Archive for the ‘Employee Engagement’ Category

Respect is the Glue that Keeps a Team Together

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

You Respect is not just an Aretha Franklin song. It’s the glue that holds teams together.

Sure, everybody likes to work in a respectful environment. But giving everybody a “nice” place to work might not capture the attention of your management team. Talking about the bottom line, on the other hand, tends to capture that attention—and a disrespectful work environment can create a constant flow of cash straight out the door.

Here are some sobering numbers: Sixty-three percent of new hires who do not feel treated with respect intend to leave within two years. The workplace they leave behind is stuck hiring and training new staff—a major drain on resources. Across all industries, an average of 46 percent of new hires leave their jobs within the first year for one reason or another. That’s a disaster for them and for the company that hired and trained them, and now must replace and retrain.

So some of those who feel disrespected don’t actually end up leaving. But do you really want them to stay? Don’t think so. Feeling disrespected by colleagues or management is a major factor in employee disengagement. It results in a workplace full of sleepwalkers, clock watchers, and complainers.

As my grandmother used to say, “A fish rots from the head down.” If a department manager treats his people like garbage, there’s a pretty good chance he’s being treated that way by his own supervisor, and so on, all the way up to the head of the organization. The reverse is true as well. A CEO who treats his executive team respectfully is likely to find that they pay that respect forward, and you end up with a workplace steeped in respect.

That said, it doesn’t have to come from the top. Anyone at any point in the org chart can declare a “no disrespect zone” between themselves and the people they work with on a daily basis. You can be an example of someone who always treats teammates and your management with respect and goes out of the way to be respectful to new team members.

It always goes back to that Golden Rule, an ethical idea so powerful it’s in every moral system in the world: treat others as you would like to be treated. It’s the human thing to do.

Engagement is Not the Flavor of the Month

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

You can’t blame people for being a little jaded. Every few months there seems to be a new silver bullet for business success. Fads like Six Sigma and matrix management drained oceans of time and resources out of the companies that tried them while generating ROI that you couldn’t find with a microscope.

That’s why after capturing lots of initial attention in the business world, both of these fads now show up mostly on lists of bad business ideas.

But what about employee engagement? It seems like everyone’s talking about it now. Is it just another flavor of the month—or is this something with real staying power?

As a recipe for success, employee engagement is now well beyond the proving stage. Years of solid research stand behind the claim that employee engagement is a crucial key to productivity.

For example:

  • 70% of engaged employees say they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs – but only 17% of disengaged employees say that.
  • 78% of engaged employees would recommend their company’s products or services, but only 13% of the disengaged.
  • 59% of engaged employees say that their job brings out their most creative ideas, but only 3% of disengaged employees.

Gallup estimates that the lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $370 billion annually.

Here’s the best part: If you’re one who is disengaged, you can change that in a New York minute. Engagement is a choice. Everywhere you go, there you are. If you’re not happy in this job, you’re not going to like the next one or the one after that. Hold up the mirror and decide to see a person who cares in it. Life goes better that way!

Stepping Up to Make Sure You Keep Your Organization Strong

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Still not convinced that employee engagement is the key to success? Read on…

As if the evidence wasn’t already overwhelming enough, the numbers keep flooding in connecting employee engagement to the bottom line. Last year, companies with high levels of employee engagement reported an average improvement of 19.2 percent in operating income, while companies with low levels of employee engagement declined an average of 32.7 percent!

So what’s it gonna be—19 percent up, or 32 percent down? The choice is yours. (more…)

In Survival Mode? Snap Out of It!

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

It’s a common story in several industries now. After several years of pain, business is picking up again in a big way. But the workforce was cut to the bone to survive the tough times, and now the reduced staff is busy scrambling just to keep the ship afloat. There’s no time or energy to capitalize on the HUGE opportunities coming down the pike.

So you’re an employee who is paying attention. You know it’s time to snap out of survival mode and get your company booming again. But management is still trembling in the corner, hyperventilating and counting coppers. What do you do? (more…)

Have I made myself clear??

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

There’s a hilarious scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which a king is instructing a guard to watch his son:

KING: Make sure the Prince doesn’t leave this room until I come and get him.

GUARD: Not … to leave the room … even if you come and get him.

KING: No. UNTIL I come and get him.

GUARD: Until you come and get him, we’re not to enter the room.

KING: No. YOU stay in the room and make sure he doesn’t leave!

GUARD: And you’ll come and get him.

KING: That’s right.

GUARD: We just need to keep him from entering the room.

After several minutes, the guard finally understands clearly…then follows the king out the door.

Sound familiar? It is AMAZING how the simplest instructions can get mucked up in our heads. One reason is how very much is flooding in all the time. We are swimming in a sea of data every day. The only reason we don’t drown in it is because our brain is constructed with the capacity to shape the data into something meaningful. Less than ten percent of what we hear is consciously assimilated, and less than ten percent of that is retained.

We filter the excessive data that besieges our brains. The gatekeeper of the brain—the part that decides what stays and what goes—is the thalamus. Thank goodness for the thalamus, or we’d spend each day looking like a deer in the headlights. .

So how does this play out?

Susan, Abbey, and David go on a joint call to their highest revenue-producing client with the intention of letting Joe know they appreciate his business.

Joe says, “I love your company and the value your products provide for us. My budget is cut this year and I’m going to need to find some discounted options. I’m going to need a miracle to be able to do more business in Singapore—a very critical market for us.”

In the car on the way to the airport, Susan says, “Gosh, Joe really loves what we do. We should ask him to do a video testimonial for our upcoming promotion.” Abbey says, “Weren’t you listening? He’s about to leave us unless we knock down our prices.” David can’t believe his ears, “Where were you two during that conversation? This guy is begging for help with Singapore and we’re either going to make him or break him with how we respond.”

Silence takes over the car. Each thinks silently, I work with idiots!

Filters are necessary in our brains so we don’t overload, but most people overcompensate and filter out entirely too much of what is needed to make good decisions. As a result, we make “either/or” decisions instead of “both/and” decisions.

In other words, we don’t consider enough of the information when making a business or personal decision. As a result, our decisions are compromises. Ingenious opportunities are missed because alternatives and different viewpoints are not thoroughly explored. Life is on a path of mediocrity.

Susan, Abbey and David all missed the message. In fact, even adding up all of their interpretations isn’t the message and will not create an optimal solution.

Ideally, each person needs to be trained to recognize ambiguity, right up front, and ask questions to clear it up. Then, when Susan, Abbey, and David get back to the office, they need to be able to look at hundreds of potential solutions and fully hear each other on why each could be the right solution or one of the right solutions.

There’s no point trying to wish away our filters. Instead, train them!