Dog-Inspired Lesson Employee Engagement Ideas

Employee engagement ideas that work

Employee Engagement Ideas from a Dog

Employee engagement matters.

And according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, only 15 percent of employees are engaged in the workplace.

If someone is disinterested, lacking skills, or feeling bad about the work environment, how would you expect their performance to be? Of course, it will suffer. That’s why it’s critical that you find effective employee engagement ideas to motivate each person on your team.

For an employee to successfully complete any task, they must be able (through knowledge, experience, tools), motivated, and confident. If any one of those three conditions are lacking, something is about to go amiss. That’s why coming up with effective employee engagement ideas is often more complex than anticipated.

Name that distraction.

Lags in motivation make me think back to walks with my dog Grace. She knew exactly what the word “come” meant, and she’d come when asked more often than not. (Of course, she was always a bit more reliable when I had a treat in my hand and when there wasn’t a squirrel in sight.)

But one morning, I stood in the freezing cold morning air, my requests for her to ‘come’ going completely ignored, even after offering an enticing treat! It was unusual. Grace liked to please and always got very nervous when she thought I was upset with her.

So that made me think: What is it about a tiny, dormant twig that has her attention (more so than my voice)? Imagining Grace’s perspective, I wondered if there was a compelling smell she just couldn’t ignore. Or perhaps the stick caught her eye as a toy, one she could not pass up. Either way, Grace eventually came running back (a little begrudgingly), and we were able to move on with our day.

Distractions come in all shapes and sizes, and once you name them, you will know if they are short term (like the twig)…or if you have a bigger problem to tackle

We all take detours.

I want you to stop for a second and think of a situation in your workplace when a person was confident and able to handle the task in front of them, yet their performance didn’t meet your expectation.

More often than not, if you recognize inconsistencies in behaviors or outcomes—for yourself or someone on your team—it likely has something to do with motivation. Once you learn why the distractions are more attractive than the task at hand, you’ll have a better chance of remedying the problem.

Opt for meaningful motivators.

Think about your most recent check-in with your employee and ask yourself: What might be detracting from their engagement? Once you’ve identified this, you can determine next steps. Occasionally, the distraction may be circumstantial. For example, perhaps your team member was upset by a personal matter that has since been resolved.

But most times, there’s something deeper at play, such as misaligned values. While it might be tempting to look for a quick fix (like a simple treat in Grace’s case), that won’t get you long-term results. For consistent behavior, you need meaningful employee engagement ideas.

Employees should be interested in the objective, engaged in decision-making, and appreciated when outcomes exceed expectations. Then you really unleash the possibilities that come with true motivation.

How do you create an environment where long-term motivators exist? We would love to hear your employee engagement ideas and learn what works for your team.

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  1. CorporateShake on March 2, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    In terms of the Care and Grow model ( for more detail read the motivation you talk about is defined as accountability. You will not be motivated to fish if I give you one from my freezer if you come home empty handed. The root of it all is that we have to lead unconditionally. You cannot expect unconditional loyalty if you have conditional motives. It is all about your intent. Love your blog and your dog!

    • PeopleSense Consulting LLC on March 2, 2011 at 5:51 pm

      I like the idea of being aware of your intent. People quickly realize when we’re not looking out for their best interests. Thanks for offering your comments!

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