Tag Archives: Ken Blanchard

Employee Engagement: Summertime Best Practices

gThankYou! BBQ Workplace PartyAre you “in tune” with your employees? Summertime provides a wealth of opportunities for employee engagement. July and August tend to be more casual months when barbeque and beaches are in the forefront of everyone’s minds, so why not use that mindset to organize events and company fun to cultivate relationships with your employees?

According to Bob Aronson, CEO and founder of the Aronson Communications Group, “If communications is not your top priority, all of your other priorities are at risk.” Keeping that in mind, spend some time planning summertime events that increase the level of communications between you and your employees. Get-togethers that promote unity and team spirit should be at the top of the list. Here are some examples:

Host a Summertime Vision Group

Your vision for your company should be shared with those who work for you. Andy Parsley of Green Lion, in his publication titled “A Road Map to Employee Engagement” lays it out in three simple steps:

1. Have a vision of where you want to get to.
2. Clearly and persuasively communicate that vision to employees.
3. Be consistent in your behaviors as you strive to achieve that vision.

Summertime Vision Groups are great opportunities to review your company’s vision, discuss your goals and mission statement, and set employee and management expectations. It’s also a good idea to review year-to-date performance and get employee buy-in to proposed changes to increase efficiency and performance.

Promote and Participate in Company Sponsored Fun

Organizing the event is one thing. Participating in it is something else entirely. If you truly want to increase your level of employee engagement, be a part of the event you put together. Grill some burgers at the company barbeque. Be a kid again and play some games with the men and women who work for you. Get in the middle of it all and have everyone take pictures to decorate their cubicles or break room. Your smiling face and a pleasant memory of your fun workplace can go a long way towards helping them through a bad day some time in the future.

Invest in Training or Team Building Exercises

Ken Blanchard, author of “The One Minute Manager” and leadership authority, simplifies the team-building concept with the words, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” The summer months are typically the best time of year to do training and team building, provided it’s not your busy season. Encourage employee engagement by offering choices of exercises or seminars. Allowing workers to participate in the decision-making process gives them a sense of ownership that will increase productivity and employee retention numbers.

Offer Reduced Hours and Flexible Schedules for the Summer

There’s no gift more precious than the gift of time during the summer. Everyone wants to spend more hours with family, go on vacation, or take a long weekend at the beach. Morale is important. Successful companies are those that have happy employees. Marilyn Carlson, former CEO of Carlson Companies, says it best, “On what high-performing companies should be striving to create: A great place for great people to do great work.” Is that what your company offers?

Learn more about the relationship between employee engagement, recognition and your business bottom-line in our FREE Guide Below:

gThankYou! Ultimate Guide to Employee Gift-Giving

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
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An HR Manager’s Primer on Praise

It’s a fact: simple measures work best these days, particularly when it comes to giving genuine thanks to employees. Gone are the days where employees expect a lot of extras and companies use less complicated and creative ways to engage employees.

Drawing on examples from my own career as well as stories from others where bumpers stickers and sticky notes became treasured badges of thanks for a job well done, it’s apparent authentic praise, in whatever form, goes a long way toward creating engagement.

Amazing as it may sound, giving simple thanks can be less than easy in some companies. In a 2007 article. BusinessWeek careers columnist and author Liz Ryan asked: “Is Praising Employees Counterproductive?” Some managers have an irrational fear, Ryan writes, that too much praise can “spoil” a good employee.

After exploring what she sees as the basis for some of this fear, Ryan concludes this: Praise is a key motivator but effectiveness hinges on the praise being credible.

“Of course, you can’t go around praising people all the time, even when they’re doing a great job, and you should never praise people when they don’t deserve it.  If you praise people nonstop your complimentary words will lose their effectiveness as a motivator. If you give praise when it’s not deserved, you’ll lose  your credibility and undermine the whole group’s efforts.”

It’s all a matter of style, of course. But the following examples provide some solid tips to get HR managers and company leaders started on developing a program that gives well-deserved and credible thanks to employees:

  1. Don’t praise the employee, praise their work. Gary Vikesland writes on Employer-employee.com that it’s important to be specific and target abilities or work when handing out compliments. Furthermore, it’s best to be specific and make you’re your praise has a purpose. (http://www.employer-employee.com/praise.html).
  2. Work to build an organization that has a “climate of positive reinforcement”. Bruce L. Katcher, president of The Discovery Group, says a healthy organization makes praise part of the culture. These companies have supervisors frequently overheard saying: Good point!  I’m glad you brought that up!  I really appreciate that!  Good job!  Well done!  (And my favorite 🙂 Thank you!
  3. Praise in public, advises the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness (CMOE) in its five tips for praise “Acknowledging people in public accomplishes two important things. The employees feel even better as they are recognized in front of their peers. In addition, public praise is one way of reminding other employees of what you want from them.”

Great insights indeed!

One past employer never praised anyone.  Anyone.  He thought praising good work would make other workers envious and feel left out. Ya think?!?!?  Of course it would!  That’s the idea.

  • Praise good work and everyone wants a piece of the action.
  • Praise good work and then employees know what you value.
  • Praise good work and employees want more.
  • Praise good work and everyone gets in on it.
  • Praise good work and employees praise each others’ work.

To paraphrase that great American sage, Forest Gump: “Praise is a praise does.”

Or, to repeat one of “One Minute Manager” guru Ken Blanchard‘s basic tenets: “catch someone doing something right”.

That’s it: catch someone doing something right = praise.

Do it.  It’s free; it’s appreciated; it builds great organizations.

Rick Kiley is President of gThankYou, LLC, based in Madison, WI.  gThankYou® Certificates of Gratitude™ are one way savvy companies demonstrate commitment to employees’ great work. The company is best known for its Turkey Gift Certificates, Ham Gift Certificates, and Grocery Gift Cards.

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