In current society, individuality and expression is celebrated and encouraged. Unfortunately, many organizations are failing to retain and attract qualified, engaged employees because they are still trapped in practices that alienate and discourage individuality.

In Marx’s theory of alienation, Marx concludes that workers tend to alienate themselves from humanity because they are limited in expressing thoughts, actions, and individuality by procedural design. The worker through labor intensive or strict guidelines is reduced to an instrumental value, a thing that is no longer valued as a unique person.

Granted, financial reward does provide a motivating factor that encourages workers to follow guidelines and produce. However, innovation and creativity become a lost art when companies only focus on tasks, goals, and procedural repetition. So how do you energize your staff and encourage other talent individuals to flock toward your organization?


  1. Bulletpoint objectives - don’t squish autonomy in how objectives are achieved.
    1. Be flexible. If you tell a person how to do a task, you eliminate creativity in finding a better or more economical way to complete that same task. For example, in our current age of technology, does a person really have to work M-F, 9 am to 5 pm to achieve success?

    2. Evaluate objectives versus procedures. Do they really align? Are your employees bored and unengaged because the tasks assign create unnecessary workload that could be accomplished in a short amount of time?

  2. Create a positive work environment
    1. Align staff through understanding of various personality traits and values. Employees want to positively interact and engage with like-minded individuals.

    2. Link actions to outcomes. Employees want to feel as though their tasks have a purpose or creates a positive impact on the lives of others.

    3. Eliminate non-productive staff. Employees want to work with top-notch individuals that contribute versus detract from production. Non-productive staff just creates division and frustration.

  3. Offer advancement and recognition
    1. Provide roadmaps to success. Individuals are designed to dream and think big. Yet, most of those dreams are crushed under uncertainty and lack of knowledge.

    2. Individualize recognition. Each person is unique. In a corporation, management can easily demotivate rather than encourage through recognition. Understanding individual motivations and personalities provides a better and more productive recognition opportunity. For example, a recognition ceremony in front of the entire organization may not be effective in motivating an introvert.

  4. Manage stress - be proactive not reactive
    1. Set realistic deadlines. Understand how much time is needed to complete the desired outcome. Use that understanding to set milestones to help employees measure production and results.

    2. Offer adequate resources. If a particular program is needed to complete a desired task, make sure the staff has access and proper training to use said resource.

    3. Eliminate negative interactions. Humans are reactive by nature. Unfortunately, a reactive approach does not promote a positive, effective interaction that promotes acceptance versus resistance. Think before you speak - words stated in reaction can create a long-term negative impact.

  5. Build practices and benefits that support staff needs
    1. Align benefits to employee need. Are you truly helping employees in their retirement years? Are you providing adequate coverage for their families? Do you make sure benefits and practices align with what your employees need most?

    2. Reward creativity and build focus groups to challenge "the system." Encourage your employees to "break" the system, the norm. Build excitement around finding a better, more economical methodology.

Each of these suggestions are easily implemented even in large corporations. However, management teams in such organizations rely too heavily on the theory of, “this is how we’ve always done it.” A theory that is outdated and stifling creativity. So what can you do differently to change how your employees view that dreaded but necessary four letter word, work?