5 Key Drivers of Employee Engagement

Employee Disengagement

Disengaged employees have needs that are being neglected. As soon as they begin lacking motivation and become disengaged from their daily work, their productivity plummets. Many employers then think the best solution is to increase salaries, benefits and perks. Those tactics might work for a while, but in the long run those solutions are doomed. Managers then become desperate and hire an outside consulting firm to come in and issue an employee engagement survey to the entire staff. They might then discuss various employee engagement best practices, staff retention strategies or employee recognition ideas. But employee engagement programs and workshops won’t work if 5 key drivers are missing. As a leader in your organization you want to focus on the 5 key drivers of employee engagement to ensure that your staff feel they are:

  • Connected: building relationships with others
  • Contributing: doing something meaningful
  • Free: have a sense of choice and autonomy
  • Growing: developing personally and professionally
  • Having Fun: really enjoying their time at work

Key Drivers of Employee Engagement

Key Driver #1: Connection

Companies with employees who have strong personal ties to each other have far higher employee engagement rates than those who are lacking. To connect with your employees, create greater trust and loyalty by being more authentic. Great leaders connect deeply with their employees by paying attention to what’s important to them. Carve out some time each week to grab lunch or a coffee with your key team members to get to know them personally. Finally, let them know that you and the company care for them. As their need to belong is met, they will give more of themselves.

Key Drivers of Employee Engagement

Key Driver #2: Contribution

We all want to be doing something significant with our lives and have those efforts recognized. Studies show employees are happiest when they know they are making a difference and helping others. Often their contribution goes unnoticed. Metrics for measuring an employee’s contribution should shift from measuring their individual performance to measuring their team’s performance. To help your direct reports feel they are contributing something meaningful, share a client story that shows them the difference they’ve made in someone’s life. And don’t forget to recognize and publicly celebrate their accomplishments whenever you can.

Key Drivers of Employee Engagement

Key Driver #3: Freedom

Employees are far more loyal and productive in workplace environments that respect their freedom and encourage their self-expression. To ensure your staff feels a sense of autonomy, remind them that everything they do is a choice. Choice is power, and when your employees believe they have a choice they will become more engaged in the process. Decentralize whatever authority you can to give your workers more decision-making power. This will empower them and make your company much more efficient.

Key Drivers of Employee Engagement

Key Driver #4: Growth

If your staff feels they are not making progress in their own personal development they will soon become disconnected and seek opportunities elsewhere. Ensure that each employee is constantly challenged so that they can grow. The greater a person’s belief in their own power to influence an outcome, the more likely they are to succeed with a new challenge.

To help your employees grow, try building confidence. For example, if an employee thinks they aren’t experienced enough to manage a project you can remind them of their unique strengths and capabilities. Or have inexperienced employees watch other colleagues with similar skills perform more advanced tasks. Seeing others with similar abilities succeed at a task will help them develop positive, “can-do” beliefs.

Recognition and positive feedback are key to helping your employees feel more competent, motivated and open to growth. Negative feedback can devastate those with low self-esteem.

Finally, optimize the environment. Create a vibrant, energetic, stress-free workplace that encourages your employees to get the food, exercise, rest and water their bodies need so they can perform at their best.

Key Drivers of Employee Engagement

Key Driver #5: Fun

If work isn’t fun, your employees will eventually burnout. Companies like Apple and Google have taken the lead into turning their organizations into work places that encourage freedom and fun. Making your workplace fun will raise your employees’ morale and energy and is the key to stimulating their creativity and innovation. It will also help decrease stress and turnover, as well as strengthen the relationships of all of your employees. Make your workplace a lot more fun by gathering your team together for a 30-minute brainstorming session, then voting and Implementing 3-4 fun new ideas.

Conclusion

The most successful leaders in the world unleash the energy and creative power of their employees not by mastering employee engagement best practices, staff retention strategies or employee recognition ideas, but by honoring those five key drivers. They know that what really motivates and engages their employees – once their basic financial needs have been met – is their desire to grow and develop as human beings, connect and collaborate with others, and contribute something to a worthy cause- all while having fun.

About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli is an award-winning speaker, seminar leader, coach and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need, Raising Employee Engagement from the Core. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an employee engagement and leadership development group that helps C-level executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. To book Ascanio for your next speaking event or workshop, please call him at 310-913-2313 or visit apexceo.com.

Creating and Implementing Your Company Vision

A vision is a picture of where your organization will be in 3, 5, 10, and 20 years.

