This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Carrots and Sticks Don't Work" by Paul Marciano. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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What does it mean to be engaged at work? In what ways do engaged employees do better? How can you increase your workplace engagement?
According to Paul Marciano in his book Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work, employee job engagement is essential for your employees to produce their best work. However, studies show that most employees feel disengaged from their work.
Here is why job engagement is so important and steps you can take to increase your employee engagement.
Engaged Employees Do Better
Job engagement is an intrinsic, deep-rooted commitment to the job, organization, team, manager, and customer. Engaged employees work hard for the sake of the organization and because they feel fulfilled. Engagement buffers against short-term changes in motivation, like time pressure and equipment failures.
To picture the difference between engagement and motivation, imagine that a team is working to meet a deadline. An equipment failure makes it impossible to meet the goal. Do they keep soldiering on trying to achieve the most, or do they give up?
Engaged people do the first, motivated the second.
How Engaged Employees Do Better
Engaged employees tend to do the following:
- Bring new ideas to work and suggest improvements
- Take initiative
- Exceed goals and expectations
- Are growth-oriented, seeking to improve the self and people around them
- Encourage and support team members
- Overcome obstacles
- Show high levels of discretionary effort
- Speak with pride about the organization
- Act as though they have ownership in the business
The benefits extend beyond the employee to the organization as well. Studies show that higher engagement associates with increased profitability, higher customer satisfaction, lower turnover, reduced fraud, and reduced absenteeism.
Unfortunately, studies of employers nationwide show that the majority of American workers are disengaged from their work. They don’t embody the desired qualities above.
What Increases Engagement
So you know that engagement is important. But how do you increase engagement?
Surveys of engaged employees show these factors improve engagement in the workplace:
- Mutual respect with employer and supervisor
- Trust from supervisor and lack of micromanagement
- Feeling of impact within the company and outside
- Positive recognition for work and a sense that the company values their work
- Potential for growth
- Clear objectives
In contrast, these factors lower engagement in the workplace:
- A selfish, untrustworthy manager that takes credit for work
- Unrealistic expectations
- Lack of coaching and feedback
- Managers that don’t deserve respect
- Lack of value signaling, from not saying hello to compliments
- Doing work that doesn’t seem to add value
- Lack of vision of company direction
Surprisingly, less than 2% of people mentioned money as a reason for disengagement!
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Here's what you'll find in our full Carrots and Sticks Don't Work summary :
- How to motivate your employees and teammates to do a better job
- How to know if you're a terrible manager
- Why the carrot and stick motivation model doesn't work anymore—and what to do instead