Blog Posts

The 5 Employee Engagement Warning Signs

Employee Engagement Warning Signs

How confident are you that your employees are staying engaged? Here are five of the most common signs that employee engagement is waning: 1. Productivity suffers. Engaged employees are all about going the extra mile and putting in extra effort. Employees who are not engaged are all about doing the absolute minimum. How are you measuring employee productivity and its close parallel to employee engagement? 2. Higher absenteeism. Companies with less engagement have employees take more sick time. In fact, one study by HR Zone concluded that companies with the lowest level (bottom 10%) of engagement, experience 2.3 times ...

Working with Zombies: 3 Surefire Ways to Awaken the Working Dead

working dead

Several years ago, I got wrapped up in the TV Show AMC called “The Walking Dead.” For those of you who have not seen it, the show is about the world being taken over by zombies who savagely bite living people and transform them into fellow zombies. While doing keynote speeches at national and international conferences, I teach my audiences about the largest category of workers, which are people who are neither engaged or disengaged. Essentially, this inspired me to call these people “The Working Dead.” These employees: Are not likely to go the extra mile. Do not ...

The Top Three Reasons Employees Quit

reasons employees quit

You have seen it play out time and time again. Someone in the workplace says, “Hey, where is Mary today?” Someone else says, “Oh, she quit.” Or equally as common these days is when Mary just doesn’t show up for work one day. No notification, no resignation letter, and maybe no ID Badge turn in. The sad fact is that many of these resignations could be avoided by simply studying Exit Survey data and applying solutions to the top three reasons employees quit. While running my HR consulting firm from 1996-2012, we did a lot of research on ...

Saving a Life with a Blog

Meaningfulness and Purpose

Last week, I had a landmark letter show up in my mailbox. I regularly receive feedback, suggestions, and questions after my keynote presentations, or after people read my blog or newsletter. Never before had I received a letter like this one. I’ll paraphrase, but in short, it said:   Dear Mr. Sheridan: Your Mea Culpa: The Importance Of Learning From Failure blog came at a time when I needed it most. My last two suicide attempts could have easily ended my life. This time I was able to call a car service and get to the E.R. quickly. Again, ...

9 Lessons on Employee Engagement From Willy Wonka

Lessons on Employee Engagement From Willy Wonka

I was saddened to hear the news of Gene Wilder’s passing on August 29th, from complications of Alzheimer’s disease, a terrible illness that my Father has as well. Born on June 11, 1933, in Milwaukee as Jerome Silberman, Gene Wilder touched the hearts of millions as the character Willy Wonka, in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Although the film was not a commercial success, it later gained a cult following and an Oscar Nomination for Best Score. Wilder also earned a Golden Globe award nomination. In Wilder’s memory, I’d like to highlight nine best practice lessons on employee engagement ...

Employee Engagement in España

employee engagement in Spain

I recently gave a keynote address in Brussels, Belgium and took some time off to visit the Basque Country in Northeastern Spain. It was there that I got to hike many miles of the famed Camino de Santiago, also known as “The Way of St. James.” Tens of thousands of people have trekked this pilgrimage path as a retreat for spiritual growth and as a method to re-engage in their life purpose. The journey ends at the beautiful shrine to St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in western Spain. I used the journey to ...

Mea Culpa: The Importance of Learning from Failure

learning from failure

Walt Disney was fired from his first job as a reporter in Kansas City. The reason they told him: “You lack imagination.” Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a reporter in Philadelphia. The reason they gave her: “You tend to get too emotionally involved in your stories,” which of course is her signature. Steven Spielberg, one of the finest movie producers of all time, was rejected by the L.A. School of Cinematography, not once, but twice. All three of these people had the perseverance to overcome a situation when they failed, and they went on ...

Employee Engagement Saves Lives!

Employee Engagement Saves Lives

There are myriad positive outcomes that come with building a world-class culture of employee engagement, not the least of which are higher productivity, more ethical behavior, less turnover, and greater profitability. But I have a favorite outcome, which exists within the healthcare industry: better safety compliance. Sadly, each year hundreds of thousands of people are admitted to hospitals with moderate health conditions, only to leave later in a body bag. The culprit? The spread of infections in the hospital. The gravity of this situation first got my attention when I learned Americans are five times more likely to die of ...

