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An Ode to Distraction: The Lighter Side of Employee Engagement

I invite you to enjoy my Linked In post on distraction today. It includes a selfie taken with the Rosetta stone when I was in the British Museum. It also includes a picture of a tricycle that is too small for me to ride.

Click here to read the post and forget what you were supposed to be doing.

The post on Linked In begins:

What are the keys to employee engagement when we are distracted? Fox News  ( I often see a fox in the St. Vital park which is just a block away, and they have some lovely flowers) published an informative post on August 31st …

We should all know our keys. I just lost mine. I know they are around here somewhere. I also wish I could find my to-do list so I could remember what I was supposed to work on this afternoon.  I just can’t remember my password for Google Calendar, hey that’s a cool new logo they are using for Google. I know I put my passwords in a file somewhere (read the full post by clicking here – or did I already say that, I just forgot).

Employee Engagement: Engage the Year Ahead with 2-Simple Rules

Are 2 simple rules powerful enough to guide a year of work and interaction?

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2 Simple Engagement Rules

Simple rules. I have become enamoured with simple rules to guide and govern behavior and actions. It is a bit ironic as I always stated that rules were not engaging but somehow simple rules feels more inviting and not commandment-like at all.

A New Year’s Guide. This post outlines 2 simple rules I am using to guide my work and wellbeing from September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016. Even at 60 years of age, September 1st. always feels like the first day of the New Year. In my mind and experience, September marks the beginning of the school year in Canada.

Moving on from a 3 word theme. For the past 7 years I have used a 3-word theme to govern the year ahead. I loved the focus and simplicity of it. I was reluctant to give it up but I was looking for a more active approach to the year ahead wedded with specificity. The three word theme was a nice beacon or personal north star while 2-simple rules is a detailed daily road map through work and wellbeing. I am craving a more behavioral action guide for 2015/16. I was planning to write 3 simple rules but in drafting the rules, and my love of small and simple, I decided I only required two rules.

My two daily rules are:

Rule 1: Action – 15

Start and record fifteen 15-minute periods of engaged work or wellbeing sustained with resilient grit.

Rule 2: People Artistry – 5

Draw out the best in others or myself 5 times through connection and expression of appreciation, curiosity, or recognition.

Rule 1 is focused on using short engaged time zones to maximize productivity and well-being. The key moment for me with this simple rule is to just start. I start each period of work or wellbeing by pushing the button on my watch timer already preset for 15 minutes. A second challenge is to sustain engagement for the full 15 minutes. To do this I added resilient grit into the rule. I want to bounce back after inevitable setbacks and I want the grit and gumption to stick with this rule for the year. I know that a big factor in success for me is to keep recording the periods. I don’t need to conduct detailed assessment and analysis but I know that I often become derailed when I stop recording.

Rule 2 is inspired by the new book I wrote with Peter W. Hart on People Artists: Drawing Out the Best in Others at Work. This book will be released in October of 2015. The image on the one page guide at the start of this post is taken from the cover of the book and was painted by Peter Hart. I did not want to just write the book and offer the book to others, I plan to make it a personal daily practice. This rule will bring the concepts and practices of the book to life while also offering a trigger for 5 daily acts of people artistry. Most of those acts will take the form of appreciation, curiosity, or recognition.

Background. Some of  the background for this change in approach from a 3-word theme to 2-simple rules came from the literature on Kaizen and a recent book  by Donald Sull and Kathleeen M. Eisenhardt on, Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World.

Rule your own world of work, wellbeing and engagement. The primary purpose of this post is to encourage you to develop a few simple rules to improve your work and wellbeing. My rules are not your rules. You are welcome to use mine as a starting point or a launching pad to design your own rules. Later this year and in 2016 I will be writing more about behavioral employee engagement and simple rules. You will learn guidance on how to formulate and apply the concepts of simple rules. I encourage you to read Sull and Eisenhardt’s book to develop a deeper understanding of how simple rules have been used in a variety of setting and how you can use simple rules.

Your next action. I encourage you, for now, to think about what rules would help you engage more fully with your work and wellbeing. As you think this through I encourage you to take a few notes and to write down some early drafts of the rules.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who is pairing the behaviors from the pyramid of employee engagement with simple rules to make a difference to engagement in 2016.

Get Small and Simple for Employee Engagement

In employee engagement — SMALL IS THE NEW SIGNIFICANT!

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How has that big employee engagement program been doing? Is your large employee engagement initiative making a difference? I have no doubt that employee engagement can make a big difference but that does not mean employee engagement approaches have to be big to matter. Small is the new significant.

