The #1 Success Factor For Great Employee Engagement

The first hurdle of the employee engagement conundrum  

Here’s a real story about a real person to illustrate what can happen.  A friend of the family applied for another job and was really excited when they received their job offer.  Like any sensible employee they waited until it was all confirmed in writing before handing in their notice. Continue reading

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Who am I? Finding Purpose in Work

It’s all about the outcome, that’s what writing is ultimately about – where do you want to take the reader? What journey will you go on together and to what purpose? It’s been a while since I blogged and if you’ve stumbled across this page thanks for stopping by.
The name of this blog is Creating Coaching Cultures and the focus is organisations and how they get, keep, develop, engage and inspire the right people. Continue reading

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Employee Engagement – Why Employers Don’t ‘Get it’

Employers can fall at the first hurdle of the employee engagement conundrum  

Here’s a real story about a real person to illustrate what can happen.  A friend of the family applied for another job and was really excited when they received their job offer.  Like any sensible employee they waited until it was all confirmed in writing before handing in their notice.

They were getting excited about starting their new job and made plans for the transition during their notice period .  Just before the end of their notice period the new employer contacted them to say that they were no longer able to go ahead with the job and were withdrawing the offer.  Gutted doesn’t begin to describe how they were feeling – ‘betrayed’ is probaby closer to the truth.   They are now unemployed through no fault of their own.

The first hurdle to creating employee engagement: TRUST

What Happened?

Looking at the other side let’s consider what might have happened:  perhaps the business changed and revenue that was in the pipeline failed to materialise or the job requirements changed or the hiring manager decided they couldn’t afford the headcount.  And of course, to be fair perhaps something came up in the reference check.  Who knows!  The key thing is that the prospective employer breached the trust in the recruitment process.

Employer branding, company values and employee engagement stand or fall on the level of trust employees have in you, their employer.  And quite frankly, if you’re prepared to treat a potential new recruit in this way, what might that mean for how you’re prepared to treat me, an employee?  Employer branding isn’t just about fancy brochures and websites – it’s about the actual experience of employees and potential employees.

If In Doubt, Don’t!

One of the best lessons I learnt from my corporate career was joining a business in the early stages of its growth.  We NEVER recruited anyone unless the role was justified by the business we were winning.  And we had a rigorous authorisation process to make sure that managers had to think long and hard about why they were recruiting people.  And Managers could be very robust in their criticism of the process; the fact remains that we never made an employment offer that we couldn’t honour.

No one likes to say ‘no’ because we want to be liked by others.  And in the recruitment process this can be a real achilles’ heel.  The thing is, if you have a robust recruitment process you should have the guts to say ‘No’ at any stage.  And, if there is the slightest doubt that the job really exists then stop the recruitment process and tell the applicants the reason why.  They might be disappointed but at least they’ll understand.  Fairness and transparency help create trust.  Injustices, perceived or real, dissipate trust in the blink of an eye.

The second hurdle of employee engagement:  acting HONOURABLY

Know What You Want and Why

John Hollon post in TLNT illustrates a common problem in the current economic climate that employers seem pathologically incapable of getting beyond qualifications and experience.  There is a massive pool of highly qualified and experienced talent out there but for some reason employers are afraid to recruit these people because they ‘won’t stay’ when ‘things get better’

It’s like what the former MF Global Holdings executive said in The Wall Street Journal story — “Anyone who offered me a good role, I’d be loyal to.”

Is this not the essence of employee engagement? Is this not the exact quality that so many companies say they want to get out of their workforce? I don’t know about you, but a guy like that sounds like someone who would be highly engaged and motivated to me.

Get over it!  If you can’t offer certainty to your employees why the hell should they return the favour?  And who says they won’t stay?  Surely it’s more about how you treat them when they’re with you than their experience and qualifications.

What is really more important is someone’s attitude and personality.  Hire for attitude!  The rest can be learnt or re-learnt;  or even un-learnt – if that’s what you really want.  What any employer really wants is somone who is willing to do a good job, and who has the interests of the company at the forefront of everything they do.  In return employees expect that you as the employer feel the same way – that you will be a good employer and treat them with consideration and respect.

Employee engagement is a mutually inclusive activity!  It’s all in the mindset and should flow through all Talent policies and strategies.

