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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.