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A 21-Point Employee Engagement Manifesto

If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything

Heart Diamond Engagement

Have you taken a stand on employee engagement? I wrote this manifesto to declare my beliefs and practices for employee engagement. I invite you to read it, to reflect upon the statements, to act upon the statements that make sense to you, and to determine your own stand on employee engagement.

Here is the beginning of the manifesto:

Our current practices and approaches to employee engagement are failing. They are failing to achieve organizational results and most employees fail to experience the benefits of their own engagement. These failures may result in widespread abandonment of employee engagement. This is intolerable and unacceptable as engagement has the potential to create excellent experiences of working for individuals fused with organizations capable of creating robust results. Let’s work together to ensure we avoid the loss from a failure to engage!

Read this new 21-point manifesto outlining my core beliefs, principles, and actions to improve employee engagement and work. Notice that each item is a verb directed towards action. These are strong declarations. You will discover where I stand on the major elements of engagement because “if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” If you or your organization align with some of these statements I welcome and invite you to work with me.

Simplify employee engagement into an 8 word definition: good work done well with others every day.

Change engagement by changing behaviors and actions. We change attitudes, emotions and culture by changing behavior.

Make employee engagement actions and behaviors simple, small, strategic, significant, and sustainable.

Rewrite the grammar of engagement from the noun of engagement to the verb of engage.

To read the other 17 declarations view the slides below:

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert.

Learn 12 Secrets to Becoming a Thought Leader

Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am.

(Reading Time: 5 Minutes)

David Zinger Cartoon Smaller Version

Learn how to be a thought leader from David Zinger’s employee engagement thought leadership. Do you want to be a thought leader? This post outlines a quirky 12 step process to thought leadership.

What’s in a name? I have been referred to as a thought leader in employee engagement and was conferred engagement Guru status by the UK’s Engage for Success movement. I never knew that a business and workplace movement in the UK could confer guru status. I believe that if you think you are a thought leader or a guru in all likelihood you are neither of these things. I don’t think I am a thought leader, just a fifty-nine year old guy living on the Canadian prairies in Winnipeg who developed an abiding passion for the various permutations and combinations of engagement in leadership, management, work, and living.

Here are 12 idiosyncratic steps if you are interested in being thought of as a though leader:

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes. – Walt Whitman

Develop a mild to medium obsession with a topic.  I admit that I am obsessed with engagement and what it means. I can’t resist reading a book or blog about engagement. I check tweets on engagement about five times a day. I think about engagement all the time.  Psychologists suggest we have about two thousand 14-second daydreams each day. A fair number of my daydreams involve engagement.

Be willing to go anywhere to learn about your specialty. I have gone from military bases in Winnipeg to distilleries in Manitoba to learn about engagement. I have walked the tunnels of uranium mines in Northern Saskatchewan and spent time scurrying though a platinum smelter in South Africa in search of engagement. I got a real buzz of engagement by using computers over three summers to interact with honeybees in their hives to learn about social engagement. If you want to buzz off for a few moments click on the title of my free eBook: Waggle: 39 Ways to Improve Human Organizations, Work, and Engagement. Thought leaders need to go anywhere to learn from anyone (even another species) about engagement.

Your best thoughts always begin with ignorance. Everything I have learned about engagement has come from my ignorance. To me, ignorance simply means not knowing. Stupidity is thinking you know when you don’t. It is okay to be ignorant just don’t be stupid about it. Just because we start with ignorance doesn’t mean that we stay there.

You are only half right but don’t let your brains fall out. I believe that half of what I say is right on, evidence-based, and state of the art while half of what I say is wrong. The conundrum  is that I don’t know the difference. Concepts, ideas, and practices need to be played out and what works for one person, team, or organization may not work for another. Jacob Needleman, the philosopher offered the following advice, “it’s good to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.”

It is more important to write than be right.  E. M. Forester once wrote, “how do I know what I think until I see what I write.” Writing has proven to be a good way to think. I have written over 2500 blog posts, 3 books, and 10000 tweets. I read to learn but I also write to learn. A thought leader can seldom go wrong by writing.

You can think on our own but you are never alone. Thought leadership does not exist in isolation or a vacuum. I founded and host a 6100 member community on employee engagement.  I have devoted countless hours over the past 6 years to this community and it has been worth every second. We are now firmly embedded in the era of social thinking supplanting solo thinking.

You can never know enough, or retain enough, to stop being a student. I am enthralled by learning and learn from everyone I encounter. I default on being a student. I study rather than read. Currently, I am studying, Employee Engagement in Theory and Practice. I can’t help myself as I make notes and draw little diagrams in the margin, I argue with certain statements and put giant check marks beside other statement, and the white pages of the book are streaked with contrails of yellow highlighter.

the Pyramid Model of Employee Engagement Square

Build a pyramid so that your thoughts will outlast you. I never intended to build a pyramid but I ended up building a 10 block pyramid of  engagement. I am a visual thinker and created images for the key elements of engagement. Before I knew it the blocks took the shape of a pyramid. Partially as a tribute to the great UCLA’s basketball coach John Wooden’s pyramid of success and partially because the pyramid structure created a strong, almost intuitive, visual representation of the tactical and practical requirements of full engagement. It may be premature to declare this but I believe the pyramid of engagement may be my magnum opus, or it could be the manifestation of regression to when I was three years old and  totally engaged in playing with wooden alphabet blocks.

