Tag: engagement

The Interview Question Candidates Always Get Wrong – And Why That’s OK

Posted on April 17th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Job seekers often underprepare for the interview. Understandably, it can be difficult to prepare answers for the millions of different questions they might be asked by an HR professional or potential boss. And that’s probably why the answers to my favorite interview question vary so greatly.

The Interview Question Candidates Get Wrong

My favorite interview question is this: If you had a blank canvas and could paint your ideal job, what would it be?

I guess it’s kind of quirky, and perhaps that’s why I get quirky answers. When I’ve been in a position to hire people and I’ve asked this question, the candidates never described the position they were interviewing for. It didn’t matter what position it was or how experienced the candidate was. They never described the job duties outlined in the job description for the position they were interviewing for.

Why It is OK to Get It Wrong

Our true selves don’t want to work where we are every day; very few people are doing what they’d be doing if they didn’t have obligations such as family and mortgage payments due each month. I understand that as the person in a position to hire you. Although it would seem that the “right” answer would be the position that the candidate is applying for, I see a lot of value in the other answers I have heard in response to the question, “If you had a blank canvas and could
paint your ideal job, what would it be?”

The responses I’ve gotten have detailed positions in other industries, the candidate’s interest in creating their own company, and even a desire to work at a restaurant on the beach in the Bahamas. These answers might surprise and disappoint a less experienced interviewer, but I know that these answers reveal more than they seem to.  These answers, though they seem random, show how a candidate thinks, whether or not they’re innovative, and what their values are.

As an HR professional, I’m most interested in hiring authentic people, and when candidates give unfiltered answers to my questions, especially the blank canvas one, I get a good look at who they really are and that helps me figure out how well they’ll fit into the company I’m hiring for.


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About the Author: Kimberly S. Reed, CDP, Corporatepreneur™, Managing Partner and CEO, Reed Development Group, LLC (RDG), has earned a reputation as one of the most dynamic speakers and trainers. Reed ignites audiences internationally on topics ranging from entrepreneurial leadership, leadership, professional and personal development, diversity & inclusion, personal resiliency and presentation skills. For nearly fifteen years Reed has helped executives and professionals develop a “Y.E.S.” (You, Empower, Self) mentality. After over a decade as a diversity and inclusion strategist for some of the largest companies in the world including PwC, Campbell Soup Company, Merrill Lynch and Deloitte, Reed had the ability to develop innovative solutions to identifying, attracting , retaining and developing top diverse talent. Reed has acquired key skills that have enabled her to position organizations and business units to increase recruitment, retention, deployment and the management of talent for Women and People of Color in record growth.

Three Things Employees Need

Posted on March 6th, by Judith Lindenberger in Business and Workplace. 9 comments

Three things needed for a long term relationship are commitment, caring and communication. Just as partners in a successful marriage, who are committed to one another, understand the benefits they receive from one another, employees and employers require the same. Employees need to achieve results and employers to provide stability.

Caring is not a word used often in employment agreements but love has a place in the corporate world. The best employers treat their employees well by providing competitive salaries and benefits, training supervisors to manage effectively, giving employees the tools that they need to do their jobs, and, most important, letting employees know how they are doing. Employees show that love back by being passionate about quality and loyal to the companies for whom they work.

And then there is communication. In order to sustain a long term and healthy relationship with employees, smart companies provide job descriptions, mission statements, vision, goals, and frequent performance feedback. And smart employees, who understand where the company is headed and what they need to do, offer innovation.

Just like a successful marriage takes work, the relationship between employers and employees requires the same commitment, caring and communication, not just offered once, but provided continuously over the long term.


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About the author: Judy Lindenberger is the President of The Lindenberger Group, an award-winning human resources consulting firm, located near Princeton, NJ. They are experts in career coaching, customized training workshops, online training programs, mentoring, 360-degree assessment and feedback, HR audits, employee handbooks, and more. Learn more about them at www.lindenbergergroup.com.

Lower Hiring Costs By Increasing Retention

Posted on February 13th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

Too many companies are not responding quickly enough to the expectations and needs of the workforce today. Turnover is costly so it’s time to focus on retention.  In the continual rush to be productive we often fail to treat people well. Happy employees stay with companies longer. They’re less likely to be vulnerable to recruiting calls.


