Much is written today about workforce engagement, productivity, and performance yet few lay out a basic strategy for aligning the workforce with a company’s expectations and long-term goals.
According to Erik Breggren, Vice President of global research and customer results, SuccessFactors, “Our research shows that companies that invest in the ability to execute, aligning goals to strategy while creating a performance-based culture, experience higher shareholder returns. Connecting the true heart of people’s work activity with the company’s strategy ultimately drives superior execution results.”
The simple truth is that businesses that are in trouble or are having a difficult time just surviving, are consumed from within. Businesses that connect with their workforce and practice focused engagement within, grow and prosper.
What follows are three basic steps for laying a sustainable foundation for creating a performance based workforce that is connected, engaged and focused on your wants and needs.
Get Connected In an October 6, 2011 Parade Magazine Article, Wired, Sherry Turkle, director of MIT’s Initiative on Technology and Self and author of Alone Together said, “Though kids treat their cell phones like appendages, getting them to talk on the phone can be nearly impossible. Experts worry that this fundamental change in how kids communicate is endangering the development of an important set of skills they’ll need later on: how to converse, read cues from vocal intonations, and even negotiate.”
I would argue that this problem hit the workforce several years ago and that in general, people are not connected but only in touch. There is a big difference between being connected and being in touch – connected means joined and a certain attachment while in touch means one is simply in contact, distant and detached.. One of leadership’s 21st Century gauntlets is to determine how to best connect with their workforce through all methods of communication, verbal, visual and sensory, to tie together the workforce’s needs with the company’s goals and vision.
Strategy: Communicate to connect in many forms, often and if possible eyeball to eyeball.
Get Engaged! Once you have started your new communication plan, get engaged with your workforce one on one. If necessary, move your desk from the ivory tower right into the center of your workforce – you may get an earful but you will also get results. By positioning yourself within your workforce, you are directly engaged with your team and
them with you. Your workforce is always engaged in something, but is it is up to you to make sure that they are engaged in what you want and need.
Strategy: Involve yourself directly with your workforce and involve them in planning and strategy sessions. This provides them a sense of self-worth and job satisfaction. According to a new survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, communication with senior management is one of the things employees value the most.
Stay Focused! There is a natural flow to the focus of a workforce. Because of today’s social media communications, texting and constantly being in touch, the workforce is often involved in distracted focus. If the clarity of leadership’s message is compromised and not connected to the company’s overall vision, the workforce does not feel either valued or connected and their focus is compromised which results in a downturn in productivity and performance.
Strategy: Remove all physical barriers preventing a natural flow of focus in your workplace such as unnecessary walls and cubicles. Eliminate untidiness and chaos that leads to confusion and disorder, further hampering focus. Develop tools that facilitate removing mental barriers as well so the workforce can clearly play back to you exactly what is expected of them including time parameters.
Invest time in nurturing and guiding your workforce. Treat them as if they are the most valuable asset you have, because they are – and often your largest expense. By being connected and engaged with them, they will become more focused and their performance, productivity and job satisfaction all improve.
© Pat Heydlauff, all rights reserved 2011
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She creates environments that engage and focus your workforce. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage, Unleash the Power of Focus and Feng Shui, So Easy a Child Can Do It and can be reached at www.Energy-by-Design.com or call: 561-408-2708.Share