Embrace contradictions and change your mind.  My mind has been changed often in engagement. I have more questions than answers. My thoughts lead me more than I lead my thoughts. I have always loved the line by Walt Whitman at the start of these 12 steps: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

To find enlightenment be a lamp. A much wiser one than I, the  Buddha, said “be a lamp unto yourself.” We must shine a light on own thinking and approaches. We can go around the globe in search of engagement and fail to realize that it resides in our own hands, head, and heart.

Waggle while you work. My honeybees taught me to waggle. Waggles are their dance-like movements to communicate with their community about sources of pollen and even the location of a new home. I trust my thoughts will help others find and nourish their own engagement work. I place countless links in my tweets and updates on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds.

Think, pray, laugh. I have kept everything in perspective by following the Chinese beatitude: Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves, they shall never cease to be entertained. I also maintain my serenity with the modified serenity prayer I learned about 30 years ago: God grant me the laughter to see the past with perspective, face the future with hope, and celebrate today without taking myself too seriously. Thought leaders who laugh, last. Enjoy Assorted Zingers: Poems and Cartoons to Take a Bite Out of Work.

Alfred Adler was a thought leader for psychological thinking. He didn’t follow Sigmund Freud’s path or someone else’s path, he created his own. Supposedly after presenting his latest theories and thinking on psychology in front of very large audiences he would conclude his presentation with this statement of heartfelt uncertainty, “things could also be quite otherwise.” As we journey forward in engagement towards 2020, let’s never forget that, things could also be quite otherwise.

The map is not the territory. ~ Alfred Korzybski

David Zinger Employee Engagement Speaker

David Zinger has been led around by his thoughts on employee engagement for the past 7 years. He is an employee engagement speaker from the Canadian prairies who believes we must be on the same level with everyone else and that pyramids are for blocks not for people.

Are you with it? The Top 1 Post of Employee Engagement for 2014

Stop the clutter of Top 10’s and find the focus of Top 1!

It is that time of year when so many sites are letting you know about their top 10 posts of 2014. In my mind, that is nine posts too many. We need more simplicity and less clutter of content marketing.

So, instead of 10 posts here is a link to my favorite post of 2014: Get with it: Are you ready for Employee Engagement 2015? It take under two minutes to read but can sustain your engagement efforts for all of 2015.

What are you waiting for? Get with it.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert striving do get simpler and use less to do more.

An Employee Engagement Journey Lesson from Dubai and the UAE

Employee Engagement Conference and Master Class Reflections

Dubai Sky Line

I recently travelled to Dubai for an employee engagement conference. I offered the opening keynote and provided a five hour master class after the conference. My thanks to Ramy Bayyour from Informa for the invitation and the conference.

There are quite a number of things that stood out for me and over a series of posts I will outline some key lessons.

The employee engagement journey. It was a long trip from Winnipeg Canada to Dubai UAE and return. Fittingly, the first thing that really stood out for me is the employee engagement journey metaphor for organizations and individuals. Masoud Golshani-Shirazi Vice Presiden HR from Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Company referred to the journey directly during his holistic presentation onf employee engagement. I was impressed by the progress and resilience Aujan has had in its workforce and the idea of engagement being a work journey for employees to join with the organization.

Masoud Golshani-Shirazi

Masoud shared with us the wisdom of his grandmother who declared, “if you want to get to know someone travel with them.” Thank you Masoud, it was good to hear about the journey of engagement and the wisdom of your grandmother.

Here are my 4 points as I thought about the employee engagement journey:

  • Understand that different tools and pathways are required at different steps along the journey – surveys are not good nor bad, it is what we do with them that make all the difference.
  • The engagement journey does not have a final destination, it evolves as we keep moving forward or even stumble with setbacks.
  • Encourage employees to fully participate in planning and embarking on the journey, employees are not just along for the ride.
  • Journeys are about movement and ensure your engagement work does not become static.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who keeps journeying around the globe to learn more about engagement and help all of us as we journey together for increased, fuller, and more authentic employee engagement.

 

Employee Engagement: How to Make Your Day by Finding Your UP

What’s your UP?

Find Your UP

Enjoy David’s latest slide presentation on finding your UP:

Here is a link to the slideshare if it does not appear in this window.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who feel very up about work and well-being.

Employee Engagement: The Free Iatrogenic Disengagement E-Book

Employee Engagement: Let’s guard against creating disengagement in our efforts to improve employee engagement.

Iatrogenic Disengagement Book Cover

(Reading & Viewing Time =  2 minutes and 41 seconds)

Iatrogenic disengagement is the disengagement caused by trying to measure or increase engagement. It is often unintentional and frequently goes unnoticed. I am offering you two resources to help stop iatrogenic disengagement where you work. The first is a one minute video on the topic. The other resources if a slide presentation that can also be downloaded as an e-book. Use these resourses to increase awareness and stimulate conversation about iatrogenic disengagement where you work.