One obvious trend is employees are taking control of their careers and their life. Companies are not trusted to provide career longevity. Corporations hire and layoff unpredictably. Job security is a myth so employees have learned to style their lives differently. The truth is more employees are willing to walk away from employment scenarios that make them miserable.


On average it costs between $15,000 and $45,000 to replace a worker who earns between $40,000 and $110,000. While the figures may vary from industry to industry, for example the estimated cost to hire a nurse is around $60,000, the fact is companies can save a bundle of money if they have less attrition.


There are several things employers can do to improve retention and lower hiring costs.


1. Training. Give employees more skills. Employees want to increase their value.


2. Provide communication training. Encourage and expect constructive feedback to flow up, down, and sideways. Provide avenues for feedback. Surveys show the number one reason people are unhappy at work is due to an ongoing issue with someone who matters at work. Increased stress can certainly lead to turnover.


3. Mentoring programs. Help employees see the long view and career path options. How do they get to where they want to go?


4. Flexible schedules. Focus on what is expected of an employee. Be clear about what, when, and how they are to accomplish their goals. Define clear parameters. Younger people want a work/life balance and will quit their job to get it elsewhere. Define what fair, good, and excellent performance includes so employees don’t feel unfairly criticized and can improve their performance responsibly.


5. The ability to work from home a few days a week. This makes for happier, more loyal employees.


6. Ask for feedback. How are you doing managing your company? What are the perceptions of your staff on your performance? What are you doing to improve? New managers should know their staff will evaluate them regularly, and anonymously, where possible. Are they willing to improve their management skills?


Different issues arise as a company grows. Pay attention. When I owned an independent adjusting company in the Chicago area the outside investigators who worked for me were highly skilled. When we got together there was a great deal of ribbing and jockeying for some kind of superiority I didn’t quite understand.


I thought of us as a team. We were one exclusive, competent company who handled the toughest workers compensation and liability claims in the city, for the best insurance companies. I wanted to create unity not competition within. One Saturday I asked the investigators to come in for the morning. I had them each read two of their co-workers’ files.


I asked them to verbally critique the work of their peers. They worked independently being responsible for each assigned investigation until conclusion. The result was heartening. Each one was humbled and impressed with the caliber, professionalism, depth, and insights of the people they worked with. Never before had they seen the work product of their peers.


The compliments were genuine and respect sincere. There was an elevated sense of camaraderie. We all belonged to the same ‘club’ of outstanding service and talent. We were more united and the one-upmanship stopped. I knew we had the best investigators in the city but they didn’t know until they experienced it for themselves.


The result was we had no turnover for five years before I sold the company. The loyalty, integrity, comfort, and trust we enjoyed was unique. Situations arise all the time that require an individualized solution. If one approach fails to get desired results, think of a new strategy. Ideas are free, turnover is not.


Leadership is not hard if you’re willing to serve your employees the way you serve the customer. Lower hiring costs by increasing retention. Loyalty is not a given. Earn it and everyone wins.


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About the Author: Kimberly Schenk is a recruitment coach and mentor. She trains both individuals and corporate staff. Kim teaches the full cycle recruitment process and has an updated book available online called TopRecruiterSecrets. Learn more by visiting Kim’s blog about corporate recruiting.

7 Fastest Ways to Lose Employees

Posted on February 6th, by a Guest Contributor in Business and Workplace. 1 Comment

When it comes to attracting and hiring top employees, there are several things you can do to help employ the best and the brightest. On the other hand, there are other things you may do, without even realizing it, that will drive your best employees away. In my experience, here are the seven fastest ways to lose employees – and how to turn those negatives into positives for your business. These are tips that Human Resources should share with every manager, and make sure they are practicing within the company.

 #1 Unreachable Expectations

The first way to lose an employee fast is to set unrealistic expectations. This does not mean managers should lower their standards. What it does mean is that they should be in tune with the business and what it takes to succeed.

Instead of setting goals and deadlines that cannot be met, managers should come up with realistic goals for employees. This doesn’t mean they should be easy; goals and expectations should involve hard work. The difference is the expectations should be attainable for those who work hard for the good of the company.


#2 Constantly Criticize

Another thing that managers do to drive employees away quickly is to constantly criticize them throughout the workday. It is difficult for a person to do any job well if they feel that everything they are doing is wrong.

