Employee Engagement: Fourth in a four part series

John A. Wojtecki
Doctor John A. Wojtecki has 45 years of experience in Human Resources, Safety, and Training serving the toy, food, plastics, steel, and office furniture industries. John operates his own consulting business and is a Certified Facilitator in Real Colors. He is a volunteer with the Quad Cities Mediation Service. He posts monthly on his LinkedIn account.

Muscatine Living

When last we were reviewing the book by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans “Designing Your Work Life,” the last article on the topic (the third of a four-part series) addressed a work journal. The fourth of the four articles examine employee engagement. Do keep in mind there is an emphasis on the need for self-ownership for “69% of employees are disengaged.”

While researching employee engagement on Bing, I was inundated by consulting companies trying to sell their services to assist with employee engagement. It took some research to find where there were quantifiable and qualifiable action steps to address employee engagement.

Brent Gleeson and Forbes Magazine presented five action steps to improve employee engagement. When I think about the five, I have to say to myself: “These are very much, common sense approaches to people management. No rocket science here. Actions any leader should be incorporating into their everyday business.”

The first suggestion is to make sure all employees are in the right role. I interpret this as job fit. Someone not in the right role will not apply themselves, improve their workplace, and be disengaged. If one is a small employer, the job fit becomes apparent quite quickly. Truth be known, if an employee does not like their job, they will be looking or leave on their own.

The second suggestion is to give the employee training. I know I appreciated training when I lived in the corporate world. I read where Johnsonville Sausage, at one time, didn’t care what the mandatory 40 hours of training was, so long as the employee found something of interest, and took action to improve themselves. A wonderful and unselfish approach to people management!

The third action step is to assign meaningful work. Not always possible, in particular with small organizations, yet it should be on the owner or manager’s mind when seeking to improve engagement.

The fourth and fifth suggestions can and should be combined. Forbes suggests to check in often and to frequently discuss engagement. Here employees can know that this “engagement issue” is important. After all, employees will know if the owner or manager genuinely cares about the employee.

I see an opportunity missed in these five. I see celebrations as an opportunity to recognize performance and to assure that the good work and deeds are made public.

In a past life, I received the C.M. Stanley Award for Excellence. What Harry Matthews, my boss, read to the audience when I received the award is in a glass encased frame, and hangs on the wall in my office. The plaque I received and the introduction for me receiving the award will forever be a priceless memory of a positive recognition. Ironically, I am quoted many times in saying, “no one comes to Human Resources to tell you that you are doing a good job.” This one positive recognition means the world to me. Excellence is something to be celebrated. Hopefully, it is in your organization.

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