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Paternalism Destroys Employee Engagement - Employees Need Ownership

Paternalism Destroys Employee Engagement - Employees Need Ownership


Organizations need employees to be more engaged to reap the benefits of their full potential. Even employees who work hard can leave their brains at home, thus not contributing much in the way of new ideas. Businesses can't afford robotic employees just going through the motions. There are also losses associated with poor performance and turnover.

Surely the problem is a felt lack of ownership. Frederick Herzberg got it right when he showed that the same employees who complain about working in a dark, dirty factory have no trouble enduring the same conditions when they work on their cars in their garage. Herzberg explained the difference by pointing to the lack of "motivational factors" in the workplace. What these factors really amount to is ownership. People are more motivated to work for something they own than for something they are merely paid to do.

Employees may feel a sense of ownership for their own job, but how many feel the same ownership for the business as a whole and its future? Empowering employees, giving them interesting challenges and recognizing their efforts fosters ownership over their own work and, to some extent, the broader organization. But having little say in running the business, not being consulted on its future direction and having difficulty answering the "What's in it for me?" question can leave them disengaged.

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