What Gets Measured Gets Done!

Having started with the stark contrast between happy employees, satisfied employees, and engaged employees, then looking at the real impact employee engagement can have on our organization’s bottom line before we began working through these strategies we can put in place to earn that kind of engagement, let put a nice bow on it by looking one final thing that has to be in place for any of it to matter - and all too often IS NOT even considered as it related to building engagement within our teams!

In all the years I worked in a manufacturing facility, it seemed like we tracked EVERYTHING! We had to document all the details of the first and last piece we ran for each order, we recorded any scrap produced in the set up process, and we logged the total number of parts we completed before sending them to the next step in the operation or to the warehouse. And most of those metrics needed to be added to multiple forms, not the least of which was a daily time sheet.

On a quarterly...

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Employee Engagement Strategies

If you’re still on the fence as to whether or not employee engagement has a real financial impact on your business, or even your department within a business, take one more look at just the low numbers I shared recently… Now it’s time to dig into some things we can each do to start earning engagement from the team members we’re leading!

I don’t care what your title is, you owe it to each person on your team to provide them with clarity about why the work they’re doing matters - who it serves, how it serves them, and why it’s important. Gosh, there are times where I need to do that same thing for Cindy - and she certainly does that for me. 

I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever worked with who’s been willing to give a task everything they have without believing it would make a difference. Without a sense of purpose, why would any of us go the extra mile? But with a clear understanding of how the work I’m doing each...

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Whose Job Is It Anyway?

Think back to the comment I shared recently that a fellow had made on a LinkedIn article I published, “most CEOs continue to sit on the sidelines and let HR wack away at the problem.” All too often, employee engagement - and anything that’s done within an organization to address it - falls squarely in the lap of the human resources folks. But if employee engagement really does have the financial impact detailed in the Harvard Business Review article I referenced last time, why would any business owner, CEO, or manager at any level not be working to improve engagement in their organizations with their every waking breath? 

I believe that’s easy to answer… I think the majority of the operations folks who see statistics cited by HBR look at the numbers briefly but don’t take the time to process the real financial impact each can have on the organization’s bottom line. 

Before we look at exactly who should assume complete...

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Why is Employee Engagement Important?

Having made a case for why it may not serve us all that well to focus only on ensuring our employees’ happiness or satisfaction, and working to actually engage them ties more directly to the results we need to achieve, we should probably take the time to define employee engagement before diving into why it’s so important…

I recently shared an article on LinkedIn comparing these three phrases and received a comment soon after from someone stating that all of them are almost always fuzzy initiatives driven by someone in human resources that never yield tangible results because the “most CEOs continue to sit on the sidelines and let HR wack away at the problem.” As a recovering human resource professional myself, I tend to agree with his comment IF an organization approaches employee engagement solely as a human resources initiative. Quite honestly, that’s exactly why we don’t… While we certainly work to include the human resources team...

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Establish a Meaningful Connection With...

I closed last time by sharing a definition but not the word it was tied to… If you’re to play along with Jeopardy, maybe you’ve already figured it out - but did you phrase it in the form of a question???

We started out by looking at two ideas that are suggested frequently as what employers should be paying attention to if they want to be effective at retaining their best team members; employee happiness and employee satisfaction. While I’m certainly not suggesting that leaving the folks in our organizations unhappy or unsatisfied will ever give us what we’re working for, I don’t believe either of those things necessarily helps us reach the levels of productivity - and in turn, profitability - that we really need or our teams are truly capable of. And that’s why I introduced the idea of “pledging or entering into a contract to DO something” as a critical differentiating factor!

Another definition of that same word is to...

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More than a Snickers Can Deliver...

In the late 1980’s, the tagline in the Snickers candy bar commercials was “Snickers really satisfies you!” If that holds true today and we’re not getting the results we need from making our employees happy, maybe a Snickers bar will get the job done? If only, right…?

Having just challenged the idea that employee happiness might not necessarily yield what we really need in our organizations, let’s consider what would seem to provide us with more tangible results; employee satisfaction…

I recently read an article on Forbes.com called The Five Fundamentals of Employee Satisfaction that shared “if employees like what they’re doing, they put in more effort. When they put in more effort, they’re more likely to succeed and be more satisfied.” If we go back to my example of the employee who’s happy because they haven’t been held accountable for doing anything productive in the last five years, they could very...

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Are You Considering Your Employees’ Happiness?

Over the last six to twelve months, I’ve experienced the toughest recruiting environment I can recall. Regardless of the industry, the type of position, or even the pay range, there seems to be less candidates for every job I’ve posted for multiple different companies. And for even longer than that, it’s gotten harder and harder to get the majority of the candidates who do apply to actually respond when I’ve contacted them. While I have what I believe are some pretty solid theories on what’s driving this, I’ll stay off that soap box since it’s not the point I’m working toward…

Considering how tough it’s become for what appears to be every single employer to find talent in this market, taking care of the great employees we do have has moved to the forefront - or at least it should have! Unfortunately, far too many organizations have had to focus so hard on filling open positions that they’ve left some of their most...

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Where the (Soft Skills) Rubber Meets the Road

Now that we have A Practical Definition We Can Apply Right Away, let’s close this loop by looking at some practical action steps we can put in place to make sure our soft skills are yielding measurable results - just like we’d expect to see from developing new or better technical skills! Last time I tossed some stats from a study that showed what executives saw as the cause of most workplace failure as well as some number showing the cost of downtime due to poor communication. If only that were where it stopped…

In Leadership Gold, John Maxwell shared that “Some sources estimate that as many as 65% of people leaving companies do so because of their managers… The ‘company’ doesn’t do anything negative to them. People do. Sometimes coworkers cause the problems that prompt people to leave. But often the people who alienate employees are their direct supervisors.” I recently read an article from the American Management Association...

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Some Very Tangible Intangibles!

OK, let’s pretend the nearly 275% increase in profit that we just looked at doesn’t make a strong enough case for being intentional about focusing on ongoing professional development… I mean those particular numbers were only based on the study referenced by the Association for Training and Development, showing the impact on revenue per employee and overall profitability. But other areas of a business can ongoing professional development impact?

Over the last two decades, I've taken part in the orientation process with more new employees at the various companies I’ve worked with than I can count. It’s pretty exciting when hiring happens because the company is growing, but it’s far less of a thrill when the push is to fill the spots of people who leave the company voluntarily. And more often than not, this is a significant cost that’s not tracked all that effectively - with regards to the direct costs of recruiting or the total indirect...

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Effective Communication Skills

Effective Communication Skills is a frequently searched phrase on Google. But why? What’s the big deal? Shouldn’t this be simple to address?

I frequently reference a study done by Salesforce.com that showed “86% of the executives they surveyed cited lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as the primary reason for workplace failure.” That seems like a big deal to me! I read another study done by SIS International Research showing that “the cumulative cost of annual productivity losses due to communication issues alone were more than $26,000 per employee.”

If this were indeed something simple to address, would these numbers really be so high? At the risk of confirming any suspicion you may have about how dense I actually am, I’m going out on a limb here and suggesting that it’s extremely simple - and that’s why so many individuals and organizations struggle mightily with it!

I began learning carpentry when I was around...

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