Have you experienced a similar situation or know someone who has?  Or have you been on the other end where you’ve had to withdraw an offer?  What do you think?

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In A Time Of Change It’s OK To Be Confused

Listening to an HBR interview with Carol Dweck, author of Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success I was inspired by this simple concept.  Talent pools are allegedly decreasing and ‘the war for talent’ rages on in some sectors.  Why is that?  There’s so much talent out there and very little being done with it.

It’s All About Mindset

That’s right, you heard it – MINDSET!  That means a set mind about what is or isn’t talent!   Dweck’s brilliant research into how we learn and develop suggests very strongly that straight ‘A’ students don’t always turn into straight ‘A’ employees.  There’s a simple explanation for that – labelling!

Fix and Grow!

In her book Dweck talks about ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindsets around intelligence and talent.  Those individuals labelled (my term) as ‘talent’ follow a psychological pattern – self fulfilling prophecy.  This means they stick with stuff that is in their comfort zone so that they can continue to ‘be’ talent.  This isn’t helfpul for anyone really, because talent is all about fulfilling potential and if you’re in a groove to stay with the safe stuff for fear of failure, then who knows what potential is still left untapped.

As Dweck says, Einstein and Edison both said they learned more from their failures than their successes.

Talent Growth Strategy

To take your organisation to the next level why not apply the growth mindset to your talent strategy.  Dweck is very specific about what this means:

These messages have to come from the top

  1.  We value passion, dedication, growth and learning not genius.
  2. We don’t expect that you arrived here fully formed.  We expect that you’ve arrived here ready to learn
  3. We expect you to stretch beyond your comfort zone and take reasonable risks.  Not to do the same thing you’re good at over and over and stay in your comfort zone.
  4. We value process here and we reward process.  We reward taking on big but reasonable challenges.  We reward pursuing them doggedly.  We reward team work.  And even if a project has not reached fruition or become successful we reward that you’re engaged in it in a wholehearted and smart way.

My take on this is to adopt a beginner’s mindset to what you believe about talent – employee’s capability and capacity to learn.  In times of change the paradigms will always shift; adopting a growth mindset means the question becomes ‘what if …’

Talent is out there ready to be harnessed if you look for opportunities to grow it!

Share this if you agree.

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My new talent challenge starts today

Fresh from the challenges of video blogging I’m adding another new ‘talent’ to my tool box – this time I’m developing capability with screen shot video. My first outing explains a bit more about what Ascent2Change does and how we do it. It’s also got information about the webinar tomorrow lunchtime in which I’ll be exploring the 6 talent traps, getting the wrong people off the bus and the link between neuroscience and talent development. Hope you will join me.

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When you find joy in work you can’t but help be engaged

“To the young at heart everything is fun” Charles Dickens.

This should be my motto and certainly reaching my 30 day video blog challenge goal has been tremendous fun. I do a recap of my first video and top and tail it with a video from today. My enjoyment in following this video blog quest comes through. I remember there were times when I felt that same sense of fun and joy in work back in my corporate job many years ago. Work can be fun and when it is, the time just flows by.

Simple, straightforward and to the point – that’s what the 55-Minute Guide to Talent Management is all about and put simply – employee engagement means that you enjoy your work.

Now that I’ve reached my 30 day destination I’m joining another bus tomorrow – the Screenr bus. I’ll be posting a video slide set complete with audio in which I will talk more about what I actually do to help organisations and individuals find and develop their talents.

Thanks for joining me on the journey so far. See you tomorrow for the next stop.

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How your organisation’s group psychology can interfere with individual talents

Understanding individual personality is important and natural in making sure that you only allow the right people on your bus; you also need to understand what might happen when they interact with other people in your organisation.

We are all hard wired to respond to certain stimuli, particularly when we socialise with other people in groups – that’s how we’ve evolved and survived.

Social psychology probably plays at least a 50% role in understanding human behaviour in organisations. Organisation culture is an accessible way of making sense of these hard wired group behaviours which need to be factored in to any strategy and activity around talent if it’s to be successful. Very often it’s the tangible aspects of culture that are considered rather than the deep rooted fundamentals of how culture and social groupings form and behave.

For me, this is one of the reasons why talent management in any organisation is so fascinating.  And also why coaching people in groups is essential to help re-wire our thinking and avoid the ‘click-whirr’ response we have when we work in groups.

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