We Invest in What We Value

development employee development employee engagement employee engagement strategies employee experience employee happiness employee satisfaction investment leadership culture results return on investment why is employee engagement important Nov 16, 2021
Employee Engagement Strategies

Before jumping into the next employee engagement strategy that can make a significant difference as we work toward getting everyone in the boat to pick up their oars and actually ROW, I need to share a quick point tied to what we looked at last time

In talking about this idea of employee engagement with some friends recently, they mentioned a book by Patrick Lencioni on the topic, The Truth About Employee Engagement. Wanting to dive in right away, I went to my Audible account as soon as I got to my car and purchased what looked like the cover they had shown me. I ended up with The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, which was actually the same content but released by Lencioni nearly a decade prior. But let’s be honest, when employees aren’t engaged, it’s nearly always because they’re experiencing some level of misery in their job! The sign he explained that tied directly to what we looked at with regards to clarifying the impact our team members have on the people we serve - giving them a sense of purpose and earning their buy-in - was IRRELEVANCE. We all have a need to matter. And we rarely commit everything we have to something that seems irrelevant. You need to check out the book (or Audible) for the rest of his story; you’ll be glad you did!

Moving on now…

Another SIMPLE way we can increase employee engagement is by showing our team members that we sincerely appreciate who they are and what they contribute to the organization; we need to be sure to let them know that we VALUE them! This first way we should be doing doesn’t involve spending a single dollar but it will require some very intentional effort on our part - and every other person in a leadership role who really wants to earn the kind of engagement that impacts the bottom line. We’ll take a deeper look at that next time…

For now though, let’s look at something that will require us to put our money where our mouth is! Before you tune me out, this should NEVER be considered as an expense; this is absolutely an investment, but it has to be treated as such.

Consider this… When you bought your first home, did you take care of it? And as you became more stable financially, did you begin making improvements that would allow you to enjoy your home more right away but would also add to the long term value? Cindy and I certainly have over the years. And when we finally sell the home we’ve lived in for 22 years, it will be far nicer for the next family who lives here than it was when we first moved in, and at a substantially higher price too - but not just because of inflation; because we’ve continued to add value to the house and the property along the way. I’m guessing you can relate…

If we want to make sure our team members know we value them, and earn a high level of engagement from them in the process, wouldn’t it make sense to take a similar approach? Shouldn’t we be investing in them so that they can perform better in their current roles and eventually move into other roles within our company? I mapped out this idea in detail a while back in a Leading At The Next Level lesson called Being Intentional About Career Development so I won’t rehash all that here. I will emphasize though that when we’re intentional about the investments we make into helping advance our team members’ skills, as well as their overall careers, we’re investing far more than the money. This proves to them that we see value in them, we recognize their potential to become better than they currently are. This places a special kind of attention on who they are and how they can grow. And doing this eliminates what Lencioni refers to as one of the other signs of a miserable job: Anonymity

We’ll circle back to the part that doesn’t require dollars but does require intentionality next time. Unfortunately, intentionality in doing what we’ll look at then is often far more difficult for executives than signing a stupid check. Until then, let me be clear about investing in our employees. We can’t do it blindly and we have to be clear about why we’re doing it as well as what we expect them to achieve once we’ve made the investment. While this may seem like doing this could diminish any perceived compassion behind our investment, I believe it serves to emphasize the potential we see in them! And doesn't it just feel good when someone sees potential in us that we haven’t yet seen in ourselves?