I have some questions that have been troubling me for a long time.
The first: Why aren’t more people motivated and committed at work?
And the next two: Why aren’t they more engaged?
And why the heck aren’t more leaders – and marketers — using the power of employee recognition to create better workplaces and spark improved business results?
In the early 1990s, I took over Buckman’s Bakery and Ice Cream, a retail and wholesale business that was on the verge of bankruptcy. My business partner and I were appalled by the filthy conditions of the facility, but were even more shocked by the people working there. They seemed unmotivated and often lazy and apathetic to the customer experience.
Yet in three short years, we sold the shop for 10 times what we paid for it.
How? We focused on engaging our employees and making our little shop a great place to work and do business with. In essence, we made a better place to work. Our staff understood the experience we were trying to deliver, and they understood the importance of their role in delivering it. When they did a good job, we acknowledged their actions and they heard about it from their peers.
They worked hard, and it showed. Customers enjoyed interacting with our staff, they came back over and over and they told their friends about it. Very quickly, we began to grow a positive reputation in the community. Engaged employees amplified any of our paid marketing efforts.
Why am I sharing this story?
Because it ties into the questions I posed to you before. Buckman’s was the first stepping stone on my path to finding answers and making a meaningful, positive difference in the world.
I wanted to help organizations develop better leaders, encourage employee motivation and earn trust and commitment among all employees, managers and executives on what it takes to live an organization’s core values.
If I could do that, I would be helping to make better places to work while showing how culture and the employee experience impacts an organization’s bottom line.
So, I founded a company called Brand Integrity. Over the course of 16 years, we helped thousands of leaders across hundreds of organizations and I’ve gained a better understanding of what companies do well and where they fall short in engaging the hearts and minds of their employees.
My latest book, “CRAVE: You Can Enhance Employee Motivation in 10 Minutes by Friday™,” comes out this fall. CRAVE combines my experience working with leaders and my team at Brand Integrity with the over 80 years of research into what motivates people at work. It explores how humans have three primary cravings at work that, once fulfilled, make them happier and more productive:
Respect: Help me feel respected for the work I do.
Purpose: Show me how what I do has purpose, makes a difference, and is relevant to the organization.
Relationship: Help me build stronger connections with people, especially my immediate manager/supervisor.
When employees get what they crave, good things happen: employee engagement, the work culture and customer experiences all improve. Which ultimately leads to your organization’s ability to achieve its desired business results. Just like we did with Buckman’s and like I witnessed at Brand Integrity, and now in my new role at Reward Gateway, and with our clients.
Gregg Lederman President of Employee Engagement Reward Gateway
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