The Importance of a Vision

A vision creates clarity and unity of purpose and will:

  • Unite and inspire your stakeholders.
  • Guide you and your C-Suite executives when faced with challenging decisions.
  • Give your employees a sense of:
    • Purpose.
    • Direction.
    • Motivation.

Without a clear vision your company and its employees will have no idea where they are headed. People are motivated to perform when they have a clear understanding of your organization’s purpose and direction. Visions affect a company’s structure and the working relationships of team members. Once created, you can then use a vision statement to clearly communicate your vision to your enterprise.

Purpose of a Vision Statement

Your vision statement should:

  • Provide a general direction for your organization.
  • Not address details.
  • Make decision making easier.

Every major decision your organization makes should be aligned with the vision statement.

Characteristics of a Vision Statement

Great vision statements are:

  • Clear. If a twelve year old doesn’t understand it then it’s not clear enough. Visions that are hard to explain eventually fade into oblivion.
  • General. A vision statement describes what you will do, not how you will do it. The simpler, the better. No details, please.
  • Inspiring. Is the vision a worthy cause? A vision statement should describe a tangible benefit to a large audience. The more you and your team find the vision exciting, the more you will want to achieve it.
  • Challenging. A great vision will require people to perform at their best. Although the vision should be realistic, it should really stretch a company’s resources.

Perhaps the greatest vision statement of all time came from John F. Kennedy when he declared the Unites States would land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. What would the equivalent statement for your company be?

Creating Your Vision

Creating a vision statement helps you and the rest of your organization see exactly where you want to be in 3, 5, 10, or 20 years. Your company’s vision statement should be clear, concise and a reflection of its values and mission. It is not an exact roadmap; it just points the general direction.

To help develop your vision statement:

  • What are your company’s core values? Why?
  • What is your company’s mission, i.e. it’s reason for existence?
  • What are your company’s strengths?
  • What does your company really want to accomplish?
  • Do team members share the same values?

Team Involvement

Your vision will affect everyone in an organization. If a company is to grow it will need to update its vision from time to time. By involving your c-suite executives with the creation of a new vision you will obtain their:

  • Trust. Relationships are built on trust, and including your team in important decisions is a perfect way to build loyalty and trust with them.
  • Respect. Showing respect is a great way to gain it. Involving your leadership with creating the new vision will also help them feel valued and worthy.
  • Insights. At times, great ideas come from the most unlikely of places. An open forum, or brainstorming session with the entire team often reveals great new opportunities.
  • Commitment. Executives will be far more willing to commit to the vision if they feel that their opinions were heard. Listening to your employees will always empower them and ensure that your leaders feel they contributed to its development.
  • Collaboration. Division leaders will have a greater desire to commit to a vision if they know the rest of the team is equally committed. Knowing the company will be working together as a team will help your executives feel confident and supported.

Executing Your Vision

Proper execution requires that you and the upper management:

  • Clearly communicate the company vision to the entire organization.
  • Get a commitment from each of the company’s executives.

Communicating Your Vision

To communicate a vision effectively organizational leaders must:

  • Be confident. Once you have your vision your executives must fully support it. There can be no room for doubt or second guessing.
  • Over-communicate the vision, iterating it whenever possible.
  • Be enthusiastic. Nothing energizes a team more than genuine enthusiasm.
  • Maintain integrity. Your actions and those of your leaders should reflect a commitment to the vision.

Successful communication means that c-suite members understand:

  • How they can support the vision.
  • What’s expected of them.

Getting their Commitment

To get a commitment from each c-level executive:

  • Get the Buy-In. People seldom care about something that doesn’t personally benefit them in some way. To get their support you can ask them an empowering question like, “How do your values align with our company’s mission/vision.”
  • Request a verbal or written commitment. Members are far more likely to commit to something if they have already promised to support it.

Conclusion

A vision is a clear picture of where your organization will be in 3, 5, 10, or 20 years and will create clarity, confidence and unity of purpose. A great vision can make decision making easier and inspire your employees to greatness.

To survive and grow, you will need to adapt your vision periodically; change can be swift and unexpected as opportunities arise and new technologies are developed. Revising the vision will help your organization more effectively capitalize on new trends, emerging markets and situational opportunities; involving them with crafting your new vision will earn their trust, respect, insights and commitment.

Employee Engagement Training and Development

Employee Engagement Training and Development
Employee Engagement Training and Development

Employee Engagement Training and Development

The most successful leaders know that their job is like that of a great coach: unleash the full power, energy and potential of their team members. They know that people, even the best athletes, are only ever limited by their own mindsets. They know that attitude is altitude and that the difference between a champion and a runner-up is often determined before either team sets foot on the field. The best leaders and coaches use every tool at their disposable to become masters in their field and so should you.

