In the final part of this three part review of what has changed from 2006 and 2010, I’ve noted some thoughts on Staff Motivation and Engagement. This post was motivated by a great little book, Top Talent by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (one of the founders of The Hidden Brain Drain Task Force)

2006: Many people were engaged, motivated and focused on their careers. Credit was cheap, bonuses were common, and salary rises were expected. Hard work was well rewarded. Facebook and Twitter hadn’t disrupted office productivity yet. Research conducted by the Hidden Brain Drain Task Force revealed that in 2006, 76% of Wall Street employees trusted their employer and 85% on Main Street. Also 95% of Wall Street employees felt loyalty to their employer and 88% did on Main Street.

2010: Staff are recovering from a catastrophic drop off in both loyalty and trust. In 2008 and 2009 the Hidden Brain Drain Task repeated the research, measuring December 2008 as the focal point. The Trust index above dropped on Wall Street from 79% to 22% and on Main Street from 85% to 56%. Loyalty on Wall Street which perhaps is hardly surprising dropped from 95% to 39%. Main Street employees loyalty had dropped from 88% to 71%. These are stunning reversals in such a short time frame.

This is the backstory to leadership of staff in 2010.

This recession demands leaders to step up to the plate. It’s not about having all the answers. It’s about being visible, communicating a simple way forward. The engagement of your staff, the buying into your story is essential. Your belief system as a leader is being scrutinized like never before. False optimism is not required but being vague on the road map you want staff to drive down is equally ineffective. During 2010 staff will again have choices. Why should they stay?  Don’t expect gratitude for keeping them on. They expect more than that. Inspiration would be nice or at least a clear strategy of how growth will return to the company sales line.

Inspire independent thinking. Encourage staff to read current thinking e.g. Seth Godin’s latest book Linchpin and 37signals’ founders great book Rework. I don’t agree with everything in these books but they do encourage clear thinking and the fact that people make things way too complicated. Think ship dates, getting stuff done, clear next steps, action. Build simplicity into your operations and when you ask staff to deliver reports  – make them one pagers. Personalize incentives especially non financial ones.

Good luck. Comments are welcome.