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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.

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.

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: 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

Wellness_ZingerModel

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.

DavidZinger_sample2

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

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.

Employee Engagement 3 Word Theme for 2014/2015: Engage, Engage, Engage

Engage Logo David Zinger

History of the 3-word theme. I first read about the 3 word theme from Chris Brogan. I have been using a 3-word theme for my work for six years and will be entering year seven in 10 days. Previous themes included:

  1. In 2009 my theme was: authentic, connect, engage
  2. In 2010 my theme was: engage, mobilize, produce.
  3. In 2011 my theme was: engage, educate, enliven.
  4. In 2012 my theme was: stop, focus, and finish.
  5. In 2012/2013 my theme was: discern, invite, engage
  6. In 2013/2014 my theme was spark, grow, write

Benefits of a 3 word themeA three word theme is succinct, easy to remember and leverage as a tool for work. It offers a quick guide and evaluation for work completed. It is a nice reflection tool for work and progress. It is also a great planning tool to get a tighter focus on the year ahead while offering flexibility in how those 3 themes are actualized.

3-Word Theme for 2013/2014. My new 3-word working theme is: engage, engage, engage. I know, this is the same word used three times. In my mind, the repetition adds emphasis. Also, this is the last year I will construct a three word theme. After this year I will reduce and simplify to a one word theme.  Engage, engage, engage will govern my work from September 1, 2014  to August 31, 2015.

Why I chose engage, engage, engage. I have spent the proverbial 10,000 hours towards expertise on engagement over the past 10 years. It has been my primary focus and frequently my exclusive focus over this time. I am much fonder of the word engage, a quick verb to initiate action, than the longer noun of engagement that seems more passive and removed. During the year ahead I plan to engage myself fully in my work, I want to help others engage fully in their work, and I want to expand the depth and breadth of engage in our workplaces and our wellbeing. Using just one word three times is easier to remember and provides a more succinct focus for my efforts. So engage along with me, the best is yet to be.

A sample of engage projects for 2014/2015

  • I will engage fully in thousands of fifteen minute periods of work.
  • I will be presenting  in Singapore on employee engagement
  • I will be speaking and conducting a Master Class on engagement in Dubai in December
  • I am creating a virtual three week intensive course on engagement in conjunction with a university for February 2015
  • I will continue to write about engagement at this site, further refining the term and practices.
  • I am in the midst of writing a twelve part series on the Halogen blog on the wheel of engagement
  • I plan to unite people in Manitoba interested in engagement/engage into a community of support and practice
  • There will be many more projects, tasks, and endeavors that embrace the theme of engage.

How to Write Your Own Three Word Theme. I encourage you to compose and act on your own 3-word theme for work. Here are 9 steps to create and apply your own unique 3 word theme:

  1. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. Take time to mull over 3 words that are personally meaningful.
  2. The process of doing this may be of equal value to the outcome.
  3. View a number of other people’s 3-word themes by clicking here.
  4. Voice your intended 3-word theme to other people to get their impressions and input.
  5. Once you find the 3-words that fit for you for the year ahead declare them to both other people and yourself.
  6. Create an image for your theme to keep it in focus for the year ahead.
  7. Leverage the 3-words to contemplate more focused and productive work.
  8. Apply the 3-word theme as your internal work GPS.
  9. Use the 3-words to evaluate your work.
David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert.

Excellent and Eclectic Guidance on Employee Engagement and Virtual Teams

How to Successfully Manage Virtual Teams

Fuze Dialogue on Managing Virtual Teams and Employee Engagement

Nearly 40% of global knowledge workers are now considered “anywhere, anytime” workers and an increasing number of us work in different locations than our managers and teams. Managing people and teams you rarely see in person is a reality, yet very few of us are given tactics and tools to be successful.

In conjunction with Fuze, I invited a panel of experts to discuss how managers can foster better employee engagement and performance among remote staff. No boring slides or sales pitches — just unscripted conversation and practical strategies you can start applying right away. I loved being able to watch the four people talking rather than watching an endless array of data slides flashing by on my screen. The sound quality was excellent.

