Engagment Drivers #2- What is Valued?

Engagment Drivers #2- What is Valued?

Our prior article What Drives Engagement? listed the top 10 engagement drivers.

Two areas impact employee perceptions of what the organization values (category 2):

#1. “(My boss) sets high personal standards”

  • Share what excellence and success looks like in their job (do you have any key performance indicators to discuss/ share/ track?)
  • Hold everyone accountable to do their job to expectations (including yourself- walk the walk)

#2. “Organization encourages innovative thinking”

  • Listen to new ideas and process suggestions, thoughtfully consider and discuss the viability of the idea

Three steps you can take NOW to improve employee perceptions of work standards and innovation:

  1. Regularly discuss work load and priorities, find out if team members have the tools and information to complete their tasks, and invite updates to re-direct if things aren’t on track
  2. Manage by results, not micromanage the process—this allows your team member to come up with a different (and often better) way to achieve the same outcome, then occasionally have staff share their methods with others doing the same task
  3. Ask your team- “What is one thing that could be improved for better customer service or to reduce a big hassle?” Then outline an action plan, assign tasks with deadlines, and revisit at your weekly meeting to implement this innovative improvement

Two articles for more reading:

It’s a fine line between setting high standards and being demanding. Read what NOT to do on Forbes: 10 tips on for dealing with an overly demanding boss

For tips on getting more practice at innovative thinking and turning into a habit, read “Innovation Is Everyone’s Job” on Harvard Business Review


Diana Southall is a fifth generation entrepreneur, and creator of the People Plan toolkit.™ Her firm specializes in coaching small business owners and managers to build, engage and reward a fabulous team!

You can start working with Diana with free members-only access to People coaching resources, including informative video training, articles, time saving documents and templates. Join the FREE membership club here.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Drives Engagement?

What Drives Engagement?

Top ten global engagement drivers

You have at least met (if not work with) someone who is NOT engaged– they show up and barely do the job.

What can be a delight for co-workers and managers is someone who is “actively engaged.” Engagement is when an employee expends discretionary extra effort in their job— studies show that about 20% of US workers fit this category but some organizations have more than 40% engaged workers.

What influences an employee to go “Above and beyond?”

I have grouped them into four categories and will discuss suggestions for improving these (see number 1 below) with future articles.

1. How the organization treats people

  • Senior management sincerely interested in employee well-being
  • Organization’s reputation for social responsibility
  • Organization quickly resolves customer concerns

2. What is valued at the organization?

  • Set high personal standards
  • Organization encourages innovative thinking

3. Employee role/ relationship

  • Good relationship with supervisor
  • Employees feel they have input into decision-making in their department

4. Development and career opportunities

  • Enjoy challenging work assignments that broaden skills
  • Improved my skills and capabilities over the last year
  • Have excellent career advancement opportunities

(Source : Towers Watson study of the global workforce, Closing the Engagement Gap)

Many managers may be surprised that social responsibility and how customers are treated impacts employee performance. But employees are always considering not just how they are treated, but also how others are treated, and want to take pride in their employer and the organization’s decisions and direction. (For example, I have a colleague who begrudgingly took a job at a local company that is under investigation by the DEC for polluting the neighborhood, and she is not exactly “proud” to promote her new position.)

Three steps you can take NOW to improve employee perceptions of how people are treated:

  1. Spend 10 minutes once a week going around to exchange “small talk” with employees, finding out more about their lives outside the office and what is important to them (bonus points if you know names of kids, grandkids, and pets as well as favorite hobbies)
  2. Ask your key team members to suggest one way the organization can improve social or environmental responsibility, and then implement this idea
  3. Decide one way customers requests can be fulfilled more quickly or conveniently.

Thanks to Terry Williams of the Brain Based Boss for alerting me to this interesting research.


Diana Southall is a fifth generation entrepreneur, and creator of the People Plan toolkit.™ Her firm specializes in coaching small business owners and managers to build, engage and reward a fabulous team!

You can start working with Diana with free members-only access to People coaching resources, including informative video training, articles, time saving documents and templates. Join the FREE membership club here.

Quick recognition template

Quick recognition template

Our recent blog post showed that employees desire more appreciation and recognition, so here is a quick template for you to develop your own semi-formal recognition program.

(If you involve your team members in the development process, we will give you bonus points).

•List 3 ABC’s (ABC- attitudes, behaviors and contributions) that would improve your internal team work
•List 3 ABC’s that would improve your customer care
•List 3 ABC’s that support your organization’s core values
•Communicate list of 9 ABC’s to your employees (team meeting? poster on the wall?) and what you plan to do with it
•Make a list of when you can recognize at least one employee publicly for demonstrating one of these ABC’s
•Invite team members to recognize each other when they witness an ABC
•Take one minute to recognize an employee privately if you witness a great ABC
•Schedule and recognize based on your plan


Diana Southall is a fifth generation entrepreneur, and creator of the People Plan toolkit.™ Her firm specializes in coaching small business owners and managers to build, engage and reward a fabulous team!

