Why Activated Teams Outperform an ‘Engaged’ Workforce

Why Activated Teams Outperform an ‘Engaged’ Workforce

Business is evolving. Fast.

The generations coming into the workforce now have a different worldview and a different definition of success. Combined with economic shifts, the AI invasion and the post-pandemic trend to total or partial remote work all add up to an even greater emphasis on employee engagement.

But the speed of business evolution also means engagement is ever harder to achieve and measure.

Engagement Success Measured by Appearances

Leaders who have been charged with increasing engagement often measure success by how active the humans on their team appear to be, especially when some or all of their teams are remote or partially remote. But activity is a poor metric of engagement because it doesn’t take into account two important factors: intention and motivation.

In my work with clients I have found more benefit in focusing on activating human potential, like flipping a switch to the “on” position, activating natural, innate human motivation for excellence and achievement.

This lens allows us to see the quiet worker who seldom “engages” but who is diligent and motivated as a high-performance individual and to recognize that the employee who appears to be highly engaged may, in fact, be more disruptive to the dynamic than they are a benefit to the team.

An activated team is not just a key to unlocking unprecedented productivity; it’s also a critical line of defense against operational losses, ranging from fraud to negligence. But what does it mean to have activated employees, and how can you harness this power?

The Essence of Activation

Activation transcends job satisfaction or a positive workplace environment. It isn’t about volume or frequency of activity. It’s about tapping into every team member’s intrinsic motivation and emotional engagement.

Activated employees are emotionally connected to their work, their peers, and the overarching goals of the organization. They aren’t just working for a paycheck or promotion. They are invested in the success of the team and the organization.

The Transformative Impact

The impact of activation on an organization’s bottom line and security is profound. Human beings who are emotionally committed and connected are not only diligent in their contributions. They’re also vigilant in their observations.

They are the first to see opportunities for improvement, and they’re the first to notice when something is amiss and take action to prevent potential losses. They embody the ethos of collective responsibility, understanding that their actions directly contribute to the organization’s success or failure. In essence, they serve as a “tide that lifts all boats” and as the human firewall against threats, both internal and external.

Cultivating an Activated Workforce

So, how can leaders activate their team and cultivate this heightened level of engagement? In my book, The Human Team: So You Created a Team but People Showed Up, I share the framework I developed and used to activate human potential and motivation. This framework gives leaders and managers actionable insights into the universal needs that must be met in order for humans to thrive and succeed as part of a team.

I call this framework The Six Facets of Human Needs® because there are six distinct yet interdependent aspects or “facets” of human nature that must be considered. Because all six begin with a C, they are often referred to as “the six Cs.” They are Clarity, Connection, Consideration, Contribution, Challenge, and Confidence.

The key lies in addressing all six of these inherent needs, from ensuring Clarity of roles, responsibilities, and expectations to fostering a sense of Connection and belonging. Leaders must strive to Consider each individual to create an environment where employees feel valued, understood, and empowered to reach their full potential. This includes providing opportunities for growth, recognizing and rewarding Contributions, as well as encouraging teams and individuals to take on Challenges and strive toward higher goals.

Finally, leaders must promote a culture of transparency and trust where each team member feels confident in their own abilities and has confidence in their peers and leaders.

Heightened Performance and Heightened Security

I first started exploring the connection between healthy workplaces, high-performance human teams, and security and loss prevention when I was asked to write an article for Loss Prevention Magazine. What I realized is that performance and security are both outcomes of human behavior. And human behavior is driven by human nature.

It stands to reason that an activated employee who is motivated to behave in a way that creates high-performance outcomes and who feels that their personal success is directly connected to the success of the company will also be motivated to act in alignment with the best interests of the company.

As my friend Dave Chronister, Founder of Parameter Security, says, “Loss prevention is less about wrongdoing than it is about right doing. A team committed to doing the right thing can go a long way toward protecting you from the one person who chooses to do something harmful.”

Viewed through the lens of human needs, motivations, and behaviors, the correlation between employee activation, organizational success, and loss prevention is obvious. Activated employees are not just more loyal and more productive; they are also crucial allies in preventing loss and safeguarding the company against a myriad of risks.

As businesses navigate the complexities of the modern workplace, prioritizing employee activation is not just a strategic move—it’s an essential one.

Originally posted on Forbes.com

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