9 ways to energize, empower and engage your employees

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  • By: Garold (Gary) Markle

    Dedicated to Energizing and Engaging the Human Spirit at Work

    9 Ways To

    Energize, Engage & Empower Your Employeesrit

    1 9 Ways to Energize, Empower and Engage Your Employees

  • Contents3
















    Section 1 Energize

    Principle #1 Honor the Employee Iceberg

    Principle #2 Study a Sample of One

    Principle #3 Identify Salmon Syndrome

    Section 2 Empower

    Principal #4 Harness the Power of Praise

    Principal #5 Avoid the Weakness Trip

    Principal #6 Make People Development Managements Job (Not HRs Job)

    Section 3 Engage

    Principal #7 Career vs Job

    Principal #8 Putting Your Super Power to Work

    Principal #9 Balanced by Design


    About the Author

    9 Ways to Energize, Empower and Engage Your Employees


  • Introductionts been said that employees typically don't leave companies, but rather they leave

    bosses. (http://fortune.com/2015/04/02/quit-reasons). It stands to reason then, therelationship between manager and employee could very well be the lynchpin when itcomes to improving productivity and building high performing teams. Yet, mounds ofresearch also exist to suggest were not very good at building this relationship.

    Meanwhile, performance management systems have been put in place purportedlyto inspire and enroll or to persuade and motivate employees. The results tell a differentstory. Ninety percent of executives believe they don't work. Gallup reports as recently as May 2015 suggests that a whopping 68 percent of American workers are not engaged or are actively disengaged. Moreover, this number has hardly changed over time and its even worse outside the US. Employees hate them and managers view them as a waste of time. In fact, for roughly two decades around 70 percent of companies have either justchanged their performance evaluation system or have plans in place to. Why?

    Presumably because they do not work and people don't like them. Why, then, doesthis statistic hold steady year after year despite all the revisions and edits to appraisalsystems? Why are the same companies who just made massive changes back in line tomake changes again? It is because the new systems still don't work and people stilldon't like them. The changes are only making things different, not better. As long asyou are evaluating employees, the statistics will remain the same.

    Changes look like this: we go from assigning ratings on a classic 1 through 5(Likert) scale to using phrases instead. Surprisingly, people don't like being reduced to anumber. As it turns out, being summed up as meets expectations, average or evenoutstanding generally feels about the same. Next we try letters, like we did withgrades in school, because thats familiar. Nope, people dont like that either. So, we goback to numbers. After all, we need to quantify this stuff, but well use 1 through 3instead, so its simplified. Round and round we go making things different, notbetter.


    3 9 Ways to Energize, Empower and Engage Your Employees

    Organizational Truism:People Hate Performance Evaluations. Those on the receiving side often find

    them demeaning, while those tasked with delivering them view them as a profound waste of time.

  • IntroductionBy the way, in HR we have a little trick we like to use when people complain. We

    make the process longer. Dont like being graded by your boss? Lets try a self-evaluation. Still dislike that process? Well do a 360. Still complaining? Lets get yourspouse involved. Its ridiculous. While the process is still widely practiced, employeesare demanding something anything - better. The savviest companies are listeningand are shifting to a new way of thinking by replacing evaluating for coaching.

    So how do you fortify the bond between the individual worker and a directsupervisor in a way that helps the company grow, while also Energizing, Empoweringand Engaging the human spirit at work? Stop evaluating and coach instead. Start byhaving a conversation with the person about their future. Better yet, teach your entireorganization to do it. Join the revolution to rid the business world of performancereviews by implementing these Nine Coaching Principles to Energize, Empower andEngage your team.

    4 9 Ways to Energize, Empower and Engage Your Employees

  • Section I - ENERGIZEObjective:UseCoachingtoinstitutionalizelisteninginyourorganizationand

    watchitenergize yourpeople.

