With the qualified talent pool shrinking across the globe, the pressure on businesses to retain talent grows. In hopes of retention, companies across most industries are accommodating for generation X and Y’s desires by building a flexible, fun, informal environment that includes summer Fridays, remote work days, casual attire, and more. Start-ups are going to great lengths to mimic the Google and Facebook environments that attract and retain talent across the globe. I benefit from, and am a proponent of these environments. Some companies, however, particularly start-ups, must be mindful of, and guard against allowing informality to result in a lack of accountability, misalignment, and ambiguity. Now more than ever, it is critical to keep talent aligned with a clear company mission and hold them accountable. The flexible, fun, informal environment can only keep talent interested for so long. There must be something deeper for talent to identify with.
Talent must first identify with a company’s mission and core values. It is critical that veterans of the organization all understand, communicate, and embody the same message. Remember, Millennials look for guidance from those above them and as we know, businesses are constantly evolving to remain competitive. It is imperative that managers and executives keep these messages consistent. We cannot expect talent to feel secure and have the desire to commit to an environment that has a mission that continually changes, or a list of core values that is adhered to only when convenient.
Secondly, there must be a “fit to role.” When talking about a fit to role, most people will identify with qualified talent fitting the role; however, the fit to role actually starts with the role being appropriate for the department, division and company. Does the role benefit the company, and can it be successful within the current confines of the environment? With the ever-changing business environment, talent acquisition should ensure that an assessment of true business needs occurs or has occurred with each and every job requisition. It would be extremely challenging, if not impossible, for someone to remain engaged in a role that doesn’t make sense for the organization and is not aligned with its mission.
After identifying the appropriate role for the company, the appropriate candidate should be determined for the role. Many companies focus on the technical skills of the candidate and hope for a plug and play that will ensure the business doesn’t miss a beat. However, hiring managers cannot omit the importance of assuring alignment and engagement with the role by determining what the potential hire enjoys, doesn’t enjoy, and what drives her to achieve. This can be accomplished through conducting a personal assessment (such as the Harrison Assessment), as well as through technical assessments that assess her technical skill sets for the role.
Hiring the candidate is just the beginning of ensuring engagement and alignment exists throughout the talent’s tenure. There must be a clear relationship among the talent’s job description, career path and development. As soon as talent does not have clarity and understanding around their job descriptions and career paths, one can expect highly desired talent will begin their search for the next step in their career elsewhere. Generation X and Y have had information at their fingertips that allows them to learn; however, simply learning is not enough. It must have a purpose. Aligning short-term, tangible goals to reach the mission at hand will help ensure long-term engagement. Managers should anticipate the need for feedback and the desire to know how this newly acquired knowledge helps talent get from here to there in a career path.
In this fast-paced, ever-changing world, it is more important than ever to keep your talent aligned with your business and working for a greater purpose. Increased retention rates will be accomplished by creating an aligned environment that is buttressed by accountability across the organization. In addition to the fun, flexible environment that is permeating business places across the globe, leadership must establish and maintain a clear path and hold the talent accountable for accomplishing the plan. After all, how can they be recognized for their accomplishments if their objectives aren’t being established and tracked?
Photo credit iStockphoto
About the author: Amanda Papini, Recruiting Director at Response Mine Interactive started her career in recruiting at Medical Staffing Network in 2005, and moved over to a corporate recruiting role at BKV and Response Mine Interactive in 2007, where she built an internal recruiting practice for both companies. Amanda has since staffed over 250 full-time employees within both companies; an average of 50 hires per year. After assisting with RMI and BKV’s growth over the last 5 years, Amanda decided to move over to focus solely on RMI’s talent acquisition and take on a role more dedicated to employee development.
Remember when the exclamation “I’m engaged!” was almost always immediately followed by the question “when’s the wedding?” In today’s business environment, engagement takes on a whole new meaning, referring instead to how engaged, dedicated, and loyal employees are to their organization.
According to one recent article published in Human Resource Executive Online, HR leaders are increasingly preoccupied with engaging their workers. After all, engaged team members are more likely to exert discretionary effort, have lower absenteeism, and are more loyal to the organization. Engaging employees is in every organization’s best interest.