High employee engagement levels separate industry leaders from industry laggards. Now, a glut of indisputable research proves that nothing yields a greater return on investment than a successful employee engagement training and development program. Our leadership workshops and training will give your leaders the necessary tools to raise their energy, as well as the energy of their colleagues. Your level of performance is directly correlated to your level of engagement , which in turn is dictated by your level of energy. Success is a byproduct of that energy: the more energy you have, the more successful you and your organization will be. The greater your ability to raise the energy levels of those around you (and get their Buy In) the more effective you will be leading others and having them perform at their best.

What could your organization achieve if it could access its workforce’s full potential? What would stand in your way if your employees showed up at work with two, three or four times the energy they now have? What would be possible if your entire team adopted new “Anything is Possible!” perspectives? A perspective not filled with new-age, wishy-washy, positive thinking but a perspective that is grounded in knowing that: now, whatever was limiting you before is no longer present; now, you have a set of new tools to shift your perspective whenever you need to; now, you and your team can raise your level of energy when needed.

Studies prove that higher levels of energy are associated with higher levels of satisfaction in all areas of your life: leadership, finances, relationships, personal development, achievement, etc. Your current overall energy (or state of consciousness, awareness or engagement) consists of every thought, feeling, and emotion you’ve had up up to the present moment. Each of these experiences are like tiny filters that form the lens through which you view, interpret and experience the world today. That lens is your perspective, and it determines how readily you are able to tap your full potential. Most lenses are clouded with filters that limit our potential, however continuous awareness eventually brings increased power and freedom.

Imagine you wake up one day to discover that you are living in a home that is seven stories tall, with wrap-around balconies on each floor. As you ascend your home you find that each story has a different view of the surrounding neighborhood. Every balcony gives you a unique perspective and a new choice that allows you to respond in a way that you might not have previously considered. The higher you rise, the more expansive the views- and the more you’re able to tap into all of your energy. For example, from the third floor you have three views and three different choices, but from the seventh floor you now have seven unique options from which to choose.

We all live in these seven-story buildings, but few of us ever venture off the first few floors. This limits our potential since the first few floors are catabolic (draining and destructive). Living on the bottom levels means we tend to react to our circumstances, not realizing we have other options available to us. Each higher perspective gives us increasing power and freedom and new ways to respond to any given situation. Our employee engagement training and development program will help your team view the world from each of these seven stories, so they can raise their energy when needed, and lead more productively by consciously choosing the most advantageous approach. Learn more about apex CEO’s unique employee engagement training and development program by calling 310.913.2313.

 

Ascanio Pignatelli is an employee engagement expert. He is an award winning speaker, seminar leader, coach, and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need: Raising Employee Engagement from the Core. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. To find out how Ascanio can help your next speaking event or executive leadership / employee engagement workshops please call 310.913.2313.

Employee Engagement Ideas for Managers

Employee Engagement Ideas for Managers
Employee Engagement

31 Employee Engagement Ideas for Managers

According to Gallup’s latest Employee Engagement Poll, 87% of the global workforce is disengaged. It’s now more important than ever to inspire, motivate and engage your leadership team. To do that you’ll want to appeal to what matters most to them. What follows is a list of key employee engagement ideas for managers, directors and senior executives alike.

