Blog Posts

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 ...

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....

Have a manager who is opposed to virtual work?

work from home

Do you have “old school” Senior Leaders who refuse to allow people to work from home (WFH) or acknowledge that it’s a viable option for running a business? (Like Yahoo’s CEO a little while ago?) If so, is there a way to coach them to “see the light?” Maybe, or maybe not. But here’s your best shot for winning them over. As mentioned frequently in the press, the clear evidence about the benefits of telecommuting is very compelling. Step 1 may be as simple as showing managers the statistical ROI-based proof that working from home makes sense for ...

Becoming Someone’s Best Boss

Best Boss

Nearly every expert on employee engagement agrees there is a single, most impactful, means of increasing employee engagement and performance: the Manager. Taken from the Leadership Development workshops I conduct, here are the five simple ways to elevate the effect your managers have on your corporate culture and employee engagement. 1. Ask all of your managers to think of who their best boss was throughout their entire career. Have them write that person’s name down on a piece of paper. 2. Have them write down the three key qualities that made that person their best boss. 3. Encourage them to ...

Wearing Employee Engagement on Your Sleeve

employee engagement

Can you imagine a work environment where each employee was given a t-shirt displaying his or her level of job engagement? It would make for a pretty honest, transparent, and entertaining workplace, and one in which I can imagine three key takeaways. First, the Actively Engaged employees would proudly and passionately show their engagement level. They would wear their company shirt every week, or maybe even twice depending on their laundry schedule. They would also seek out and spread their wonderfully infectious positive attitudes to others in the organization. They would volunteer for extra effort and create phenomenal product quality ...

The Three Most Impactful Workplace Phrases

Three best workplace phrases

I recently read a New York Times article that featured The Three Most Influential Phrases in the Workplace. I was surprised to be in agreement, that indeed using these three phrases is the most powerful way managers can show that they are human, and show they truly care about the relationships they have with their direct reports. I was so excited to begin using these phrases in my keynote presentations and leadership development workshops, that I went home and shared them with my wife. Each phrase is featured below, along with my own explanation as to why they are so ...

4 Ways to Leverage the Power of Thank You

recognition

Recently, more and more of my clients have asked me to provide them with the most current advice on how to effectively use recognition efforts to drive excellence with employee engagement. During these consulting engagements, I train their managers on the most meaningful steps for recognition, as well as how to avoid the most common mistakes. Here are four key takeaways in this regard that you can immediately use in your organization: 1. Appreciate and value “The Power of Thanks.” Years ago, I wrote a widely-published article that carried the very same title. It featured the following quote from ...

Hiring Right – Fine Tuning Your Recruiting Efforts to Avoid Mis-Hires

Recruiting and Hiring

The report card on hiring in North America is pretty poor and indicates that too many organizations are simply filling positions with “bodies,” as opposed to applying meticulous screening to avoid hiring the wrong people in the first place. As revealed in my New York Times Best Seller, Building a Magnetic Culture, 59% of all new hires are gone before the one-year tenure mark. As a result, these organizations encounter the significant costs of re-recruiting and re-hiring. All best-in-class organizations (defined as top 10% on employee engagement) have detailed processes for hiring and vetting candidates that applied detailed scrutiny. Simply ...

19 Ways to be a Bad Boss

Bad Boss

There is a reason Hollywood produced a movie called “Horrible Bosses,” as well as its sequel. Listen in on conversations at a happy hour on any given Friday, and you will hear all about them. Bad bosses can be found at every level of management, and they often display the same characteristics. During nearly all of my Leadership Development workshops, after teaching how important the manager/employee relationship is to improving employee engagement, I will challenge the participants to become someone’s “best boss.” We then explore the qualities of a best boss. However, it is just as valuable to consider ...

Employee Engagement at the DMV

Morgan with Driver's Permit

The other day my 15-year old daughter Morgan asked me excitedly, “Dad, can you take me to the DMV to get my driver’s permit?” On the way there, I told her that, without a doubt, this would be her most exciting visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and that it would “all go downhill from here.” I shared my impression of the DMV, which consisted of waiting in long lines, following bureaucratic rules, and experiencing a fair amount of confusion in what you need to do or bring to get the documents you need. This was ...

The End of Employee Engagement? I think not.

A couple of days ago there was an article in Forbes asserting that the Employee Engagement Movement was dying on the vine or fading away, like the Total Quality Movement (TQM) of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In my opinion, there are several flaws in what the article suggested. First and foremost, the big “elephant in the room” is the fact that by most measures only about 30% of the workforce is engaged, with the remainder being either ambivalent or actively disengaged. Are we to roll down our sleeves and think this is an acceptable level of engagement for ...