Winners Never Quit and Quitters Never Win

perseverance over victimhood

This inspiring quote about perseverance comes from an inspiring man—Vince Lombardi, Head Coach of The Green Bay Packers. You and your team can take these words off the football field and into your conference room. While I was CEO of HR Solutions, I had the pleasure of consulting with hundreds of world-class organizations and seeing firsthand what contributed to their success. Those who scored in the top 10% on their employee engagement surveys were considered “Best-in-Class” and were always an inspiration to me. Interestingly, they shared one uncanny commonality: they chose perseverance over victimhood. Many of these organizations had faced ...

A Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day: How to work with a coworker who always has to be right

How to work with a coworker who always has to be right

Ever worked with a coworker who consistently needed to be right? Even when shown clear evidence to the contrary, some people cannot admit when they’re wrong. Simply put, working with that type of person is not fun. Unfortunately, a stubborn attitude can create conflict in the workplace and threaten coworker comradery. Instead of letting yourself get pulled into an argument, try these 4 surefire strategies to successfully work with these know-it-alls: 1. Let them win. Rather than expending energy and time trying to convince them otherwise, redirect that energy toward a workplace issue or coworker that is far more important ...

What is stuck in your workplace?

progress in the workplace

Ever notice how progress in the workplace sometimes moves at a glacial speed or seems totally stuck? If yours is like most workplaces in the world, you have not only noticed this, but found it frustrating. This blog promises to give you and your team a surefire way of getting things “unstuck” and back on track. It was one of the great managers at the last company I owned and sold (HR Solutions), Joe Collins, who prompted us to examine this by suggesting that we have regular “What’s stuck?” meetings. Brilliant. His suggestion got us right out of the ...

Benefits, Take the Wheel! Six Ways Your Benefits Can Drive Employee Engagement (and Retention)

employee benefits communication

Ever feel like your company is in a high-speed chase towards the elusive goal of employee engagement? Take a wrong turn and your competitors will beat you (and lure your top talent away). Go too slow and your employees will be bored, unhappy, and unproductive at work. So what’s a savvy benefits pro to do? Turns out, putting the pedal to the metal on your benefits communication strategy can help keep employees engaged and happy at work so they stick around longer. I recently presented another well-attended webinar for SHRM, sponsored by Jellyvision, called Benefits, Take the Wheel! Six Ways Your ...

The 7 Deadly Sins of Managers: What They Do to Make Good Employees Quit

Bad managers damage employee engagement

We have all witnessed it. Some really well-liked, productive employee suddenly tenders his or her resignation, or maybe just doesn’t show up for work one day. The workplace quickly becomes abuzz with rumors of why the person quit. If the rumors are accurate then the reason most often lies with the newly resigned employee’s manager. After all, there is a whole heck of a lot of truth to the old adage that “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers.” And here are the 7 Deadly Sins that managers commit to cause these resignations. Sadly, all of these can be ...

The Manager’s Employee Engagement Checklist

This checklist will prove useful to ensure that your managers are fully leveraging the key drivers of employee engagement. The suggestions are in order of importance and based upon a Key Driver Analysis conducted off of an employee engagement survey database. It is a best practice that managers should review this checklist every month. DOWNLOAD NOW ...

The Manager’s Employee Engagement Checklist

Gallup’s recent State of the American Workplace Study highlighted the single greatest thing you can do to increase employee engagement: hire the right managers. In fact, the study said that if you hire a manager who is disengaged, the workgroup they manage is three times more likely to be disengaged. So even if you hire the right, highly engaged managers, they still need to know, and do, the most effective things to bring their work group to higher, and hopefully best-in-class, levels of engagement. And even if they know these engagement management “to dos,” they often forget to implement them, ...

Mile High Employee Engagement

As an author, there is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone reading your book. The first time I witnessed this was on an airplane, when the woman sitting next to me pulled my book, Building a Magnetic Culture, out of her bag and started reading it. Needless to say, I smiled widely. I then asked her, “How do you like that book?” Thankfully she said, “I love it. It’s full of neat and new ideas that we are implementing at our company to build and foster employee engagement.” She then asked me if I had read it and ...

Three Myths About Employee Engagement

employee engagement myths

At many of the conferences where I am a keynote speaker, I have encountered several large myths and inaccuracies purported and communicated about Employee Engagement. It is sad to me that managers and executives may be taking errant action plan steps based upon these inaccuracies and mistruths. Hence, the purpose of this blog is to correct these myths and share the truth.   Myth #1: 70% of Workers are Disengaged. Not true. For some reason, over the last year numerous articles are citing that 70% of workers are disengaged, according to Gallup, which is wholly inaccurate. The origin of this ...