Pyramid of Employee Engagement and Engaged Well-Being

We need to determine and act on small and simple behavioral practices that can be practiced daily by leaders, managers, and employees themselves. I am currently at work on taking the 10 block pyramid of employee engagement – making it action-oriented – articulating the actions as simple rules – and helping leaders, managers, and employees reduce the 10-block pyramid to a personalized 3-block pyramid embracing simple rules to govern their engagement work.

Here is a perspective from the School of Life that inspires me to keep on this path:

Rikyū reminds us that there is a latent sympathy between big ideas about life and the little everyday things, such as certain drinks, cups, implements and smells. These are not cut off from the big themes; they can make those themes more alive for us. It is the task of philosophy not just to formulate ideas, but also to work out mechanisms by which they may stick more firmly and viscerally in our minds.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert from Winnipeg, Canada

Employee Engagement: Embrace Your Jagged Experience of Work and Wellbeing

The New Balance in Employee Engagement is Jagged and Precarious

I know you have seen them. The stack of smooth stones that offer a visual of calm and tranquility. I confess that I have always been attracted to them and even used them on the cover of my first book, Zengage: How to Get More Into Your Work to Get More Out of Your Work.

Zengage Red

I trust you are also aware of the the increasing abandonment of the term work/life balance. Many say we can’t achieve balance because of how we work today and the influences of technology and the expectation to always be “on.”  It is problematic that we would use a balanced and smooth ideal image when jagged and precarious captures more of the lived experience of work, wellbeing and engagement for most of us.

Balance Rock Crayon 2015

 

Let’s embrace a new balance for work and life in 2016. This balance has rough edges symbolized by the third stone in this stack and balance is fleeting, temporary, and precarious as symbolized by the almost tipping top stone on the top of the stack. I believe 2015 asks us to get more comfortable with things being jagged. We need to find our equanimity in edges and crevices and cracks.

I placed some crayons beside the stones to symbolize our need to work and play with what we’ve got and not dream of everything being smooth. Zen perspectives embrace impermanence and ask us to stop being so smooth and rather to be mindful and accepting of what actually is.

I encourage you to embrace jagged work, such as:

  • Leaders who are frayed and flawed
  • Projects without enough time or budget
  • Fluctuating states of health
  • Energy that peaks, dips, and twirls
  • High degrees of uncertainty about future work.
  • Co-workers who can be just plain difficult

The new balance of life and work as we move towards 2016 is jagged, resilient, real, imperfect, and impermanent.

Learn to live it rather than trying to live up to some ideal.

David Zinger is an employee engagement expert and speaker who believes are best work can come when things are not smooth and balanced but rather jagged and precarious.

Employee Engagement: Get Respect

My post on employee engagement and respect was just published on Halogen’s TalentSpace. Click here to go read it.

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I look forward to an action-packed and insightful presentation at the Halogen conference in Ottawa in September.

David Zinger is an employee engagement expert and speaker.

Does Your Employee Engagement Survey Serve You? Really?

Let’s bring employee engagement into the year 2015.

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Here is the headline from a recent article: Is it time to sack the annual employee engagement survey? Click on the title to read it. Short answer: YES, sack it. We need to get more relevant, more timely, and make use the current technology available. Also we need to be aware of the cost of the survey and what could be done with the money we spend. I like data, I just want it more timely, more relevant, and more actionable. Our data should serve employee engagement work not have us be servants to a survey of dubious value.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert from Canada. He is also founder and host of the 6700 member Employee Engagement Network.

Turn People Artistry into Your Healthy Routine

Do you have a recognition routine to draw out the best from the people you lead and manage?

People Artists

People Artistry is anything but routine yet paradoxically a routine is what can get you into People Artistry and sustain your work at bringing out the best in others for many years. In our time of energy depletion of having far too much to do and too little time to do it, intentional structure and routine operate as strong guides of behavior.

Watch for People Artists: Drawing Out the Best in Others at Work coming in October 2015.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who joined forces with Peter W. Hart, an expert on recognition, to create People Artistry – an approach to making workplaces better for all.

Employee Engagement at Halogen Software Conference in Ottawa (September)

Join me September 9 to September 11, 2015 in Ottawa to learn more about employee engagement.


David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who is deriving simple rules of engagement from his pyramid of employee engagement model.

Employee Engagement: Nobody Wants an F

HRE Daily recently published an article entitled: Companies Surveyed Flunk Employee Engagement.

