Tracy M. Maylett, Ed.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, is the CEO of DecisionWise, which for over two decades has advised organizations in more than seventy countries on employee engagement, leadership, and organizational development. He is the bestselling author of The Employee Experience: How to Attract Talent, Retain Top Performers, and Drive Results and the new book ENGAGEMENT MAGIC: Five Keys for Engaging People, Leaders, and Organizations.
● Who is Tracy Maylett?
Tracy believes his real purpose in life after going to perhaps too much school, is creating environments that allow people to do their best, either through his writing, teaching, or his efforts in his business.
There were several moments that changed the course of Tracy’s life including his experience in retail and when he realized that in order to be a successful human resources person he needed to understand business in general. He didn’t start out wanting to be a CEO (he actually wanted to be a football coach) but that’s where he ended up one step at a time.
When Tracy was in college he felt that being an entrepreneur or a CEO just wasn’t worth the risk. But as he started working for large organizations he realized that he could control his own destiny better if he was the one calling the shots. He redefined what risk meant to him over time.
● Founder vs Entrepreneur
Founder and entrepreneur are often considered interchangeable but that’s not true. An entrepreneur is an individual that is able to understand the purpose and vision of the organization they run and match that to what people need, but they don’t have to be at the top of the organization.
Founders aren’t necessarily entrepreneurs. They start the company but in many cases it makes more sense for them to move on and hand off the reins to someone else. The transition out of the founder role is a tough one for many people to make, including Tracy.
There is a point where you realize that you can’t do everything and what you really need to do is manage the people with the right skills instead of trying to do it all.
● Employee Experience
Engagement in the employee experience has two parts. The first is some sort of emotional level and the second is taking action. Where most organizations mess up with engagement is that they need both, not just the positive emotions.
Just paying your employees more will not get you the results you want. The fact that someone is safe at work does not motivate them, but if you take that safety away it certainly reduces their motivation. The same thing applies to pay. When we receive something, we adapt to it very quickly. Compensation has to be there to meet the employees needs, but it’s not going to motivate them for more than 10 days. Increasing pay is the lazy leaders way.
● Engagement Magic
You still have to pay your employees enough, but once that’s done the question becomes “what’s next?” When Tracy did the research into engagement he discovered there were five keys factors that drove engagement in someone’s life and work.
Meaning is the first. When you find purpose in the job beyond the job itself. Autonomy is the second. When you find a way to use your skills in a way that works best for you and allows you to make decisions. The third is growth. People will leave a business or organization for growth opportunities more than anything else. Impact is the fourth. You’re getting results for your effort. The fifth is connection. Doing something beyond yourself and feeling a sense of belonging.
When all the elements are present that’s when people start to engage.
Autonomy is one of the toughest elements that business owners deal with. The key is to set constraints and boundaries and then allowing the team to operate within those parameters however they see fit. You have to make the boundaries and expectations clear and then be able to step back.
People stay where they grow. Growth doesn’t necessarily mean promotions, but more about challenges that allow the person to grow and figure things out. Our natural human instinct is to seek new ways to grow and become better. The ideal leader is one who can identify an assignment for someone that stretches them just enough to challenge them without causing them to burn out.
Reference: ENGAGEMENT MAGIC: Five Keys for Engaging People, Leaders, and Organizations, Tracy Maylett
● Tracy’s Takeaway
A leader who is engaged is 213% more likely to have a team that is engaged. If you’re not engaged, it’s going to come through. You need address your own engagement first. You also have to remember that what makes your business go, is the people in your business. Focus on creating that employee experience and the results will follow.
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