The Language of Employee Engagement – Part 2

There are myriad definitions of “employee engagement.” Invariably, most of my keynote presentations and workshops begin with an exploration of the “correct” definition. But the reality is that there isn’t a single correct definition. Engagement encompasses a lot of attributes and characteristics. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to reach out to all of my LinkedIn groups and ask for the most common one-word descriptions of employee engagement. Here are the results of the most frequently cited words, in alphabetical order: A-player Caring Committed Creative Curious Customer-centric Ethical Energetic Fun Giving Honest Innovative Inspiring Learner Long-term Loyal Mentor ...

8 Tips for Awesome Onboarding

onboarding

I was recently honored to conduct a SHRM webinar sponsored by Jellyvision called The 8 Tips for Awesome Onboarding. With 5,000 registrants, it was one of the most well attended webinars in SHRM history. I was also excited to learn that attendee feedback ranked high enough to place us in the top 5% of all webinars. Thanks to everyone who logged in to watch! If you missed it, you can watch the archive here. (If you don’t have a SHRM membership, you can sign up for free.) I thought I would share with you and your team some of ...

The Language of Employee Engagement

language of employee engagement

Stanford professor Bernard Roth says purging two phrases from your vocabulary can make you more successful in work and life. Roth, who is also the Academic Director for Stanford’s Hasso Plattner School of Design, recently released a new book called The Achievement Habit, in which he suggests that a couple of linguistic changes can help you achieve greater success. His suggestions and exercises are in direct parallel with the positive philosophies that are most effective when building employee engagement. Two of the easiest vocabulary changes are as follows: 1. Replace “but” with “and” You might say, “I want to go ...

What Employee Engagement Means to Recruiters & The Staffing Industry

Recruitment

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent with recruiters and staffing firms each year by companies trying to attract top talent to empty positions. The obvious hope on the companies’ part is that the recruiters will find the perfect person for the position and that the new hire remains fully engaged in the years to come. A natural question posed by the people holding the purse strings for recruiting is: Are we getting our money’s worth? I was invited to do a keynote presentation at the 25th Annual Staffing Industry Analysts Executive Forum later this month to answer that exact ...

Why Culture Still Eats Strategy for Breakfast (and maybe lunch as well)

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Peter Drucker nailed it years ago when he spoke those famous words. In the last year, there were two thorough studies released showing employee engagement and culture topping the list as the number one challenge for organizations worldwide, one by the Society for Human Resource Management and the other by Deloitte. An overwhelming 87% of respondents believe engagement and culture were “important,” with 50% declaring the problem as “very important.” Furthermore, the “very important” responses doubled from two years prior. Fully two-thirds of the HR respondents said they are currently updating their engagement and retention strategies, for good reason....

7 Traits of Engaged and Successful Salespeople

Engaged salesperson

During one of my 79 keynote presentations last year, I was asked to describe the most important traits of engaged and successful salespeople. It was a great question that prompted me to interview hundreds of stellar salespeople and sales leaders over several months. The results came back with great uniformity and centered on seven key attributes: 1. They like to win. Competitive by nature, salespeople get intrinsic motivation by “making the sale” or winning the customer account. 2. They listen. Rather than pushing product or brochures at customers, they listen intently for customer needs or pain points. 3. They are ...

New Year’s Reflections on Job Engagement

Job Reflection

This time of year, it’s natural to become reflective; to reflect on the last year and on resolutions you have for the New Year. One of my central messages in my keynote presentations is to encourage more reflection on job engagement. Roughly 60% of the worldwide workforce is not Engaged or Disengaged in their job, otherwise known as the middle category of Ambivalence. A large reason so many people are stuck in this “blah” middle category is that they have not reflected on whether they are in the right job in the first place, or as Jim Collins said in ...

The Easiest Way to Influence Employee Engagement

This is the first video of a series of tips for managers and employees on how to reach best-in-class levels of employee engagement. It reveals the single most important way to positively influence employee engagement as well as some of the best practices on that key driver of engagement. If you are as passionate about employee engagement as I am, then you will definitely will want to share these with your team....