  1. Align your employee’s values with their work or task at hand whenever possible. This is Employee Engagement Rule #1, because it is what motivates them beyond a paycheck.
  2. Ask for their feedback- all the time. Be open to modifying company policies, strategy and especially your leadership style so you can be more effective and empowering as a leader.
  3. Be clear and concise with your communication to them. Don’t ever assume they know what your saying unless there is proof otherwise.
  4. Over-communicate the information they need to work effectively. Ensure that they know exactly what your priorities and needs are right now. The most disengaged employees usually have no idea what they should be doing.
  5. As much as you can involve your direct reports whenever you are making an important decision- especially if their welfare is at stake.
  6. Have your leadership team co-create or help you modify your company’s new vision.
  7. Regarding the tasks they’ve been assigned make sure they:
    1. Are capable of doing them.
    2. Have sufficient time to complete them.
    3. Know why its important they do them.
    4. Get the necessary feedback so they can be successful with each task.
  8. Make sure your staff doesn’t feel too overwhelmed. Keep offering them support even when you think they don’t need it.
  9. Challenge any negativity in their mindset. For example:
    1. If they have a Limiting Belief about their ability to perform a task of role by asking them “How true is that really?” or “Where did you get that belief?”
    2. If they have an opinionated story about a person or situation that is impeding their effectiveness as a leader ask them: “What’s another way to look at that?” or “How would someone who could easily accomplish the task you find challenging see your situation?”
    3. When you hear a direct report making an assumption that limits them, curiously ask them “Just because that happened in the past, why must it happen again now?”
    4. Finally, when you hear an employee tell you: “I’m not cut out for this.” simply remind them that thats their Rogue Inner Critic that wants them to play small and play it safe.
  10. LISTEN to your direct reports as if they are the most important people in the world to you. This is the greatest gift you can give them, and yourself.
  11. When an employee is upset, don’t get defensive or take it personally. This will only escalate the situation. Simply acknowledge and validate their complaint or concern. Repeat back what you’ve heard so they know they’ve been heard. Often a simple acknowledgment that its completely understandable for them to feel that way is all they really want or need.
  12. Become a master at using empowering questions as often as possible. For example:
    1. What’s the worst that can happen?
    2. What do you want to accomplish.
    3. What have you learnt from that?
    4. What makes this important to you?
    5. How has it worked for you?
    6. What can you take away from that experience?
    7. What other options do you see?
    8. What else can you try?
    9. What’s another way of looking at that?
    10. What is your plan going forward?
    11. How can I support you?
  13. In smaller team meetings start by asking each staff member:
    1. What’s a success we can celebrate today?
    2. What else is going really well?
    3. What are some possible challenges you might be facing?
  14. Remind your colleagues how critical they are to the organization’s success.
  15. Publicly recognize and celebrate each employee’s success whenever the opportunity arises.
  16. Get their BUY-IN whenever you can by putting a choice in their hands.
  17. Remind your team members how their work is positively impacting a client or the organization.
  18. Make sure they know how much you and the company values, respects and appreciates them. The greatest leaders put their employees- not their customers- ahead of everyone else.
  19. Look for ways to cut the red tape by giving your employees more power to make frontline decisions. Your trust in them will help decrease your workload, increase their confidence and make your company more efficient.
  20. Don’t micromanage. Helicopter bosses often trigger a person’s insecurities and feeling of incompetence.
  21. Give them the autonomy they need. Consider hoteling opportunities so your employees can have more flexible work schedules.
  22. Without overwhelming them, make sure they are always challenged, and developing personally and professionally. Boredom is disengagement’s best friend.
  23. Give up you’re need to be right, even when you know you are! It takes a big person to swallow their ego.
  24. Raise their self esteem whenever you can. See the gifts and greatness in each of your employees.
  25. Be expressive with your emotions, but manage them. Raise your voice when praising. Lower it when reprimanding.
  26. Encourage your leaders to share their ideas on how to solve problems or make things better.
  27. Put your employees needs before others.
  28. Give them as much credit as possible whenever you can.
  29. Avoid ever using aggression or coercion to get what you want. Black mail and other intimidation tactics might work occasionally, but tyrannical leaders eventually lose the respect, trust and ability to lead those around them.
  30. Maintain a positive, energetic and enthusiastic attitude at all times. Your outlook and level of energy sets the standard to which others will aspire. Keep in mind that your mood sets the tone for your team: you don’t want a bad day completely depleting your employees’ morale.
  31. Find out what’s going on in their lives outside the office. Ask questions that show you’re interested in their families, wellbeing, etc.

Any one of these ideas will boost your employee engagement levels. Three or more and those employee engagement levels will skyrocket.

Ascanio Pignatelli is an employee engagement expert. He is an award winning speaker, seminar leader, coach, and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need: Raising Employee Engagement from the Core. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. To find out how Ascanio can help your next speaking event or executive leadership / employee engagement workshops please call 310.913.2313.

Raising Employee Engagement Levels

Raising Employee Engagement Levels
Raising Employee Engagement Levels

Employee Engagement: What’s Missing?

Companies today are wasting millions of dollars trying to raise employee engagement levels with little to no success. Most employee engagement programs don’t work. Why? Because they look to address the effect: disengaged employees, not the cause; disengaged leaders. Employees today are disengaged because they don’t feel connected to the leaders or the organizations they work with. Without a desire they become apathetic which leads to their lack of energy, and disengagement. Before your company can raise employee engagement levels, you and the leadership team will need to raise their energy levels.

