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Archive for June 2014

Discover the Hidden Benefits of Employee Engagement

Discover the Hidden Benefits of Employee Engagement

employee engagementAre you looking for more customers, happier customers, bigger sales and juicier profits? If the answer is yes, then take a walk around your office and look at your employees. Are they happy?
OK. I know. You don’t care about their happiness, you care about their professionalism and productivity. Consider that happy employees are more engaged in their work. Employee engagement may be your most powerful tool to making employees more productive, stay around longer and boosting your business.


Employee Engagement = Greater Productivity

Happy employees are more productive than their sad sack compatriots. Professor Arnold Oswald (one of the researchers) reported that “Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.”


Employment Engagement = Customer Satisfaction, Sales and Profits

Kevin Kruse, a Forbes contributor, lists 29 different research studies that support the many benefits of happy employees. “An employee’s discretionary effort results in the Engagement-Profit chain. Because they care more, they are more productive, give better service, and even stay in their jobs longer. All of that leads to happier customers, who buy more and refer more often, which drives sales and profits higher…”
Click here for a list of the research. 


How to Build Employee Engagement

You don’t need buckets of money to make employees happy. Of course, that’d be nice. But, there are other, perhaps more important, things you can do to increase employee engagement.

“Bonuses, company perks and paid days off aren’t enough to keep employees happy,” said Pete Pedone, president and founder of home audio/video system design firm Interactive Home. “Showing an employee how much the company appreciates, respects and values them on a personal level is much more gratifying.”

One (relatively) small business I work with seems to be able to keep their small group happy, diligent and productive. How do they do it? They manage and lead. Sounds simple, but it does require a bit of awareness, energy and focus. They’re available for questions. They monitor performance and take corrective action as needed. They instituted ‘free lunch Wednesdays’, take 3 minutes for a ‘dance your way to the weekend’ Fridays, lunch with the boss on their work anniversary, communicate company news and make sure to thank everyone when there’s a big business success. Relatively simple. Relatively inexpensive. Really big rewards for this small business.  While I’ve never heard them mention the words ’employee engagement’, they’ve been able to retain their best employees, maintain a balance between professionalism and fun, earn a reputation for great customer service … and profitably survive in a very competitive market.

Focus – Set clear goals & responsibilities for every employee and for your company.
Communicate – Communicate openly and often. Give them the good news … and the bad. Make sure you keep them connected to your business goals. Face time goes a long way.
Acknowledge – Give your sincere thanks for a job well done. Let people know when anyone on the team goes above and beyond expectations. Celebrate your big business success.
Respect – Earn and give respect consistently and it’ll grow into trust.
Fun – Consider that your employees spend about 40% of their waking hours working and commuting. Making it fun from time to time lifts everyone’s spirits.


The Bottom Line

There’s little doubt that employee engagement helps your business … with just a little bit of time, energy and focus. Remember…

“When employees are happy, they are your very best ambassadors.” Jim Sinegal, Costco Co-Founder

Don’t Walk Into the Blue Light

Don't Walk Into the Blue Light

Marketing truths & the blue lightA while back, I was working with a start-up client who had a great product, engaging personality, amazing vision, a far-reaching business network and (seemingly) bottomless buckets of money. Doesn’t get much better than that. Or so I thought!

Things went well for a few months. The marketing plan was in place and working. New business was coming in. Sales were increasing at a faster pace than we anticipated. My bubbly energetic client was happy. And so was I. As a marketing consultant, you can’t ask for much more than this…a smart, insightful clients who appreciated the positive impact of your work.

We had about a year of success, far exceeding our business goals and were becoming a ‘force to be reckoned with’ in the industry. I was spending so much time with them that I soon had an office, an Acting VP of Marketing title and was embedded in their organization. But, this isn’t a fairy tale and there’s no happy ending.

