Increasing Employee Engagement and Productivity with the SCARF Framework

Published on 16th November 2017

It’s no secret that having engaged employees is vital to business success. According to the Employee Engagement Alliance, there is a 51.9% difference in company income growth between companies with and without engaged employees. That’s why more and more companies are incorporating reward and recognition programs for their employees to keep them engaged and excited about their work. But true engagement goes much deeper than just reward and recognition. In fact, it needs business leaders to understand how employees’ brains work.

Onva looked to David Rock, a leading neuroscientist, and his SCARF framework, which helps managers communicate more effectively with their employees by understanding why they behave the way they do. The SCARF model is broken into five areas; Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness.

Status Feeling like you, or your department, are not essential to the success of the company can negatively impact performance. On the other hand, feeling like you make a difference to the company and its customers can trigger a greater sense of capability and energy. A clear sense of Purpose that explains where people ‘fit’ – their Status – is therefore vital to personal performance.

Certainty refers to the human brain’s need to know what will happen next. We all want to know what actions will deliver a safe outcome and what actions won’t. If things aren’t clear and predictable, it creates anxiety, drains energy and makes it harder to solve problems. Understanding the company’s Purpose is therefore essential to giving employees Certainty about where the company is going.

If line managers explain what is required, and why it will deliver the required result, this gives people the ‘certainty’ they are looking for. It gives them the feeling: ‘I know exactly how to handle this situation’. Once you focus on creating certainty, you start to realise how your communications behaviour can make a big difference. For example, meetings that do not have clear outcomes, and a clear explanation of what will happen next, create uncertainty.

To learn about the rest of the SCARF framework, visit Onva’s blog Wrapping Communications in a SCARF Framework.

Onva was founded to help businesses grow by creating a more compelling Purpose and then bringing that to life through employee engagement and more impactful customer communications. Learn more on the Onva website.

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