Thursday, May 31, 2007

What causes an employee to engage?

  • An employee that has found a strong correlation with their personal commitments in life and that of the organizations
  • An employee that has found acceptance of their communication style within the organization
  • An employee that has found a correlation with their personal behavioral style and that of the organization
  • An employee that trusts that these correlations and commitments will continue to be upheld by the organization

Employee engagement is not a one-time or sometime event. Engagement is a continuous benchmarking, measurement, and management effort. It is not hard and can simply be added to already existing operational and quality benchmarks, measurements, and management functions.

The "Actively Disengaged" vs. “Not-Engaged” Employee: Which is better (worse)?

Actively disengaged employees aren’t just disconnected from the integration plan; they are committed to its failure. Understand in this that, in their determination, they have found an honorable reason to actively sabotage the integration and are therefore quite motivated to do so. What they are doing is right to them. Actively disengaged employees create their own culture and subsequent cultural alliances in order to get the job done. Actively disengaged employees learn to fool incorrect benchmarks and measurements and will even convince current customers and vendors to assist in their sabotage. You are surprised that actively disengaged employees do NOT resign. They do not, due to the importance of their cause within your organization.

The Gallup Organization estimates that there are 22 million actively disengaged employees that cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year in lost productivity, including absence, illness and other problems that result when workers are unhappy at work.

For the same reasons employees become engaged, they can become not-engaged. This happens when an employee has not been given the chance to choose to engage. We see this often in integrations where a lot of resources are spent getting upper management defined and measured and then the remaining employee base is simply told the integration plan. For true engagement to occur, every employee must be given the choice to accept and contribute to the integration plan. This is one of the reasons that a comprehensive cultural assessment is necessary and where individual assessment efforts fail. Incorrect benchmarks and/or measurements will show positive growth towards the integration plan due to not-engaged employees’ passive-aggressive and outright false reports. Not-engaged employees are ripe for raiding by headhunters, and you are surprised when they resign.

“There is only one way to get anybody to do anything... That is by making the other person want to do it.”
--Dale Carnegie

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cohesiveness vs. Groupthink, who's keeping score?

I read this interesting blog post on the Vital Integrities blog. It talked about the benefits of cohesiveness in a team environment and the "dangers" of groupthink. The benefits of a team environment (cohesiveness) they list are things such as greater individual performance, better morale, greater job satisfaction, etc.
Now, "groupthink" is the big, bad wolf in the equation. I remember from my psychology classes from years ago that groupthink was responsible for basically every bad decision our government has ever made. The V.I. blog lists the Bay of Pigs invasion and the lack of warning on Pearl Harbor as examples.
So, what to do about the big "G" word? It's simple: create a space for your team where questions, comments, and concerns can and ARE voiced freely without fear or repercussion. I would be willing to bet lots of your money that many of these things supposedly caused by the "G" word were because of militaristic thinking. "I'm the lowest rank in here, I can't question my superiors". The United States would still belong to the United Kingdom if this was the case.
I didn't mean to get all historical on everyone. I am pointing out the fact that the "dangers" of groupthink only go so far in my opinion. Create a space where your people are free to raise questions and objections and you won't have to worry about the "G" word or your company's version of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

Read the Vital Integrities blog here...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Work-Life Balance, What's That?

"Balance" is one of those words that a lot of people throw around. Most of them don't know what it means, nor do they have much in their life. Work-life balance is one of the biggest keys in any professional's life. How much work is too much? How much isn't enough? We've all heard about people who work so much that they never see their family, don't have time for friends, and don't really seem to enjoy much of anything. Will it be worth it in the long run?

This survey points out the fact that having a good work-life balance in the workplace can positively impact ethical behavior in the workplace. Any time someone is in balance, when they feel that their work is appreciated, and they generally "like" what they're doing, they will tend to perform ethically. Even the most ethically astute person may be more apt to "bend the rules" a bit if put into a position where they're out of balance, not feeling appreciated, or when they're stressed out or unhappy.

As managers and leaders, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that there exists a proper work-life balance at your workplace. Employees, if bought in, will understand that there are going to be times when extra hours will be required. They also need to understand that their extra efforts are appreciated and rewarded. Rewards can be as simple as a heart-felt, "Thank you for all your hard work and coming in on Sunday. You really made a difference in the project!", movie tickets, gift certificates, or give them an afternoon off just because. It's not rocket science and you'd be amazed how long a little bit of appreciation can go...

Survey: Work-Life Balance Can Have Impact on Ethical Workplace Behavior

When it comes to encouraging ethical behavior at work, a healthy work-life balance can make a big difference, according to the “2007 Deloitte & Touche USA LLP Ethics & Workplace” survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Deloitte & Touche USA.

Additionally, managers’ and supervisors’ behavior can foster ethical behavior in the workplace, as well as positive reinforcement thereof.

Sharon L. Allen, Deloitte & Touche USA chairman of the board, said the survey’s findings reflect the overarching importance of balancing work and life.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Change Management 101 for Dummies...

Managing change is difficult for most organizations because they miss one key, single fact. The people in your organizations have to want to change! The only way to do this is to be open and honest with your people regarding what is happening and more importantly, what is expected of them. They then have the choice of being on board for the change or not. The "You'll do it and like it!" School of Management that some of our old bossess have attended will hopefully be closing its doors soon when people realize that "Managing ain't telling, son. It's selling"

The following is an article I found that talks to the point that management and employees view change differently. "Start by eliminating the obstacles in employees' minds that cause anxiety; then you can clear the path to change." People love to make stuff up when they're not given enough information. And usually what they're making up is a lot worse than the truth...

Change Management
"How do you manage change?" It is a frequently mentioned challenge I hear when conducting my workshops. And in a recent survey by workplace consultants BlessingWhite, nearly half of the 900 executives surveyed think that leading teams through organizational change is very, or even extremely, challenging. But I think the underlying question actually is, "How do you get employees to accept change?"Most organizational change initiatives fail because senior management ignores the obvious: managers and employees view change differently.