Tips To Make Time For Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.

This is the last of 5 articles exploring specifics of employee engagement. We’ve examined WisdomSkills, Energies and Creativity. Using Time as a factor in employee engagement is more than merely “time management.” Let’s see how.

What Time Means (Definition)

Concerning “work,” Time is the limited period or interval (of minutes, hours, days, etc.) between two successive events and considered distinct from other periods. We think of work in terms of time required: a day, a week, a quarter. And we know time in terms of deadlines: by tomorrow, by next week, by the end of this quarter. We frame work by time: how long it will take (projected) and how long it actually took (expended).

What Time Brings (Value)

We’re referring to the value of engaged time: time in which individuals actively invest themselves and their wisdom, skills, energies and creativity. When employees engage time rather than compete with time, wrestle time, feel pressured or oppressed by time, then their work and its outcomes are of greater quality. Here are some specifics.

Savor Time. Some approach time as the determinant of how much, how fast, or how long for the task at hand. Some who savor time are more constructive in what they bring to their jobs and their company. These view an assignment through the lens of what they may do, what they can complete, what they will contribute. These individuals savor the work and therefore the time they spend engaged in their work.

Making Time Work. This is not “time management.” Time management holds that there’s not (ever) enough time. That creates a hardship mindset from the start. Approaching an activity and viewing time as an ally allows more energy and creativity for the work. Viewing time as a raw material, chunks of which are available to use, makes time a workable partner in the effort.

Stronger Self. Chasing time—or being chased by time’s shortage—draws on one’s energies: physical, mental and emotional. That reduces one’s sense of strength, ability to function, confidence, even self-worth. When one feels that time is her creation with which to work, a resource he makes available when he needs it, those personal strengths are held in greater supply, more readily available to boost one’s engagement.

How To Bring On Time (Actions)

Incorporate Self-time. Both individuals and corporate culture need to respect the value of self-time: time in which the employee frees herself physically, mentally and emotionally from the job. This can and should occur in a variety of ways. Self-time can be 5 minutes up and away from the desk, breathing deeply, and repeating an affirmation. Self-time may be a commitment to making the time between 11:30 and 12:30 non-working lunch time. Self-time may be the carefully built habit of not performing any aspect of work after a certain p.m. time; it may be that zero work is ever taken home.

De-meet Time. Many—likely an increasing number of—business days are riddled with meetings. There is likely truth to the belief that the value of meetings is in inverse proportion to the number of meetings. IOW: the more meetings, the less their value. The company can de-meet-ify itself by discouraging meetings and encouraging conversations and communications in less time-/energy-consuming ways. I’ll bet there will be minimal resistance from employees.

Experience Time. Take a new look at time. Post time-thought questions such as: What were your most valuable 10 minutes today? What time of day are you most productive? Do you schedule time for interruptions? How much time do you devote to planning your time? These will result in meaningful answers. They will also produce meaningful thought about time and what time means. That will lead to employees thinking about how they engage their time.

This and the previous 4 articles explored these engagement factors:

Any one factor will improve your business’s employee engagement. Any combination will increase it even more.

About the Author: Tim Wright is professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.

photo credit: [Void Of Time] via photopin (license)

Tips To Bring Creativity To Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.

This is No. 4 of 5 articles exploring specifics of employee engagement. We’ve examined WisdomSkills and Energies. Let’s look at Creativity, a talent every individual can engage in unlimited ways.

What Creativity Means (Definition)

Creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods and inspiration. For business, creativity is not “fine arts.” It is the ability to look at standard ways of doing things and standard things produced, and to see something different. That novel thinking is creativity. Every business needs it to continue progressing.

What Creativity Brings (Value)

Employees’ creativity brings value to the workplace.

Innovation. If creativity generates ideas, innovation puts those ideas to work. Innovation includes analyzing, designing, developing, implementing and evaluating the practical output of creativity. Innovation proves creativity is valuable. The business that wants plenty of employee engagement encourages plenty of creative output. The business that wants maximum “return on creativity” applies process and procedure that turn creativity into innovation.