A video introduction:

Iatrogenic Disengagement from David Zinger on Vimeo.

The slides (e-book) resource.

If you prefer a PDF e-book version, click on this title or the image of the cover at the start of this article: Iatrogenic Disengagement e-book

David Zinger is a global employee engagement speaker and expert.

Employee Engagement: What’s Your Verb?

7 Ways to Make  Use of the  37 Verbs of Employee Engagement

Reading and Viewing Time: 1 minute, 22 seconds.

What's Your Veb

Below is a visual slide show with 37 verbs for employee engagement.

Here are 7 ways you can use this slideshow:

  1. Scan the slides for 37 seconds of inspiration to start your day.
  2. Pass on the slides to a coworker to make their day.
  3. Download the slides to use in advance of an employee engagement presentation.
  4. Show the slides to a training group and have them generate their own verbs.
  5. Create a personalized deck of your own engagement verbs.
  6. View if on your smartphone or tablet while waiting for a meeting to begin.
  7. Answer the question: what’s your verb?

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who brings engagement alive through behaviors and actions. His 3 word theme for 2014/2015 is the repetition of the verb engage.

Employee Engagement Gamification For Work and Well-being Made Simple

Are you game for a simple approach to improve engagement with work and well-being? 10 Lessons for Gamification.

Based on David Zinger’s personal experience this post offers you a simple and lean approach to using gamification for engagement. Although it is an experiment with just one person it offers some tangible evidence of how gamification can improve both work and well-being and how an experiment can help us improve the process of gamification. The post also offers you a glimpse into gamification based on a real experience and offers you a pathway to gamification that can be conducted at almost zero cost and does not require a training course to implement.

Reading Time: 4 minutes and 55 seconds

Year of Points button

At times, I have struggled to start major projects. At times, I find that either my work or well-being begins to wane. At times, I wonder what I have accomplished. At times, I wonder if drudgery (as I define it) can be used to enhance well-being. At times, I wonder if my childhood love of pinball has any relevance for my work and well-being. This lead me to the conclusion that the time was right to personally experiment with the gamification of work and well-being. I believe we should never ask anyone to do what we are not prepared to do ourselves and I know I had advocated for the place of gamification in work and well-being.

It is interesting to me that although I am self-employed I can be disengaged. We often fail to see the disengagement of the self-employed when we believe organizations are responsible for engagement. There were also times that I let my efforts towards personal well-being languish. I needed some structural help with my work and well-being and decided that the gamification of these two key elements of my life could be helpful. I have been amazed at just how helpful this has been.

  • I am more productive.
  • I have eliminated most procrastination around big projects.
  • I enjoy my work more.
  • I found well-being in doing housework and Costco shopping, two activities I previously loathed.
  • I have triggered additional social contribution/donations.

Overall, I learned that games are so much more than just a trivial pursuit.

During 2014, I have been conducting a one year experiment on the gamification of work and well-being. In fact, some of the work goes back to 2012 with an elaborate approach to planning, monitoring, and measuring my work and well-being. Although many people play games as diversions from work I was more interested in applying the principle of games to be help me immerse more fully into both my work and well-being.

I continue to use a gamified approach to my work and well-being but I have greatly simplified the process and procedures.

Two factors were at play in the evolutionary simplicity. The first was my overall approach to employee engagement and work being based on the principles of: small, simple, significant, sustainable, and strategic. I must practice what I teach. I realized that my game was too elaborate and time consuming and needed to be simpler and smaller to be sustainable.

I believe that in our “crazybusy” lives that small is the new significantJane McGonigal, one of the world’s leading experts on gamification, states that, overall, games have four traits: a goal, rules, a feedback system, and voluntary participation. Everything else is extra.

The second influence was the publication of my May cover story for ASTD’s Training and Development Magazine: Game On: A Primer on Gamification for Managers. In that article I shared a gamification approach used by Charles M Schwab from over 100 years ago (gamification is a lot older and simpler than many people think!)

Charles M. Schwab, the American steel magnate, in the early 1900s wrote about the practice of gamification in Succeeding With What You Have. He recounted the following story.

Schwab was concerned about production in one of his steel mills and asked the day foreman for the production number, or “heats” produced, by the day shift. It was six, so Schwab grabbed a piece of chalk and wrote a large number six on the floor. The night shift saw the number and asked about the meaning of it. Upon hearing that Schwab had put down six for the productivity of the day shift, the night shift competed hard and, based on their productivity, they erased the number before morning and put down seven.

The day shift, getting into the “game,” completed 10 heats and very quickly this mill, formerly the poorest producer, was turning out more than any other mill in the plant. With minimal application of a goal, rules, feedback system, and voluntary participation, the “game” greatly enhanced the productivity of this workforce more than a century ago. Who would have thought that Schwab was an early work-gamification designer even if he never used the word?