Instead of criticizing every wrong move, managers should acknowledge employees for what they are doing right. You can help them by teaching them how to turn a negative comment into a positive one. Constantly reinforcing this within the company will help others learn to manage this philosophy in a daily work environment.


#3 Managing the Micromanager

By the same token, some managers may find it is easy to be critical when they are constantly looking over their employee’s shoulders. It is difficult enough to do your job without the added burden of having a manager within reach, second-guessing every move you make.

Instead of micromanaging employees, managers should learn to give their employees some room to work and occasionally make mistakes. As long as the mistakes are not career or business ending, this will help them learn the right way to do business in the future.


#4 Pass the Blame

Part of being a good manager is sometimes accepting the blame when things do go wrong. It is not possible for a manager to control everything, and mistakes will happen. It is what happens next which will chart the course for the company’s future.

Instead of passing the blame, Human Resources needs to foster an environment where it is acceptable to make mistakes without fear of a person losing their job. This will make it much easier for both managers and employees to accept both success and an occasional mistake.


#5 Expect Long Hours and Overtime Without Compensation

There is no doubt most top employees work hard, and that is what likely keeps a successful business thriving. However, no one should expect to work long hours and put in a lot of overtime without the understanding there will be some type of compensation or job security gained because of it.

Instead of demanding mandatory overtime every week without any extra pay or benefits, build in a structure that compensates employees in some way. If an employee is constantly working difficult extra hours, without an end in sight, it is likely they will soon set their sights on a new place to work.


#6 Fail to Offer Rewards, Incentives or Bonuses

Along with compensation and pay comes the need for some type of system that rewards employees. No one wants to put in a lot of hard work with nothing to show for it. Big or small, rewarding your employees can go a long way.

Instead of avoiding all rewards, incentives and bonuses due to the drain on a company’s finances, Human Resources should lead the charge in finding creative ways to support employees. An occasional treat, a prime parking spot, or even a paid day off can go a long way when it comes to emotionally uplifting employees.


#7 Treat Employees Only as Employees

Finally, managers and executives within a company need to understand that employees should be treated with respect. If workers are acknowledged simply as “employees,” they will not work their hardest for the good of the company and likely be eager to leave.

Instead of creating a division within the company, Human Resources should encourage managers to create a respectful environment. It is important that employees feel valued and that they feel their opinion is respected.


While the economy may still be recovering for many U.S. businesses, employees will not want to stay with any company that does not respect them or value the contribution they make to the business. Ensuring your company understands what drives employees away will help make it easier for you to retain the employees the company values most.

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About the Author: Cassy Parker, social media advocate for CreditDonkey (@CreditDonkey on Twitter), a credit card comparison website, has experience helping small business owners thrive.  As the content manager for the business section, she keeps a pulse on the challenges small business owners face.

Implementing a Happiness Strategy In The Workplace

Posted on December 12th, by Jenna Evans in Business and Workplace. 3 comments

Editor’s Note: This post is the second in a two-part series about the importance of happiness in the workplace.  You can read the first post here.


The conventional pursuit of happiness places a great deal of emphasis on success. Shawn Anchor, author of “The Happiness Advantage” and motivational speaker states that this philosophy is completely backwards.

Anchor’s lectures and seminars on positive psychology are the most popular classes at Harvard University and in recent years he’s established a name for himself as a world authority on happiness in the workplace. Anchor’states “when we are positive, our brains become more creative, motivated, energetic, resilient and productive at work.” These theories have led many businesses to implement their own happiness strategies to increase employee engagement.

If you’re struggling to keep your employees enthused about work, developing your own “happiness strategy” could give them that much needed motivational boost. Employees who aren’t happy usually won’t have the drive to do their job at peak performance. Even when money is tight there are always ways to implement a happiness strategy without hindering your company’s finances. These tips will help you get started.


Acknowledge good work

Always praise your employees when they perform well. Don’t have the “it’s what they get paid to do” attitude, even if it’s true. Spend a few minutes out of your day to recognize good work and dish out compliments. If you feel like you don’t have anything to rave about, rather than focus on the negatives remind your employees about a successful quarter or pleased client. Emphasizing the positives is much better than emphasizing the negatives. One company that ensures its employees are acknowledged is Google. Over the past few years they’re made several small changes that have increased the happiness of their staff.


