Employee Engagement Questions Every Manager Should Know

Hello everyone–

The economy is warming up and there are lots of workers thinking about quitting their current job and going somewhere else.  Are your managers and supervisors taking care of their people?  Are they keeping them motivated and engaged with their jobs?

Employee engagement is critical in keeping the workforce attentive, motivated and satisfied with their jobs.  As I have said in my speeches and writings, the relationship between the individual and his/her manager is critical.  Here are 11 questions every manager should know about the people working for them.

1. What would cause you to take another job with another company tomorrow?

2. When do you feel most appreciated for what you do?

3. What are you overdue for?

4. What prevents you from doing your best?

5. Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right?

6. What strengths and skills do you have our team can use?

7. In the last six months, have you had opportunities to learn and grow at work?

8. What opportunities can we provide to assume greater responsibility, autonomy or achieve greater visibility?

9. Does your manager, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?

10. Do your ideas, suggestions and opinions seem to count?

11. Does the mission/purpose of your organization make you feel your job is important?

For additional advice, tips and strategies, sign up for our newsletter and on this blog.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International

Chartcourse.com | HighperformanceOrganization.com

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Chinese Employers Struggle to Retain Workers

The Law of Supply and Demand is alive and well in China today. China’s
supposed never-ending supply of cheap factory workers is drying up.
Retention is becoming a serious problem for companies in China. Wages and
benefits are increasing. Employers are facing a shortage of labor. Their
responses to these issues will have important implications locally and
globally.

Peter Cappelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at The Wharton
School, recently returned from spending a month in China. He found a labor
market in transition. Not surprisingly, factory work in China is not
high-status. Companies wanted to find people to work at low wages in their
factories located in the East; they recruited people from rural areas of
western China, where there were limited work opportunities.

Up to this point, Chinese employers have not treated their employees very
well, because they did not have to. There has always been a line of people
waiting for work.

About two years ago after the Spring Festival (an unpaid month-long
adjustment to workers’ desires to visit home), it started becoming slightly
more difficult to retain workers. Apparently, some people did not come back
to work after their breaks. In reaction, employers sent representatives to
workers’ villages, distributing presents and money to encourage them to come
back. In addition, raising wages had no effect on retention, because
everybody was doing it.

In the past, when workers did not return to work, employers just hired new
ones. Now, companies are finding more and more workers coming back later and
later, because they know there will be vacancies. If they do not go back to
work for their previous employers, they know there will be other companies
more desperate to hire them, after operations have resumed.

Returning employees are now checking all the factories in their areas to see
what wages the other companies are offering. Moreover, Chinese companies are
also paying hiring bonuses, only they call them “switching fees”. Chinese
employees are clearly in the driver’s seat.

Our forecast: expect to see a major shift in the way employers treat Chinese
workers. These employers will “add value” in ways that will be meaningful to
their employees and it will not be just money. Improving living and working
conditions, training supervisors and managers, offering career pathing, and
even directly supporting families back home are but a few ways we can expect
to see employers adding value. The challenge will be to continue to keep
prices low as well.

Special thanks to LRP Publication’s Human Resource Executive Online for
publishing Peter Cappelli valuable insights from his recent trip to China.

Source: Joyce Gioia is a Strategic Business Futurist and Professional Speaker.

For more information, visit http://www.hermangroup.com/joyce.html.

Or to sign up for The Herman Trend Alert at http://www.hermanTrendAlert.com

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International

Chartcourse.com | HighperformanceOrganization.com

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How to Reduce Turnover | Employee Turnover is on the Increase

Employee turnover is starting to increase.  Employers need to take steps and prevent losing their loyal and skilled workers now.

George is an account manager.  He has been working for the same employer for the past four years. In the past two months two of his team members have quit and taken jobs with another company. He used to love his job and enjoy going to work.  He has not got a pay raise in a long time.  Human Resources told him, “The economy is still bad and he should be happy he has a job.”  He and his wife are expecting their first child in a few weeks. Now he is tired, frustrated and feels cheated.

Many of those who have stuck it out with their employers during this recession are deciding it is time to update their resume and start looking for a better job somewhere else. Over the past few years, employees have grown increasingly unhappy with their jobs and their employers for many reasons. Some feel their employers have cut back too far.  Others feel their organization has taken advantage of them. Some have not seen a pay raise, bonus or promotion in years.  Their friends are starting to get pay raises, why not them?

Here We Go Again…

With every economic downturn I have seen, the same circle of events repeat itself. The economy starts improving.  Friends start talking about getting better paying jobs and pay raises.  The media sounds more optimistic.  Employers that have done a poor job taking care of their people discover they are in big trouble. This cycle will be no different.

Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking it is cheaper to find a skilled replacement for less money.  Sure, employers can find plenty of people willing to take a job for less. But the cost of replacing a skilled employee is far more expensive than most realize.