I realized how lean and simple gamification could really be. Just because there are lots of bells and whistles or huge epic massive multi-player online quests does not mean you need these things to have a good game. Gamification for work and well-being must be designed with the purpose you have in mind. Here were my 6 purposes:

  1. to bring a concrete daily focus to work and well-being
  2. to improve and get better with both my work and well-being
  3. to approach my work and well-being from a playful perspective and blur the lines between work and play
  4. to apply gamification to monitor and heighten the experience of progress while diminishing the disengagement of setbacks
  5. to ensure engaged work and well-being was triggered multiple times every day
  6. to have my results be bigger than myself by triggering a social contribution based on points accumulated through play

It was time for me to remove and reduce the extraneous bells and whistles in my game and thereby strengthen its focus, power, and purpose. The next two images show the evolution of the game from what it was to what it is. A short description about the game is above each image.

Version 1: This is the initial version of the game. The game board was a fresh PowerPoint slide created each day.  It had lots of colors and moving parts. There were goals, points, bonus points, and a hive like structure. I filled in the hive cells with every 24 minutes of work or wellbeing once achieved (yellow for work and green for well-being).  I thought it might make a nice mobile app but I began to wonder if it could not be a lot simpler. In addition, the Pomodoro technique that I discovered the third year into my experiment has already built apps that can be used for this purpose. Sometimes I seemed to be spending more time on the game dynamics than time on meaningful work and well-being.

Version 2: Below is  a scanned page from my current gamification of work and well-being. In some ways, it hardly looks like a game at all yet it elegantly fulfills my 6 purposes. The game board is a physical notebook, completed by hand and and I experienced a power and trigger in having a very tangible game book that I can carry around. I reduced the time periods of work and well-being from 24 minutes to 15 minute increments – this makes it easier to start each period, knowing I only have to go for 15 minutes (I have learned how much can be done with just 15 minutes — it still amazes me). I also experienced how refreshing a nap of just 15 minutes could be. Each 15 minute period awards 15 points which translates to a social donation of one cent a point. Yes, this is not a large amount of money but I found if the amount was 10 cents a point it did not work as well as one cent a point. For example, on Thursday October 30 I donated $100.40 to the Red Cross to support Ebola work based on work and well-being points accumulated over the past two months.

Sample Page from Work and Well-being Gamification Experiment

Sample Page from Work and Well-being Gamification Experiment

Here are 10 lessons learned from a year a gamification. I trust these could be helpful to you if you are thinking of gamifying your work or well-being:

  1. Just start, because in the starting the learning begins
  2. Games don’t have to be complex to be powerful
  3. Games can be more than escape, they can immerse you into your own work and well-being
  4. Experience is still one of the greatest teachers and don’t be afraid to change or modify things as you go along
  5. Always think about the purpose or the intent of the game and don’t let the game divert you from your purpose
  6. Never overlook the power of elegant simplicity
  7. Take ownership of your game design because you will then get exactly what you want and need
  8. Games can be a terrific mechanism to help us navigate through setbacks and progress or our real life game of snakes and ladders
  9. Gamification can contribute to social responsibility and contribution
  10. My gamification was used to create this post. It took seven 15-minute periods and it will contribute $1.05 towards a social contribution.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who believes we must practice what we teach. His love of pinball at sixteen is paying dividends in his gamification of work and well-being at 60.

Employee Engagement and the Verb of Engage

I am currently crafting a 21-point manifesto for employee engagement.

Zinger Employee Engagement Manifesto

I trust I will have it completed in the next 2 weeks and look forward to sharing this document and engaging with people based on a strong action statement of what I believe is required to move employee engagement forward for the next 15 years. Here is a list of the verbs that begin each statement:

  1. simplify
  2. change
  3. make
  4. rewrite
  5. diminish
  6. monitor
  7. recognize
  8. offer
  9. substitute
  10. awaken
  11. ensure
  12. reframe
  13. integrate
  14. mobilize
  15. energize
  16. enable
  17. learn
  18. commit
  19. elevate
  20. build
  21. forge

Look for this action manifesto within the next two weeks then engage along with me because the best is yet to be.

Zinger’s 8 Word Behavioral Definition of Employee Engagement

A shorter more simple definition of employee engagement

Employee Engagement Definition

It has taken me about 8 years and 10,000 hours to get to a definition of employee engagement that is both simple and elegant. I am discouraged with emotional and attitudinal surveys as I have become increasingly behavioral in my views of work and engagement. My definition puts engagement in the hands of each employee — I can choose to do this everyday while also being enabled and encouraged by my leaders, managers, and organization.

We are each responsible for our own engagement as we are accountable to each other for the impact we have on making engagement easy or difficult for others.

I define employee engagement in 8 words as:

Good work done well with others every day.

Good work means consistent quality and good is also a pathway to great while great is a by product of good. Good can be good enough. Good is sustainable while also being fused with gumption and grit rather than the hype and hyperbole of the continual and debilitating pursuit of great. Putting work in the definition means the focus of engagement is less about liking an organization or having a good attitude and more about our tasks, project, and specific work. Without work in the definition employee engagement is practically meaningless. Of course, sometimes our work extends beyond task and requires us to work on building robust relationships focused on achieving results.

Done well means we perform well and that good work can make us well.

With others acknowledges our connections and even a solo performer has inputs and interactions with other. We need to stop thinking that we work for someone or an organization, rather we work with someone or with an organization. We are joined and not subservient. We are all “social workers” these days.

Every day refers to enduring and sustainable work Engagement is not a biannual survey it is something we focus on every day, and we can change engagement for the better any and every day.

