It's ALL About Being Human


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There's a lot of talk about Employee Engagement but the results are often much less than expected. Why? Could it be that we are placing emphasis on systems instead of humans?

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It's ALL About Being Human

  1. 1. Karol Zerr Decision Point Executive Consulting Confidential Report 936-537-2901 Employee Engagement: It’s All About Being Human Why is Employee Engagement So Critical Today? ‘’Striving to maintain a higher level of employee engagement not only contributes toward short-term survival during economic volatility, but also is a key factor for longer-term business performance and better positioning when market conditions become favorable. The companies that get engagement right can enjoy a surplus of competitive advantage in talent strategy and business results that is hard for others to replicate. If one believes that talent is one of the last sources of competitive advantage—and that motivated and productive employees are the make-or-break ingredient to successfully navigating the business pressures outlined above—employee engagement should be a top business imperative for all business leaders.’’ AON 2013 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report It’s Easier than You Think….
  2. 2. Karol Zerr Decision Point Executive Consulting Confidential Report 936-537-2901 Dreaming of an engaged workforce but afraid of the time and effort involved in order to be successful? Don’t have a large HR department, or even a large staff to help you with Engagement efforts? Don’t worry; a successful start of an Employee Engagement program is relatively easy if you follow the below three easy steps. Are you going to watch your margins dwindle and your costs expand? Or, are you going to decide that you’ve put too much effort and time into your company for it to slowly die because of employees who just don’t care about anything other than increasing their pay checks and plotting to use their paid time off hours? If you’ve decided to move forward with Employee Engagement, here are three steps that you can start taking now that will quickly net improvement. These three steps are ‘’Starters.’’ You’ll need more strategies to be successful, but you will at least know if Employee Engagement is something you want to put time and effort into. Step One: Improve Your Leadership Skills ‘’A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.’’ —John Maxwell Leadership is all about earning the right to be a leader. Company ownership does not make you a leader. Employees continually observe and decide whether to follow you or sabotage you. So, what to do?  Walk the talk of your Company Values. Don’t have an established set of Values? Create them and then publish where your employees can see them. Then, start talking about these Values and make sure you are a prime example of the values.  Create a Vision of the future and start telling employees about it  Communicate and communicate often. Start with talking to employees about the Vision you just created and verbally paint a picture of what success will look like when your vision is successful.  Since you will be bringing together your employees often, start telling stories of your company history and how it has evolved. If you are a start-up, tell stories about why
  3. 3. Karol Zerr Decision Point Executive Consulting Confidential Report 936-537-2901 you did the start-up and what you expect for the future. Blend you Vision with your company’s history and tell stories around that. People remember stories. They don’t always remember statistics and if you don’t create stories around your Vision, they will simply ignore you.  Ask employees for input around ideas for attaining the Company Vision. Remember who said what and recognize each person’s ideas, even if they are not worthy of implementation.  Your goal in this effort is to motivate and inspire employees to help make the company successful. If you are sincere, they will know it. If you are condescending, they will also know it. Remember: You make the decisions but employees bear the burden of making the decision to perform to your best advantage. Depending on your company’s current culture, your Leadership can be immediately successful or slowly successful. Either way, you win by engaging with your employees and letting them know what the future looks like and then asking for their help in making both the company and them successful. Today’s employees are not impressed with yesterday’s strategies. They could care less about your personal success, but they are totally involved in the concept of ‘’what’s in it for me?” Once they understand that their futures can be positive, they will be willing to contribute more effort. And, today’s employees do not respond to leaders who pound their chests to impress, and they are even more unresponsive to bullying. If they don’t walk away, they will simply determine their best course is non-participation in your requests of them. Step Two: Create a ‘’Learning Organization’’ For Everyone “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not training employees and keeping them. ”Zig Ziegler