Increasing Employee Engagement Levels with Energy Leadership

Energy LeadershipTM is a leadership system developed by iPEC that helps employees become more effective leaders by giving them a new perspective that helps them raise their own level of energy. Leadership is a function of engagement: as leaders become more engaging, they become more effective at inspiring, motivating and influencing themselves and their colleagues.

Energy Leadership is based on the concept that there are two types of energy and seven different levels. As a leader becomes aware, and capable of recognizing the various energies and levels, they are able to see the exact extent to which their employees are engaged. Each new perspective brings with it a new possibility, and a new way to engage rather than react to their employees.

Most leaders, as well as most organizations, are limited in their ability to fully engage their talent. Their leaders are overloaded with fear based energy that slowly breaks them, and their organizations down. The most effective leaders are those with high levels of anabolic energy, and low levels of catabolic energy. These leaders are able to respond to stress in a far more productive manner.

In the words of former Director of Clinical Neuropsychological Services at Temple University Hospital, R. K. Ebert, Ph.D.:

“Unmolested, this energy system maintains the body in a condition of maximal health and well- being. Disturbances in this system are brought about by repeated insults, waves of catabolic energy generated by consciousness. Thoughts, beliefs, values, principles, emotions, and behaviors associated with [lower] levels of consciousness are catabolic. Habitual repetition of conscious or unconscious thoughts in this range gradually engender energy disturbances, self perpetuating in nature, which ultimately manifests as disease.

Healing involves a shift in the energy generated by conscious and unconscious processes. This is most efficiently accomplished by neutralizing the energy of “low level” thoughts, by disrupting the catabolic pattern of thought energy. Each thought contributes a specific energy pattern to the energy field of our being. There are no idle thoughts. All thoughts have an energetic consequence. It is only a question of how your thoughts will affect you energetically. Catabolic energy injures, anabolic energy heals.

In this reality every individual possesses a characteristic Level of Consciousness that frames, or limits, both the perception of, and the response to, external reality.”

Seven Leadership Perspectives

Imagine you wake up one day to discover that you are living in a home that is seven stories tall with wrap-around balconies on each floor. As you ascend your home you find that each story has a different view of the surrounding neighborhood. Every balcony has a different perspective that offers you new choices, and allows you to lead yourself or others in a way that you might not have previously considered. The higher you rise, the more expansive the views- and the more energy you now have at your disposal. For example, from the third floor you have three views and three different choices, but from the seventh floor you now have seven unique options from which to choose.

We all live in these seven-story buildings, but few of us ever venture off the first few floors. The problem is the first few floors are catabolic (draining and destructive), and spending all of our time here limits our choices. Living on the bottom levels means we tend to react to our circumstances, not realizing we have other options available to us. Each higher perspective gives us increasing power and freedom and new ways to impact our organizations. Our Leadership Development System is a comprehensive program designed to help you view the world from each of these seven stories, so you can lead more effectively by consciously choosing the most advantageous approach. In our upcoming articles we will share what each of the seven levels looks like, and how each are impacting your leadership, as well as your organization.

Ascanio Pignatelli is an employee engagement expert. He is an award winning speaker, seminar leader, coach, and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need: Raising Employee Engagement from the Core. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. To find out how Ascanio can help your next speaking event or executive leadership / employee engagement workshops please call 310.913.2313.

Employee Engagement and Listening

Effective Listening Engages

In many ways, Adrian Aragon was a great CEO; hard-working and completely devoted to his staff and organization, but it was not until he analyzed his CEO performance review that he noticed the blind spot in his leadership: the gap between how he saw his communication, and how his employees were interpreting it. Committed to becoming a better communicator and more effective leader, Adrian met with an old colleague Ivana Smith, one of the finest leaders and communicators he had ever met. After scrutinizing his report for what seemed like an eternity, Ivana asked Adrian: “Why do you think so many of your employees believe you have a negative mindset and don’t communicate effectively with them?”

Adrian took a moment then muttered, “With all the stress it’s hard to always maintain a positive and enthusiastic attitude.”

Ivana nodded in agreement. “That’s true, being positive when stressed is a real challenge, however doing so will help lower your stress, increase your energy, and make you feel a lot better. It will also help set the tone for your entire company.”

“I guess you’re right. I should probably be more positive.”

“More positive yes, but the real key is to really listen to them. The most important part of communication is effective listening. Most of us are rather disengaged when we listen, but if you can really listen to what your employees are saying you will be able to build more trust and rapport with them, resolve more conflict and connect in a deeper way with them.”