So let’s keep it simple and ensure employee engagement is good work done well with others every day.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and global expert who does his best to engage fully with work every day while helping others ensure employee engagement is not so much mumbo jumbo but an enriching experience of the time we spend working.

Employee Engagement: Gratitude and Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving day in Canada. There are so many people I am thankful for in my development in employee engagement. I offer this post to both acknowledge these people and to encourage you to think about who helped you be where you are. It is almost impossible not to be engaged when we approach our work with a strong sense of gratitude for the other people in our life who make our work possible.

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”  A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Engage the Revolution no click

Here are just a few of the people that contributed to my development:

Susan Gerlach is my wife. We have grown together, produced 3 children and she is not only a terrific sounding board for my work she offers insightful and critical input. She also flies around the world with me as I speak and teach on employee engagement. Without her accompaniment, my work might be just a job and not a journey.

Jack Zinger, Katharine Zinger, and Luke Zinger are my three children and they have each helped me with projects. They also give me insight and perspective on work for young people in their 20’s.

John Junson is a pal going back to  junior high. He is a brilliant designer and cartoonist. He brings humor and perspective to my work. He encourages new initiatives and my websites, books and work would not be what they are without John. I look forward to his fresh weekly cartoon on work.

Peter Dyck has been a client, a mentor and a friend for many years now. He has taught me to flock with eagles! His belief in my work has been a great launching pad for my orbit into engagement. Peter is married to Aganetha Dyck, and her art work with bees, has helped me to think differently inside the hive.

Peter Hart has transformed from a connection into a friend and we wrote People Artistry together. He is a people artist who has taught me about the nobility of recognition and engagement. His support means much to me.

David MacLeod has done fantastic work in the UK on employee engagement. He hosted both my wife and myself in his home and his caring and work has been inspirational about employee engagement.

Gail Pischak and Jean-Francois Hivon connected with me originally to become very “Crucial” in my work and teaching Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability, and The Influencer. I learned a lot from each of them and learned a lot from teaching these courses. Gail keeps the rocks alive in my work and Jean-Francois added juice to what I do.

Geoff Ronaldson invited me to South Africa to present on employee engagement. He was a fantastic host and gave me a view of engagement in platinum smelters on the other side of the world.

Siddhesh Bhobe was a connection in Pune India. His work on gamification and his wonderful hosting is inspirational. He gave me an inside look at the challenges of engagement in the IT sector in India.

Lisa Haneberg, Rosa Say, Steve Roesler, and Phil Gerbyshak have all been blogging on management, leadership and work long before most people knew what it was and I have been enriched by my association with each of them.

Scott H. Young is a young blogger who I have known just out of high school and he embodies his work about learning on steroids. He fuses learning with both business and blogging in truly creative and helpful ways.

The 6400 members of the Employee Engagement Network. Each person who has joined, supported or contributed to the Employee Engagement Network has strengthened my views of engagement.

There are so many others and I will be thinking much about them and my gratitude today. Who are you thankful for?

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker, educator, and expert. Who is both thankful and indebted to so many people who have contributed to his development and perspective on work.

Disrupting the Dinosaur: RFID Will Make Your Employee Engagement Survey Prehistoric

An employee engagement survey interception

Employee Engagement Broken Pencil

The future is upon us in employee engagement, it will just take a little time to catch up to it. Of course anybody who wears a Fitbit or other fitness device or goes out and purchases the new Apple watch knows the ability to get real time data and to monitor, motivate, and change your own fitness and sleep behavior.

Will we even bother with archaic employee engagement surveys by 2020, or maybe even 2017? You know, those attitudinal assessments that take a long time to complete, a long time to assess, suffer from low response rates, and by the time all the data is in you need to launch your next biannual survey. Oh, did I mention that employees seldom ever see their own data!

Of course, you also farm out all your data to a consultancy while your ability to make changes based on the survey are long past by the time you get around to it.

There is a lot of work being done on real time measures of work and relationships. I am impressed by the work of Sandy Pentland on sociometers.

Just to see what is coming to a workplace near you within the next five years, here is a 1 minute and 41 second video on next generation statistics used to understand NFL players better. In real time you can understand performance variables such as speed, fatigue, power, fitness, and safety.

Imagine the real time measures that could be used in your workplace to improve engagement, performance, safety, and wellbeing. Imagine employees themselves having a real time dashboard where they can make adjustments in moments not months.

You don’t have to imagine it, it is already upon us and will continue to grow and develop. It is time to start the second half of employee engagement with a more transparent, useful, and real time method of monitoring, measuring, and managing engagement and performance.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who wears a Samsung android watch as a crude tool for fitness, performance, and wellbeing measures.

Employee Engagement: 7 Qualities to Engage Successfully With Social Media

Reflections from a 10 year veteran of social media.

Bees on Keys

The picture above is of a computer I placed in a beehive. My most experimental involvement in social media was to put a live computer in a beehive connected to Twitter. You can read what the honeybees taught me in a wonderful free e-book: Waggle: 39 Ways to Improve Human Organizations, Work, and Engagement.