Motivation. Creativity that is recognized motivates individuals to produce more creativity: to think and see and hear and imagine in new, different ways. Frequent, sincere and public idea celebration pushes employees to keep producing them. Here’s a caveat: encouraging only “good” ideas has a limiting effect. Insistence on judging ideas before sharing them automatically cuts their free-flow. Quality is found before quantity in the dictionary, but not when it comes to finding valuable ideas.

Inspiration. Inspiration pulls from inside (motivation pushes from outside). Inspiration lures an individual to exert her creative efforts, to share his creative ideas, to explore what’s unknown, knowing that’s where the good is found. Inspiration comes from excitement of feeling the brainstorm, seeing the light bulb flash, experiencing novelty’s rush. Inspiration comes from confidence that creative effort produces valuable results. Coming up with a new idea fuels the desire for another new idea. And another and another.

How to Bring Creativity On (Actions)

Opportunities. The business that induces creativity is sure to have higher levels of employee engagement. Opportunities to appreciate creativity, to experiment creatively, and to enjoy creative freedoms provide such inducement. Recognize the wide range opportunities to break away from same ol’, same ol’ thinking, opportunities that appeared at the start of the digital wave. Creative areas present inside and outside the building. Many creative tools—pads, markers, toys—stimulate imagination. Emphasize collaborative conversation (rather than always only reporting-to-the-manager).

Celebrations. Celebrating all creative activity (not just “success”) is a great first step to teaching creativity. Recognizing new ideas and celebrating their abundance is critical. Keep in mind: the more raw number of ideas, the more creatively “good” ideas among them. Encourage profusion. The celebration of new ideas can be an ordinary action; I’ve known managers who had “New Idea Share” as a regular agenda item for every meeting. The celebration of great ideas can have plenty of hoopla; I’ve known managers who featured “Creativity That Worked” events in which successful innovations were celebrated with plenty of fanfare.

Culture Vibes. How creative is your corporate culture? Are the freedoms to be creative, to test one’s creativity, to speak up and share creative thinking inherent parts of your organization’s personality? To be a vibrant part of your culture, the opportunity and enthusiasm for creativity must be prevalent. It is possible for an element of culture to be part of the norm and to receive ample attention. It’s up to leadership and management to see that creativity doesn’t become so taken for granted that it becomes an “unconscious competence” and loses its power.

Creativity holds a key role in the formula for Employee Engagement. It coordinates with WisdomSkills and Energies. The final component — Time — will be explored in our 5th of 5 articles.

About the Author: Tim Wright is professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.

photo credit: Light bulbs via photopin (license)

Tips To Bring Energies To Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.

This is No. 3 of five articles exploring specifics of employee engagement. We’ve examined wisdom and skills. Now let’s look at energies, which are resources every employee needs and are efforts engaged employees put forth.

What Energies Mean (Definition)

Energies: the capacities for vigorous activity, available power; the habits of vigorous activity, vigor as a characteristic. We apply the definition to work situations: energy drives and demonstrates action for the purpose of job completion, output, productive results. We distinguish three types of energy: physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy. Each contributes to employee engagement.

What Energies Bring (Value)

As with the other investments in one’s employee engagement, energy and engagement are mutually reinforcing. An energized employee engages more fully; an engaged employee draws energy from the engagement. This mutual enhancement generates specific values your company derives from increased attention to employee energy.

Quality. When energy is brought to work, the quality of performance and output increases. The employee with ample physical, mental and emotional energy approaches tasks more conscientiously and thoroughly. Mistakes are less likely, but if present more quickly rectified.That adds up to quality.

Commitment. Commitment to one’s work, one’s team, and one’s company demands energy. Attention to short-term tasks at hand and to long-term expectations demonstrates that commitment. Both attention types matter to the company and its success. How much and how well your company provides resources that energize employees can impact how much commitment and how much success.

