Mar 14, 2007

5 ways engagement drives productivity The modern business world is all about producing great design - be it a service or product - combined with outstanding service at a reduced cost base. Often we can see that these can compete with each other, but there is one thing that is constant with all 3 areas - PEOPLE. People are your business and if you want great concepts, passionate service and fabulous productivity then you need, desire passionately crave ENGAGED EMPLOYEES. In fact you cannot or will struggle to deliver greater value without employee engagement. So here are my 5 tips on how to create more value with the same people input. Crave ideas, love ideas - not whether they are good or bad, but the ability to share ideas within a culture of trust and respect. S-t-r-e-t-c-h people. People want to develop, give them stretching objectives or projects in which they can learn and shine. They will value your trust in them. Encourage failure! But fail fast, fail intelligently by learning from the mistakes. If you are not failing then you are not pushing the boundaries, key is to respect people trying new ideas, trying to deliver excellence. Mediocrity is only removed if people feel safe to try new things. Live by the values and deal quickly, publicly with people who shun the values. If you don't then people will sense unfairness, sense it is ok, sense the words don't match the actions. Values bind a team but only if they are put at the core of how people work. Reward heavily success. Make it worth people's while to deliver, to make a difference. Reward can be recognition, promotion, flexibility of work, secondment, sabbatical whatever is important to the individual. Engaged employees deliver between 20-30% extra, they also take less of your time on problems, bad behavior, "moaning" isn't that you have not got the time to engage on an individual level, it is that you have NOT NOT got the time if you want a successful, productive and happy team.
Keep your relationships fresh at work In all relationships - family, spouse, at work people can easily become mundane, in a rut or predictable. Without ever meaning to it is easy to be perceived as taking someone else for granted. So I learnt to keep the relationships with my team fresh - how by that element of surprise. Think of how you react at home if your partner surprises you, either with a gift or a comment or makes an impact, it shows that they care about the relationship. So how can you keep your management style fresh? Here are ideas that I have used...feel free to add to the list! Hold team or one to one sessions outside in the sunshine. Take the team out to a place that will inspire them - a gallery, a great place for service, a local school, technology lab....and at the end have a "ideas picnic" of how the learnings can be used in their roles. Bring in articles that are specific to that person's area - and hand it to them in person saying, "When I saw this I thought of you and wondered whether you had seen this?" If team meetings are becoming mundane - turn it over to the team and get them to put the agenda together, on areas they want you to think about. Visit another area of the business and take a member of the team with you....throw in lunch and get to know them. Ask people to revamp the reports they give you, give them the data that you want but they get to decide how it is displayed. Hold quizzes in your team sessions built around game shows on the TV....the questions to be on the business, the industry or roles within the company. Even better give each member the chance to hold the quick quiz each month.... Ask a puzzling question on an e-mail each Monday that centres around a problem and ask if they could do anything with no budget constraints how would they approach it. Send flowers to the family to say thanks when someone has been working late Run a competition for the design of a newsletter etc for family members....with a gift of a family day out. Whatever you do, even if you are a wonderful boss...the great work will become boring and expected. So the key is to change formats, change timings or venues, involve people, so that they never arrive knowing they can sleep through the session! Keep changing, keep an element of surprise, keep ahead of the boredom threshold.

Anna Farmery

Social Marketing Architect, Speaker, Author and in spare time completing PhD on the future of the social business model

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