I celebrated 10 years of engagement with social media on Saturday October 4. I wrote a nice post on LinkedIn on 10 lessons from 10 years. I encourage you to go read it, a nice short piece. In this post I want to outline 7 qualities that will help you engage successfully in social media.

Discern. There is a diffusion of social media updates and sites. Learn to discern so that you don’t get lost in the flurry of continual social information.

Specialize. I focus on employee engagement. You know what you are going to get when you read my material.

Contribute. Ask not what social media can do for you, ask yourself what you can do for social media.

Experiment. Try things out, get a feel for it before you dismiss it or abandon it.

Play. Have some fun with this medium and visit the edges of your knowledge.

Engage. Stick with it and good things will happen.

Enjoy. Enjoy what you have done and be proud of what you contribute.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who has worked with social media for 10 years to enhance and enliven his contributions to employee engagement.

Employee Engagement and Well Being: Work Life Infusion

Let’s reverse the order and topple the precarious work/life balance with life work infusion.

Life Work Infusion

Work/Life balance has toppled. We failed by putting work first in the equation. Mobile technology has infiltrated home and family time. Balance seemed like an ideal state to achieve yet the blance we sought was never static and often quite precarious.

I am now focusing my efforts on life work infusion. I believe work can make use well. I know that life can infuse energy, meaning, and perspective into work while work can infuse connection, contribution, and results into life. This is just the tip of the life and work infusion iceberg. I am very interested in your infusions:

What does life outside of your work infuse into your work?

What does work infuse into your life outside of work?

David Zinger is a global employee engagement speaker and expert who believes work can make us well.

 

Employee Engagement: 21 Employee Engagement Intentions for the next 15 years

David Zinger at 60

Zinger Engage Button

Today, September 24th, 2014, I turned 60. This is a time when friends and colleagues are retired, turning their thoughts towards retirement, or focused on the end of work. Yet, I intend to work for 15 more years. I love my work. I want to make a contribution to work for others. I want to see employee engagement evolve into something richer and more robust. Of course, I know, this is dependent upon the health of myself and my family.

For quite a few years I have used the line, “engage along with me, the best is yet to be.” I shamelessly riffed that line from Robert Browning:

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made…

It appears to me that engage along with me and grow old along with me are now fusing inside myself and coalescing for my best is yet to be for engagement. My intentions are to contribute to engagement in more than 21 ways over the next 15 years:

  1. To make employee engagement simple, small, strategic, and significant.
  2. To move more to actions and behaviors versus emotions and attitudes.
  3. To reduce the noun of engagement into the verb of engage.
  4. To reduce engagement to 8 words: good work done well with others every day.
  5. To reduce the hype and superlatives of great work to the grit and gumption of good daily work.
  6. To have us think more of the hourly and moment-to-moment fluctuations of engagement rather than bi-annual measures.
  7. To give employee engagement both a name and a face and remove or reduce anonymity in measurement.
  8. To contribute to the development of mobile and daily engagement measures that result in real time metrics for both the individual and the organization.
  9. To replace work/life balance with life-work infusion.
  10. To help more workers around the world realize that work can make them well, really!
  11. To ensure that engagement is approached to improve both results and relationships.
  12. To change the term employee engagement into work engagement.
  13. To have engagement integrated so closely into how we work that we will see a disappearance of special or extra engagement programs and initiatives.
  14. To help all understand that they own their own engagement while being accountable to everyone else for their influence on other’s engagement.
  15. To help leaders, managers, and supervisors to be personally more engaged and socially more engaging.
  16. To help managers and leaders fully engage their virtual and mobile work forces.
  17. To continue to travel around the globe offering the best in engagement and learning from the best in engagement.
  18. To ensure I personally practice what I preach.
  19. To transform the social elements of the Employee Engagement Network into an authentic badge and certified learning resource.
  20. To develop robust and open source certification for employee engagement.
  21. To fuse work and play into a richer personal experience of engagement. After all, employee engagement is an experience to be lived not a problem to be solved.
So on my 60th birthday as I grow older and more engaged please engage along with me for the best is yet to be.
David Zinger Deed Image
David Zinger is a 60 year old global employee engagement speaker and expert available to work with you for only 15 more years.

Employee Engagement: Is Employee Disengagement a Form of Death?

Something dies in us when we disengage

RIP Employee Disengagement

I was flying from Winnipeg to Singapore at the end of August to do a one day workshop on employee engagement. I was minding my own business when my brain began to nudge me with a quiet question that began to get louder and louder in consciousness: Is employee disengagement death?

At first it felt like an absurd question to be pondering at 39,000 feet over the Pacific ocean. My immediate answer was no. But the question had me in its grip and would not let go. Before I got to Singapore I had decided that disengagement is indeed a form of death. I believe something dies in us when we disengage.

What dies might be such things as

  • contribution,
  • fair exchange,
  • all the time we spend working,
  • a distant career spark burning out like an old light bulb,
  • a sense of meaning,
  • both care and caring for ourselves and others,
  • working relationships,
  • a spiritual connection that work provides to something greater than ourselves.

Here is a little thought or word replacement experiment I encourage you to try at work.