Enthusiasm. Although not the same thing, employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and employee happiness all share a high level of employee enthusiasm. Typically for one’s job, one’s team and teammates, and for the company at large. Enthusiasm is an expression of energy, whether physical, mental or emotional. Enthusiasm serves any organization, from performance to profitability, from retention to revenue.

How To Bring Energies On (Actions)

A list of resources for developing energies is at the end of this article. Many of the resources offer blends of physical, mental, and/or emotional energizing tips. These immediate suggestions are separated by energy type.

Physical. When employees know their physical energy is valued, they give their energy ample attention. Frequent, energetic reminders and reinforcements will help. Specific attention to food, sleep and exercise scores high.  Also consider: Posters. Email reminders. Newsletter columns. Health benefits awards. Healthy foods at the cafeteria and in vending machines. Events celebrating good health and physical energy. These items just begin the list!

Mental. Mental energy increases the ability to use one’s knowledge and wisdom. Energy comes from relaxing the mind from (tiring) tasks and stimulating the mind with innovative thinking exercises. Filtering out decisions proactively clears the mind by not trying to handle every decision that “must be made” at this very moment. Mental diversions — regular breaks, puzzle books, games, no-talk-about-work areas — demonstrate value placed on mental energy and pragmatic ways for employees to boost it.

Emotional. How one feels about his or her work, team/teammates, and the company creates emotional energy. Positive energy generates positive engagement in the work. Stimulation of positive emotional energy is one aspect of emotional intelligence. Specific actions in the workplace contribute also: bright colors (in the office, as dress for certain days), fun events and environment, non-competitive games. Work requires too much time not to have good emotional energy for it.

The simple truth is this: the more ways you support and encourage employees’ energies, the stronger their employee engagement.

Keep an eye out for the next article; we will explore creativity’s contribution to employee engagement.

Resources For Energy:

To Work Better Just Get Up From Your Desk

5 Ways To Boost Employee Energy

Bored At Work Energy Tips

Super Charge Energy At Work: 10 Ways

21 Ways To Boost Energy

8 Unobvious Ways To Have More Energy At Work

55 Out Of The Ordinary Ways To Get More Energy

Help Employees Sleep Better

About the Author: Tim Wright is a professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.

photo credit: Enthusiasm Uncurbed via photopin (license)

The Connection Between Skills And Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement: individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.

We have explored wisdom. Now let’s explore employee skills and their connection to positive engagement for job, team and company.

What Skills Mean (definition)

Skills means application of knowledge, wisdom, and dexterity to specific elements of one’s work assignments. The transition from product economy to service economy has not lessened reliance on skills. Companies hire specific abilities that achieve profitable results. These include manual or intellectual, technical or social, mathematical or linguistic skills.

What Skills Bring (value)

Productivity. Refined skills generate employee productivity. Productivity combines effectiveness and efficiency. Effective skills application accomplishes results. Efficient skills application means least expenditure of resources in shortest time. Consider: a skilled employee produces more output and thus more value. Consider: that employee is more positively engaged for the company. Consider: company attention to ever-increasing those skills increases engagement value.

Pride. Human nature desires success. The resulting emotion is pride of success. When individuals approach a project proud of their skills, they engage more readily, more productively. Successful, those individuals relish another go at a bigger challenge. They want more opportunity to engage their skills. They are motivated to sharpen those skills for the next opportunity. Here is the dual value of skills engagement and skills improvement. That is a victorious cycle of greater success.

Profitability. The more skilled your employees, the more productive their output. The greater number and significance of opportunities to apply their skills, the more satisfied your employees. The more satisfied your employees, the greater your employee retention. The greater your retention, the more profitable your business. You might call this “empowerment”. The more employees are empowered to utilize and improve their skills, the greater profit a company is likely to experience.

How To Bring Skills On (actions)

How, then, does your organization focus on the skills component of your employees’ engagement? Here are three broad areas that cover many ways to boost engagement by boosting their skills. Keep in mind, by boosting an employee’s skills, you’re also boosting his or her engagement.