While it is evident that engaging workers is important, recognizing how to do so is a little trickier. Although many organizations realize the importance, only 29 percent of the population is actively engaged. Studies have shown numerous variables go into employee engagement and, based on Avatar HR Solution's Key Driver Analysis of over 3.3 million responses, include the following key engagement drivers,
- Organizational Culture – work/life balance, diversity, etc.
- Career Development
- Management’s Leadership Abilities and Relationship with Employees
- Strategy and Mission
- Job Content
- Open Communication
- Coworker Cooperation/Satisfaction
- Availability of Resources to Perform the Job Effectively
While these factors all play a role in engagement for most individuals, it is crucial to consider the fact that everyone is unique. Women, for example, may be driven more by different factors than men. Many past posts on this blog have discussed women’s desire to “have it all,” indicating the importance of work/life balance. Women may be more engaged and dedicated in a job where they have the flexibility to balance both their personal and professional lives. Additionally, research has shown that women tend
to focus more on building close personal relationships with other individuals. Men, on the other hand, dedicate more time to practicalities. This dichotomy could reveal that women are more likely to be engaged when they have closer personal bonds with coworkers/managers.
Thus, it is important for HR leaders to avoid the “one size fits all” approach to engaging employees. Every employee is different, and there is no key formula for engaging all of your workers. One of the most effective ways to truly understand what engages each individual is to ask. People appreciate the opportunity to provide input about their job, and it’s a straightforward way of establishing an engagement plan for your team members. Additionally, it allows you to further develop your relationship with your staff.
Questions such as “what about your job makes you enjoy coming to work in the morning” and “do you feel your skills are being utilized effectively” can help shed light on the drivers of engagement for employees. You’ll be surprised at what you find out. Remember, however, that the key is not in simply asking the questions, but actually putting what you learn into action. Your employees will appreciate the individual attention you are giving them, and their engagement will be a great reward for your efforts.
Engagement in the workplace may not be the same as a personal engagement between two people, but the key is that both are relationships, and relationships take work. Dedicating effort to understanding what engages your workers will allow you to create the most effective action plans to improve engagement. Don’t wait to engage your employees. Make the effort now.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
About the author: Melissa Herrett is Associate Marketing Project Manager for Avatar HR Solutions. In this role, she strategically works to position Avatar HR Solutions as a leader in the quality improvement services industry and contributes posts to their blog. You can connect with Melissa on Twitter at @EngageEmployees.
Women of HR were asked, “If you were CEO for a day, what would (or did) you focus on to improve an organization's productivity, employee engagement or ability to recruit?” This is the second post in the series of responses.
If I had the opportunity to be the CEO for a day, I'd tell the entire organization to forget everything they know, have experienced or have been told about Human Resources. We’re going to focus on one thing — making work better! Making the employment experience what it's supposed to be: mutually beneficial.
We spend more time at work than we do anywhere else. I have to believe that all organizations aspire to have people who want to come to work and to have their leadership embrace the effort it takes to make that happen. Yes, it's a huge undertaking that would be time consuming, frustrating and require baby steps that focus on a consistent message which is simply, to make work better. I believe it's possible and after all, this is my story!
So what does it mean to make work better?
It means we'd start by focusing on relationships — starting with one of the most important ones: managers and their teams. Managers who are not effective communicators or who may be uncomfortable confronting tough issues or being transparent will learn how to communicate effectively and productively. Since building good relationships obviously requires multiple people to work well together, employees will also learn how to be comfortable handling feedback and exchanging ideas with their managers and colleagues. All of this will be done face to face or via video chat. How many times have you heard someone say, “I didn't like the tone of that email.” How many times have you had to run interference between a manager and a team member because of a preventable miscommunication that spiraled out of control?
We're going to eliminate the annual performance review process completely!