The guests were:

Wayne Turmel, Author, Meet Like You Mean It

Yael Zofi, Author, A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams

Claire Ucovich, Head of People and Culture, Fuze

There is so much offered through this dialogue, here are just a few highlights from the one hour free flowing discussion on mobile management:

  • witness how we, as a four person round table, manage and move through our own technical difficulties as we begin
  • we will have technical glitches in our work, they are inevitable, what is key is how we respond to, and manage, these glitches
  • technology tools are necessary for the job yet only 10% of employees are trained in how to use those tools
  • two thirds of people claim online meeting time is wasted
  • 80% of people only use 20% of the features of collaboration tools
  • learn how work is changing and staying the same
  • hash-tags are great tools for remote workers
  • how do we foster the human connection in our mobile efforts
  • learn about the 3 conflicts in mobile management
  • have a people plan, a communication plan, and a risk management plan
  • ensure your fuse technology with the human connection while getting deliverables out the door.
  • hear about some specific examples of companies who are making good use of mobile tools
  • understand why and how we need to  move from agents of change to agents of connection

I hosted this dialogue and I have watched the recording twice, it is packed with perspectives, practices, examples, and ideas you can use.  This is well worth the 55 minutes it takes to watch and you can always break it up by watching  it over a week with five 11-minute periods. Watch now to improve your mobile management and employee engagement.

Webinar Managing Virtual Teams from Fuze on Vimeo.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who lives in Winnipeg Canada and works throughout the world.

Employee Engagement Discernment

Finding employee engagement discernment on the wheel of engagement.

Wheel of Employee Engagement

Last week the Halogen Talent Space Blog posted my piece on 6 ways to be more discerning with employee engagement. Three of the six ways were:

  1. Abandon the search for the ONE definition of employee engagement.
  2. Be skeptical without slipping into being cynical.
  3. Cease your benchmarking mentality; get off of the bench and into the game.

To read more about these 3 ways and to learn about the other 3 ways visit the article:  The Wheel of Engagement: 6 Ways to be More Discerning about Employee Engagement in 2014.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert.

Employee Engagement Roundtable Discussion for Mobile Managers

Join Us August 13 10AM PT

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Monday is the 180th birthday of John Venn, the originator of the Venn diagram. As a small tribute to his simple yet powerful diagram structure I have made a venn diagram for an upcoming free webinar/roundtable on employee engagement and mobile management that will be held next week. This is not your typical webinar with a bunch of slides and a sales pitch. This is a one hour dialogue, sponsored by Fuze and hosted on Fuze, to help virtual, remote, and mobile managers foster and enhance employee engagement.

I am so excited to be joined in the dialogue with Wayne Turmel the author of Meet Like You Mean It; Yael Zofi the author of A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams, and Claire Ucovich, the  head of People and Culture at Fuze.

Our one hour roundtable dialogue will be unscripted and unrehearsed as we look at how mobile managers can be better at fostering employee engagement with out staff.

To read some terrific tips about mobile management visit my latest post at the Fuze site: http://blog.fuze.com/the-engaging-dozen-12-ways-to-improve-remote-employee-engagement/. You will find a link to register for the round table near the bottom of the post or you can click here to register directly. I look forward to you joining with us on August 13th at 10AM PDT.

David Zinger is an employee engagement expert and specialist who has written 3 books on work and engagement while also founding and hosting the 6400 member Employee Engagement Network. Fuze is a knowledge partner with the Employee Engagement Network committed to supporting and enhancing employee engagement for all.

Employee Engagement: Focusing on Results Does Not Mean We Can’t be Playful

Why we need to be more like the Spice Girls

speaking of experts2

I believe there is a much greater connection between employee engagement and the Spice Girls than most people imagine. I am not talking about having to form a female quintet dressed in colorful clothing. I am not talking about creating a musical recruiting YouTube video.

I am talking about knowing what you want when you attend an employee engagement event and knowing what you want from employee engagement. To be more specific about the Spice Girls, it all comes down to one of their songs. Be careful, the next lines might create an earwurm, a snippet of a tune that gets into the brain and won’t leave.