One lovely spring day, I was working away on their new business plan, armed with the confidence of our past success. I heard an unusually loud conversation at the reception desk that was peppered with “You can’t do that” and “Yes we can”. I soon discovered that the company from whom we purchased our beautiful new Herman Miller office furniture was now repossessing the furniture. Although we were able to stall them, a few days later, the dozen or so 40” display monitors scattered throughout the offices were repossessed. It was disturbing, but I’d been told that they were financially stable, so I wasn’t too concerned. In fact, I’d worked on a few of the investor pitches and knew we had secured enough to fund us for quite a while.

My rude awakening occurred when I finally got in touch with the CEO. Although we raised millions, he spent more. He felt we (he?) needed to appear far more successful than we were to get the really big investors. After all, no one wants to invest in a struggling company. And then came the lesson that I’ve learned NOT to follow.

“If they want you in a blue suit, turn on a blue light.”

In other words, be who they want you to be.  Who you really are is your truth. That applies to your personal life and your business. You can create a new truth, but turning on the “blue light” doesn’t work. Sooner or later, the electricity goes out and you’re standing there naked and cold.

The truth of your business is your brand and it has the power to make or break you.  Don’t claim to be technologically superior if you’re not. Don’t shout about your product’s exceptional performance if it’s just like all of the others in the market.  If your business isn’t what you want it to be, CHANGE IT. You can transform your business. But, whatever you do, don’t walk into the “blue light”.

16 Work Life Balance Tips That Don’t Work – – – And 3 That Do!

16 Work Life Balance Tips That Don't Work - - - And 3 That Do!

Work Life BalanceWork life balance is a big topic of conversation these days.  Everyone is looking for it, but very few are finding it.  Admittedly, there’s no shortage of advice out there.  Here are 16 tips from some reputable publications.  In my humble opinion, they’re pretty wacky!

From Time Magazine:

  1. Everything is not equally important. Do fewer things and do them well.
  2. Decide what your values are — and which ones take precedence.
  3. Do the things that get disproportionate results.
  4. Focus on the things only you can do.
  5. Do the important things which must be done now.


From Entrepreneur:

  1. Find the fun.
  2. Compartmentalize.
  3. Make lists.
  4. Be smart with your smartphone.
  5. Learn to delegate.
  6. Root out procrastination.
  7. Understand your creative cycles.
  8. Start your day before the sun rises.
  9. Schedule down time.
  10. Don’t forget your health.


Harvard Business Review has an esoteric idea about using the psychology of interval training to achieve your balance.

Is Work Life Balance Dead?

The real discussion about work life balance these days is that it’s dying, dead or irretrievably transformed.  I think it has.

The Huffington Post  just claimed today that:

Work Life Balance is dying as a concept, In the ninja world of corporate you make Work, Life & Family choices and the ratio in which you make the choices has its consequences. You or your family pays the price or enjoys the benefit.

The author, Jappreet Sethi, re-frames the discussion from work life balance to work life integration.  Fast Company also touted integration as the key – but with a technology flair.

Professionals in all industries are casting out the notions of work-life balance in order to build better work-life integration practices–where work and life are intertwined–by leveraging technology to make it happen.

3 Work-Life Integration Tips that Work

Use technology to your advantage.  Shut off your phone.  Put responses on auto-pilot where possible.  Work remotely.

Know what you need & want.  If your job demands 10 hours a day and you commute 2 hours each day, you’re not going to be able to go to the gym for an hour and still have time for that Little League game, dinner with your family and watching Jon Stewart.

Plan for your work and your life.  Think about where you want to be 5 or 10 years from now.  Now think about what you need to do to get there.  With that under your belt, you’ll be better equipped to prioritize … and integrate your life.

One Way Out

The Onion reports that one person did find that ever elusive balance.  He got fired.

Laid-Off Man Finally Achieves Perfect Work-Life Balance

What Are People Saying?

Outspent and with mediocre brand imagery scores, Susan developed a strategic plan that focused on influencers across a broad range of target audiences. This plan maximized the impact of the marketing dollars and resulted in increased brand awareness, retailer placement and sales revenue.

J. RutherfordVice President, Corporate CommunicationsFujifilm Holdings

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