Project Employee Engagement: A Scientific Experiment

Running a business is much like a scientific experiment. A manager will test hypotheses, run data analysis of performance and form a conclusion to continue in the current direction or to switch to a new hypothesis. Is it possible then to use a hypothesis to drive employee engagement and therefore improving productivity? As employee engagement is a tricky concept to define, designing an experiment around it in the office can be a great way to define engagement concepts within your workplace.

Designing a hypothesis

Reviewing Herzberg’s two Factor theory of motivation we can see that it is possible to be satisfied but not engaged in the workplace. Only engagement can truly drive productivity up, therefore when designing a hypothesis we must consider the factors surround employee engagement, which in turn will be reflected in data analysis of performance.

Consider the hypothesis that more money will lead to a high satisfaction among employees. If one forgets that satisfaction does not equal engagement, they could mistakenly provide promotions and think that this will encourage productivity. Consider then, the employee who breezes into the office late everyday, leaves early and collects a high paycheck. This employee is very satisfied, but they are certainly not engaged and they will certainly not lead to greater productivity in the company.

Therefore, employee engagement is the extent to which your employees are personally involved in the success of the business. To improve employee engagement there are tried and tested strategies which you can put into experiment in your own office.

Money is a threshold, not a reward

Taking the example of money in the form of promotions: a recent study by Princeton economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman had a very surprising result,  that money will not even influence satisfaction in quantities above $75,000. Therefore it is clear, that money should not be used as a reward for employee participation.

On the flip side more effective strategies of employee engagement include gratitude and incentives. Peer-to-peer recognition works because it plays to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs of self-esteem and love and belonging coming in higher than physiological needs that paychecks can provide.

  • Gratitude should be practiced everyday. Importing gifts into Messenger apps such as slack as one way in which your employees can recognise each other for good work.
  • Alternatively, setting up a company dollars scheme which can be exchanged for unique company merchandise can be the gifts that employees give each other.

Additionally, there should be a less formal opportunity for employees to call each other out for good work.

  • Having a weekly call out session is an effective way to boost self-esteem of employees, giving them a good feeling going into the weekend and boosting their morale about the quality of work that they have achieved.

There is an effective way of using financial reward to boost employee engagement,  and the finance reward to an act of work.

  • By using bonuses for each financial quarter the reward of money is tied to the action of the employee at work and therefore is tied to a sense of pride and accomplishment and achievement of productive work.

Finally, design your own hypothesis of what will work best for your company. Put one of these employee recognition schemes in to play, crunch the data in terms of employee performance and figure out how your experiment has succeeded. Overall, you will boost the productivity of your company significantly using any of these strategies.

WooBoard is a peer to peer recognition platform where your employees can send public messages of thanks and appreciation to their colleagues. Sign up for your free 14-Day Trial of WooBoard today.

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