If everyone was paid a salary with health benefits and didn’t have to do anything for it, would they still want to work? Do your friends describe their jobs in a disparaging way? What motivates employees and provide a sense of accomplishment? Have I asked enough questions?
Unfortunately, many companies have failed to engage their employees and are still failing today. It was pretty bad before the economic downturn and now, post-downturn and massive layoffs, those still employed are overworked, feeling intimidated, and not feeling better about their jobs (other than having one). What happened to a motivated workforce?
A few years back when I managed teams of professionals, I searched for ways to engage, offer enjoyment and a sense of connection with the company, and mesh their hearts with the company’s mission. It was important that the team feel a sense of personal and professional growth and an excitement when they came to work each day. I hope that I succeeded on some level and that’s why I was very pleased to recently read a related blog on the Huffington Post by Judah Schiller, co-founder and CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi S.
It was refreshing. He gets it! Techniques I employed were mentioned in the piece entitled “5 Must-Dos to Engage Your Employees in 2011”. Essential ideas to avoid a lack of employee engagement - the malaise found in many companies today were reviewed:
Schiller suggests a need for refreshed thinking and engaging employees to define corporate challenges and develop solutions to those challenges. The blogger recommends employing associates at all levels of the company, soliciting their input and engaging them in regular surveys to determine what makes them happy, how they like to work, and to get to the root of what can get them excited!
I have always believed that if your team is having fun, if they feel alive and alert, they will bring a fresh attitude to their engagements with other employees and most importantly the customer. Schiller suggests using social good as a means to forming a common cause and rallying point for employees. He also proposes viral and grassroots learning. Having been the beneficiary of grassroots learning in its finest form, I can attest to how it has helped me do my job better and be more open to helping others do theirs too. Schiller speaks about creating a company of micro-philanthropists – allowing employees to getting involved in causes meaningful to them (rather than the top-down approach often used.)
The next time you enter a business establishment, look around. Can you tell if the employees are engaged and happy to be there? Try to determine what message their interaction with you is sending. You may realize that while a company sends many marketing messages, their employees are marketing ambassadors too. Corporate America: Get creative in keeping your employees happy, learning, engaged, and the results may just be the best marketing ever!
(c) Alder & Associates, 2011