A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you


Hot Potato, Hot Potato

Employee Engagement

Two words Managers know they want but don’t know how to get.

Two words HR loves to say but doesn’t know how to get.

The potato that no one wants (or knows how) to catch.

Except me…I intercept that spud every chance I get. 


It is not Rocket Science.
Slide1First, NEVER forget that it starts with a relationship.

Don’t feel like building a relationship?

Game’s over…you lose.

Whether you are a Manager or an HR Professional, do everyone a favor and resign now.  You’ll save everyone from the suffering of employee turnover, low productivity, decreased quality, and overall pissy attitudes.


Second, define it.

Whether you define it in the context of your company, your department, or your team, define it!  What  is “engagement”?

  • What does it look like?
  • What does it sound like?
  • What is the result of having it?
  • What is the result of NOT having it?

Don’t know the answers?  Go ask someone!

Ask your customers, ask your stakeholders, ask your vendors, ask your employees!  Trust me, they know what it is.


Third, measure it.

If you care about it, you’ll measure it.  Likewise, if you don’t measure it, your employees, your customers, your boss, etc. will think you don’t care about it.

Don’t know how to measure it?  Don’t make it difficult.

Take the answers from the questions above and put some data to them. Then, track it, talk about it, figure out what the data means, and put some intentional and thoughtful work into improving things.


Fourth, recognize it.

Where the heck would you be in your marriage, in your friendships or in your other relationships if you didn’t recognize the value the other person added to them? You’d be in fewer relationships, that’s for sure!

Therefore, recognize when your employees get engaged in something.  Whether it be their involvement on a project, their offering of ideas for a problem, or their demonstrated commitment to a customer…when they get engaged, recognize their effort!


Is there more to employee engagement?

Of course there is…and I’ll write another post next week with some other ideas.  But for now, start with the simple stuff.

Build the relationship, define what engagement means to you and your team, measure the results and recognize the effort.


Oh, and two last things…


Managers, quit waiting for HR to do something “corporate wide.”  You don’t need HR; you need a mirror and some gumption.

Be honest with yourself, identify which relationships need some work, and do something to change it.

Then, sit down with your team and ask what they think about engagement.  Trust me, they’ll have some ideas on the subject.

Then, commit to personally engaging more…with them and with work.  Reciprocity is almost guaranteed.


HR, quit blaming Managers for increased disengagement.  Last I checked, placing blame didn’t turn the problem around.

Instead of simply “surveying” the workplace and pontificating about “the value” of increased engagement, try modeling the behavior yourself.

Start facilitating some discussions about the subject and putting some pragmatic solutions into place to respond to employee’s concerns, desires, etc.

Try coaching your supervisors and workforce on stepping up, leaning in and otherwise getting involved with work.


Hot Potato, Hot Potato…who wants it?


AppreciationEmployee EngagementEmployee RelationsEngagementHuman ResourcesLeadershipRecognitionRetentionSatisfactionTeamworkValueWorkforce Satisfaction

Heather Kinzie • April 3, 2013

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  1. Employee Engagement, Part One | A Leading Perspective
  2. Employee Engagement, Part Two | A Leading Perspective

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