Don't worry, we'll have ways to manage performance. We'll focus on goals and we'll start Feedback Sessions that will be more frequent, yet brief. Managers and teams will compare notes on the status of their goals, brainstorm about tools that address their individual growth areas, set new goals and provide a clear understanding of how the team's success fits into the progress of the company. Yes, we need to know what needs to be said for effective feedback but it's even more important to know “how” things need to be said.
We're going to step up to the pla
te and hit a line drive with the empathy bat!
te and hit a line drive with the empathy bat!
Employees and managers will do deep dives into understanding each others jobs. Employees will recognize what it takes for their managers to be successful and vice versa. Doesn't it make a difference to work on a project when you know why the project is important and what the direct relevance that your success has on the goals of the company? It makes the difference between wanting to come to work and not wanting to come to work.
We're going to gut the employee manual and focus on simplicity and common sense!
We'll keep the legal stuff in there but we're going to remove some of the dumbest employment policies I've ever seen — the ones that border on being inhuman — like telling people how many bereavement days they get based on how the company defines particular family members. I'll never forget — I once worked with a young man whose parents were killed when he was a baby and he was raised by his aunt. But because his aunt was not defined as an “immediate family member” in the handbook, this man had to take most of his vacation time so he could grieve and make the necessary burial arrangements. You get the point. I digress.
Last but definitely not least. Everyone will leave their egos at the door.
Yes, everyone. Teams can't be built and folks can't collaborate when someone is always vying for the spotlight. Those who can't handle that can make a graceful exit. I've always said that people don't leave bad companies, they leave bad managers. And you can take that to the bank. Do you think someone who is unhappy at work is going to be helpful and friendly with coworkers and customers? That would be a resounding “no.”
When we improve our internal relationships, teach folks how to foster those relationships, treat people like adults and work in ways that are progressive and unconventional (think anti-Corporate America) everything else will fall into place — like client satisfaction and profitability. Wow, what a concept.
Happy to hear your thoughts.
Photo credit: UnconventionalHR
About the author: Kimberly Roden is an HR pro turned consultant and the founder of Unconventional HR. She has 25 years of progressive experience as a strategic HR and business leader. Her hands-on and innovative approach allows her to create and deliver HR solutions to meet business challenges and needs by managing human capital, talent acquisition and technology.
As HR professionals we often hear managers discuss their desire to develop their leadership skills, and take on more senior roles within the organization.
Yet many people managers fail to see or understand their responsibility in one of the most critical leadership areas – communicating the organization’s vision to employees. Or, conveying how the work of the team supports the strategic objectives of the organization. They get lost in the tactical execution versus seeing themselves as coaches mentoring their team to success.
So how can these managers expect to be the future leaders of your organization if they don’t recognize the importance of engaging and motivating employees to high performance – performance that helps the organization reach its goals?
While there are a number of skills an effective leader must possess, there are certain foundational skills that are absolute. For a manager to develop into a leader it requires a shift in his or her mindset and behavior, where activities such as motivating and engaging employees become innate. Almost like breathing.
These are the behaviors effective leaders don’t have to think about because they know these activities deliver results:
- Giving effective feedback on an ongoing basis, all year round not just at performance review time
- Aligning and managing employee goals
- Focusing on employee development to help build organizational bench strength
- Recognizing individual motivators to leverage stronger relationships with people
This transition to innate effective leadership behaviors doesn’t happen overnight. And it requires support from HR leaders in helping managers to stop focusing on the functional, and instead focus on helping your organization achieve its vision.
Here are four ways HR can support people managers develop these core skills and understand their role in motivating and engaging their teams.
Teach managers how to give regular, ongoing feedback
Ensuring managers are giving employees feedback on their performance all year round not only encourages high performance, it also increases employee engagement and retention. To be effective, feedback should ongoing, specific, timely, honest and helpful. Managers should be scheduling frequent formal and informal meetings with employees to discuss performance, check in on goals and development plans, provide coaching, etc.
If you have managers who don’t work closely enough with their employees to be able to provide this kind of regular, ongoing feedback, solicit 360 degree feedback from those who do (such as customer, peers, partners).
