Employee engagement for executives

You are leading an organization. Of your current challenges, how many of them do you own, and how many of them can you overcome?

If you have the right mindset and attitude, the answer is all of them.

Here is some advice I received a long time ago that is still applicable today: No one will ever care more about your business than you do. Don’t get me wrong, we can (and hopefully do) have very loyal people on whom we can depend. We have to realize, though, that the level of caring an associate has for our business is in direct proportion to how much we care about them. And this leads us into tackling some of those challenges that we are currently facing, which can most likely be traced back to engagement.

We know that one of the three crucial legs of the engagement stool is buy/belief/investment in the mission of the organization. If our folks are totally bought into the mission, then it makes sense that they will be reluctant to jump ship on a whim.

We already know that recruiting and retaining staff keeps you up at night. So, how do we increase their buy-in to the mission?

Here is one strategy to make inroads into mission buy-in without jeopardizing time, cost or quality: The question, “Where am I in the mission”? It is crucial, more now than ever with mounting pressures, that our team(s) know where they are and how their job contributes to our customers’ success. Not our success but the success of others.

I once had a younger associate stand in my doorway holding the annual report with tears in her eyes. She told me that she could not find herself in the annual report. Do you think we had her buy-in for the mission? Was she engaged? Did she have our back, or would she jump ship at the drop of a hat?

As our workforce changes generations and the younger generation becomes more ubiquitous, we have to be aware of the need for our employees to feel connected to not just what we do but why we do what we do and what difference it makes. This is where we bring in the success of our clients and how we are helping them help others. Let me repeat that so it sinks in: how we are helping our clients help others.

Perhaps we help people directly, or perhaps our products help our clients help others. It is critical to humanize our work so that our associates feel connected to some greater good. Each monthly newsletter needs to have a story about one of these successes.

Humans are storytellers. We like to read stories, hear stories and watch stories. Incorporate this fact into your communication strategy in order to increase the engagement and mission buy-in. When our people see that what they do makes a difference in the lives of others, and all of us make a difference in the lives of others in one way or another, they will want to stay. They will want to help recruit by telling others about us and our mission.

And that will help us both sleep better. ●

John Glaneman is President of Dale Carnegie Training of Northeast Ohio and Western PA

John Glaneman

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