If you are an employer, you need to evaluate your pay and benefits.  Insure you minimize job dissatisfaction by providing a good work environment with competitive pay and benefits. Money is important—but it is not the most important factor in every case.

In general, there are five important areas that lead to employee turnover and low job satisfaction.

  • Poor match between the person and the job
  • Poor fit with the organizational climate and culture
  • Poor alignment between pay and performance
  • Poor connections between the individual, their coworkers and the supervisor
  • Poor opportunities for growth and advancement

Greg Smith helps businesses create good places to work that attract, keep and engage people.  Sign up for his free monthly newsletter for additional tips and advice.

 

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International

Chartcourse.com | HighperformanceOrganization.com

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Posted in Employee Engagement, Employee Recognition, Employee Retention, Employee Turnover, Good Places to Work, Human Resource Management, Job Satisfaction, Talent Management | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Block the Exits or Start Building Employee Loyalty

Excellent article from Enterprise Engagement Alliance

Block the Exits or Start Building Employee Loyalty

Research shows employee and employer confidence in the health of the U.S. economy is growing, but it’s a bumpy ride. Employees have been beaten up over the past several years. They’ve survived budget cuts and layoffs, been asked to do more with less and have shouldered the burden of many of those decisions. As a result, two out of every three of your employees are likely to be heading for the exits and new jobs when the U.S. economy turns around. An engagement strategy focused on transparency, communication and recognition for their loyalty could stem that rush to the door. Three ways to quickly turn the situation around are 1) Build transparency within your organization, 2) Provide opportunities for growth, and 3) Reward employees for meeting or exceeding those expectations. Here’s how… Read the full report

via Enterprise Engagement Alliance: Articles : Block the Exits or Start Building Employee Loyalty.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International

Chartcourse.com | HighperformanceOrganization.com

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How to Engage and Retain Your Top Talent Webseminar

I hope you can join me on my upcoming webseminar on February 23!

People who are not engaged or motivated by their jobs create a major concern for their employers. Research shows as the economy rebounds, organizations will see their most promising talent abandon ship in high numbers. The key to success for any organization is the ability to attract and retain skilled and talented people. Those that fail to make employee retention a priority now risk losing their top talented people to the competition. This seminar shows you how to design an effective employee strategy that provides a comprehensive road map for not only attracting and keeping talented employees, but for motivating and engaging them to achieve a higher level of performance.

Thursday, February 23

3:00-4:00 p.m. EDT

No Charge/Complimentary

Limited to the first 100 people!

Register now!

Also come hear me speak at the 22nd Annual SHRM-Atlanta HR Conference

Topic: Employee Engagement Strategies for Breakthrough Performance

March 14, 2012

More information:

via Navigator Newsletter #184.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International

Chartcourse.com | HighperformanceOrganization.com

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How Nucor Steel Rewards Performance and Productivity

Nucor Steel is one of the few remaining steel companies in the U.S. To remain competitive in its industry, it focuses on two clear goals: building steel manufacturing facilities economically, and operating the facilities productively.

To achieve these goals, Nucor has streamlined and decentralized management and allows each plant to operate as independent business units. Only four layers of management exist: Chairman, Vice Chairman and President; Vice President-General Manager; Department Managers; supervisor/Professional; and hourly employees. Only 22 employees—eight managers and 14 administrative employees—work in the corporate headquarters. Senior executives do not have company cars, dining rooms, executive parking spaces or corporate jets. Everyone from the janitors to the CEO has the same basic but generous benefits plan.

Nucor’s employee relations philosophy is simple and effective:

Employees should have the opportunity to earn according their productivity.

If employees do their job well today, they should have a job tomorrow. (They haven’t laid off employees in 28 years.)

Employees have a right to be treated fairly. The company listens to employees through crew meetings, department meetings, shop dinners and employee surveys.

Employees must have an avenue of appeal if they believe they have been treated unfairly. This complaint procedure allows employees to carry their complaints to the President of the company.

Nucor backs up its philosophy with a unique pay-for-performance compensation system. Salaried employees receive 0 to 25 percent of their salary based on the Return on Assets (ROA) of their plant. Employees earn money based on their individual productivity. While employees are paid a lower than industry average hourly rate, they qualify for an exceptional performance bonus if they exceed hourly quotas. For example, the steel industry average says an individual should be able to straighten 10 tons of steel an hour. Nucor’s goal is to straighten 8 tons an hour. Employees get an additional 5 percent bonus for every ton over 8 tons they can straighten. They typically average 35 to 40 tons an hour. However, if they are late to work they lose their bonus for the day. And if they miss a day of work during the week they lose their bonus for the entire week.

Department Managers also have base salaries that are lower than what other plants pay. But they qualify for an annual bonus based on their plant’s ROA that varies from 0 to 82 percent of their salary. They get an additional bonus based on the weekly production of their crews of 100-200 percent of base salary.

