Have you heard about the chicken and the pig?

That sense of commitment that I felt to my family actually reminded me about how important employee commitment is in the workplace, and of the story about the chicken and pig. Have you heard it?

Here’s how it goes. A chicken and pig are hanging out together and the chicken has a brilliant idea and says, “Hey, how about we open a restaurant?”

The pig looks over at the chicken and says, “What would we call the restaurant?”

The chicken says, “Ham and Eggs!”

The pig thinks about it for a second and then says, “No thanks. I’d be committed and you’d only be involved!”

For the chicken, the relationship is all about convenience and simply delivering the egg. But the pig has to assume full ownership and actually deliver the bacon.

Consider this. I recently saw a statistic on employee engagement. According to the Gallup Management Journal’s semi-annual Employee Engagement Index:

  • 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs
  • 54% are not-engaged
  • 17% are actively disengaged

Wouldn’t it be cool if people really wanted to come to work every day? Here are a few ideas to make that happen.

  • Understand what motivates people at an individual level. Each person is different and a one-size-fits all approach to directing, delegating, developing, and motivating does not work. Get to know your team members’preferences, priorities, and motivations, and then create an environment that works.
  • Make your recognition fit. I have written about recognition several times in the past, so I am simply going to point you to a few good resources on my website. Your recognition should be tailored to what people want and to what motivates them. Check out these two links for ideas on how to recognize your people and tailor your recognition efforts. Get 101 recognition ideas here. Make Your Recognition Fit here. 
  • Performance expecations must be clear. This all starts with having clear performance goals at the beginning of the year and then providing consistent, timely, specific, and behavioral-based feedback throughout the year. Do not be a conflict avoider. Have the courage to provide feedback.
  • Most people want to work on a team where they enjoy the people with whom they work. In a recent survey administered by one of my clients, working in a collaborative team environment was number one on employees’ list of priorities – ahead of money. This is really all about culture. Are you hiring people who are a good match for your organizational culture? And, what are you doing to onboard people and integrate them into the culture?

So, are your people conveniently involved like the chicken or are they committed like the pig? Ultimately this is all about leadership and creating an environment where people WANT to come to work everyday and be engaged.

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