Make 2017 your best year yet through great leadership, team engagement and motivation

This article is based on the webinar delivered by organisational development expert, leadership coach and author, Lynne Copp, which can be viewed here.

If you could measure how engaged your employees are in their jobs, what results would you expect to discover? Are they fully engaged, bringing their best to work with them every day? Are they moderately engaged, feeling content with their role and relationships within the company? Or are they disengaged, focused on getting their work done so they can head home on time?

This is a question Lynne Copp often asks her clients when teaching them about the value of engagement and motivation in the workplace. She is the founder of The Worklife Company, a leadership and organisation development company which creates and helps support employee and organisational wellbeing. Copp firmly believes company leaders can enjoy their best business year yet by focusing on employee engagement and motivation.

“Employee engagement is a two-way commitment to create and sustain a great company to strive for, work for, belong to and a great company to do business with, resulting in human as well as organisational wellbeing,” Copp explains. She emphasises the four characteristics of an organisation that is impacted by good engagement strategies, which creates an environment to:

  1. Strive for

Organisational engagement is a two-way road, says Copp. Employees shouldn’t just understand the organisation’s beliefs, but should believe in them, too.

  1. Work for

Leaders should create a company environment that employees are happy to work in.

  1. Belong to

Managers should want their employees to feel proud of the company they work for. They should also feel a positive sense of belonging to it.

  1. Trade with

Employers should question if their customers look at their competitors frequently or if their customers are good advocates for their company.

Copp believes that focusing on enhancing engagement in these four areas can transform an organisation. In addition, she points out that leadership and management culture is often the biggest influence on an employee’s sense of engagement. She says: “You join an organisation because of the work…you tend to leave an organisation because of management and leadership style.”

She urges leaders to ask the following questions to determine how their engagement with employees can be improved:

  • Involvement – does the employee feel involved in the company’s purpose?
  • Considerate and caring leadership – does the employee feel their leaders are considerate of them?
  • Hope and optimism – is there a climate of optimism in the company?
  • Promises kept – do employees feel their leaders keep their promises to them, e.g. after a wellbeing survey is taken, is action carried through?
  • Honouring difference and diversity – do employees feel their individual needs and personalities are being considered?
  • Integrity – do employees believe in and trust their leaders?

In 1959, behavioural scientist Frederick Herzberg proposed a ‘two-factor theory’ regarding job satisfaction. It identified ‘hygiene factors’ as the basic necessities which needed to be met to prevent job dissatisfaction among employees. These hygiene factors include:

  • Pay and benefits
  • Health and safety
  • The work itself
  • Company brand
  • Job security
  • Management style
  • Work environment

The second influence Herzberg identified were ‘motivation factors’. In contrast, motivation factors do not just prevent dissatisfaction at work, but encourage satisfaction. They include the following:

  • Flexible working
  • Good work-life balance
  • Clear progression path and opportunities
  • Personal development opportunities
  • Feedback and recognition from leaders
  • Achievable workload
  • Job designed to suit employees’ strengths
  • Meaningfulness of work

Copp says Herzberg’s model can help leaders understand how to nurture good employee engagement, and she has created a model that expands on his theory which she calls ‘The Wellbeing Wheel’. Within it she identifies four strands that leaders should actively measure to help determine and improve employee engagement.

Wellbeing Wheel

1. Hygiene wellbeing

In this area, Copp says employers should be looking for their workforce to move from “surviving to thriving”. She advises companies to:

  • Measure employees’ happiness with hygiene factors during one-to-one conversations or through running surveys, polls or focus groups.
  • Consider remuneration, and involve your HR team if possible. Are here any pay gaps going on that need to be addressed? Are there opportunities to use progression in salary as a motivator?
  • Carry out a work environment analysis. Are employees in a cramped environment or one which has too much noise?
  • Carry out a work time analysis. Do employees have too much or too little to do?
  • Team brainstorm about the causes of increased workload and other problems.

2. Physical wellbeing

Physical wellbeing includes areas such as nutrition and hydration, exercise and rest, and sleep.

Ideas for improving physical wellbeing:

  • Use technology to brainstorm and collect data from employees on their physical health needs.
  • Innovate to introduce downtime into work time. Some studies have shown that productivity as a result of a break goes up by over 30%.
  • Invite guest speakers to team meetings, like occupational health or fitness experts, to discuss exercise, nutrition and wellness ideas.
  • Encourage fitness through creative schemes such as team exercise or lunch-time walks.
  • Facilitate access to healthy food.
  • Encourage family time at end of day. Some companies shut down computers at 5:30 pm, says Copp. This stresses their value of a good work-life balance.
  • Involve health and occupational development experts to review work flexibility based on factors such as circadian rhythms and productivity.
  • Agree holiday ethos. Some employees are allowed to switch off email while on their holidays so they have an empty inbox to return to.
  • Arrange different areas which can be sought for quiet, rest, learning, etc. And evaluate work space issues that could affect employee engagement, e.g. are there differences in gender preferences regarding work spaces that can be catered to?

3. Emotional wellbeing

Emotional wellbeing relates to work-life balance, emotional balance at work, a sense of belonging and the amount of optimism felt in an organisation.

Ideas for improving emotional wellbeing:

  • Measure the sense of work-life balance in your organisation and foster a culture of healthy balance.
  • Employ flexible working hours.
  • Use one-to-one conversations to engage and listen to emotional triggers that cause or indicate stress.
  • Offer coaching conversations – develop skills and confidence in your employees.
  • Look out for stress dysfunctional behaviours and have a plan of action ready.
  • Help foster a culture of optimism, e.g. hold ‘Friday proud’ meetings where the week’s achievements can be celebrated.
  • Give employees time to develop a sense of belonging with their team, suppliers and customers, e.g. through a job-swap with suppliers or sending them to meet customers if they don’t have the opportunity to in their role.
  • Consider giving employees a day off on their birthdays.

4. Psychological wellbeing

Psychological wellbeing relates to areas which include purpose and meaning at work, relationships in the team, leadership and management behaviour, autonomy and choice at work, progress and development.

Ideas for improving psychological wellbeing:

  • Ensure employees truly understand your purpose and values.
  • Nurture relationships. Implement ideas which help develop team relationships, e.g. team time-outs, fun sessions, creating hobby groups, arranging informal meetings during work time.
  • Leadership and management investment. Make efforts to develop your leaders and management, e.g. through coaching or mentoring.
  • Involve and delegate through accountability culture. This helps increase commitment and motivation.
  • Build aspirational leadership. This will also future-proof your leadership.

By considering all of the above, Copp says a ripple effect producing desired outcomes is achieved. By improving employee wellbeing, this will invite better teamwork and relationships, and boost overall productivity. Finally, this leads to enhanced customer experience and therefore improved organisational wellbeing as customers stay loyal, invite more customers and the company grows as a result.

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