May 19

Develop Individual Desire for Growth


By Chuck Coker

What about me?

Employees in companies of all sizes see a limited opportunity for growth and development. They do not perceive a prosperous future in their present role, and consequently are not fully engaged in the position or the organization.

The exception comes from those individuals who are completely satisfied, want nothing more from the organization, and have no future professional aspirations beyond their current positions. This is not likely, knowing the average employees’ makeup.

Most employees indicate they were asked to wear multiple hats, work in negative environments, take direction from less-than-encouraging bosses, and realize they are likely picking up the slack for another incompetent employee.

Likewise, they were promised little or no future growth opportunities for their efforts. The top issue reported by employees was engagement, and their biggest complaint was, there is not a structured career or developmental path for employees.

If you had to work within this model, what is the motivation to perform While not written into a typical job description, leading and developing is part of the marketing manager’s job description to engage his employees, and not just focus on completion of the next task?

The key is to understand how an employee views engagement as well as how it impacts the competencies a manager needs. Employees have active minds; therefore, one issue impacts the other. Motivation initiates competency development, which is apparently in short supply, according to our respondents.

Today’s employee expects more than just a job and a paycheck. They want to improve both personally and professionally, and they expect the company to play an integral part in that development. Consider this study from the University of Continuing Education Association Survey (2008), which says:

The #1 retention factor listed by best-performing employees under the age of 30 was the opportunity to develop new skills through training.

Employees are no different than other employees in their desire for personal growth. They see future success best when there is engagement with you and their position in the organization. They want to know their efforts will result in opportunity. When the incentives that mean the most are missing, morale and performance suffers.

As a manager, you can motivate your employees by showing them how they can develop an opportunity for the future of their future. Understanding their needs will provide you with the departmental skills the organization needs to thrive.

Conversely, a lack of employee engagement will inhibit your department’s success. Recent studies prove that if you engage your employees, you will end up with a happier, more content employee, as well as one that contributes a significant ROI. Here are just a few examples:

Research has clearly and consistently proved the direct link between employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth – Harvard Business Review, 2000

Engaged employees are more profitable, more customer-focused, safer, and more likely to withstand temptations to leave. Many have long suspected the connection between an employee’s level of engagement and the level and quality of his or her performance. Our research has laid the matter to rest. – Gallup, 2009

Data illustrates that share prices of firms with highly engaged employees increased an average of 16% in 2004, compared with an industry standard of 6%. Stock prices of companies with high morale outperformed similar companies in the same industries by more than 2 to 1 during 2004, and the stock prices of companies with low morale lagged their industry competitors by almost 5 to 1. – The Enthusiastic Employee, Dr. David Sirota

For marketing managers, an unwritten part of your job description is to develop those you manage. Rarely will you find this aspect in writing, but it remains the difference between managing and leading. Managers most often focus on tasks, while leaders inspire employees to achieve and improve.

About the author 

Chuck Coker

For more than 30 years, Chuck has focused his career on people's development. He has implemented proprietary Personal Formation, Human Capital, Talent Management, and incentive-based programs across a broad scope of Fortune Companies, regional organizations, and educational institutions.


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