When talking about employee engagement substitute the word life for engagement, as in employee life or living. When using the phrase employee disengagement change it to employee death or dying. Yes, I know, it sounds too strong but perhaps we need this strong language to stop being complacent or helpless around employee disengagement.

Organizations, leaders, managers, and supervisors all have an obligation towards employee engagement not just for the organization but for the life and wellbeing of each employee. Don’t let employees die on the job because of career suicide, being murdered by meaningless work, or the hundreds of other ways one can die on the job.

So, what do you think? Can we infuse life into work or am I dead wrong on this?

David Zinger – Employee engagement speaker and expert who firmly believes that work can make us well.

Employee Engagement: Learn to Boost Engagement with Progress and Setback Conversations

If you are a virtual or mobile manager we need your help: 

  • Do you manage 10 or more mobile or virtual staff?
  • Do you want to improve employee engagement?
  • Do you know how to engage by focusing on progress and setbacks?
  • Are you willing to be experimental in your approach to management?
  • Do you want to make a contribution to the science of engagement?
  • Do you want free coaching to improve engagement?

David Zinger and Fuze are looking for a Virtual Manager to engage in “THE ENGAGEMENT EXPERIMENT.”

THE ENGAGEMENT EXPERIMENT is a 6 week initiative consisting of once a week online progress/setback conversations with half of your virtual reports. Our hypothesis is that regular online manager-generated and employee-focused conversations involving progress will increase employee engagement and other key results. By participating you will learn new engagement skills and approaches for a mobile workforce to achieve results and build relationships.

Ideally you manage 8 or more virtual employees. They will be randomly assigned to the conversation group or the control group. We will assess engagement before and after the experiment along with gathering anecdotal comments and any other relevant metrics.

We’re looking for managers who want to make a difference in their culture by applying new ways of engaging your staff. You have the opportunity to contribute to both the design and delivery of this experiment. We want your input combined with your critical thinking on this approach to engagement.

You will be coached by David Zinger, a global expert on Employee Engagement, on how to construct and hold engaging online conversations about progress and setbacks.

Your online management success will be dependent upon your willingness to ask a few good questions, listen closely to your reports’ responses, care deeply about employee voice, and do what you can to enhance progress and lessen setbacks. We want your thoughts, experiences, and input.

We trust you are excited about making a contribution to the science of organizations, management, and engagement. You are open to post experiment dialogue about the experience.

Your total time commitment to this would be about 10 hours spread over 6 to 8 weeks, in the fall of 2014.

Contact: David Zinger: david@davidzinger.com if you would like to learn more or if  you are interested in volunteering to be an engaging manager.

Employee Engagement Invitation: Work Can Make You Well

Get to Work and Find Well Being

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I think for far too many of us work is hell not well.

  • We disengage.
  • We experience drudgery.
  • We burnout.
  • We feel drained.
  • We encounter toxic relationships.
  • We lack the resources for the job.
  • We live for the weekend but lack enthusiasm for much beyond napping when the weekend arrives.

The last thing we need is someone being motivational and inspiration and saying that we just need a little attitude adjustment and work will be great.

Now here is the tricky part. I believe work can make us well. Really? Really!

And much of it is simple even if it is not easy. I think it begins with experiencing work as an invitation to well-being. Like any invitation, we are free to decline it, we don’t have to go there.  Yet, we need to realize the consequences to us, our co-workers, our customers, and our families when we fail to accept this invitation.  Of course, here is the tricky part, no one sends you the invitation in a fancy card with gold embossed script saying you are invited to be well at work.

So if you have read this far, please accept this bland blog invitation to merely entertain the idea that work can make you well and join me over the next month or two and explore how we can find well-being right inside the work we do.

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David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who is saddened by disengagement and the impact it has on individuals and families. David taught counselling psychology at the University of Manitoba for 25 years and was the employee assistance counsellor for Seagram Ltd. for 15 years. He founded and host the 6400 member Employee Engagement Network. He knows work from the inside out.

 

Get with it: Are you ready for Employee Engagement 2015?

Get with it for more robust employee engagement

Reading time: 1 minutes and 51 seconds

Employee Engagement To For With

I frequently see three different approaches to employee engagement. In the first approach employee engagement it something the organization does to employees. In the second approach employee engagement is something done for employees. In the third approach employee engagement is something done with employees.

Here is a brief outline of each approach.

EETo

TO:  In this approach employees often experience the organization’s approach as something being done to them to get them to work harder and longer.  Levers are pulled and drivers are pushed to get more discretionary effort. Organizations go in search of the secrets of engagement or hope to plug another organization’s best case into their operations without having to do anything else. This is a mechanical approach and engagement is a method used to get more productivity with a failure to ensure engagement is a benefit to all.  Senior leadership and even many managers may fail to fully acknowledge that they are also employees. This approach may cause iatrogenic disengagement when employees are cynical of the organization’s motives and sometimes see the statement “employees are our greatest resource” paired with a lack to transparency and a lack of ethical integrity.

