1- Employee engagement has become a buzzword with no meaning in some workplace. What some managers really mean, is that they are engaged in theoretical discussions employees. They seem to think that if they loudly declare that their whole workforce is engaged, even if few people are, they will be considered a great place to work.
Research has proven, what many of us have known for years; engaged employees are more productive, but it is still all too common for an organizations to have no idea what that means in terms of organizational and employee behavior.
2- Too many consultants promise to create employee engagement, when they mean they’ll conduct management training in active listening, and changing lexicon. Ask an employee if they’ve increased their participation, or feel more appreciated, or what they think about the “new” efforts to “engage” them, and they’ll look at you as if you are speaking Martian.
3- Organizations measure employee engagement through an in-house survey, asking employees if they’re happy. If I worked in one of those organizations, no matter how much confidentiality management, or HR promised me, there is no way that I would be comfortable being completely honest.
4- The term “employee engagement” has become like the term “diversity” in many organizations, someone gets hired as manager of diversity, or employee engagement, but they’re not given any authority, or a budget to do anything, except attend a conference and hear speakers.
5- Organizations still resist developing a new kind of culture where employees are given opportunities to use talents, and genius that no one knew they had. You can’t “engage” employees unless you ask employees for their ideas. What a concept!
Instead of talking about employee engagement, let’s talk about discovering, utilizing, and leveraging employee genius at every level. Let’s talk about creating a sense of community in organizations, where every day employees, can be integral members of that community, and develop their own passion to help the “workplace community,” be successful.
Instead of employee engagement, let’s use the term ETO, Employee Talent Optimization.
Is Your Workplace Culture More Inclusive
When employees feel appreciated and included in their organization’s success strategy, they are more productive, which makes the organization more profitable.
Despite what some executives think, just hiring someone to do a bunch of training days, or serving free pizza without a strategy, doesn’t establish an inclusive culture that fosters innovation and superior work.
I’ve found in my work as an organizational development consultant for over twenty years, that all too often when senior executives call me to help them with diversity and inclusion, they have a limited vision of the end result and can’t articulate what that means in terms of organizational behavior.
You’ll know you’ve developed an inclusive workplace when:
o all employees are appreciated for their strengths, skills and experience and are empowered to add value to the organization.
o there are processes and procedures for employee feedback and ideas. They are not accused of whining if they see a problem and are encouraged to offer solutions.
o there is a sense of community at all levels, while employees are at work.
o people at all levels are taught to listen to each other, and resolve conflicts.
o front line employees know how their work impacts the rest of the organization and are presented with a holistic vision, so they don’t feel they are doing a job in isolation of the organization’s mission.
o there is a communication process whereby employees have access to information about the rest of the organization, particularly regarding positions that need to be filled, opportunities for promotion, and getting involved in new projects.
o leaders have been able to set their egos aside, let go of defensiveness, and be open to new ideas and ways of working without feeling threatened by an employee’s genius.
o people are given credit for their contributions and usurping another employees ideas are not tolerated.
o people are taught to be aware of unconscious biases that interfere with other people’s ability to do their best work, and have a sense of belonging to the organization.
o diversity is recognized, and valued, and there is a relationship between leveraging diversity and employee compensation.
o employees are comfortable giving and getting feedback. People are not forced to walk on eggshells, and dialogue across any difference is encouraged. If someone makes an inappropriate or insensitive comment without meaning to offend, they are educated, and shown better ways of expressing themselves. But, bullying, and making inappropriate statements or behavior and refusal to change are not tolerated.
o employees feel that they can approach managers and senior leaders with questions or ideas.
o employees provide distinctive service to customers, and employees receive distinctive care and appreciation from management who receive the same from executive leadership.
o even people who don’t like what their job entails feel good about their place of work and have a sense of community. There are opportunities to learn new skills and apply for other jobs within the organization.
o everyone feels like they are part of an exclusive club and do all they can to make customers feel the same way.
Next month I’ll discuss the third “I,” implementation.
Executive Stress Management Tip #1
Feeling stressed about another person’s actions? What should you do? Here’s one solution.
Identify the specific behavior that is irritating you and how it is impacting you. Most people have the tendency to not look at a whole person, but judge them based on one part, statement or action. If this behavior has no tangible impact on you other than the fact that you don’t like it, you have three options:
1- Limit your contact with that person. and minimize the space that person and that behavior take up in your brain. Don’t let that person “live in your head rent free.”
2- Think of something you like and appreciate about that individual. Remind yourself of the value that person brings.
3- Talk to the person about the behavior and how it impacts you. Ask them to stop, they may not be aware of it. If they’re happy with that particular behavior, then you either learn to let go of your irritation or limit your interaction.
If it is illegal, harmful, or interferes with productivity, then be very clear and let them know that. If they’re in your organization, and refuse to change, you may have to let them go.
New Service Offerings at Simma Lieberman Associates
New program for your next conference meeting, or symposium
“The Dynamic Workplace, Where Employees Love to Go and Customers Love to Buy”
Contact Simma to speak at your next conference, meeting or event. Your people will leave energized, and ready to take steps to create a more dynamic workplace where employees love to go and customers love to buy.
Download our forty-five minute teleseminar on “How to Create a Workplace Where People Love to Do Their Best Work and Customers Love to Buy.”
Simma shares actions you can take for little, or no financial investment that will make a big difference in creating the dynamic workplace.
On Demand Remote Coaching and Consulting
As a result of requests from our clients and readers, we have developed three separate programs for On Demand Remote Coaching and Consulting in order to serve the needs of executive leaders, high potential employees or students and academicians.
Call us at 510-527-0700 or email Simma@SimmaLieberman.com for more information and to schedule a complimentary fifteen minute session.
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The Lieberman Learning Letter
The Lieberman Learning Letter is an occasional e-newsletter containing information from Simma’s workshops, seminars, and keynote speeches. Simma shares this information free of charge with colleagues and clients to promote the continued learning and growth of individuals and their organizations. This email is sent to subscribers of Simma’s newsletter, colleagues, program attendees, and clients of Simma Lieberman Associates. It is intended to be enlightening, not irritating.