Encourage Creativity

Exercise doesn’t just have physical benefits; it will also stimulate the mind and increase productivity. Give your employees the option to take a walk or engage in 10-15 minutes of cardiovascular activity each day, outside of their normal breaks. It’s no secret that exercise makes people feel great and could be just what your employees need to start thinking more positively. In addition, consider running a company exercise program and encourage everyone to take part – set weight loss goals, create a diet plan and schedule weekly weigh-ins to keep everyone on their toes.


Open New Doors

The thought of being stuck in the same job position, with the same wage, the same holidays and the same prospects can be very demoralizing. Don’t be afraid to open doors and provide incentives to employees who perform well. Accountancy firm Mercer and Hole recognizes the importance of promotions and credit their incentive program for helping them achieve the rank of one of the top 50 accountancy firms in the UK.


Focus on Engagement

Encourage creativity and spend a little time each week asking your employees for their honest opinions. Getting everyone to feel like part of the team and not just another cog in the machine could drive your business towards success.


Make these positive changes as soon as possible. Incorporate your new “happiness strategy” into your business plan and follow it through. It could yield results that you never thought were possible.

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About the Author:  Jenna Evans works part-time as an Employee Relations Adviser at Tollers Solicitors. She enjoys eating far too many noodles and travelling. She is also in the early stages of researching for a book related to empowering women in business.

Why Engagement is the Wrong Word

Posted on December 3rd, by Bonni Titgemeyer in On My Mind, Wellness and Balance. 13 comments

I was engaged once.  It was 1988 and in between a course of sweetbreads and lamb at the Millcroft Inn in Alton, Ontario, the blue-eyed guy across from me popped the question.  I looked at the ring, and I looked at him, and I said, “yes”.  In other words, I said (on the inside), “I find you very attractive, I have no idea how this story might end, but yes, I think there are good odds here and I’m game to give it a shot”.  After all, we were very young, we had no money, but we had high hopes for the future. We set a date.

That’s engagement.

During engagement, you buy an expensive dress you’ll never wear again, and you fuss over the strange details of a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime ceremony.  You drive your friends and family crazy.  Then once the engagement is over and you’ve settled in, you find true happiness.

I’ve thought about this as it relates to the workplace.

Do we need engagement?  Or do we need that sense of settling in and happiness?

I think it is the latter.

I’m not sure we are at our best during the engagement.  There are reasons why there are TV shows about bridezillas. There is frenzied anticipation and many, many details.  There are a lot of things to balance, with time always seeming to be at a premium. Our goal is to have a lovely wedding. We fret at not being able to see much beyond that day.  It is when the engagement is over that we have a routine and new goals and a longer-term outlook.  We fall more deeply in love with our spouse. That’s happiness.

I fully realize that not everyone on the engagement bandwagon agrees with me.  They argue that an engaged employee is not necessarily a happy employee and they argue that a happy employee may be happy because their work isn’t challenging, which doesn’t benefit the business.  Ok, fair enough.  That said, perhaps I’m being overly technical but the definition of engagement does not include the word motivation (in fact, appointment is a synonym for engagement).  Ultimately, motivation is another positive side effect of being settled in to a role where you have confidence. Again, during engagement you are not settled in yet.

So how can you achieve a workplace full of happy people?  Try these strategies:

  1. Find ways to include your employees in long-term planning.  So often we set short-term goals in our planning without thinking about how this contributes to the big picture.  The more employees can see themselves in your organization 3, 5, 7 years down the road, the more likely they will contribute in ways that will ensure the organization is sustainable.
  2. Love your organization.  Love your employees. I’m talking to you HR. Some of the best organizations out there have amazing programs not only for current employees but also alums.  Make it a family atmosphere full of positivity and mutual respect by focusing on programs designed to be supportive of the whole employee, at 24 and 64.  The workplace should feel safe and a place to find your centre.  This can’t happen in a place where there isn’t an environment of mutual trust.
  3. Lessen the distractions. People focus best when they aren’t surrounded by a myriad of distractions.  They’re happy when the details are set.  If that means organizing central pick up for dry cleaning, providing access to a concierge service or being more flexible about work arrangements, go for it.

If you think of your employees after the engagement, the onboarding, all that preliminary stuff, and make the workplace feel like an extension of home, you’re well on your way to achieving workplace happiness.


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About the author: Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award.  You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.