  4. 4. Karol Zerr Decision Point Executive Consulting Confidential Report 936-537-2901 Employee training is completely necessary. Many executives believe employees train themselves by observing others at work. They are correct: they learn all the bad and negative skills of their coworkers and learn to do a great job of making errors, creating safety issues, slowing productivity and generally ignoring management. Then, they train new employees accordingly. Of course, you won’t do this and will hire professional trainers to deliver consistent training based on information provided by your in-house subject matter expert. So, job skills training and the evaluation of the effectiveness of the training are selfactualizing. And, training is not only about job skills training, but also about performance and behavioral training. In my 20+ years of leading both Change and Employee Engagement programs, I refer to the necessity of training employees as the ‘’No Excuses for Not Improving Performance:’’  Employees must have no excuses for making errors or poor performance. They must be trained to know what to do when, where and how.  They must be thoroughly trained on any changes and/or improvements related to them.  They must also receive training on performance and behavior training. Unfortunately, many employees do not know good behavior from bad; neither do they know good performance from bad or mediocre performance. You must help them by setting standards of performance and conduct.  After training, they must be held accountable for their performance and rewarded accordingly. Supervisor/Manager Training Once your employees are trained, it’s time for further training and evaluation of your supervisors and managers. First line supervisory training is absolutely critical to your success, as well as, your company’s success. Supervisors must be trained to:  Coach employees to improved performance;  Learn to treat each employee as an individual. Get to know each worker and the most effective method for making each successful.
  5. 5. Karol Zerr Decision Point Executive Consulting Confidential Report 936-537-2901  Train and coach employees to begin to make some of their job decisions.  Coach employees to come up with possible improvements, and,  Train each employee on teaming with his/her coworkers to improve work processes. Step Three: Fire Your ‘’Supervisors from Hell’’ ‘’You don’t lead by hitting people over the head—that’s assault, not leadership.’’ –Dwight Eisenhower Supervisors who cannot or refuse to learn how to maximize productivity through Employee Engagement must be fired or moved into an individual contributor positions. Bullying, intimidation or harassment of subordinate employees is no longer effective. Employees quickly learn to ignore or blatantly sabotage both their supervisors and company when subjected to this type of behavior. Ineffective supervisors will destroy you and every effort you make to move your company forward. ‘’When leaders in the United States of America — or any country for that matter — wake up one morning and say collectively, “Let’s get rid of managers from hell, double the number of great managers and engaged employees, and have those managers lead based on what actually matters,” everything will change. The country’s employees will be twice as effective, they’ll create far more customers, companies will grow, spiraling healthcare costs will decrease, and desperately needed GDP will boom like never before.’’ Jim Clifton Chairman and CEO Gallup
  6. 6. Karol Zerr Decision Point Executive Consulting Confidential Report 936-537-2901 How do you eliminate your ‘’managers from Hell?’’  The quickest, easiest, and fairest way is to conduct 360 degree evaluations on every supervisor and manager;  Evaluate all and determine those who exemplify your company Values and positive Employee Engagement;  Rank the remaining possible ‘’managers and supervisors from Hell’’ and according to the degree of negativity, implement Performance Improvement plans that focus on Employee Engagement and the blatant exhibition of your Company Values;  Re-evaluate every 30 days. At the end of 90 days, fire those who failed to improve sufficiently enough so that you see improved 360 degree evaluations and Employee Engagement activities, such as improved productivity, fewer absences, fewer safety issues and improved employee participation in team meetings.  In lieu of the 90 day Improvement plans, another option is to remove the possible ‘’managers and supervisors from Hell’’ and place them in non-supervisory roles. Replace with a proactive supervisor/manager and re-start the 360 degree evaluations.  If you decide to terminate your supervisors from Hell before implementing the Performance Improvement Plans, be certain that you have documentation and verifiable evidence of the improper conduct and performance of these supervisors. Success? Congratulations! If you followed the above 3 steps, you’ve hopefully started to see improvements in  Employee productivity  Voluntary turnover  Safety  Customer Service
  7. 7. Karol Zerr  Decision Point Executive Consulting Confidential Report 936-537-2901 Sales As always, it’s best to track metrics and get employee feedback on how you and your team are performing. An easy way to do this is Survey Monkey, or one of the related anonymous survey tools available through Google. A successful Employee Engagement program involves many more steps and continual feedback from all involved. Individualized programs are imperatives since every company culture differs from other similar and, supposedly the same types, of companies. Employee Engagement is not a ‘’rubber stamp’’ program that a consultant programs into your leadership team and then disappears. It is necessary to implement, adjust and re-adjust several times until your metrics determine your success. How do you know when you’re successful? Your improved ROI will tell you….And, your improved Shareholder Return, if you’re a public company. Either way, the value must be proven in the form of better business results. An additional perquisite is your improved Leadership, your team’s improved performance and the obvious employee inclusion results you observe. After all, Employee Engagement is all about being human and letting your employees see that you are human……And, that you need their help. Sound interesting? I’m always available for discussions with you. Thanks for your interest in one of your most important career decisions. Karol Zerr Decision Point Executive Consulting 936-537-2901 It is in your moments of Decision, that your destiny is shaped. Tony Robbins