If your organization leverages a performance management framework, then your managers should be educated on on how to properly conduct performance reviews. Make sure they understand how to use rating scales, and the various levels of mastery to provide real differentiation in ratings and identify areas for development.
Give managers and employees annual training on how to write effective goals
Managers need to be clear about goals and expectations in support of the overriding organizational objectives. With this kind of goal alignment everyone knows exactly how they are contributing to the strategic corporate goals, and are engaged and accountable for the organization’s success.
If you want to help managers do a better job of writing and managing goals, give them the tools and resources to do so. Employees should have access to these tools and resources as well since they should participate in writing their own goals. Train them on how to write SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) and, provide examples.
Also important: managers should regularly communicate to employees the progress and status for high level organizational goals. Effective goal management ensures employees know what is expected of them and helps them find meaning and value in the work they do.
Get managers to focus on employee development
By investing in your employees’ development you communicate to them that they are valued by the organization. So tell your managers that if they want a motivated and productive team, they need to keep the team learning. Are your managers aware of the programs your organization has in place to support employee development and career progression? You may be surprised by how many managers don’t know, and therefore don’t use the tools, resources and programs at their disposal for development.
Also teach your managers the difference between training and development. Development can take many forms: mentoring, job shadowing, volunteer work, lunch and learn sessions, reading books/journals/blogs, coaching, cross-functional team assignments, etc.
Support managers in making better compensation decisions
To effectively manage compensation and rewards so they motivate high performance, managers need training on how pay affects motivation and engagement and how to use data to make informed compensation decisions. They also need to know other ways to reward high-performance all year round, and how to communicate compensation philosophy and practices of your organization.
Employees need to feel that their company rewards performance fairly and equitably so make the process consistent and transparent. That said, sometimes the recognition an employee is looking for is simply a ‘thank you’ or ‘job well done’. Verbal praise is after all, a strong motivator.
Effective employee coaching is a cornerstone of high performance
Managers need to understand they are the stewards of your organization’s talent management strategy, which doesn’t equate to a once-a-year activity, dreaded and rushed through as quickly as possible.
To help your managers develop the skills foundational to effective leadership:
- Provide access to leadership training to develop your managers’ coaching skills.
- Provide your managers with the prerequisite tools, systems, policies, and best practices for managing feedback, evaluating employee performance, identifying potential skill, competency, and behavioral gaps that can be addressed through development planning.
- Give your managers resources on the link between employee engagement and improved performance.You might be interested in the Employee Engagement Center of Excellence our team just put together on this topic.
Photo credit: Halogen Software
About the author: Dominique Jones is VP of Human Resources at Halogen Software and has over 15 years experience in the talent management industry both in Europe and North America. Dominique holds an M.A. Honours degree from St. Andrews University in Scotland, as well as the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD) certification from the United Kingdom. Through her writing, Dominique offers practical insights that help human resources professionals positively impact business performance.
Recently I attended the Ohio HR Conference, HR Rocks!! As part of the planning committee, it was a great experience for many reasons.
One reason it was so great was that we told attendees they could wear jeans. Amazing how something so simple could set the tone for the week. Our committee wore tie-dye all week with our jeans and invited people to relax in our lounge filled with lava lamps, candles and incense – at an HR Conference!
One experience last week has stuck with me the most . . .
During lunch on Thursday, our 770+ attendees and our 160+ resource partners all gathered to savor the incredible Fajita Bar. Plates were loaded beyond capacity and hands were full as people approached a separate beverage station to grab a glass of water, lemonade or ice tea. The Kalahari staff were so amazing the whole week – especially here. But, even as much as they tried, the line continued to grow and grow and grow.
Before the week started, I told my Committee that I wanted to set a new expectation for us and the Conference attendees. I wanted us to serve them in ways they hadn’t experienced at a conference before. To make sure I didn’t fall into the classic HR trap of – just tell people what you expect and they’ll do it – I made sure to model this behavior.
So, I jumped in the front of the beverage line and started greeting everyone as they came up and handed them a glass full of ice. Then, the phenomenal team of Joan, Sonja and Keysha poured everyone’s liquid of choice and made sure to get more glasses to keep up with the demand. After stepping in, you started to hear laughing, see big smiles and positive comments from everyone instead of typical frustration with having to wait on service.