Happiness: The Not-So-Hidden Secret to Success

Posted on November 7th, by Jenna Evans in Business and Workplace, Employee Engagement. 3 comments

Success is the primary objective of every business. But what exactly is success and how is it measured? To many it’s determined by financial gain, and behind financial gain there is always one thing that has set the path – happiness.

With so much emphasis on profit it’s all-to-easy to lose sight of your employees, the backbone of your business. Contrary to popular belief, good business isn’t always about investing in products or services, but investing in people. So before you start analysing statistics to look for a magic formula, take a step back and ask yourself, “are my employees happy?”


Improving Employee Engagement

A hefty paycheck, light workload and long holidays won’t always yield positive results. On the other hand, incentive programmes, career advancement opportunities, and making sure good work doesn’t go unnoticed is directly linked to job satisfaction. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, conducted a study entitled, Does Happiness Lead to Success? She states that if you implement a daily dose of positivity, your employees will be more engaged and motivated, which will lead to better job performance, – “happy people frequently experience positive moods and these positive moods prompt them to work actively towards new goals.”


Implementing a “Happiness Strategy”

Whether you run a large scale corporation or small business, implementing a “happiness strategy” should be a crucial part of your business model. Google recognises the importance of balance between working and personal life and allows their employees to dedicate up to 20% of their time to a project of their choosing. This has resulted in innovations such as AdSense and GoogleTalk. While small businesses may not have the finances to make such bold investments, changes can still be implemented.

It’s no secret that healthy living greatly contributes to happiness. Coors Brewing Corporation reported a $6.15 return for every $1 that they invested into their corporate fitness programme. In addition, Currency Index reported a 43% drop on absenteeism during the 12 months following implementation of their employee fitness scheme. Again, while investing in an on-site gym may be out of reach for your business, allowing your employees to take a little time out of their schedule to exercise could significantly increase their productivity.


Make Happiness Your Priority

Happiness is often considered a by-product of success. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, has a very different philosophy. Achor states, “Your brain at positive performs significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed.” His studies have concluded that happiness is actually the driving force behind success and has started sharing his theories with businesses throughout the world.

If you’re serious about long-term financial success, take a leaf out of Achor’s book and make happiness your priority. Start today.  Before you dismiss your employees for lunch or send them home, take a few minutes out of your schedule to make the rounds and give them some positive encouragement. A compliment will go a long way.


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About the Author:  Jenna Evans works part-time as an Employee Relations Adviser at Tollers Solicitors. She enjoys eating far too many noodles and travelling. She is also in the early stages of researching for a book related to empowering women in business.



Job Engagement and Gender – Are We All Equal?

Posted on October 10th, by a Guest Contributor in Employee Engagement. No Comments

Do you like your job? Are you fully engaged in it? Though this question is one that may seem like it depends on your personality, there is a certain part of this that is hard-wired into your gender. Though it may seem like old-fashioned thinking, there is more and more evidence linking sex genes and the ability to fully engage yourself in certain tasks.

In the post-World War II era, the “typical” family dynamic had dad at work and mom at home. Though this was not always the way of the world, it was pushed to be the way things should normally be, for several reasons. The idea that women were best served as providers and should be caring for their family was often stated, and the man’s job to go out and work for the family’s income was expected.

These lines began to blur in the 1960′s and 1970′s, as the women’s lib movement pushed back, claiming the right for women to also work outside of the home, and shifting the cultural view to the idea that women can do everything that men can do, and should be expected to try.

Fast forward to the nineties and the turn of the twenty-first century, and the two-family income household had become the norm for married couples. Worker productivity and employee satisfaction became buzzwords, and companies began looking at efficiency consultants, who considered not just the best layout for a business to get the best product for its investment, but the corporate culture, and improving employee engagement.

This is a trend that has continued, and as genetics research continues to become a larger and larger factor in looking at how humans perform, gender-based accomplishment studies have come out. One of the things that has been suspected for a long time is that women are predisposed to be better multitaskers. A number of studies have confirmed this, showing that when asked to do several unrelated tasks in a short period of time, women vastly outperformed men. Men, however, are better at focusing on a single task to the exclusion of another. A famous study often quoted in psychology classes looks at men and women who were given two different stories that were simultaneously read to them, one in each ear. When they were asked to choose one story and listen to it, to the exclusion of the second, men were able to do so. Women were not.