    SeekFirsttoUnderstand,ThentobeUnderstood. Dr.StephenCovey(7HabitsofHighlyEffectivePeople)

    an you imagine a better way to energize someone, than by having a conversationwith them about the future? Their future? Managers often overlook this simple techniqueand brush off the advice by saying, I already talk to my people all the time. We see eachother regularly. I have an open door policy. I conduct One-on-One meetings Whatsusually missing from the conversation, however, is to make the conversation about theindividual. Sure we talk to our people, but mostly its about the business, what thecompany needs, what the manager wants to talk about. Rarely, even in those one-to-onemeetings, does the manager flip roles and let the individual do most of the talking whiletaking time (and interest) to truly listen. Moreover, rarely do we ask them about and listento them talk about themselves, their needs, their aspirations, their frustrations.

    The big fear in doing this is oftenthat we will get too personal. Those ofus classically trained in HR have beentaught to keep our companies safe byavoiding those topics and focusing on theworker, not the person. But more oftenthan not, we find weve hired more thanjust a brain and a set of hands. There is alot more under the surface that wouldbenefit us to acknowledge. If you ignorewhat lies below the surface, good lucktrying to get to know the person in frontof you in a way that truly engages andretains them. Rather than keeping yousafer, failing to acknowledge thosepersonal issues can actually put you atgreater risk. Ironically, risk is increased byusing performance evaluations (allegedly thereto protect the company against litigation),which more often than not, are actually used incourt against the company they are meant todefend.In my 25-plus years of employment law practice, performance reviews have surfaced on numerous occasions. Every once in a while, they help the defense. Usually, however, its the plaintiff who benefits. Thats because performance reviews are frequently untimely

    and inaccurate.-Janove, Jathan. Reviews Good For Anything? HR Magazine June 2011: 121.

    In Section I, well discuss the first three Coaching Principles which center on energizing team members by listening to them and treating individuals as just that.

    Energize:To Give Vitality




    9 Ways to Energize, Empower and Engage Your Employees

  • 6

    As an HR generalist in a series of Fortune 500 corporations, I was instructed to treatemployees more like resources than humans.

    We went to great lengths to focus on the worker while avoiding, as much as possible,anything personal. What I soon discovered, however, is that when you go to the marketlooking for employees, people show up. They bring with them their families, their health,their financial challenges, their hobbies, and even their pets. When you try to draw a linebetween the worker and the rest of the human being that comes with them, you inevitablyhit the employee iceberg. Awareness of that messy stuff below the waterline is essential tounderstanding why people do some of the silly things they do.

    Take the highly seasoned Field Office Manager who was hitting all her numbers butacting out in group settings. She was being highly disrespectful to both peers and her newlyappointed General Manager. The direct line of attack was to require her to cease and desistfrom all immature behavior. On the other hand, after engaging in a coaching process thatforced her to show her cards first, we identified that an underlying issue at the root of heranger was having been bypassed a third time for promotion without any real explanation as towhy. By addressing both issues the surface level display of disrespect and the subsurfacehuman need to know why advancement has been curtailed the organization stands the bestchance of getting rapid response to the requested behavior change and salvaging this long-time high performing worker. And who knows, if she wants it bad enough and has thewherewithal to make some fundamental improvements, she may one day become a GMherself.

    Principal #1 Honor the Employee Iceberg

    9 Ways to Energize, Empower and Engage Your Employees

  • 7

    In addition to explaining otherwise illogical actions,treating people as three dimensional human beings bygoing below the water mark also helps with engagementand retention. The default position for most kind-hearted managers is to treat direct reports like theywanted to be treated when they held a similar post. Thisstrategy may work with many, but seldom with all.

    Take the high potential 38-year old engineer whowas tactfully avoiding her managers encouragement toseek promotion. She clearly had the skillset to take onmore responsibility and had held her current job longenough to move on. Any longer in her current role andshed likely be bypassed by less stellar peers. Her bosswas pushing her (as he had been pushed himself) to helpher achieve her true career potential. Why the illogicalfailure to launch?

    The real reason is that she was trying very hard tohave a baby. She was fearful her window was closingand shed struggled for years with c


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