Senior officers have one compensation system. They do not get profit sharing, pensions, bonuses or retirement plans, and their base salaries are also set below industry averages. They receive one annual bonus based on the return of shareholders equity above certain minimum earnings. Paid 60 percent in stock and 40 percent in cash, the bonus ranges from 0 to several hundred percent of salary.

This unique way of rewarding productivity keeps Nucor’s productivity high and its absenteeism at a low 1 to 1.5 percent a year. Employees see a direct correlation between what they do and their paychecks—a major incentive, and a key strength of the program. In fact, this program prompts such high performance that employees were refusing to take time off. The company began forcing them to take time off by giving employees four extra days off a year. Even so, only half their employees use their four extra days!

via Nucor steel and productivity.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International

Chartcourse.com | HighperformanceOrganization.com

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Good Communication in the Workplace

Through communication collaboration and teamwork, common goals, commitment to joint vision, respect and support for team members can be accentuated. In tougher times, when someone drops the ball, someone else is always there to pick it up.   As a result this improves self confidence, motivates employees to go above and beyond and stay calm under pressure. That makes the difference in success and failure.

Another communication skill featured in Vital Learning’s Essential Skills of Communicating™ is the ability to design clear, concise messages. At the baseline this means the following:

• Communicating with concise words and sentences
• Using specific terms
• Choosing commonly understood and respectful words

Most people have to work at designing good messages. In order to obtain credibility, it is important to identify and articulate the strongest point of shared interest.

Leaders can further their communication effectiveness by creating rules of engagement, providing comfortable boundaries and encouraging feedback for increased innovation. Managers and supervisors also help team members overcome friction in diverse groups by motivating them to work through differences.

In today’s diverse workplace, designing appropriate messages may be even more difficult. Understanding the complexities helps develop open honest discussions that are tolerant of individual differences. Supervisors and managers should set an example of good communication that helps team members think, communicate and work differently for the greater good of the team and the organization. Providing consistent, clear and relevant feedback for diverse individuals and groups is essential.

The Importance of Both Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Research also indicates that it is important for leaders to show employees they matter through both verbal and nonverbal communication. Communication can be the single biggest factor in engaging and retaining employees. Often supervisors do not spend enough time talking with employees, and when they do, they may make the mistake of sending the wrong nonverbal cues.

Leaders who are consistent with one-on-ones, as well as chatting with and listening to employees, show employees they care. The Gallup Organization indicates that caring is one of the elements identified in predicting employee and workgroup performance, and it links to critical business outcomes, including productivity and profitability.

In working with high performers, for example, studies show that if these employees don’t receive feedback and don’t know where they stand, they are more likely to become disengaged. The Center for Creative Leadership research shows that only about 40 percent of employers formally tell employees of their status, and this leads to attrition.

“One hundred percent of leadership happens through conversations that pull people into a game, not through sitting back and creating things,” said Ken Luce, global COO, Hill & Knowlten.

Thus, communication means that leaders set time for formal one-on-one communication, as well as informal communication as they walk the shop floor, read email messages or blog on the company Intranet. Social media is an important part of employee engagement, according to the International Association of Business Communications (IABC). These forms of communication influence organizational agendas, priorities and goals. News feeds, blogs and collaboration tools are ways to both listen to and engage employees.

You Hear Them, But Are You Listening?

Listening, another essential communication skill, includes the ability to reflect, probe, support and advise. It builds trust and commitment, which steadily nurture employees and the organization for shared purpose. Using listening skills reinforces employee emotional attachment to the company. Listening is also the catalyst for problem-solving by inviting varied opinions, tapping into expertise and encouraging people to express what they really think. This heightened sense of trust and respect is what employees crave.

Communicating effectively takes time and is required to determine company direction and priorities. Many organizations underestimate the value of well-trained leaders who give attention to interpersonal details. Without this, missteps occur, and the ability for the organization to glean the information necessary to be successful diminishes.

So, train your supervisors on the essential skills of communicating. Address the needs of both seasoned managers and new managers by reducing barriers to training. Include team-building by giving and receiving constructive feedback, emotional intelligence and building trust and relationships. Your local Vital Learning affiliate can help you build your organization’s communication training strategies.

Empowered with the essentials of communicating, your managers and supervisors will achieve more in work and life.

Thought for the Day
“The results of our encounters are rarely neutral; they are almost always positive or negative. And although we take these interactions for granted, they accumulate and profoundly affect our lives,”
— Tom Rath, Author of How Full Is Your Bucket?

Melodae Morris
Leadership Matters and Vital Learning

Melodae Morris is the founder of M Morris Group specializing in people, process, performance and productivity.

Visit our management training courses.

Greg Smith | Lead Navigator | 770-860-9464 | Chart Your Course International

Chartcourse.com | HighperformanceOrganization.com

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