Workplace Recognition and Incentive Programs


Posted on September 17, 2010 by Carl Bonura in Uncategorized

 Have you heard of the Dilbert Paradox? Here’s the paradox. Ask CEOs about their top priorities and inevitably they will cite talent as one of their top priorities. If this is the case, how do we explain the enormous popularity of Dilbert and The Office, which so eloquently describe the stultifying effect of our work environments on talent?

In part, the paradox arises because executives tend to focus on talent acquisition and retention, but do not invest much time on talent development throughout the firm. When they think about talent development, they spend time designing training programs rather than re-thinking the work environment to accelerate talent development. If they took on-the-job talent development seriously, they would reassess all aspects of the firm – strategy, operations and organization and information technology platforms – to find ways to foster even more rapid talent development.

But Passion is everything. Management can only do so much. All of us are responsible at a personal level, too — for reintegrating our passion into our profession. What is passion? More than simple satisfaction, passion is when people discover the work that motivates them to achieve their potential by seeking extreme performance improvement. Their job becomes more than a mode of income.

Yet a survey in the 2009 Shift Index showed that passion levels are low across all US industries. In most of them there are fewer than 20 percent of employees that say they are passionate about their work–and no industries have more than 25% that say so. Furthermore, passion levels are inversely related to the size of the employer: the larger the company, the lower the passion levels.

Why is passion so important? Because it drives a questing disposition that is essential to employee performance as they react to the inevitable unexpected challenges today’s work environment presents. It also drives more connection. The Shift Index found that passionate workers participate much more actively in knowledge flows that are the new key to value creation. If you can help make your employees more passionate, you can create value in today’s economy.

One means of helping create more passion is to connect with employees on an emotional level. Find ways to reinforce the meaning and value of the company mission and how an employee fits in and contributes to the company’s overall success. Be truthful and trustworthy. Provide opportunities for career development and listen to what employees have to say. More than anything trust them to do the right thing! They will respond.