve your company better.  They serve themselves better.  They satisfy their own heart and soul.”

Discretionary Energy, therefore, is behavior that is encouraged and grows out of organizational culture and values.  As Edmunds points out, increasing discretionary effort isn’t about injecting new requirements into the organization – it’s about removing the barriers that are keeping discretionary effort at bay.

Cultivating this kind of culture requires a strategic, consistent approach to employee recognition.  This year, especially, it is imperative to recognize and reward those who contribute discretionary energy.  You will find that, when recognized and encouraged, this becomes contagious and is a positive indicator of the level of employee engagement within the organization.

Badges and Virtual Awards – Rewarding, Motivating, and Exciting

According to the blog This Day in Quotes, the origin of this quote “We don’t need no badges!” is attributed to the 1927 novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, by B. Traven.  A movie adaptation of the book in 1948 cemented the popularity of the quote when uttered by the bandit played by Alfonso… Read more »

Meeting the Challenges of the “Newer” Normal

In some ways, it is hard to believe that we are heading into the sixth week (more in some regions) of a “safer-at-home,” “essential/non-essential,” and “social distancing” existence. In other ways, the past five weeks has seemed more like five months. Through it all, however, many companies are discovering that it is possible to adjust… Read more »

Non-cash Recognition, Incentives and Rewards

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) recently published findings from an annual study which examined and compared non-cash recognition and reward approaches among top performing firms in the manufacturing, financial services, and technology sectors. IRF found that 100% of the respondents indicate their companies use non-cash incentives, beyond compensation, to a mix of salespersons, partners, and… Read more »