Social Pain = Physical Pain

Neuroscientists like Matt Lieberman of UCLA are revealing more and more about the impact of comments that shame or isolate another person, as in a boss saying to his/her employee…   "What in heaven's name prompted you not to call back that customer? How could you have been so thoughtless?" "Do you consider yourself a team player? I sure don't." "When are you going to get off your duff and start doing some work around here?" When a leader speaks to an employee this way, the … [Read more...]

An Organization Devoutly to be Desired

We all fantasize but the object of our fantasy is seldom an organization, an ideal one, the one we would create for us to work in if we were king. Of course, if we were king–or queen–we wouldn't be worrying about working, but I digress. Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones reported in the May 2013 issue of HBR the results of surveying hundreds of executives about their ideal organization. You can download a podcast of them on this. They uncovered six elements of an enterprise that operates at its … [Read more...]

Performance Requires More than Motivation and Ability

People often think that for employees to perform well all they need are the appropriate ability and skills and the motivation to achieve great results. But there is a missing ingredient: opportunity. So says John Boudreau in a recent issue of Talent Management Magazine (p. 10). He is spot on. You can be well trained to build departmental sales and keen to get at it but if your boss, the Director of Sales, hogs all the promising clients and sales calls, you won't have the opportunity to apply … [Read more...]

Employee Recognition: More frequently, Please, and Link it to Core Values

Companies are turning to employee recognition as an internal strategy to boost employee engagement and positively impact such metrics as productivity, ROA, ROE, and retention of both employees and customers. For example, companies that have a formal strategic recognition program in place had a voluntary turnover rate (i.e. people choosing to leave) of 14%, vs. 18% for those who don't. Here are several guidelines to make your recognition more impactful: Tie your recognition not only to … [Read more...]

Don’t Forget the “Why” in Your Mission Statement

A colleague of mine, Gwen Kinsey, led a crisp, interactive presentation at a recent leadership breakfast event. The topic was about how mission statements engage (or not) your employees. Gwen's session drove home a point for me and I'd like to share it here. She put us in small groups and handed out two mission statements, one to half the groups, the other to the other half. Our task was to read the mission we were given and find connections between it and what we value highly. It turned out … [Read more...]

They Feel Entitled. How about Engaged Too?

They're either disengaged or under engaged in their work but they very much intend to stay with their current employer for a long time. This is what a new study by Modern Survey revealed. For government workers, 80% were less than engaged but 60% plan to stay. Not like the private sector, you say? Well, how about 66% not engaged and 56% hanging around? Furthermore, the percentage of employees, public and private, who felt their total compensation package is competitive is in the mid fifties. … [Read more...]

Employee Engagement – You’re Only Part Way There

Research by TowersWatson has revealed that to generate a climate where your employees contribute a consistently high percentage of their capacity you need more that just "engagement." You must add into the mix enablement (a better term for what used to be called empowerment), and employee well-being. Here, very briefly, is what constitutes each element of what they call the "3 E's": Engagement – employee commitment, both rational and emotional, to contributing discretionary (i.e. more than … [Read more...]

NeuroEngagement: Using Insights from Brain Science to Heighten Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is all the rage these days. It’s commonly touted as the key to transforming an organization from good to great. When a new organizational effectiveness ‘truth’ comes along there are two common responses. The first response is an unreflective jump on to the bandwagon. Managers keen to improve their own and their organization’s performance will often take on faith the validity of the novel approach – only to be disappointed when it doesn’t bear the fruit it … [Read more...]

Give Me Something (or Someone) to Connect to

There is enough research on Employee Engagement to show that engaged employees give more "discretionary effort" (going above and beyond job expectations…without being told/asked) to their employer. Yet levels of engagement have not changed over the last ten years or so, through a period first of  boom, then of bust. Consider this data from the Gallup organization. They surveyed around percent of employees who are (1) engaged, (2) not engaged, and (3) actively disengaged. Check the trend since … [Read more...]

Every Job Matters (to Someone)

Recently I heard a presentation by Jim Gibbons, President & CEO of Goodwill Industries. In it he said that "every job matters." Every job has someone relying on the incumbent of the position to do their job well so that the other person can either: benefit or do their own job well. Your client/customer is either internal or external.You serve (or produce for) the external client or someone who delivers to the external client. This is true whether you operate in the private, … [Read more...]