Monday, February 28, 2011

Keep on Engaging

In the doldrums of winter, many of your employees may feel a little blue. These winter blues have been shown to spill into the workplace, taking a toll on employee motivation, engagement, and productivity. The good news is that there are low-cost effective ways for employers to get employees back into the swing of work and keep them motivated and engaged until Spring finally arrives:

Office get-togethers shouldn’t be viewed as one-time events: In December, most firms celebrated the holidays with their employees with a big party. But these firms should remember to thank their employees throughout the year, as these small but critically important gestures go a long way toward building the culture in many organizations.

Pledge to improve your communication process, with a commitment to having frequent and transparent communication going forward: Consider establishing a “Communication Promise,” a detailed communication protocol in which you and your leadership team commit to communicating to all employees. This protocol should outline a schedule of communications over the next year that will be cascaded down from the CEO to the first-line manager.

Focus your efforts on building a learning culture: Although many training and development budgets have been cut and not returned, a key engagement driver is staff development. There is much that can be done to build cultures of learning without spending lots of money. Stretch assignments, mentorship opportunities, cross-sectional task teams, luncheon brown bags, etc, are all learning opportunities that have great impact and marginal direct dollar costs.

Determine and communicate your employment brand: Assemble a cross-sectional group of top-performing employees to determine why people work for your firm. Consider conducting a culture audit as a first place to start. (Many firms have a hiring issue, not an engagement issue—they’re hiring the wrong type of people to succeed in their cultures.)

Host a YouTube video contest linked to a business imperative: For little money (but huge engagement benefit), send out Flip cameras to every location and or department with a request for employees to pick a firms value and show “what that means to me.” Establish prizes (they don’t have to be extravagant, as employees will be motivated to participate just because the contest will be fun and they will want their departments to win!). Post your "winners” on the firms intranet, as well as on YouTube.

To keep the social interaction levels high throughout the year in single-site firms or in standalone offices or businesses, have theme nights monthly: For example, January will be "Mexican Night Sponsored by Accounting—All Are Welcomed!" February will be "Italian Night sponsored by Procurement—All Are Welcomed!" etc.

While these ideas may seem silly, they go a long way to bringing spirits up and making your employees happy…after all, employees who want to come to work are usually your most productive and motivated employees!

Want to learn more HR trends and tips? Register for PSMJ’s upcoming A/E/C Industry Human Resources Summit. The HR Summit is a senior level HR event specifically designed to address the increasing needs and demands of senior leaders of HR, as well as other key executives who deal with the critical employee and firm issues on a daily basis. Through panel discussions and best practices presentations, you learn through examining successful real-life case studies, receive A/E/C survey results, while networking and asking your peers for their proven solutions to problems just like yours.

For more information, click here to download the program brochure or contact our Education Department at or 617-965-0055.

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