Here was the conclusion in the article:

“HR should be leading the charge to raise the firm’s employee engagement maturity level,” says Bruce Temkin, customer experience transformist and managing partner at the Temkin Group. “Employee engagement is one of the most strategic opportunities for HR professionals.”  Meanwhile, survey participants point to three common obstacles that prevent them from turning this situation around: the lack of a clear employee engagement strategy, inconsistent buy-in from middle managers, and limited funding along with inconsistent buy-in across the leadership team.

I think the article points to some serious challenges in engagement. I personally, don’t care for the term “buy-in” for engagement as I am not sure that fits with what it means to be engaged. I wonder if the “buy-in” challenge for managers stems from being overloaded with so many things and perceiving employee engagement as something extra they need to do. I don’t want to be sold on engagement or sell it. Having said that I realize what a challenge it is to invite, converse, question, and co-create engagement. Yet this approach costs very little and alleviates the limited funding obstacle.

My focus is on small, simple, strategic, structural, and sustainable actions that can move the dial on engagement. If you want to seize the strategic opportunity of employee engagement I encourage you to focus on the big impact while using small actions.

In the second half of 2015 I am creating 11 simple rules that all employees can follow to increase their own engagement and supplementing the simple rules with how managers and leaders can foster that in the people they lead and manage.

 

Pyramid of Employee Engagement Model

This is based on my pyramid of employee engagement and enhances: results, performance, progress, relationships, recognition, moments, strengths, meaning, well-being, and energy.

David Zinger uses the pyramid of employee engagement as a speaker and consultant to show an inexpensive and behavioral pathway to improving employee engagement for the benefit of all.

Employee Engagement: Give me an inch

Dan Cook on the Employee Benefits Network wrote a piece: Employee engagement inching higher.

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Iatrogenic Disengagement

I’ll take an inch of progress in this field any day. But Dan goes on to talk about the Tempkin Group study with this statement:

engagement remains a science in its infancy. Even employers that measure engagement often don’t see acting on the results as an imperative.

I don’t mind scientific infancy in engagement but I think it is disheartening and disengaging to have employers measure engagement but fail to act on the result. This is what causes iatrogenic disengagement. Our efforts in working on engagement may inadvertently be causing a decrease in engagement. Employees were asked about their engagement, nothing is done, so obviously it is not very important. Engage is a hearty verb signifying action and connection not disconnection and disinterest.

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

David Zinger is an employee engagement expert and speaker who encourage an action approach to engagement based on power and simple rules derived from the pyramid of employee engagement.

People Artists: The Little Human Guidebook for Leadership and Management

People Artists Draw Out the Best at Work

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People Artists: Drawing Out the Best in Others at Work will be released this October. I encourage you to think about what it would mean for you to be a People Artist. By this, I mean someone who brings an artistic sense to how they lead, manage, and work with others. Henry Mintzberg demonstrated the importance of art, science, and craft in management. In our time of unbounded enthusiasm for analytics and the science of work, let’s not ignore the art of managing.

And don’t tell me you are not an artist.

Everyone can be, and already is, an artist. Perhaps you need some encouragement, inspiration, and education to be a better People Artist. Peter and I would love to show you the way and in the interim we encourage you to take initial steps to bring out the best in others at work.

Just start. Once you embark down this path, People Artists can act as a guidebook and toolkit to take you further on the journey. If you want to know more before the October launch, I invite you to get in touch with me.

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who believes in the power of People Artistry to enhance and enliven our employee engagement and employee recognition work.

No Time for Employee Engagement? Really?

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Here is a headline from an engagement article from last week.

Who’s Got Time to Manage Employee Engagement?

I liked the post and the argument. I appreciated Johnathan Bright’s conclusion:

It is, as ever, a question of trust. The other question is of time. So, managers, get the results of your survey, find out the needs, set your KPIs, and then get the help of someone with the time and know how to implement the right strategy. After all, you’ve got other stuff to be getting on with.

To me, we need to weave engage into “the other stuff.” I fully concur with the lack of time available so rather than an extra lets ensure engagement is woven into the fabric of work with small, simple, strategic, structural, and sustainable actions.

I am currently working on 11 simple rules of employee engagement based on the 5 S’s stated above and derived from the 10-block pyramid of employee engagement.

Pyramid of Employee Engagement and Engaged Well-Being

David Zinger is an employee engagement speaker and expert who uses the pyramid of employee engagement to derive simple rules for leaders, managers, and employees to improve engagement for the benefit of all.