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Scott Campbell

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The talk was entitled the Engagement Zone, the four pillars of a highly engaged workforce. But the points Scott Campbell presented at a recent EARN ( Employee Acquisition and Retention Network) breakfast  in Lloydminster,  are applicable to all areas of life and dealing with people, not just in the workplace.

Campbell began, “You can command compliance but you can’t command commitment.” His premise is that the vast majority of people want to do good work and be engaged. Yet studies show the percentage of highly engaged employees is 25 – 30%. “That is not natural” he says. “It is natural for people to want to excel.” Humans are primarily emotional creatures, not rational. The decisions we make are rooted in our emotions. With this comes the ability to rationalize our decisions.

The Four Pillars must rest on a strong foundation. That is one of fairness. Our brains are wired with a high sensitivity to fairness. This is developed early in life and is a powerful force. Essentially, fairness means treating people equitably and with respect.

Pillar number one is that of achievement. Mastery is important and “it feels good to accomplish things that we feel are worthwhile,” Campbell adds. He cited the book Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.  The author refers to flow as being an experience of optimal fulfilment and enjoyment, with total focus and time seeming to stand still. The experience of flow has lasting benefits, and one is fully present. It is a situation that managers should strive to create for their employees to keep them engaged.  It has to do with providing challenging work at a certain skill level. But it should be matched to the individual. 

Along with the mastery goes the importance of recognition and reward. Campbell says that how often a manager recognizes employees is the single most important thing they can do. Again it should be tailored to the needs of the individual.

The second pillar is status. Campbell defines it as “The employee’s positive perception of his\her rank in relation to the other members of their group. A quote was included by Drs. Matthew Lieberman and Naomi Eisinberger ,”A series of studies have now begun to demonstrate that the brain’s reward system, reacts as strongly to social reward in the form of social recognition as it does to one of the most ubiquitous rewards – money.”

Learning and development, performance feedback and teaching people to compete with themselves all fall under this category.

The third pillar is independence. “People need to feel in control of their lives and the choices they have,” Campbell stresses. Applications of this principle include: avoid micromanaging; focus on results not methods and providing maximum choice and control over their work and environment.

Camaraderie is the final pillar. The employee’s sense that they work in a collegial atmosphere and have meaningful relationships with those they work with.  “Team building is not about going out to climb ropes together but moreover it is in the day in day out fostering of the sense that we are in this together,” says Campbell.

Again Campbell’s points have application to all aspects of life. And it does begin with the concept of fairness, being treated equitably and with respect. For more information on Scott Campbell go to corefactors.com.

– Kelly