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  • John Markson

Management Tip on Motivating Employees: It’s Hard.

Yesterday, I attended a panel discussion on “workplace engagement” hosted by General Assembly Atlanta at their sleek space in Ponce Market. The panel, which was weighted towards technology start-ups, raised familiar challenges: keeping remote employees engaged, bringing needed structure to companies that favor “friction-less” processes and competing for talent against companies offering the newest flavors.

The panel (and audience) had some good ideas to meet these challenges. Bring remote employees in with regular meetings and video technology; use personality assessments to help employees better understand themselves and colleagues. Obtain regular feedback and suggestions from employees.

Not mentioned during the evening was something research and my own experience suggest as the most powerful way to engage employees.  Coach and manage them to spend their time on work that is objectively value-added, recognize employee success and give them a little more independence and decision making authority than they might be ready for.  This is all difficult, time-consuming work that also creates risk for the manager.  While it is certainly easier to push Slack and Skype as engagement tools and assign someone to be the culture officer, if you observe any excited group of employees, you will see them creating value and enjoying independence.

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