Ivana is right. Effective listening does two things; it ensures that the sender’s communication has been received as intended, and it tells the sender that their communication has value. Employee engagement and listening go hand in hand. There’s an old saying, “Listening is love.” Great listeners are masters at making those they are listening to feel important, and perhaps on some deeper level, loved. To really connect with your staff and make them feel valued you’ll want to move towards empathetic listening.

Disengaged Listening

Have you ever had a conversation with someone you felt just didn’t get anything you said despite their involved contribution to the conversation? You probably sensed their minds were completely focused on what they wanted to say next, and not on absorbing and processing what you were saying. Well, that is disengaged listening, and most of the time although we might be hearing what’s being said, our minds are actually busy thinking about what to say next. Disengaged listening isn’t just responsible for corrupting the communication that’s being received; it leaves the speaker feeling unimportant.

To escape the disengaged listening trap, the next time you are having a conversation with someone begin to notice when your mind either starts to wander from the conversation or is thinking about what to say next. The simple act of bringing awareness to how you listen will make you a much better listener and leave those you communicate with feeling valued.

Engaged Listening

Engaged listening means listening without judgment, opinions, or preconceived notions. Engaged listening creates a space for others to really express what they are thinking without them feeling like they are being judged. It also ensures they are heard, and that their thoughts and feelings are important to you. You can become a more engaged listener by asking empowering questions; questions that probe, seek clarity, focus on solutions and put the power to solve a problem or challenge into the other person’s hands. For example, “How might you accomplish that?” or “What’s another way of seeing that?”

There is a direct link between employee engagement and how much those employees feel their company values them. Organizations that have created a culture that values its staff by listening to them in an engaged and nonjudgmental way will find its members reciprocating the value and respect they feel by raising their energy and level of engagement while at work. You can become a much more engaged listener by acknowledging and validating the feelings other people express to you the same way Ivana did with Adrian.

Empathetic Listening

This is the highest form of listening and will build strong ties with your employees if you master it. Empathetic listening is feeling what the other person is feeling through their communication. It includes deciphering body language, reading between the lines, listening for tonal discrepancies, and looking for what’s not being said as much as what’s being said.

Listening at such a high level lets the person who is speaking know that you’ve captured their emotional experience. Although empathetic listening requires considerable focus, effort and concentration, with enough practice it can become routine.

Adrian worked hard at being a more positive and effective communicator. He became a lot less judgmental and shifted his focus from finding problems to finding solutions. Whenever his employees were upset about something he’d acknowledge and validate their feelings. And when they became stuck or frustrated, he’d ask them empowering questions to shift their perspective. He developed more rapport with them, and earned more of their trust, which left them feeling more valued, respected and connected to him. It didn’t take long after that for their own performance and engagement to increase as well.

Ascanio Pignatelli is an employee engagement expert. He is an award winning speaker, seminar leader, coach, and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need: Raising Employee Engagement from the Core. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. To find out how Ascanio can help your next speaking event or executive leadership / employee engagement workshops please call 310.913.2313.

Lead From Need: Raising Employee Engagement Levels

Raising Employee Engagement Levels
Raising Employee Engagement Levels

His CEO performance review is in and Scott is clearly alarmed. Unless next quarter’s KPI goals are met the Governance committee will ask for his resignation. He grabs his phone and calls Jerin, his gregarious college roommate and the person who transformed Silicon Beach’s most dysfunctional company into one of its most electric. “Jerin, I need your help. My staff is not producing like they once were. They are lethargic, apathetic, unmotivated, dis…”

“Disengaged!,” interjects Jerin. “You need to think about raising employee engagement levels.”

“We’ve been investing heavily into employee engagement programs, but they’re not really working. We keep pouring money into recruiting and retaining the best. We even keep increasing salaries, benefits and perks, basically giving them everything they want, but nothing’s working.”

“The problem is you’re giving them what they think they want, but not what they really need,” explains Jerin. “Your employees are emotionally detached; their real needs aren’t being met. Fat salaries and perks are great, but what they really want is to be inspired, connected and living a life of purpose. They need to feel valued. As their leader you need to lead from need. Once our basic survival needs have been met, we all aspire to satisfy the five deeper needs; connection, contribution, freedom, growth and fun.”