People said, “Wow, service with a smile!” I couldn’t resist but responding with, “Better than service with a scowl, huh?” It was the most rewarding 1/2 hours of the entire conference. We were able to serve our guests so that they could enjoy their lunch. Also, the staff from Kalahari saw that their work added immense value by meeting a simple need for others.
It’s time for HR to shift to a new approach. Instead of trying to mandate policies, force conformity and compliance at all costs, or be the function that polices vs. leads – we need to MODEL THE BEHAVIOR WE EXPECT FROM OTHERS.
We can’t keep expecting change to magically happen because we’ve come up with the next great “best practice.” Model behavior. It’s that simple.
To prove that point, Sonja, Joan, Keysha and I became tight. The rest of the week, I sought them out and they did likewise. I heard they even talked about the tall guy in the tie-dye shirt who jumped into help without asking if it was okay. They were some of the final hugs at the end of the week and I’m sure they will continue to be amazing.
Where can you change and model what you’d like to see? Try something this week and you’ll be astonished at the results!
The photo on page 25 shows your marketing department playing ping-pong in the cafeteria. The caption next to your director’s shirt reads, “No tie required, but ironing is encouraged.” Another picture includes your shipping department filling out their March Madness brackets and the description reads, “Playing for fun only, no money changes hands. Aren’t they a well- groomed looking crew?” The receptionist’s picture has an arrow pointing to her legs with this tag: “Nylon hose is optional. We left that back in the 1970s and we welcome your comfort.”
These pictures are not pinned up in the storage room behind the 5-gallon water bottles or in the lunchroom where they’re sure to be bleached by the sun’s rays. Rather, they are strategically and playfully illustrating the company’s culture and policies in a book created BY the employees to get buy-in FROM the employees.
Is this book a small toy company’s employee manual? No, being creative and engaging when it comes to company culture and policies is not confined to small, edgy design firms. Any company, from Fortune 500 manufacturing and leading technology giants to your local start-up can benefit from tossing their stale, facts-only, what-not-to-do handbooks in favor of something human and real. This method allows you to create a culture handbook with greater transparency and buy-in.
When you have a culture handbook that is filled with photos of the employees sharing comments about a positive, productive work environment and what that really means to them, you are establishing and sustaining your company culture. It’s a fun (and sometimes funny) way to engage people in culture creation.
It’s not Human Resource’s job to craft a company’s culture, it is a privilege given to each department. Assign them the responsibility for a 3-4 page spread. They should take photos of their team members, write out what they do, and how they contribute value to the hum of the company. Of course, each department’s contribution must pass the “corporate” legal experts, but it will do so in a way that supports commitment over compliance.
You can even address your company mission (and pet-peeves) in a playful way. For example, let’s say one of your missions is that you want the company, as a whole, to be helpful – to each other, your clients and your vendors. That’s a great mission, but what does it mean?
What things are you doing, saying and projecting that are measurably helpful? Is it helpful to leave a half-dozen dirty coffee mugs in the sink right next to the working dishwasher, expecting someone else to load it (does your mom work here)? What does it do to the company culture when no one takes responsibility for the overflowing trashcan? Is that behavior congruent with your “helpful” company mission?
What if you had a photo of the used “K-cup” in the coffee maker and crafted a pithy caption that illustrated how important it was to take responsibility and be helpful? It would be far more effective and better received than pointing fingers and putting up obnoxious signs on the kitchen wall. The fact that the mugs, the trash, and the K-cup made it into the handbook at all sends a strong message.
When the culture handbook is published, not only does each team want to see their own pictures, they want to look through everyone else’s photos and read policies in the form of fun captions in the language of your company. Your culture handbook will still comply with Federal and State regulations, but it is now an engaging document that people will want to read and even want to embrace.
Photo credit iStockphoto
Recently, I was teaching a 2 day Certified Public Manager session for a group of association members. The session was called Human Resources: Productivity & Quality.