So how do these natural brain differences translate to work engagement now? A lot of it depends on the kind of tasks that men and women are expected to do, and the varying skills needed to complete them. Traditionally, men at a management level were often required to perform many of the larger tasks, but have an assistant to help them perform the smaller, variable tasks that were expected. As the gender playing field has leveled more and more, the high-level jobs have been shown to be performed equally well by both men and women. An engagement survey would likely show equal satisfaction for both genders. Instead, the discrepancies have been shown to be more at the low income and education levels.

At the blue-collar level, there is still a gender bias when it comes to certain jobs. Technical service and repair jobs are more often chosen by men, and jobs like office manager are more often chosen by women. Though this has been partially dictated by the cultural history of these positions, the tasks expected in each job type dovetail nicely with what the brains of men and women are naturally best, and likely most fulfilled, at doing.
What do you think?  Is there a notable difference in engagement based on gender?  Is the difference more or less pronounced based on income and education level?


About the Author:  Louise Gregory is a human resources professional specialized in employment engagement analysis and pensions management at AON. When Louise isn’t working hard in the big smoke you will find her sunbathing on the East coast. She loves cooking, writing in her new blog and trekking with her family and Benson, the house dog.


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Ten Ways to Keep Your Employees Engaged

Posted on July 30th, by a Guest Contributor in Employee Engagement. 5 comments

“High employee engagement is imperative, even amid a turbulent economy”. This was the indisputable fact that Gallup once again revealed in its 2012 study of 1.4 million employees worldwide.


Business units that scored in the top 25 percent of their organizations according to employee engagement showed:

  • 37% lower absenteeism
  • 22% higher profitability
  • 21% higher productivity
  • 10% higher customer metrics
  • 25% lower turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • 65% lower turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • 28% less shrinkage
  • 48% fewer safety incidents
  • 41% fewer patient safety incidents
  • 41% fewer quality incidents (defects)


But here’s the comedown. According to Towers Watson, almost two-thirds or 65 percent of the workers who participated in their 2012 Global Workforce Study did not show high engagement.

Employee engagement refers to the conditions under which workers make an emotionally-based choice to be loyal to a company.  So what is at stake with employee engagement? Essentially everything, as low engagement costs the US economy alone $370 billion year after year.


There is no one-size-fits-all approach to increasing employee engagement; what works for Google might not work for Gillian’s Bakery. In saying that, here are 10 ways to keep your workers engaged:


1. Honesty and transparency win. Always.  

Public and private organizations can take a few tips from their voluntary counterparts. According to CIPD’s latest Employee Outlook survey, the voluntary sector showed an increase in employee engagement this quarter. Around 55 percent of voluntary workers reported feeling engaged at work, compared to only 37 percent and 33 percent of private and public workers, respectively. This is even more remarkable, considering the layoffs hounding voluntary staff nowadays. According to CIPD, voluntary workers love their “open and honest management teams” who perpetuate “positive communication practices” and “cultures of mutual trust and respect.”

In engagement as in other aspects of life, honesty always seems to be the best policy. Employees tend to feel disposable when orders are barked without explanation.


2. Compensate fairly.

It goes without saying that you get what you pay for. To get excellent work, you need to offer commensurate wages. Explore the possibility of cash bonuses and stock options for employees too. And if you can’t increase salary, give employees prospects for advancement if you want them to play the game to win.


3. Money is not everything. Get personal.

A wad of cash can only go so far in fortifying employee engagement and performance. Sometimes what employees need is not pecuniary: Knowing that you personally care for them might be enough. Workers who see their leaders as real people often exhibit high engagement.


4. Be a transformational leader.

A transformational leadership style appears to be the most conducive to employee engagement. According to researcher Bernard Bass, transformational leaders are supportive managers who offer individualized consideration to followers; supportive management is directly proportional to employee engagement.


5. Understand the value of one-on-one conversations.

One important trait of a transformational leader is the ability to attend to individual needs, i.e. the ability to lend a listening ear. Hear your employees’ ideas and feelings out. In return, give them constructive criticisms and due praises, not just once a year, but regularly.


6. It’s all in the environment.

Employees love commuting to a workplace that is aesthetically pleasing. Take a look at how the SAS Institute took this knowledge one step further. They built a branch in France in an opulent castle no less, enclosed by a cherry-lined garden and a forest with walking trails. They have even splurged on an office nursery, so that mothers in their employ never have to leave their young kids at home again. Result: low absenteeism and turnover.


