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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


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: 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: 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.

Enliven Energy: 10 of 10 Daily Questions to Improve Employee Engagement

Enliven Energy

(Reading time = 28 seconds)

Pyramid Model of Employee Engagement

This is the tenth of a 2 week series outlining a different engaging question you can ask yourself each day. The questions are derived from the pyramid of employee engagement. Here is today’s question based on enliven energy, the block at the base on the far right hand side of the pyramid. This question was originally developed by Donald Graves as he examined the energy to teach:

What gives me energy, what takes it away, and what for me is a waste of time?

David Zinger developed the 10 block pyramid of employee engagement as a model to structure strong, simple, sustainable and tactical improvements in employee engagement.