Management Success Tip #100: Boost Employee Engagement With A Simple Word of Thanks

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The human need for recognition and acknowledgment doesn’t stop when we walk out of our homes and head for work. On the contrary, the need for recognition in the workplace is so significant that it determines, more than just about anything else, whether or not we care about our 9-to-5.

Steve Roesler, Principal & Founder of the Steve Roesler Group, committed to excellence in the workplace, writes:

“Research by UK performance improvement consultants Maritz has found that almost one in five of us (19 per cent) have never been thanked for our efforts at work while more than a third only hear those two little words once or twice a year.

“Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, that’s about the same proportion as another recent survey found have no loyalty towards the organization they work for and couldn’t care less about their job.

“Yet at the other end of the spectrum, around a third of us do receive regular recognition and are thanked several times a week, something that (as more than eight out of 10 of those surveyed acknowledged) has a positive impact on their desire to remain with their employer.”

He or she who isn’t cared about, whose manager/employer can’t be bothered to give the occasional nod of approval, “good job” or other mark of recognition, doesn’t do good work. Whereas an appreciated employee not only stays with his or her employer, that employee is engaged, and more often than not, does good work. It’s as simple as that.

One plus one equals two. Do the math.

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Management Success Tip #99: Engage Your Employees by Discovering Their Best Talents: Be Direct, Ask

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The Gallup Organization’s findings that 70% of employees are not engaged at work and the longer an employee stays with an organization the less engaged they become, is unhappy news for managers as well as employees, for the less engaged an employee is, the less their productivity and level of performance.

One of the key ways in which we engage, is by feeling productive–needed, worthwhile, contributing something of value. And sometimes, workers disengage simply because their job, their day-to-day, doesn’t allow them to offer what they feel they do best.

Claude Morelli, retired Superintendent/CEO of the Burnaby School District in British Columbia, currently an International Academic Advisor, suggests that management:

“Find out what your employees do best by considering–what they do best? How do they use their talents and strengths to do their best work? How can you as their leader place them in situations where they can do their best work?”

The easiest, most straightforward way to find out what your employees do best is to ask them. Ask what your workers feel are their strongest talents, how they feel these talents could be best used. Ask!

Employees feel valued when asked their opinion, especially when you then take action based on those opinions.

And a valued employee is an engaged employee.

Management Success Tip #98: Deal Effectively with Meeting-Derailing Employees: Set Boundaries

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Meetings are either a blessing or a curse: a blessing when they are short, to the point, and actually get business handled. A curse when they are long, rambling, and cause more problems than they do solutions.

Laura Vanderkam, in a recent CBS MoneyWatch blog, noted two of the more troublesome types of meeting-derailers that make it difficult for you to get anything productive done, and only contribute to your on-point, on-target employees’ frustration:

“The non sequitur. This person needs to be heard and either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care that the ground rules of a discussion require at least some relation between discussion points. Interrupt swiftly with “That’s an interesting point. Let’s table that and move back to our current agenda item.” Don’t have a timed meeting agenda? Then you’re inviting this behavior.

“The constant questioner. This person assumes that asking questions about everything the speaker says makes her sound smart and attentive, not realizing (or caring) how distracting it is. Unless the person is your boss, deflect with “We’ll be getting to that, and I promise I’ll make time in 5 minutes for questions.” This person usually turns out not to have any real questions once he or she realizes it won’t be possible to turn the meeting into a Socratic dialogue.”

Set your meeting agendas with firm boundaries, email them to all concerned ahead of time, and stick to your meeting-guns!

Your best employees will thank you.

Management Success Tip #97: Want Engaged Productive Employees? You Gotta Have Heart!

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Good management isn’t for wusses. You won’t have happy, engaged, productive employees unless you have the emotional courage to lead them with heart as well as head.

No, that doesn’t mean to become a sentimental, sender of cute-animal-emails. What it means, according to Peter Bregman, is, among other things, “To be vulnerable and open to challenge and criticism… to be willing to consider anything. This requires a tremendous amount of confidence. The kind of confidence that allows them [leaders] to be questioned by others — even take blame and feel threatened — without becoming defensive…

“To put the good of the company above their own department, team, or agenda. They must be good-hearted, mutually respectful, and gracious, resisting the urge to dominate, take the upper hand, or shine at the expense of others. Part of being generous with others also means taking an interest in, learning about, and offering opinions regarding the other team members’ functions.”

In other words, be as interested in your employees’ opinions and concerns, as you are about your own.

And that’s the heart of the matter.