Merge's Blog

Tag Archives: employee engagement

Blocking internal transfers and promotions is a bad idea!

Demotivator on Warning Road SignSometimes, managers deliberately and consciously take actions that while logical, create situations that are non-productive and hugely demotivating. Unfortunately, this is more usual than not.  In fact, this was the very topic of a one of my regular The Globe & Mail columns back in November 2014 titled Why do smart managers do stupid things?

I continue to see examples of this dysfunctional behaviour repeatedly in my leadership development practice.  Last week I had a very positive conversation with a group of leaders in one of my client organizations, but it reminded me of this very negative situation that I came across (and blogged about) back in 2016.  In fact, it stirred up such dialogue in this group that I felt it was worth bringing up in the blog again.

I got a call from an employee at a large client company, very upset because his manager had blocked his internal transfer.  This organization has an online internal job bulletin board that permits employees to apply for internal jobs within the company.  This particular employee had, with his manager’s knowledge, applied for a job in another department.  Since he has been in his current role for over three years, he was seeking different challenges and new learning opportunities.  The interview process went well and he was optimistic about getting this new assignment.  Imagine his surprise to learn that he did not get the job because his manager had blocked the transfer.  Turns out that there had been some other recent unexpected personnel changes in the department, and his manager felt that his move would be too much change, too fast. Continue reading

Employee growth and development tip #3

It’s been almost two weeks since I posted our last tip in our new video series for 2019 on creating an environment that fosters employee growth and development.  Tip #2 was to support your employees’ career aspirations.  But I’m back today with Tip #3: set an example by being a positive role model for continuous learning.

Set the example as a continuous learner

Don’t just tell your people that you believe in employee growth and development, show them.  If you expect them to continue to develop and grow as employees, then be prepared to also walk the talk.

Demonstrate that you are a continuous learner by attending training programs – both shorter lunch-and-learn sessions, and longer full-day or extended programs.  Display that you’re open to new learning by listening to what the subject matter experts on your team have to say.  And ask intelligent questions about the information they are sharing to show that you value their expertise.  If you’re not completely up to speed on the nuances of social media, ask your tech-savvy staff to reveal some of their favourite tips and tricks.  Even better, have one of them do a short presentation at your next team meeting.

My point is that if you want your staff to buy into employee growth and development, then you need to set an example by doing the same.  So be a positive role model.

I’ll be back next week (I promise) with the next strategy in this series.  But in the meantime, I’d like to know what you think.  What gets in the way of you investing in continuous learning?  I’ll tell you what I hear most often – lack of time for supervisors and managers.  Is that true for you as well?  How do you get past it?  Please share your experiences by commenting below.

#2 in our series on employee development strategies

Earlier this month, I kicked off our brand-new video series on employee development strategies with our first tip: invest in training. Today’s strategy: ask about and support your employees’ career aspirations.

Support your employees’ career aspirations

This is a two-parter. First, you need to make the time to ask. I always recommend that supervisors and managers schedule a 30-minute coffee meeting with each of their employees sometime within the first six months of their working relationship. The coffee meeting doesn’t actually have to involve coffee (even though it may).  But it should be away from the immediate workspace.

The purpose of this meeting is to talk about the employee, and not necessarily about their current job responsibilities. Sure, current issues may come up in the course of the conversation.  But the real goal of the coffee meeting is to find out more about the employee at a personal level. Who they are, their interests, their families, their hobbies, and yes, their career goals and aspirations. Make the meeting about the employee. And pay attention specifically to what they tell you about what they want to accomplish during their careers.

After you ask, support

Continue reading

Looking for ways to develop employees? The simplest is to invest in training

Earlier this month, I promised that this year I would give you a series of frequent quick video blogs focusing specifically on ways to develop employees – explicit, pragmatic and actionable ideas to develop and grow your people not only into accomplished professionals, but also the future leaders in your organization.  Today, I am excited to kick off this brand-new series with one specific suggestion that I hope you’ll find quick and easy to implement.  And expect more of the same in the weeks and months to come.

Invest in training

So here is the first instalment in ways to develop employees: invest in training.  Not much of a surprise, is it?  The key word here is “invest”.  An investment creates an expectation of a positive return on that investment, and thoughtful, good-quality training rarely disappoints.  When you invest time and money into training and professional development for your people, it tells them that you value them, and it is this very aspect of the training investment that causes people to pay attention, absorb and put their learnings into action, all for the benefit of your organization.

Two common objections

Now I’ve heard many of the common objections to this strategy.  Continue reading

How to develop and grow your people

Brand-new video series for 2019

Last year I did an entire video series of short focused tips on how to motivate employees, each one outlining a specific way that leaders could inspire, engage and energize their employees.  This series got such great feedback from so many of you that I knew that I needed to do something in a similar format once again.  So it got me thinking about what this year’s subject area should be.

