Employee Engagement Network

I’ve recently joined an excellent online social network for professionals involved in employee engagement: The Employee Engagement Network hosted by David Zinger.

A recent interesting discussion in the Manager Tools for Employee Engagement Forum was started by a member to discuss why most managers fail, a topic triggered by a recent study by Hay stating that most managers fail to implement the managerial style that will promote a positive and engaging workplace. Several members added to the discussion with book excerpts that were meaningful to them on the topic and also observations and lessons learned from their own workplaces.

As I commented in the forum, it is critically important that managers play to employee strengths, not their weaknesses. Too often, managers invest wasted time and energy trying to improve employees in their weak areas instead of focusing employees on projects or initiatives that draw from their natural strengths and abilities. Then the critical managerial action is reinforcing these positive efforts and natural strengths with appropriate and timely recognition. Every employee -- regardless of level or role -- deserves recognition for their contributions.

Also, managers sometimes forget (or neglect) to change their managerial style - simply because we're too busy! Yes, we all know we can be too busy, but being too busy to say "Thank you" to an employee is almost as demoralizing as if you actually made a negative comment. So what can help managers change? We need to build in formal recognition time into our management rhythms. That's where formal programs can help, pushing managers into adding recognition to their to-do list so that the good intentions are actually acted on, as well as being recorded and disseminated for many others to see. Sometimes busy managers just need a bit of extra structure to make that behavioral/management style change.

We've seen great success on this front at a large software client of ours - where the changing social architecture is being encouraged by managers, and staff members have more positive conversations as a result.

By establishing a culture of appreciation through simple and daily "thank you moments," companies can see the genesis of a high performance culture.

I encourage you to check out the Employee Engagement Network. I’ve enjoyed interacting with my colleagues in this way and have learned from them as I hope they have learned from me.

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