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Employee Engagement and Working with Halogen Software

I am in Ottawa right now at the Halogen Software Conference.

Halogen Software Logo

It was a pleasure yesterday to facilitate a session on employee engagement. Halogen Software was welcoming, supportive, fun, and well-organized. My session went very well as I outlined the pyramid of employee engagement and even had the opportunity to have about 25 participants purchase an advance copy of the new book on People Artists by Peter Hart and myself.

It was an honour to give 3 People Artists awards to Connie Costigan, Melany Gallant, and Zoryana Cherwick for their ability to draw out the best in people through their work on the prolific, helpful and informative Talentspace blog. I think this site is worth a visit at least once a week.

For two and a half years I have written a monthly blog on employee engagement for Halogen. This was my first opportunity to meet them in person and I was impressed about who they are and how they work. Thank you Halogen for making my day!

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?

Reading time = 2 minutes and 50 seconds

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.

People Artists: The Little Human Guidebook for Leadership and Management

People Artists Draw Out the Best at Work

Reading time = 55 seconds


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?

Reading time: 54 seconds

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.

People Artists Coming in October: Catch the Fire

People Artists: Drawing Out the Best in Others at Work will be released this October.


Peter W. Hart and I will be releasing our new book on People Artists in October. The picture in this post, painted by Peter, was used for our cover. Watch for updates, ideas you can use, and other material as we approach the launch in a couple of months.

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

If You Are Stuck in Employee Engagement, Get Sticky.

Are your employee engagement ideas sticky?

David Zinger - Employee Engagement Speaker

10 Second Employee Engagement Survey: Where Should We Focus Our Efforts in 2015?

Take 10 seconds or less to complete this one question survey. Thank you for your response.
Q Zing Survey Button

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

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

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

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

What are you waiting for? Get with it.

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

An Employee Engagement Journey Lesson from Dubai and the UAE

Employee Engagement Conference and Master Class Reflections

Dubai Sky Line

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

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

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

Masoud Golshani-Shirazi

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

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

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

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


Employee Engagement: What’s Your Verb?

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

Reading and Viewing Time: 1 minute, 22 seconds.

What's Your Veb

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

Here are 7 ways you can use this slideshow:

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

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

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.