If you have ever attended one of my live leadership training events, you know that I usually spell out the two basic philosophies of leadership.  Principles so fundamental that if you don’t live, breathe and truly believe these values, then you simply should not be in a leadership role.  If these leadership philosophies are not your core beliefs, then with great respect, you cannot be a great leader.  You will hate being in a leadership position, and quite frankly, your employees will dislike it too.  The first of these two fundamental philosophies of leadership is your belief that “You are a coach and developer of people”.  As a leader, you HAVE to be a coach and developer of people.  Else, you cannot be a good leader, let alone an exceptional one.

2019 – one full year of focused tips on how to develop and grow your people

So … with that in mind, this year’s topic for our video series is going to be … drum roll please …. “How to develop and grow your people”Continue reading

Build employee commitment by celebrating – our last tip in our 2018 series on motivating employees

All year, I’ve been giving you video tips on explicit actions leaders can take to motivate their people and build employee commitment for the long haul.  Last week, I went back to basics with “Provide a workplace that is free from bullying and harassment”.  Today, #33, happens to be our final strategy in this continuing series, so it seems only appropriate that it should be about a celebration.  Specifically, today’s motivating tip is to plan periodic office parties.  Let me explain further.

Plan periodic office parties

Your goal should be to maximize attendance for motivation value, so consider holding your office party during office hours, ideally over the lunch hour.  Plan to have them once a quarter, or even monthly.  Encourage employees to get involved in the planning; in fact, go as far as appointing each of your employees to one of the quarterly or monthly “planning committees” so that over the year each of your people are involved in one event.  Continue reading

Absolutely fundamental to gaining employee commitment: a workplace that is free of bullying and harassment

So far, in our ongoing series on specific actions leaders can take to gain employee commitment, I’ve shared a variety of ideas that range from basic to the unexpected.  Today’s strategy however falls under “absolutely fundamental”.  It is to provide a workplace that is free from bullying and harassment.  Not fancy or exotic, but unequivocally essential.  And when you do it right, the result is solid employee commitment!

Provide a workplace that is free from bullying and harassment

All employees have the right to be in a safe workplace that is free from violence, harassment and bullying.  Not only is it the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, but it is also required by law.  And it’s your job as a leader to make it so. Continue reading

Five strategies for employee retention

Employee retention is an issue that should be top of mind for leaders everywhere.  Sure, depending on your industry or market sector, employee turnover may be a fact of life, but have you ever noticed that when employees leave, it’s never the lousy ones that jump ship?  The unfortunate reality is that the ones who are most likely to leave are the ones that are in greatest demand elsewhere.  And of course, those are usually your best and your brightest, the ones that you really want to keep!

What are you doing?

So what are you doing for employee retention?  What actions are you taking to ensure that your top employees want to stay in your organization? What are you doing to engage them so that your company is their employer of choice?  If the answer is “nothing”, then you’re putting yourself at a serious competitive advantage.  Because you can bet that those who are departing are going right over to organizations who have taken concrete steps to entice and engage them.  In my latest column for The Globe and Mail, published this morning, I lay out five proven ideas to stop your finest from fleeing to what they see as greener pastures.

Five strategies to help ensure top performers don’t jump ship

If you get the print version of The Globe, you’ll find this article on page B13.

Note: if you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also read the column directly at their website at this link: https://tgam.ca/2DYzp2F

So I’m well aware that this subject usually seems to get people riled up, primarily because of my assertion that the answer to employee retention and engagement is not “money”.  But, as always, even if you don’t agree with me, I’m interested in your perspective and your experiences.  So please share by adding your comments below.

Secure employee commitment by letting them annually attend a training event of their choice

In our last video episode in our ongoing series focusing on specific motivating actions leaders can take to secure employee commitment, I suggested that you let your employees telecommute, even occasionally.  Today’s idea: offer each of your employees the opportunity to annually attend at least one training program or learning conference of their choice.

Let your people attend at least one training event (of their choice) annually

When you invest financial resources into your employees, what you’re really telling them is that you value them and want to set them up for success.  No wonder then that this seemingly simple action invariably results in increased employee commitment.  And when you let your employees choose which training or conference to attend, the motivating value goes up significantly.

Concerned about abuse? It can be managed

Now I’ve heard the objections to this … what if the employee selects training that is not ideal for their job?  Or what if the employee chooses a conference that is at some exotic location that costs an arm and a leg in travel expenses?  Continue reading

When you let them telecommute, you create engaged employees

All year, I’ve been offering ideas in our ongoing series on specific things leaders can do to create highly motivated and engaged employees.  Earlier this month, I talked about giving your employees positive opportunities to interact with your senior management.  Today’s tip (which also happens to be #30 in this series): let your employees telecommute.

Let your employees telecommute

Let them work from home; not necessarily every day, but how about a few days a week, or even once a week?  Heck, even once a month is hugely motivating.  Even occasional telecommuting leads to highly engaged employees … because they view it as freedom – the independence to be productive, stay motivated and save time. Now I am well aware that there are certain jobs that don’t lend themselves to telecommuting – I mean can you imagine being a retail store clerk or a grocery store cashier from afar?  But … the vast majority of jobs have at least some responsibilities that can be done from a distance.  And in some cases, these tasks can be completed much more efficiently if they’re away from the daily distractions of the workplace.

With today’s technology, working from home is no longer as impossible as it might have once been.  Continue reading