The Faces of Employee Engagement are Global

croatiaLast year, my wife and I spent two weeks in the wonderful country of Croatia. As much as I wanted some downtime during vacation, I could not escape the signs, behaviors, and outcomes produced by the archetypical “faces” of employee engagement. These emblems of engagement were extremely vivid to me for two reasons. First, after dedicating over 30 years of my career to learning about, and helping organizations build employee engagement, I realize that the topic runs deeply through my mind, heart, and lifeblood. Second, employee engagement is global, omnipresent, and most of all, inescapable. There is no doubt you fellow world travelers out there can relate to these facts.

Upon arriving in Rovinj, Croatia, one of the first locals we met was an all-purpose multi-functional worker named Robert of The Casa Garzotto. His passion for helping us was enormous. He was a waterfall of positivity while giving us guidance on what to see, lugging three heavy pieces of luggage to our third floor room, and driving us to rent our own car. As exhibited by all engaged employees, Robert genuinely cared. We showed our appreciation for his extra effort and attention though kindness and a generous tip.

Your call to action: Celebrate your best employees and make sure they are both recognized and rewarded fairly.

The Power Of Three-Part Thank-You’s

“Thanks,” Bill said as he walked by, rapping his knuckles on the top of my cube wall.

“See you tomorrow,” I glanced at my watch. Every day, at exactly 5:01, my boss left for the day, saying thanks as he walked past my cube.

At the time, I was working as a “secretary.” I was a 23-year old guy working alongside a dozen single women who were in their thirties, all of us in the role of secretary. I had been placed there by a temporary agency when they discovered I could type 80-words per minute. (It was about 25 years ago so I think we were still called “secretaries” and not “administrative assistants” but I don’t really remember. I do remember that it was a very fun year.)

My boss, Bill, was a creature of habit. At 5:00 pm exactly, he would pop up from his desk, slide on his jacket, grab his briefcase and head for the exit. But without fail, he always thanked me on the way out.

I like to call that a “drive-by thank you.” Better than nothing, but it’s impact waned as I quickly learned it was just something he said on autopilot.


Wearing Engagement on Your Sleeve

wearing engagementCan 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 and customer service outcomes.


The Three Most Impactful Workplace Phrases

lightbulbsI 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 impactful.


Lessons from your First Job

FirstjobLessonsBoth of my daughters are now getting their first taste of joining the working world, something all of us experienced years ago.  Seeing their excitement and challenges from babysitting have made me a little nostalgic about my first job.

Do you remember your first job?  What did you learn that helped you in nearly every other job you’ve had since?  What experiences in that job did you knowingly jettison and attempt to avoid in all of your future jobs?  Exploring these questions can yield some pretty powerful knowledge about how you approach you current job.

I started out on the bottom employment rung at a restaurant in northern Wisconsin called Mama’s Bella Vista.  At age 15, I began as a dishwasher, water hose in hand, spraying half-eaten food remains into a disposal, and racking plates and glasses into a commercial dishwasher.  My hourly wage was the minimum at that time, $1.60 per hour.

There were four core and invaluable lessons from this first job at Mama’s Bella Vista.


4 Ways to Leverage the Power of Thank You

PowerThankYouRecently, 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:

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

Recruitment_ImageThe 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 put, they recognized that if they were going to spend the time, money, and energy to build a magnetic culture, they should only let magnetic and highly engaged people through their doors.  I’ll now share the five “Hiring Right” best practices of these best-in-class organizations to help you avoid the damaging and costly outcome of hiring the wrong people.