EEfor

FOR: This approach is paternalistic in nature. The organization will look after employees. Brady Wilson from Juice Inc. has done some excellent work differentiating parenting from partnering in the workplace.  This approach often fails to involve employees in their own engagement, engagement data is not readily shared with everyone and sometimes the organizations seems at a loss when employees did not get on the bus failing to realize that many employees want to drive themselves or they may even prefer to walk. Employees are asked in surveys about their opinions and attitudes but are seldom drawn fully into conversations about engagement. Engagement data is not readily shared nor is it transparent. In this approach there is frequent reference to buy-in as leaders are transformed into sellers while employees are viewed as buyers or consumers of engagement. Engagement is seen as a problem to be solved rather than an experience to be lived.

EEWith

WITH: In this approach employee engagement is co-created with employees. Two of my favorite lines that demonstrate this are “never do anything about me without me” and “if you want everyone on the same page you need to give them an opportunity to write on that page.” Employees are seen as authentic partners and their input may even begin with the organization asking them to help formulate any engagement questions used in surveys or data collection. Engagement is much less about a program or initiative and more about the verb of engage being infused into how we lead, manage, and work. There is a lack of any sense of victims, villains, and helplessness in the organization. Employees are responsible for their own engagement while everyone is accountable for their influence and impact on the engagement of everyone else. Employee engagement is truly viewed and approached as being a benefit for all.

If you want to be successful with employee engagement in 2015 don’t you think it is time to get with it?

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and educator who is working more and more on with!

How to Live Fully at Work: The New Employee Recognition

We need more authentic and robust employee engagement and recognition.

Klinic World Suicide Prevention Day

I am honored to be invited by Klinic Community Health Centre in Winnipeg to speak during lunch hour at Vimy Ridge Park in Winnipeg during “Connecting Canada” for World Suicide Prevention Day.  If you are in Winnipeg on September the 10th., I encourage you to come by for the short presentation and the free community barbecue.

Yes, I believe that a strong organization or company will help all employees live fully at work – with a full life and a life full of meaning and mattering. We need to recognize when employees are struggling and what we can do to help. This adds a lot of oomph to how we work and relate with each other. Because our focus on September 10th. is on suicide prevention I plan to to offer a brief focus on what I consider the opposite of suicide — living fully.

To live fully is to have a full life in years while putting fullness into each day. It embraces and acknowledges life’s joys and suffering,  both our own and others, letting in compassion and support.  Living fully is about living for both us and for others. Living fully at work is more about work/life integration than trying to find an ideal state of balance. Living fully at work is the new meaningful employee recognition when we are attuned to others in our work community and we recognize and connect with them during progress, celebration, setback, struggle, and loss.

Consider accepting even one of the following 10 invitations that life offers us at work:

  1. Accept each day as an invitation to live fully.
  2. Be mindful of moments and in touch with all your fluctuating emotions.
  3. Engage with both your work and the people you work with.
  4. Acknowledge impermanence – know that even negative experiences will change over time.
  5. Move beyond isolation from others by making connection and contribution.
  6. Flourish at work with positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, accomplishment, and strengths.
  7. Open your head, heart, and hands to your coworkers.
  8. Transform the ritual question of “how are you today?” into an authentic curiosity and really listen and respond to what the other person says.
  9. Face fears and create safety at work by caring for others and caring about what they are trying to achieve in their life.
  10. Know that small is big, by taking small steps day after day you will make a huge difference in your life or the life of someone else.

Bonus: Entertain a playful serenity with this modified serenity prayer: God grant me the laughter to see the past with perspective, face the future with hope, and celebrate today without taking myself too seriously.

David Zinger is an employee engagement expert and speaker who resides in Winnipeg Canada and works around the world. David was also a volunteer counsellor at Klinic over 30 years ago.

12 Tips for Virtual Employee Engagement

Don’t Be So Remote 20140428_172531 It was a pleasure to write this blog post for Fuze, an excellent platform for mobile work,  on 12 tips for virtual employee engagement. Here is one of my opening paragraphs and one of the 12 tips. I encourage you to go to the full article to learn more.

I believe the key question for managers of remote workers and distributed teams are to ensure the team and workers feel a part of the organization and work rather than feeling apart from the organization. We want our virtual workers and teams to be a part of something greater while also playing their part in achieving results and being engaged with the various facets of work. Mobile managers must prevent mobile employees becoming detached from their team, distant from their organization, disengaged from their work, and disappointed in their managers.

Tip 2: Go bad. According to volumes of research reviewed by psychologist, Roy Baumeister  bad is twice as strong as good. We must not shirk away from bad news, setbacks, or bad behavior. It is vital that managers mitigate against the disengagement and demoralization of setbacks. Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer in The Progress Principle demonstrated that setbacks were the single biggest cause of lack of motivation and engagement for knowledge workers and the most common source of those setbacks were during collaborative work. Progress, the single biggest source of engagement for knowledge workers was most frequently experienced during collaboration. Don’t shy away from working with bad news, setbacks, or bad behavior.

It has been a terrific to work with Fuze as one of the knowledge partners on the employee engagement network.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who is doing more of his work virtually and focusing more on helping others foster, enhance, and increase virtual employee engagement. This post was written in Winnipeg in late August and posted while David is in Singapore to work on employee engagement and read by you as you work and reside any place in the world. The picture was taken while David was flying between Regina and Saskatoon Saskatchewan to conduct sessions on employee engagement.