Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right?

This is the third in a series of articles examining the key drivers to engaged and motivated teams.

There are 12 key questions that measure the core elements needed to attract, focus and keep the most talented employees.

The top 6 are:

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last 7 days have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

These questions are in order of impact importance and the first 6 have the greatest impact on managing our people.

The clear  number 2 is, ‘Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right?’  Do your people actually have the tools to enable them to do their job right.

A few years ago I worked for an Australian based Wealth Management Company.  As a result of mergers and acquisitions over a number of years they had complicated and outdated systems and processes that were all different and all difficult to use.  At the same time cost pressures were high and team numbers were constantly being reduced. This created a situation where:

  • there was more work than available resources,
  • systems were complicated and outdated
  • the organisation was growing.

The consequences were lower customer satisfaction, high error rates and disengaged staff.

This is a perfect example of team members that did not have the materials and equipment to do the job right.

I see this every day.  Another example is my daughter’s horse riding stables.  (I know, I know, horses are like boats, the best days are when you buy them and sell them!)  The stables are poorly maintained and the groom who lives on site has to use a broken wheelbarrow to cart horse manure from stables to the large pile in the paddock.  She has to do this for about 2 hours a day and it takes twice as long because of the broken barrow. In this case the owner is aware of the situation but has prioritised it way down the list of priorities.  The problem is that the groom is frustrated every day and thinking of leaving, she also unintentionally takes her frustration out on the stable’s customers.  (In this case me!)

The outcome of your team feeling that they don’t have the tools to do their job are huge and include:

  1. disengaged team members
  2. higher error rates
  3. lower Customer Satisfaction or NPS
  4. reduced efficiency
  5. higher costs
  6. lower staff engagement
  7. higher staff turnover
  8. and the list goes on….

The next challenge is to accept that a perception by your people that there is a problem is the same as actually having the problem… but that is another story all together!

The concept of these top 6 questions and how they relate to employee engagement is very simple and straightforward. The challenge remains, however, that we have built organisations that are overly complicated and we have moved away from Management 101 … These top 6 ‘Management Basics’ are drawn from the book ‘First, Break all the rules’ by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (1999).

Tim is a Speaker, Executive Coach and Pragmatic Leadership Expert who works with individuals and organisations on delivering results and being more effective.  He can be contacted on or through his website at

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