The Beginnings of Workplace Engagement: Motivation

Sometimes an issue related to engagement and service is so self-obviating, it is just a matter of applied common sense.  From the customer’s perspective (whether internal or external), the response will be praise if they are the recipient of the work product from a truly engaged employee, or censure if they are not treated with courtesy or are ignored.  But such applied common sense and engagement begins with caring about that work product, which presupposes a deeper level of motivation; this is the difference between how one views their own existence within the organization.  If someone thinks an organization exists to provide a job, generating excellent service will always be an uphill battle since there is no internal motivation.  But if someone truly believes (and is treated) that they are an integral part of moving an organization forward, excellent service and work product are the natural response.  All the rewards of the job, compensation and enjoyment of work are simply byproducts of such employee engagement.

From Bryan Williams, Engaging Service,

World-class can mean doing basic things in such a consistently excellent manner that it is rare to find that type of consistency elsewhere…in any industry. This reminds of a telephone customer service representative that I dealt with…I was fortunate enough to be served by a true service professional. [The service rep] stayed with me through the entire conversation…I was never cut off and she consistently paraphrased me to ensure that she understood the message I intended to convey. In short, the rep made me feel heard and cared for (pp. 79-80).

Sound impossible? Part of mentoring and leadership is teaching this kind of applied common sense, and providing mechanisms for creating this kind of value within an organization – in this case quality.  But this can only happen where there is desire for such quality to exist.  This begins with leadership, but also must be a shared value within the organization, cumulatively and individually.  In other words, engagement is part of personal responsibility that will eventually need to be addressed.  This is not an easy task for leaders but what is the alternative?

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