Recognition. Individuals take personal pride in what they do well. They experience more pride when what they do well is recognized. There are an infinite number of employee recognition tactics. The key here is recognizing specific skills, not just overall performance.

Suggestion: a recurrent chance for individuals to talk about their specific skill(s), how they developed them, what they’re doing to enhance them, what the skill means to them personally. This may be a constant agenda item at team meetings or a brief “interview” in regular newsletters.

Continuous Improvement. Does your company provide the learning chance for employees to improve their skills continuously? One sure way to show the company values employees and their individual skills is to make it easy for them to build those skills even greater. This may be with training, coaching, external education, professional/trade association membership, and subscriptions/libraries.

Suggestion: survey employees regularly, frequently. Offer formal and informal surveys, anonymous and identified surveys. Ask employees what information they want and need, and how they want it. Of course, be sure the survey results are treated with respect and that responses go to all employees quickly and clearly.

Added Opportunities. Invite employees to suggest more, better ways to use their skills. Increase their skills opportunities. This was called “out-of-the-box thinking,” and that’s a good name. Encourage employees to think out of the box in which their skills are normally applied. Give them the opportunity to follow that lead, to work from their productivity and their pride, and to generate greater profit potential.

One suggestion is an ongoing “suggestion box” inviting employees to suggest new, different ways to adapt and apply a specific skill. This should be supported with ample publicity and celebration.

We have looked at how business should focus on wisdom and skills as employee engagement elements. The next article will examine energies.

About the Author: Tim Wright is professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.

photo credit: CRYROLFE via photopin cc

Tips To Bring Wisdom To Employee Engagement

Employee Engagement is an individual’s investment of wisdom, skills, energies, creativity and time in the work assigned.

Each of my next five posts will explore one of those components: wisdom, skills, energies, creativity, and time. For easy study, each article will follow a pattern: What It Means (Definition), What It Brings (Value), and How To Bring It On (Actions).

What Wisdom Means (Definition)

Wisdom is the ability to think and act utilizing these factors: knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight. Wisdom impacts decisions, plans and actions for our business. That’s true for new products, site opening, market expansion, and personnel decisions. The more wisdom factors applied, the better the decision-making process, the better the decision.

What Wisdom Brings (Value)

These values results from wisdom employees apply to their work. The broader, deeper, more embedded their wisdom, the greater each value.

Competitive Advantage. The company performing from greater wisdom normally trumps its competitors. Knowledge may relate to product engineering, market movement, sales efficiency, operations expenses, human asset management. Experience that comes from past successes or failures is a learning source. Common sense and insight add the special touch to maximize the other wisdom factors. The head start and strong finish from talented employees’ wisdom is a decided competitive advantage.

Added Value. Positive attention to wisdom contributes to success and encourages employees  to “turn up their wisdom.” That results in added value. Work is done more quickly and with more quality. Product is designed or refined with an enthusiastic, clear eye to the market. Expenses are managed thanks to more ready attention to budgets. When employees are invited to bring their wisdom to the table, they do. When their wisdom generates a recognized return, they bring it again and again. Each return adds value.

Process/Performance Improvement. Applied wisdom drives the desire to make work processes better: more efficient, more effective, more enjoyable, more error-free. Opportunities to use wisdom motivate improvement of one’s performance, team’s performance, and company’s performance. Employee engagement generates improved performance. Certainly, the effort to improve performance or process is engagement by the employee.

How To Bring Wisdom On (Actions)

Each suggestion is a category of actions you may discover, design, create for application in your company, with your employees. These are to key your employees in to their wisdom, motivate their nurturing that wisdom and generate their ownership of their wisdom-actions.

Information. Few things are more frustrating than not having base information to tackle a project. Few things are more wasted than information lying around without application. Information and action reinforce each other. When the information is available, invite employees to verbalize how it might be used. Then trigger their wisdom-machine by inviting “how else?” When there’s a task to be done but information is missing, invite employees to specify what information they need. Then trigger their wisdom-machine by asking, “How might we gather that info?”