7. Trust workers enough to let them telecommute.

Sometimes even castles are no substitute for the conveniences and comforts of working at home. Provide flexibility in working. Also, make sure to grant telecommuters access to documents, tools and resources they would otherwise have in the physical office.


8. Move meetings and coursework online.

According to Cisco manager Kim Austin, online events and trainings are much clearer, since the same, unadulterated information is disseminated to employees, whenever, wherever. Furthermore, 53 percent of organization leaders surveyed by the Economist Intelligence Unit support the notion that video communications enrich relationships with employees.


9. Consider wellness programs.

Wellness programs, or basically those that lead to a healthy and productive workforce, affect the bottom-line positively. To illustrate, Johnson & Johnson reported returns of $2.71 for each $1 dollar invested in these programs. Healthy employees do make highly engaged workers, after all.


10. Help the company be the employer that people respect.

No one likes leaders of ill repute and dubious ethics. When former Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher’s dalliance with an employee led to a media firestorm, airline workers became so self-conscious that they refused to wear their uniforms outside the workplace. People want to work for organizations that they can be proud of.


Photo credit: http://www.kaleidoscopeconsulting.com.au/wp-content/themes/kaledoscope/images/High%20Performance%20Management.jpg



This guest post is written by Lisa Baker from www.kaleidoscopeconsulting.com.au.  Since 1994 Kaleidoscope has delivered solutions to individuals through business coaching and with leaders and managers in HR consulting projects.

{Engagement} Five Ways to Engage Your Employees

Posted on June 27th, by a Guest Contributor in Employee Engagement. No Comments

As a manager, you want to get the most out of your employees. But you know the only effective way to accomplish that is to motivate them to want to perform at their best. This is often easier said than done. Many managers mistakenly believe they must drive their employees to success rather than lead them there. However, this is contradictory to our human nature.

Everyone wants to improve themselves. It is wired into us as humans. As managers, you need to tap into that drive in each of your employees. Below are five ways to engage your employees at work and help them deliver their best.


Challenge your employees

Everyone wants to better themselves. Challenge your employees with goals they can strive for and acquire. Set goals that are just out of their comfort level yet still attainable. Ensure that these goals are specific and measurable and that your employees understand them. But don’t just stop there. Provide each employee with regular feedback on how they are doing. In this role, you are similar to a sports coach that keeps track of each player’s game statistics. As a result, each employee will know how they are performing, what areas they excel at and where they need to improve.


Set the tone

Your attitude as a manager will be reflected by your employees. As you already know, you have to lead by example. Do your employees see you as an example? Do you come across as enjoying your work? Be gracious and available. Treat your employees with respect and courtesy. Encourage creativity and thinking outside the box. In a nutshell, your attitude will set the mood for the team.


Give a little

Punching a clock is difficult enough. Beyond that, your employees shouldn’t feel that every minute of their day is scrutinized. Do you have an employee with small children to get off to school in the morning? Allow that individual to come in a little later to accommodate their schedule.  Showing flexibility towards the needs of your employees will be greatly appreciated. If possible, allow for flexible work hours, lunch and work breaks.


Reward success

After setting goals and challenging your employees to reach and surpass them, it is only fair that you reward those that succeed. Offering public rewards is yet another way to keep employees motivated and engaged in the workplace.

You can be as creative as you want in providing rewards for individuals or the whole team. A simple plaque or acrylic award is appreciated when given with a sincere thank you. The more useful the reward the more it will be appreciated as well.

Other avenues for rewarding success include cash prizes, a few hours off with pay, or, to show appreciation for the whole team, a meal served at the office. Not only will this show your appreciation for a job well done, it will offer a valuable team building experience.


Help with their continued success

If your computer software needed upgrading would you contently accept the outdated version and put up with the loss in productivity that comes along with it? Of course not. Yet many employers fail to regularly update their most valued assets, their employees.

Money and time invested in improving your employees’ skills is not wasted. Not only will they be on top of their assignments but they will also be willing to tackle additional challenges. A fruit tree will never reach its potential bounty if it is never pruned, trained, and fertilized. The same is true of your employees.


Anna McCarthy is an HR specialist who writes primarily on topics ranging from business relationships to employee satisfaction for Able Trophies, a supplier of glass awards and acrylic awards.  She spends her free time going on weekend hikes and writing short stories.