You can start working with Diana with free members-only access to People coaching resources, including informative video training, articles, time saving documents and templates. Join the FREE membership club here.


Image courtesy of Maggie Smith at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Managers Think Employees Want

What Managers Think Employees Want

In a study by the Labor Relations Institute of NY, managers selected what they thought employees valued most, and then asked employees what they valued:

Manager /Employee rank- Job Reward      

  • 1/ 5- Good wages
  • 2/ 4- Job security
  • 3/ 8- Promotion and growth
  • 4/ 9- Good working conditions
  • 5/ 6- Interesting work
  • 6/ 7- Personal loyalty to workers
  • 7/10- Tactful discipline
  • 8/ 1- Appreciation for work done
  • 9/ 3- Sympathetic help with personal problems
  • 10/2- Feeling “in” on things

You can see that the TOP 3 for employees were listed as the BOTTOM 3 in the eyes of managers. Hmm.. I wonder how much time and effort these managers put into these “bottom” rewards if they consider such each a low priority?

As a specialist in compensation, we regularly visit prospective clients who are convinced that their organization needs to pay more to attract, retain and motivate their team members. (And some of them do indeed have issues with pay below the market or internally inequitable.)

However, if your pay is fair for the work you expect and compared to others in your organization, one of the best investments you can make in building a terrific team is with recognition.

Recognition is practically free and creates an immediate impact such as:

  • reinforcing company values
  • aligning employee efforts to achieve organizational results
  • appreciating specific employee efforts (then they continue to do these)
  • modeling what ABC- attitudes, behaviors and contributions are valued (others start doing these)
  • creating a positive work environment and culture (as more employees demonstrate the desired ABC’s and are recognized for them)

(Manager Survey Source: Foreman Facts, Labor Relations Institute of NY, 2004)

For a Quick recognition template view our 4/23 blog post


Diana Southall is a fifth generation entrepreneur, and creator of the People Plan toolkit.™ Her firm specializes in coaching small business owners and managers to build, engage and reward a fabulous team!

You can start working with Diana with free members-only access to People coaching resources, including informative video training, articles, time saving documents and templates. Join the FREE membership club here.


Image courtesy of watcharakun at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Total Rewards #7- the Employer

Total Rewards #7- the Employer

Where do you work?” is a question often posed when we first meet someone, directly after they learn your name and occupation. You might not think about this but we do judge someone by the “company they keep”- literally.

Are you proud to be associated with your employer? Does their reputation and values align with yours? 

When someone works for a prestigious organization (say Wegmans, our local best place to work) they have a sense of pride with this affiliation (and we are impressed or perhaps envious).

A friend of mine recently took a job at a company that had been censored by the Environmental Protection Agency for flagrant polluting of the neighborhood—he was not particularly excited about working for this company (“it’s a job”) and did not broadcast the news to all his friends.

I had a similar experience in college working for a national exercise chain – it was clear to me after a short time that they used what I felt were predatory sales practices. While I kept my cushy front desk job for the remainder of the semester, I did not continue to encourage prospects to schedule a tour (prior to this I was the most successful appointment maker on staff). So you see, my values were not in alignment with theirs, I was not willing to compromise them and I lost engagement and my performance plummeted.

One factor related to employer reputation is that most of us would prefer a stable job (until at least we decide to leave). The Aon Hewitt Total Rewards survey found that perceptions of job security, as well as agreement with organization decisions and direction (that will ultimately impact our job security if the organization is not successful) were all key factors in employee engagement. Engagement has been found dramatically lower at organizations that are failing or laying off workers. How can you expect employees to go that “extra mile” if they expect to out of work soon?

Another factor related to our employer brand is our need for pride and affiliation. Our career choices reflect on us and we have a natural desire to affiliate with those who are similar to us. Research suggests that an employer’s reputation is becoming more important to recruiting, turnover and employee engagement.

Employers are also starting to leverage their reputation for socially and economically conscious choices, such as “green” statements and touting philanthropy.

Forbes has an interesting article about social responsibility for employee attraction, and references a study that found:

  • 53 percent of workers said that “a job where I can make an impact” was important to their happiness
  • 72 percent of students about to enter the workforce agreed (wanted to “make an impact”)
  • most would even take a pay cut to achieve that goal

Diana Southall is a fifth generation entrepreneur, and creator of the People Plan toolkit.™ Her firm specializes in coaching small business owners and managers to build, engage and reward a fabulous team!

You can start working with Diana with free members-only access to People coaching resources, including informative video training, articles, time saving documents and templates. Join the FREE membership club here.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net