All the Employee Engagement news worth reading.

Each week we bring you the very best news and views on Employee Engagement (and the related areas of leadership, learning and development, organisational culture and motivation) and all summarised in bite size chunks.  Here are this week’s must reads;

Share Your Financials to Engage Employees – 3rd June 2014

In this HBR blog, Bill Fotsch, founder of Open-Book Coaching and John Case, author of Open-Book Management put forward their argument that real engagement comes from thinking and acting like business owners. They suggest that it’s surprisingly easy to generate high levels of engagement among employees if you make the economics of the business come alive by sharing some key financial numbers with your employees.
They suggest an open-book approach. People then begin to watch these indicators and they start to figure out how to move them in the right direction.

Professional pariahs: Tips for staff engagement in “dirty jobs” 3rd June 2014

How do you engage toilet cleaners? A good question that Professor Blake Ashforth from Arizona State University explains to HC Online. He highlights the emotional and psychological risks that people in “dirty jobs” can suffer, affecting their well being. This also applies those who’s work involves “dirty tasks”. this could be an HR staff having to implement redundancy programmes.

The article provides some strategies to help address the effects of dirty work:

  • Develop coping skills to manage negative reactions.
  • Help employees maintain a positive image by focusing their attention on the benefits to society or clients the work brings
  • Create a employee peer support network
  • Rotate employees across tasks to minimise time spent on dirty work to restore positive self-image
  • Managers making time to listen and enable employees to decompress.

Five Tips to an Engaged Workforce – 3rd June 2014

Canada’s largest HR association The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) recently polled its members and found that 80% believe that measuring employee engagement is important. 76% believed that engagement means different things to different generations and look for different things in a job or career. The most commonly shared drivers of engagement are:

  • supportive managers
  • compelling work
  • career opportunities
  • good salary
  • work/life balance
  • recognition

Kristina Hidas, HRPA’s VP HR Research & Development suggests five tips on building engagement:

  1. Know them – Executives, managers and employers need to know who their employees are.  Not only names and faces, but work experience, education, outside interests, families.
  2. Grow them – Help employees to improve their skills, including providing training and career development.
  3. Inspire them – Every worker should know exactly how their efforts support the organisation’s strategy
  4. Involve them – Solicit employee input to leverage their experience and foster creative problem solving.
  5. Reward them – Aside from compensation, reward employees according to what they value.


The Mayor of London and the CIPD join forces to promote volunteering across the Capital – 3rd June 2014

This article isn’t directly about to employee engagement, but it seems such a good idea that we’ve included it! And anyway, as you’ll see it’s inviting companies to be ‘engaged’ in allowing their employees time to volunteer to mentor young job seekers – that’s surely a great way to raise engagement whilst doing something really worthwhile for others.

Specifically, business leaders and HR professionals across London are being called on, during Volunteers’ Week, to consider taking three key steps:

  • Supporting volunteering programmes to help prevent and tackle youth unemployment.
  • Allowing their employees appropriate time off to take part in volunteering programmes.
  • Ensuring that experience gained via volunteering is recognised and credited during recruitment processes, particularly for entry and junior level roles, where candidates may not have had the opportunity to undertake traditional work experience opportunities.

Via the Steps Ahead Mentoring programme, young people are given the opportunity to be matched with a local volunteer who can help them develop their employability skills.

Read the full article here.

Top 20 Leadership And Management Experts You Should Start Following  – 2nd June 2014

Freelance writer Annie Mueller lists the  leadership experts and management authorities from whom to learn strategies, tips, advice, and visionary ideas for bringing the best principles to work in your life and career.

This helpful list, that includes leadership gurus like Ram Charan, Tom Peters, Simon Sinek and Rosabeth Moss Kanter, outlines their area of focus, recent writing and where to find their online blogs.

A useful resource if you are trying to keep up to date with the latest leadership thinking in your area of interest.

5 Motivation-Killing Thoughts You Must Stop Believing – 2 June 2014

To achieve differently, first you have to believe differently.

Let’s face it, most of us aren’t bold visionaries (think Warren Buffett).  But that’s OK, writes Jeff Haden here.  We can decide to think and believe differently from others, and in doing so achieve differently from others.  For example:

  • “I never get the right opportunities” – You don’t need to wait to be selected or promoted by others; you can give yourself the opportunity. In fact, nothing new here, successful people have been seizing opportunities for centuries.  The only thing holding you back is your willingness to try.
  • “I would pay the price if I knew it would be worth it” – Successful people in all areas of life earn their rewards by working hard before any potential reward is in sight.  And successful companies earn higher rewards by first delivering greater value.
  • “Other people always hold me back” – Accept failure as your own fault. Embrace it, own it, and most of all learn from it.  Next time you’ll do things differently.
  • “I don’t have the time” – You have the same amount of time as everyone else. The key is to decide how you fill your time.
  • “I don’t have any special gifts” – This is rarely true. Talent typically reveals itself only in hindsight.  Focus on what skills you do have.  More importantly, what you are willing to do that others are not?