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: Reflecting on Employee Engagement

Ambivalent Employee

When was the last time you looked in the Mirror of Engagement? As in, when was the last time you explored how engaged you are at work? If you are like most people, not for a while or often enough. With 60% of the global workforce not engaged or disengaged, it is extremely important to explore the reasons why the majority of employees are in the “blah” uninspiring middle category—the costly area of ambivalence. After nearly 30 years of consulting organizations about employee engagement, I have identified two definitive reasons why such a large percentage of the workforce is ambivalent. ...

Fuel50 Guest Post: The Three Truths of Agile Recruitment

Fuel50 Logo

The silver bullet, the magic cure, the rock star employee who will magically solve your business woes. Myths, all myths, and dangerous ones at that, that easily gain traction when the blind start leading the blind through the murky waters of talent acquisition and management! The three truths of agile recruitment: #1 Any employee is only as good as the environment in which they must operate (and the opportunities they are given). #2 It’s a question of alignment; the right career experience, for the right person at the right time. #3 It’s very possible to turn an A player into ...

Coworker Satisfaction — The Unsung Hero of Retention

“It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.” —Norm Peterson, the TV show Cheers Even if you don’t work at the bar where everyone knows your name, some of the longest-lasting friendships are oftentimes formed in the workplace. Considering the sheer number of hours spent together on the job, this is not surprising. We spend a significant portion of our lives with coworkers, likely even more time than we spend with our family. So given that it is time to make New Year’s resolutions for change, it behooves all organizations to commit to encouraging more ...

Engagement Unbroken

Non-Spoiler Alert: For those of you who haven’t read the book yet, this post contains a small number of details about the plot. I tried not to share more information than movie previews or recent TV coverage. I just finished reading Laura Hillenbrand’s Best Seller Unbroken, which I am certain will be a blockbuster movie once it is released on Christmas day this year. Unbroken shares the incredible story of Louis Zamperini, a man who triumphed through unbelievable adversity, especially when he served in World War II. Zamperini’s life story is so incredible, it made me think hard about ...

Three Lessons on Employee Engagement from the Titanic

Titanic Quote

I recently was in Belfast, Ireland and had the great pleasure of visiting the museum dedicated to the building, supplying, launching, sinking, and the ocean bottom rediscovery of this famed luxury ocean liner. I’ve been in a lot of museums throughout my life and world travels, and I have to put this one at the top of the list. Throughout my tour of the museum, and largely because of my passion for the topic of employee engagement, I saw clear business lessons about employee engagement associated with the Titanic. First and shockingly, the crew of the Titanic had multiple warning ...

FUN: The Missing Driver of Employee Engagement and Recruiting

GlobeSherpa Logo

One of the central messages in my recent keynote presentations focuses on what is consistently missing from most companies’ solutions for building world-class engagement and attracting fantastic new talent: FUN. This woeful absence and missed opportunity is beginning to get noticed and corrected by more and more organizations. Hence, the major rise of gamification in the workplace, and the widespread incorporation of modern perks (e.g., Ping-Pong tables and beer carts) into the employment value proposition. While these types of “fun” benefits used to be limited to tech start-ups, companies in all industries are following suit. Why? Because it’s ...

Dignity Health Digs Deep

Dignity Health

I’ve always admired the people who choose to work in healthcare. It’s important work that requires a great deal of compassion, patience, knowledge, and sometimes even selflessness. People come to the doctor or hospital when they need help most; patients are scared and in pain, and providing service to them isn’t always easy. Many healthcare professionals experience high-stress working conditions on a regular basis, especially when patients’ wellbeing depends on them. I was fortunate to speak at the Dignity Health conference recently in Scottsdale, Arizona, where I connected with many inspirational healthcare professionals. I met people who are clearly ...

Part Two – High Altitude Engagement: How Great Leaders Guide Teams to the Summit

Whether it’s summiting a mountain or climbing the corporate ladder, success can often be attributed to great leadership. Through my experience mountaineering and consulting with top organizations, I noticed that the best leaders focus on the same things. Resources Sometimes companies have to tighten their belt, but doing more with less isn’t usually the best option. Not providing the right resources with which to work is easily as detrimental as not having the right resources on a high altitude climb. I have seen climbers relying on the wrong crampons or ice axe, which made a difficult climb even more ...