Raising Employee Engagement Levels

Jerin is right and is part of a new wave of leaders who know that raising employee engagement levels is to coach and empower your employees to greatness. As a leader in your organization you want to ensure that your employees feel they are:

Connected: building relationships with others
Contributing: doing something meaningful
Free: have a sense of choice and autonomy
Growing: developing personally and professionally
Having Fun: really enjoying their time at work

Connection

Companies with employees who have strong personal ties to each other have far higher engagement rates than those that don’t. To connect with your employees, create greater trust and loyalty by being more authentic. Great leaders don’t fret over public opinion and neither should you. Let go of who you think you should be, and just be yourself. You will gain their trust and respect in the process. Be vulnerable. Show them the real you. We all have the same fears of not being good enough, smart enough or worthy enough, so why pretend we are the exception? The best managers connect deeply with their employees by paying attention to what’s important to them. Carve out some time each week to grab lunch or a coffee with your key team members. Find out what they enjoy doing outside of work and get to know them personally. Finally, let them know that you and the company care for them. As their need to belong is met, they will give more of themselves, which, in turn, fuels their next need: their need to contribute.

Contribution

Doing something meaningful gives our life purpose. We all want to be doing something significant with our lives and have those efforts recognized. Studies show employees are happiest when they know they are making a difference and helping others. Often their contribution goes unnoticed. Metrics for measuring an employee’s contribution should shift from measuring their individual performance to measuring their team’s performance. How are your staff members influencing those around them? A staff member with excellent soft skills who constantly uplifts his fellow employees is an incredible asset to your team, yet this won’t show up in any assessment. To help your workers feel they are contributing something meaningful you can try recognizing and publicly celebrating their accomplishments as often as possible or sharing a client story that shows your employee the difference they are making in someone’s life.

Freedom

Self-direction is the key to performance, creativity and engagement. The real you only shows up when you feel free. Employees are far more loyal and productive in workplace environments that respect their freedom and encourage their self-expression. To ensure your staff feels a sense of autonomy remind them that everything they do is a choice. Choice is power, and when your employees believe they have a choice they will become more engaged in the process. Align their choices with their values, not their fears. When we choose from fear, our actions lack power. When we choose from our values our actions have more power, more meaning and more energy. Give your employees more flexibility to accommodate their schedules. What long-held beliefs might be blocking new win-win opportunities? Decentralize whatever authority you can to give your workers more decision-making power. This will empower them and make your company much more efficient.

Growth

If your staff feels they are not making progress in their own personal development they will soon become disconnected and seek opportunities elsewhere. Ensure that each employee is constantly challenged so that they can grow. The greater a person’s belief in their own power to influence an outcome, the more likely they are to succeed with a new challenge. To help your employees grow, try building confidence. Challenge any belief they might have that is limiting their performance. For example, if an employee thinks they aren’t experienced enough to manage a project you can remind them of their unique strengths and capabilities.

Another way to promote growth is modeling. Have inexperienced employees watch other colleagues with similar skills perform more advanced tasks. Seeing others with similar abilities succeed at a task will help them develop positive, “can-do” beliefs. Recognition and positive feedback are key to helping your employees feel more competent, motivated and open to growth. Negative feedback can devastate those with low self-esteem. Finally, optimize the environment. Create a vibrant, energetic, stress-free workplace that encourages your employees to get the food, exercise, rest and water their bodies need so they can perform at their best.

Fun

If work isn’t fun, your employees might eventually burnout. Companies like Apple and Google have taken the lead into turning their organizations into work places that encourage freedom and fun. Making your workplace fun will raise your employees’ morale and energy and is the key to stimulating their creativity and innovation. It will also help decrease stress and turnover, as well as strengthen the relationships of all of your employees. Make your workplace a lot more fun by gathering your team together for a 30-minute brainstorming session, then voting and Implementing 3-4 fun new ideas.

Conclusion

The most successful leaders in the world are raising employee engagement levels by honoring their employees’ five needs: connection, contribution, freedom, growth and fun. They know that what really motivates people – once their basic financial needs have been met – is their desire to grow and develop as human beings, connect and collaborate with others, contribute something to a worthy cause and have fun while dong so. Like Jarin, you can inspire your employees to reach their full potential by making your company a place where those five needs will be met.

About the Author

Ascanio Pignatelli is an employee engagement expert. He is an award winning speaker, seminar leader, coach, and author of the forthcoming book Lead from Need: Raising Employee Engagement from the Core. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps executives develop the leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. To find out how Ascanio can help your next speaking event or executive leadership / employee engagement workshops please call 310.913.2313.

Leadership Pyramid

3 Leadership Traits Every Executive Needs to Master

What three leadership traits will you need to develop to run a very successful organization? The same three that every rockclimber at the top of their game has mastered, and the same three that have contributed to every success you’ve ever had: confidence, energy and enthusiasm. Together they form “The Leadership Pyramid.”