During one of our discussions regarding compliance related issues we covered the process of an HR Audit which included, as one of many tasks, a review of posters that need to be posted at work sites. One participant mentioned a poster that drew quite a stir when it first came out, which I personally was not aware of, pictured here. I asked her to send it to me and we later got into a discussion that this situation reminded me of during my early working years before my HR career.
At 23 years old, just after graduating from ISU with my undergrad in public relations, I obtained my first marketing director position officially after having been doing the job during my internship when two of our marketing directors moved on (all during one semester). Of course at that age, I was all gung-ho about moving up the ladder in the mall management business. So I worked very hard for another two years and was pleasantly surprised with the prospect of promotion. My personal life was really going well because my boyfriend of 5 years (now my husband of 21 years) had just proposed and I accepted.
Unfortunately, my joy took an unexpected turn for the worse when I went to work to share the news with the office.
Much to my surprise my boss (a female mall manager) suggested that I do not share the news with anyone else in the office and especially not her boss, the regional mall manager. Still a bit naive of the ways of work for women, I asked why. She proceeded to tell me that she thought it would hurt my chances of a promotion within the industry because Marketing Directors were expected to travel around the country moving from small to larger malls. The idea of a female Marketing Director being married and possibly planning a family would not go well.
I basically had to hide my engagement (and put the ring in a drawer when I went to work) for 6 months. When I was offered a promotion to a mall position two levels above where I would normally have expected to be, and would have normally accepted, I turned it down because that was not the company I wished to work for any longer.
I had no idea I was being discriminated against (at least not from the same lens I look at the situation now). The bottom line is harassment and discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes. Be aware and try not to get discouraged. Engagement is a time to celebrate!
I like to listen to motivational CDs on my way home from work. Joel Osteen is a personal favorite. I have spent many hours in my car listening to Pastor Joel and loving every minute.
Last week, I happened to be listening to the radio when a song from my past was being played. Alpha Blondy’s song, Sweet Sweet Fanta Diallo, brought back poignant memories of my childhood. The lyrics of the song had always puzzled me because it seemed that the end of the story was left hanging and I was always left wondering what became of the characters.
Listening to the song again, I had that same feeling of puzzlement. Only this time, the questions were different.
For those who are yet to hear the song, it’s a haunting melody about the sad demise of a romantic relationship and the price to be paid for love gone sour. As melancholy as it may sound, it is a beautiful song.
In the song, the author describes Fanta in glowing terms and we get a picture of a vibrant young woman who exudes confidence and youthful exuberance, and just like the author, we like what we see. Regrettably this phase is short lived. As the song progresses, Fanta meets dire straits and disappears out of sight.
Hearing the song again made me think of the “Fanta’s” I have met in the course of my career.
Can you think of any Fanta figure in your work place? He would be the employee that hit the ground running but got stuck somewhere along the way. She could be the member of staff who was once vibrant but now is disillusioned and as a result performs way below her maximum potential.
What drives great employees up the wall? It could be a zillion and one things but usually it’s unfulfilled expectations and broken promises which were made implicitly or otherwise.
As the song progresses, the author discovers Fanta wasted and worn out at the “psychiatric hospital.” He admits his culpability and belts out a repetitive soliloquy, “Now I know I did you wrong.” After the belated admission of guilt, I cannot help but wonder if the author tried to make amends. Did he attempt to work through the recovery process with her, or did he just engage his audience in a repetitive monologue to assuage his guilty conscience?
The questions that plague me from the song are very relevant in today’s work environment:
- What could the author have done to drive Fanta crazy? What do organizations do, or fail to do, that could cause their high performing employees to disengage?
- Was author willing to be part of the healing process or did Fanta’s condition mean the end of their relationship? Can a disillusioned employee be persuaded to trust the system again?
- Could Fanta be redeemed? Can a stunted career be revamped and can lost credibility be restored?
I am interested in hearing your thoughts.
There will always be friction and casualties in the employment relationship. How we deal with them determines the whether the outcome is positive or negative. Are your HR policies and practices counterproductive? Do they push otherwise top performers to the wall and send them on a downward spiral to career asylum? I hope not.