Motivating a temporary workforce – 30th May 2014

With workforces becoming increasingly flexible, motivating a temporary workforce is increasingly a challenge for HR teams (and other managers too). In this article, Matthew Brown makes the point that whilst engaging them might be easier if they were treated a bit more like permanent employees, there’s a risk that they may then want the same employment rights as their permanent colleagues; so how can this dilemma be resolved?

Consideration must be given to how they are rewarded and recognised in the business, how they go through the on-boarding process and how they are included in discussions about business performance. Brown makes the obvious point that contractors are also potential ambassadors for the business.

He concludes his article “It’s vital to remember that contracting professionals are part of the life-blood of businesses today and need to be motivated as well to ensure they are delivering to their best ability. And, if HR teams want to remain competitive in temporary talent attraction, having the right processes in place to engage these individuals during their employment can be highly valuable”.

Read the next article if you hate your work…or if you sense any of your staff may hate working for you…

Why you hate work – 30th May 2014

A powerfully written piece in The New York Times describing the challenges of work today;

“Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night”

The benefits of meeting four core needs;

“physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work; emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work”

And asking the key question;

“If your employees feel more energized, valued, focused and purposeful, do they perform better? Not surprisingly, the answer is almost always “Yes.” Next we ask, “So how much do you invest in meeting those needs?” An uncomfortable silence typically ensues…”

How to Align Your Team Around a Shared Vision – 27th May 2014

Dan McCarthy, Director of Executive Development Programs at the Paul College of Business and Economics, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) offers a ten step process on how to create a shared vision using a collaborative approach:

  1. Decide who should participate.
  2. Logistics and support.
  3. Determine appropriate input to the vision.
  4. Setting the stage.
  5. Create and use a process that ensures full participation, openness, creativity, and efficiency.
  6. Do the wordsmithing offline
  7. Talk to the outliers offline
  8. Reconvene the group and review the draft vision statement.
  9. Review the draft with key extended stakeholders that were not at the meeting.
  10. Communicate the vision and begin to make it a reality.

Millennials don’t expect to work anywhere for more than five years – 26th May 2014

The London Business School’s soon to be published research into Millenials at work is previewed in this article.

In brief;

  • 90% of those surveyed did not plan to stay with any given employer for more than five years.
  • 37% said they plan to stay no more than two years.
  • Almost 40% start a new role already planning their next career move.
  • Only 12% of emerging leaders aspire to emulate CEOs who focus on how the business is trading.
  • 39% identify most with CEOs whose aim is to make the company and the world, a better place.

What can employers do? The authors suggest;

  • Assigning a senior mentor to offer executive perspective.
  • Assigning Gen Ys to quick win 12- to 18-month team projects.
  • Acknowledging that we may reunite when the Gen Y is a seasoned manager, reaping the benefits of growth without all the costs of nurturing it.

The Evidence linking Employee Engagement, Wellbeing and Performance – May 2014

This paper, from the team at Engage for Success, presents the evidence for the linkage between employee engagement and wellbeing and the consequential impact on individual and organisational performance. Not surprisingly the report highlights a significant body of evidence to support the  view that employee engagement, wellbeing and performance are linked in a “synergistic feedback loop”.

When is Coaching a Bad Idea? – 21st May 2014

Whilst effective coaching is the critical glue that links formal learning with practical application, there are times when coaching can be ineffective.

Beth Armknecht Miller, a Certified Managerial Coach and CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm, shares her top 5 list of when coaching is a bad idea:

  1. The Coachee is not self-aware.
  2. Coaching is the last step in a performance improvement plan.
  3. The Corporate Sponsor lacks commitment.
  4. The Corporate Culture views coaching negatively.
  5. The Corporate Sponsor is looking for a quick fix.

Her suggestion is that before hiring an executive coach, you ask yourself the questions above to check and see if any of these situations are occurring.

And if you find they are, take a pause, and see if you can resolve the situation in order to get the most out of the coaching relationship.  Read the full article here.

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About Emenex

Emenex enables organisations to get the best from and for their staff.

The Emenex extraMILE process aligns employees with their organisation’s priorities and enhances every individual’s emotional connection with their employer, so releasing increased levels of performance and personal fulfilment.

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