Challenge. Humans enjoy challenges. Humans enjoy rising to challenges. A challenge must be beatable. A challenge must not be so mundane it seems a waste of time. Engage your employees in challenges that will accomplish something for the good of the company AND call upon their wisdom resources (knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, intuition) AND stretch their “think-ability”. An excellent challenge is to have employees apply stories (true, of course) to successful challenge experiences. Stories about challenge engage employees in applying their wisdom.

Stimulate. Wisdom is something we possess, we rely on, and makes us feel good when we see its results. But it doesn’t get a lot of up-front attention (unless this posting changes that). Consider installing and encouraging what I’ve called “thought-changers” among your employees. Give them specific encouragements to think in a different way, a different direction, with different logical tools. This article offers five thought-changing activities: 5 Thought Changers to Grow Employee Engagement.

Wisdom is a powerful fuel for employee engagement and talent engagement. It is but 1 of 5 fuels. Next we’ll look at Skills.

About the Author: Tim Wright is professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.

photo credit: giopuo via photopin cc

What Talent Management, Engagement And Culture Share

Company success links directly to what talent management, employee engagement and organizational culture have in common. The causal link among the three elements is powerful. It’s much like a rowing crew’s connection among rowers, oars, and scull.

Previously defined, talent management is an organization’s commitment to recruit, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available.

That commitment is enhanced by effective employee engagement, a buzz-phrase for the past several years. Employee engagement is the individual’s investment of her/his time, energy, skills, knowledge, and creativity in the efforts and directions set by the organization.

Organizational culture contributes to a business’s employee engagement. We define organizational culture as the values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of an organization.

Your company’s culture offers critical engagement factors. These factors impact the three talent management components: recruitment, retention and development.

Talent Management: Recruitment

Recruitment currently targets those in Generation Y, the Millennial generation. Recruitment is a talent candidate’s first contact with your company. Recruitment should positively engage that candidate from the get-go. Organizational culture has a say in how you recruit, and therefore in how (well) you engage. Consider this about Millennials:

  • They seek work that is social. They are technologically savvy. They want jobs that motivate by time off and job satisfaction, rather than just by compensation.
  • They appreciate recruitment via use of social media. They expect personalized attention. They anticipate internet-speed responsiveness.

How does your company’s recruitment process and procedure measure up?

Talent Management: Retention

Retention remains the money-saver to talent management. It is costly to hire, onboard, and bring a new hire up to speed. Strong employee engagement delivers stronger employee retention.

The SilkRoad Talent Talk Report 2014 states: “…in an unpredictable financial climate, companies need loyal, productive, and engaged employees more than ever. Employee engagement emerged as the most pressing concern…” Indeed, 53% of the 3,700 survey respondents indicated their company lacked an attractive culture to engage employees.

A company culture that offers, encourages, and maintains engagement by employees impacts every individual. Baby Boomers savor a workplace in which they can engage their energies and values. Gen Y workers relish a company that recognizes their independent skills. Generations in between approve of the chance to engage for their own reasons.

What salient employee engagement factors does your business culture provide?

Talent Management: Development

Development is significant action played by talent management. Developing employees from Day 1 throughout their time of service demonstrates company commitment. That commitment, perhaps greater than any other offering, stimulates employee engagement. The commitment to such development can be a cornerstone value of a company’s culture.

Employees have always requested, accepted and appreciated training, education, mentoring and development. They have asked welcomed opportunities to engage in personal and professional improvement. Consider the variety of ways an organization may satisfy that engagement:

  • Training that is job-specific or professionally generic.
  • Coaching and/or mentoring.
  • Formal education through university partnerships, tuition reimbursement, and online credits.
  • Professional associations and conferences.

Does your company offer developmental opportunities in each of these categories?

The connection is clear. Organizational culture can generate employee engagement. Employee engagement can support the three legs of talent management. They have in common a shared contribution to your business’s successful competition.

About the Author: Tim Wright is a professional speaker/coach/facilitator with expertise in employee engagement and culture improvement.

photo credit: rexboggs5 via photopin cc