I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want
I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want.

Just because we focus intently on results does not mean that we can’t be playful. We need to know the results we are looking for.

Engage along with me, the best is yet to be.

David Zinger is an expert  global employee engagement speaker and consultant who uses the pyramid of employee engagement to help leaders, managers, and organizations increase engagement.

Employee Engagement: 23 Things to Avoid That Cause Iatrogenic Disengagement

Are you and your organization creating the very disengagement you are trying to solve?

Wellbeing Symbol Flipped

In medicine there is a term call iatrogenic illness, define as of or relating to illness caused by medical examination or treatment. A common example is to go to the hospital for a procedure and end up with an infection. We don’t want to infect our employees with disengagement but many things we do may unknowingly or unintentionally be creating the very problem we are trying to solve.

Here is a list of 23 sources of disengagement caused by our efforts to engage:

  1. Taking away personal responsibility for engagement when we state that managers, leaders, or organizations are responsible for engagement.
  2. Using anonymous surveys unintentionally tells employees we don’t want to know who they are.
  3. Asking for comments on a survey and never ensuring that employees know that their comments were read and respected.
  4. Stopping our employee engagement work because we don’t like the lack of results we have received.
  5. Asking questions on an engagement survey that we lack the wherewithal to address.
  6. Taking far too much time between when we survey employees and when we release the data and sometimes never releasing the data. Engagement measure should be more like good toasters. You insert the data and have it pop up in no time.
  7. When employee engagement is talked about as something extra or a thing.
  8. Creating high levels of frustration when we foster motivation but fail to give employees the proper tools to do the job.
  9. When engagement is used as a new word for motivation and we fail to look deeper.
  10. Telling employees that we expect rather than encourage them to have a best friend at work.
  11. Having employee engagement as a mere program or event and expecting sustainable improvement.
  12. When we fail to ask employees directly what can be done to improve engagement.
  13. When we fail to ask employees to write some of the engagement survey questions.
  14. When we fail to believe in our employees.
  15. When disengagement is treated as a punishable offence rather than a trigger for a conversation.
  16. When we fail to address progress and setback as a key engagement issue.
  17. When our work becomes creepy.
  18. Failing to end something before we begin something.
  19. When we resort to hype and hyperbole about being a great place to work.
  20. Paying lots of money to be a great place to work and get the badge but there is a lack of substance behind the badge or credential.
  21. Believing that everyone should find the same sense of meaning from their work.
  22. Failure to make use of the inherent engagement in smart phones and tablets.
  23. Failure to move from surveys to just in time bio-measures of engagement.

What sources of iatrogenic disengagement are you seeing?

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who founded the 6300 member global Employee Engagement Network.

Employee Engagement Pyramid: 10 Keys to Engaging The Power of One

A singular approach to employee engagement

Employee Engagement Model: Pyramid of Employee Engagement

I am working on the power of one and singularity in my employee engagement practice.  I have revisited my pyramid of employee engagement and awoke to another layer of it. This is a phenomenal coaching model to use with my clients who are striving towards full and powerful effectiveness, engagement, and efficiency. It offer a structure for them to follow and a structure for us to dialogue and develop engaging actions.

  1. Results: Work on what the client wants to achieve and for them to articulate the results. Discuss what needs to end and discuss what the end is they have in mind.
  2. Performance: Determine what the client will need to do to achieve results and how they make key performances worthy of their attention.
  3. Progress: Monitor and work towards progress and manage setbacks.
  4. Relationships: Determine key relationships that will be vital for the client.
  5. Recognition: Create self-recognition and fully recognize others.
  6. Moments: Determine a fine level of granularity of what behaviors to build, foster, and advance.
  7. Strengths: Determine and utilize strengths and use those strengths on a daily basis.
  8. Meaning: Focus on the why of work and find the why behind the results for self and others.
  9. Wellbeing: Encourage wellbeing found inside of work.
  10. Energy: Ensure that work is an energy gain and determine how to energize others.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and coach based in Canada.