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the powerful acronym every "boss" needs to remember

A huge challenge for most businesses over the past couple of years has been how to motivate and engage employees in the era of the Great Resignation.

Only 34% of employees are engaged (Gallup statistic, 2021) which means 66% of employees are either disengaged or actively disengaged.

Not only does turnover cost money, there is a SIGNIFICANT cost of having a majority of employees stay at your organization and be disengaged. With rumblings about the potential of a recession, its even more critical that businesses do their best to keep up morale and position themselves to weather this potential storm.

My advice for thinking about employee engagement is this: understand that people look to the workplace to fill many, if not all, of their human needs. (I have a leadership workshop on the topic of wellbeing and engagement through the lens of Maslow's hierarchy of needs - DM me if you are interested.)

And I recently found a powerful “hack” that encapsulates this big idea into a simple acronym (credit to Lifelabs Learning for their brilliance). If we had more “bosses” keeping "CAMPS" this in mind when interacting with their teams, I have a hunch we would see a significant uptick in engagement.


Certainty - Humans have a need for certainty, safety and security in our lives. With so much change and uncertainty over the past couple of years and upcoming, people are looking to their workplaces to be a source of stability. Now is the time for workplaces to double-down on communication, in the form of updates in company meetings, video updates from the leadership team and consistency in department and 1:1 meetings. Know that most leaders do not communicate as much as people would like, so sharing what you can, as frequently as you can, will help to avoid speculation.

Autonomy - People like to have control of their life, including how, where and when they work. Now is the time to provide flexibility in work wherever possible, whether that is hybrid working options or flexibility in choosing working hours (flexibility is a bigger driver of engagement than compensation for many people). You can also support employee autonomy by training all "bosses" on having a "coach approach", which shifts the paradigm of boss as “expert” to holding others capable to make decisions and find solutions.

Meaning - Humans are meaning-making machines! Knowing that our life and work matters, and contributes to something bigger than ourselves, keeps many of us motivated.

Now is the time to remind people how their work connects to the bigger picture of the organization or team. Its the time to ask deeper questions and find out what really matters to employees - what their values are - and uncover ways they can live those values in their work.

Progress - When we make progress and achieve goals, our brain produces dopamine, which is a “happy chemical” that makes us feel good about ourselves. (Who doesn’t want more of that?) Leaders can facilitate this by embedding a culture of appreciation into your workplace. Did you know the optimal ratio of positive to constructive feedback is 5:1? Time to start catching what people do right versus what they do wrong. Also, consider how you can break down goals into sprints that can be measured and celebrated more frequently (think quarterly over annual goal setting).

Social inclusion – Connection is a survival need. Humans need to feel that they are connected to others and in community, and many people look to the workplace to fill this need. Now is the time to architect deeper connection, knowing that when we know/like/trust one another, we feel more connected. Consider simple tools like employee "profiles" that share information like (pet peeves, strengths, most important things) and rituals like sharing "one thing you don't know about me" at team meetings.

When it comes to employee engagement, compensation and benefits only go so far. To truly engage and motivate people to do their best, organizations need to connect at a deeper level. The path is through connecting to human needs. The simple hack is training your "bosses" to act on CAMPS daily.

Direct me if this resonates and you'd like to talk solutions!

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