This one’s for my Dad who passed on three years ago.
About the author: Tamkara Adun works for Schlumberger Nigeria.
Photo credit Wikipedia
I’m a baby in the work force. I know this and I’ve accepted it. However, there is something that continues to bug me:
Just because I’ve only been working a “real” job since 2006 doesn’t mean I don’t have value to add to the conversation.
I can only justify this kind of behavior with one thought: FEAR.
Yes, I am awesome, intelligent and bring great ideas to the table. It is what it is - I am a fire cracker. And guess what organizations? You stifle the folks coming into your organizations with ideas on how to make things better and bring you to the next level and THEY WILL LEAVE.
Just because the economy isn’t what it once was, it does not mean that there aren’t jobs out there for people who want to leave. I watch it happen all the time. Your associates want to feel like they bring value to the organization. Their engagement is important as I have ranted about before.
Organizations do not grow by doing things the same.
Change is inevitable.
Accept it or not, it is going to happen anyway.
I remember sitting in a meeting around the culture and inclusion work I do in my current role and an executive said very matter-of-factly, “Those who do not embrace the change happening will not fit in the organization five years from now.” And to that I say, “BAM.” And to all the folks who have been in their organizations for 20 plus years? We aren’t wiping you out, dudes. You’ve created the foundation we are working on to help make us better.
Quit making me feel like a stiflin’ fool or I’m going to kick you in the shins. I’m feisty, I’ll bring back-up. Fine, I really won’t kick anyone but I’m done playing nice.
Photo credit iStock Photo
Cindy is our Women of HR Featured Contributor this week. Click over to meet her and see what she has to say about herself, her career and her views on the workplace and its challenges today.
I spend a great deal of time hearing about employee engagement, what it means for companies, and what it means for employees.
I think about the tiny career I’ve had so far (yeah, I’m only three years into my career), how my level of engagement has fluctuated, and my top three reasons behind it:
- Sometimes it’s personal. Maybe it’s a family problem, or…a boy. Yeah, I’m that girl. I wear my heart on my sleeve so personal problems are sometimes hard to leave at the door and sometimes unfortunately have an adverse impact.
- Sometimes it’s being beat down in a meeting or feeling small. Here’s the deal – disagree with the idea and not the person. So often I see people disagree with someone’s idea simply because it is an idea from person X. Get your head out of your hiney and listen to what the person is actually saying. And beyond that, disagree from here to heaven all you want, but you better have a great alternative to offer. BUILD on someone’s idea and find the good in it so that a person feels like they have made a contribution.
- Sometimes it’s team dynamics. Every work team is going to have a different dynamic. Dynamic is not to be taken positively or negatively, but some dynamics can have a negative impact on a person. Do you say hello to everyone on your work team at some point during the day? I’m not kidding when I say that simply saying, “Hello, how was your weekend?” can make a huge different in a person’s willingness to work with a higher level of engagement. If someone feels like they matter to their teammates, they are going to want to put more in to have a greater output for the whole team.
I’m keeping it at my top three. There are other reasons that a person’s engagement will be there – or not: do they feel that their opinion matters, do they have the tools to do their job, are they being challenged and finally, is there room for advancement? These are obviously only tips of the iceberg as there are so many reasons why a person is going to be engaged.
There is something I’ve learned for myself as it relates to engagement of others. I ask myself two questions, “what can I do better and how can I ensure that I can control what I can control?”
I actually have a small list for myself that I will share with you:
- I will say hello to those on my work team and others who work in my area.
- I will ensure to ask the opinion of everyone in meetings. Introverts won’t speak their opinion all the time.
- I will think about the language I use. It’s important, especially in HR, to be aware of the words that are coming out of my mouth.
- I will be willing to challenge opinions and ideas and not people and to challenge in a way that is appropriate.
Engagement is a topic I am actually quite passionate about. Engagement drives higher-producing teams which then means our organizations will also reap the benefits.
So that’s how I feel about engagement. How do you feel?