Great leaders like Jesus Christ, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were supremely confident, energetic and enthusiastic. Yes, their messages had power, but it was their conviction, determination and passion that inspired people to act on their dreams. That same confidence, energy and enthusiasm is critical when it comes to motivating and engaging employees, inspiring customers or running a successful corporation. As an executive your ability to inspire your vendors, customers, investors and employees will dictate your success or failure. Unfortunately, most leaders don’t get this. They may blame their lack of results on not having the right people or team in place, however a weak leader will never attract a stronger leader. And engaged employees will only show up when a strong leader is there first. Develop more confidence, energy and enthusiasm and you will attract, retain and engage employees with less effort and more effectiveness.

Start with confidence. On a scale of one to ten, (and be brutally honest here), what would your level of confidence be if you were about to walk into a boardroom to do your first Fortune 500 deal? Would you stand a chance if your confidence were not at a level 10? Now ask yourself which areas of your life you lack level 10 confidence and how is that affecting you?

Perhaps it’s time to find a leadership coach or mentor who can help you develop a winning mindset. You will want to challenge whatever thoughts, beliefs or assumptions are limiting you. The most successful people in the world had great tutors, coaches, and mentors. Alexander the Great had Aristotle, Plato had Socrates and the disciples had Jesus. CEO’s of Fortune 100 companies don’t go it alone and neither should you. Consider joining a mastermind or business network of successful people that would be happy to help you uncover your blind spots, hold you accountable and empower you whenever you feel overwhelmed.

Your coach or group will also be integral in the second leadership trait: your energy. If you take care of yourself physically, and your energy is not a 10, your mindset is the culprit. Running in the background are hidden thoughts or limiting beliefs that are draining your energy and enthusiasm. A coach or mastermind team is invaluable here. Your energy will naturally rise as you begin identifying and challenging whatever is blocking you. And since your staff mirrors your energy, as that energy improves, so too will the energy of your entire team. Set the energetic tone for your organization and watch employee morale, output and productivity rise with a heightened level of energy.

Lastly, strive for level 10 enthusiasm. We know how infectious enthusiasm is and nothing can turn a business, or management team around faster than authentic enthusiasm. The key here is to have a clear vision of where you and the company will be in ten years. Visualize what it will be like when you have accomplished your goals? Reflect back to why you may have joined or started the business, focus on how your company’s products or services are contributing to others and the impact your company makes on its employees. We often brush aside the enormous difference we make in the world but remembering the people we serve can help us stay inspired.

Confidence, energy and enthusiasm are fundamental leadership traits for anyone playing at the top of their game. If you and your staff were playing with complete confidence, energy and enthusiasm could anything stop you? Where would you be ten years from now? Please comment below!

About the author

Ascanio Pignatelli is an award winning speaker, executive coach and author of the forthcoming book “Lead from Need: Raising Employee Engagement Levels from the Core”. He is the founder of ApexCEO, an executive coaching and leadership development group that helps C-level executives develop their leadership and communication skills to create more engaging workplaces. To book Ascanio for your next speaking event or workshop, please call him at 310.913.2313 or visit http://www.apexceo.com/.

The Disconnected CEO

A recent survey revealed that a large percentage of CEOs are rather disconnected. CEO.com and Domo interviewed more than 1500 CEOs, executives, and general employees and found a startling gap between how CEOs view their communication, and how their executives and employees are interpreting it. As CEO, you are constantly reminded of the importance of communicating with clarity. And, if you are anything like the 468 CEOs surveyed, you probably believe that you are an effective communicator. However, the data below shows the gap between what some CEOs are saying and what their workforce is hearing. For instance:

    • 84% of CEOs believe they never speak to reprimand the company.
    • 39% of executives and 32% of general employees claim reprimanding does occur.
    • 1 out of 10 employees say the only communication they get from their CEO is punitive.

Worldwide, Employee Engagement hovers at 13%

More sad news from Gallup…The latest global ratings are dismal. The majority of employees worldwide, i.e. 63% are “not engaged.” and are unlikely to invest effort into achieving your organization’s mission or vision. Moreover the 24% that are “actively disengaged” at work are unproductive, unhappy and likely to be upsetting their coworkers.

Managers worldwide need to raise employee engagement levels. By adopting a more coach-centric approach managers can help raise those levels by giving their workers more:

  • trust

  • control

  • autonomy

  • responsibility

  • respect

  • development

Increasing engagement at work doesn’t just help your organization’s growth, productivity and morale, it makes the world a much better place.