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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Consider the Numbers...

Now that we have a foundation for what employee engagement looks like - meaning a clear picture of the types of behaviors we should be seeing from our engaged employees - let’s work through why it even matters and how engagement really does impact our bottom line. Just in case we’re not on the same page yet, I’ll share the analogy I heard years ago that helped me understand how varying levels of engagement impacted a workforce…

Imagine being one of ten people in a boat. Not a boat with a motor, a boat where each of us have to row. Now imagine we’re tasked with rowing upstream (because I’ve never seen a business be successful over the long haul by just riding the current downstream). We’re rowing our hearts out to reach our goal, giving it everything we’ve got! After a while, you happen to look around the boat and realize that only three of us are actually rowing. The five folks in the middle of the boat are at least holding their oars...

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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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Service and Empowerment!

To this point, we’ve looked at how critical it can be for business owners or executives to surround themselves with other leaders they can trust for wise counsel, we worked through a process that Cindy and I created to help a group of those folks develop solid executive leadership solutions to the issues they face in their respective organizations that rest squarely on their shoulders alone, and we’ve worked through a few specific skills that owners and executives need to practice to truly lead their organizations rather than just manage them. Let’s close the loop here by looking at one final executive leadership skill that I believe ties all the rest together…

Early on in our Emerging Leader Development course, we ask participants WHY they’ve accepted leadership roles. We walk through a list of what many perceive as the perks of holding a certain title then we counter those with a list of the responsibilities that come with most titles. The point we...

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Did You Set Clear Expectations?

Whether you’re leading a small department or a large organization, there’s never a shortage in things that need your attention… Even after those business owners and executives we’ve been looking at have invested the time and energy into leading their teams effectively and ensuring the leaders around them have the right tools to support the people who are counting on them, the work still isn’t done! If they haven’t been extremely clear about the expectations they have for how those tools should be applied and the results that need to be achieved in order to get a tangible return on investment, the odds of actually seeing those results are slim.

Picture this: you have a crew of carpenters who have traditionally used mostly hand tools and a few corded power tools. They’re about to begin a large project where they won’t have access to electricity and the foreman comes to you with a request to purchase a few thousand dollars worth of new...

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Do They Have the Right Tools for the Job?

Have you ever been expected to accomplish a task without having the tools you need to do it? I’m guessing the majority of folks I’d ask that question would be able to provide very specific details around their own example of this almost immediately! If that’s never happened to you, let me know where you’ve worked and if any of those places are hiring…

Seriously though, I’ve seen this happen in all kinds of scenarios and in basically every organization I can think of. That said, I’ve rarely known an executive - and certainly never a leader - who has intentionally given someone on their team a task without having what they needed to accomplish it. But that’s not to say it doesn’t happen at times…

One company we work with routinely has even put systems in place to empower their team members to prevent this from happening; the owner of that company makes it known that not having the necessary tools should never be the reason...

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Executive Leadership Skills; Application Matters!

We started down this path by defining the differences between an executive who owns or manages a company and one who truly leads their company. Then we took a detailed look at the process Cindy and I have developed locally to help a dozen or so executives focus on identifying the solutions they need for strengthening the leadership culture in their respective organizations. With that foundation in place, let’s close the loop on the importance of executive leadership by digging into a few skills that are critical for anyone who genuinely wants to build strong leadership throughout their team - and this is all about the application!

Cindy and I kicked off our seventh annual LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg event last Friday with a session called Building Buy-In Around a Clear Mission & Vision where we tailored a lesson we initially developed for our Executive Leadership Elite Think Tank group to be something that could be applied by anyone attending who held even the slightest amount...

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A Plan for Immediate Action

Every session Cindy and I do, be it in person, virtual, or for any of our digital resources, closes with a call to action; a challenge for participants to identify what they can apply immediately from whatever we just shared. That call to action is really based on two things… First was the expectation that had always been placed on me to produce a measure impact on productivity from any training I had attended. The second thing was a comment I heard someone make in a training session just a few years back. One of the participants commented on all the take-aways they had learned and made notes on through the two day event. The trainer was quick to push back by suggesting that those take-aways wouldn’t do much if they never put them in play

Consider this; you’re away from work for a training event. It doesn’t really matter if that’s half a day of a full week, it’s extremely rare to have anyone cover for us while we’re gone… But...

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More Than Just a Catchy Phrase

In 2015, I invested a hefty amount of money and an even heftier amount of time into getting licensed to teach, speak, and coach using some of John Maxwell’s work. I was super excited about this since I had been studying everything I could get my hands on from John for over a dozen years leading up to that. The opportunity to pass just a few of the lessons along, since they had been so influential in my career progression to that point, was one of the most motivating things I had ever experienced!

In complete transparency though, there was one part of the licensing that just didn’t create a spark in me. I had been teaching teams how to build successful behavioral-based safety processes for years and I had spoken in front of groups all over the country at that point, but I was struggling with the coaching piece… As I looked around, coaches of all shapes and sizes were popping up all over the place; health coaches who weren’t in shape, life coaches who were...

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