Eric Jacobson

Top 3 Ways To Engage Employees During Tough Economic Times

In Company Culture, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Listening Skills, Management, Motivating Employees on April 26, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Senior leaders at the best performing companies during these tough economic times are doing three three things to maximize engagement with their employees:

  1. Developing a clear and credible plan for, and path to, success.
  2. Making sure the plan is clearly communicated from top to bottom.
  3. Seeking and welcoming every idea for making the plan a reality and delivering more value (e.g. big and small improvements, new ideas and suggestions for innovation).

This is according to Leigh Branham, Overland Park, KS co-author of the recently released book, Re-Engage: How America’s Best Places To Work Inspire Extra Effort In Extraordinary Times.  It’s these three actions that surfaced to the top during the research that Branham, co-author Mark Hirschfeld and Quantum Workplace did among 10,000 employers during the past few years.

“What we saw in the companies that were losing ground was that employees:

  • were in a high state of fear
  • had uncertainty
  • had doubt about their own jobs

…and had doubt about the survival of their companies,” said Branham.

“What’s missing in those companies is not just a sense of mission and purpose, but employees who are clear about the plan to recover and get back on the path to success,” he added.

Branham said that, “It seemed clear to us that the leaders of the least engaging workplaces were not filling the vacuum by communicating the plan for overcoming the obstacles they face.”

The book points out that when the communication need is not met by the management team, and when employees don’t get the information they need, they will create their own information, which is often worse than the reality.

Branham also stressed the importance of welcoming ideas from employees.  He cited Best Buy that through its employee social networking site called Blue-Shirt Nation, has received more than 900 cost-cutting and revenue-producing ideas from its employees.  He added that leveraging Web 2.0 with company Blogs and wikis to make it easier for employees to communicate their ideas is something all companies should consider.

Finally, Re-Engage suggests leaders also do the following to strengthen employee engagement:

  1. Set a clear, compelling direction that empowers each employee
  2. Deliver only open and honest communication
  3. Continue career growth and development for employees
  4. Recognize and reward high performance

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