Friday, April 8, 2016

Lean Quote: If You Want Engagement, You Must Engage

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"If you want engagement, you must engage.— Karen Martin, The Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence 

People choose to become engaged if they have sufficient opportunity and motivation. Having said that, there are things you can do to help. You can create the conditions so that people to do things because they want to, rather than because they were told to.

Do you get a steady flow of ideas from your team? Are they pro-actively coming up with ideas for doing things better in your area? for your customers? Though this may take time to develop, the way to get this going is two-fold: 1) demonstrate your interest by listening to all ideas and 2) demonstrate your commitment by implementing the best ones. Take steps to turn their ideas into action as often as you can. And empower your team to act. Give them the latitude to do it themselves.

Engagement for the sake of engagement is just that. Happy employees are good, but happy employees that contribute to the business by performing in exceptional ways are better. It’s also critical to remind employees and management that engagement is a two way street – the company will do great things for employees and employees will do great things for the company. Very few companies get this right, but those that do create a virtuous cycle of employee engagement where the company does more for its people and the people do more for the company which in turn causes the company to do even more for its people.

Without your employees, your company simply couldn’t do business. Employees keep the company running and keep your customers happy. You can increase employee engagement by actively acknowledging the wonderful work they do as a team. You can also show employees how they make a difference beyond the company’s core business mission by highlighting the impact of the company’s philanthropy initiatives, corporate volunteer programs, and other charitable giving. Recognizing these causes reminds employees they’re making a difference beyond their place of work.

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