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Communication and Employee Engagement

Communication and Employee Engagement

Communication Matters!

By Mary Verstraete

In 2015, Melcrum Inc., a best practice insight and technology company, conducted research on the challenges and best practices common among employee peers for boosting employee engagement. Melcrum's explored how progressive companies (such as Lowe's and EMC) were refocusing employee engagement efforts on collective engagement—employee-to-employee and employee-to-customer relationships needed to achieve company objectives—rather than the satisfaction of individual employees with their employer, manager and/or their immediate work environment.

Here is what was learned:

  1. In highly uncertain environments, employees must engage collectively to tap the full resources of the entire enterprise.

  2. Traditional engagement models that emphasize wellbeing, role clarity and line-of-sight may inadvertently discourage employees from addressing challenges collectively.

  3. Authentic employee voice provides credible examples of behavior and humanizes participants more than corporate messages can.

  4. To enable employees to engage one another, Internal Communication must: a) provide platforms for employees to express their commitments to each other; b) act behind the scenes to shape, curate and amplify employee voice; and c) foster employees’ ability to develop an open learning culture and build their storytelling skills.

  5. The extent of employee participation in collective engagement and their success at inspiring behavior worth emulating by other employees trumps survey scores as a measure of engagement. © 2015 by Melcrum

What is a takeaway from this study in conjunction with coaching: A coaching culture could help provide collaborative dialogue to achieve the five concepts!  

To further add to the concept of dialogue, can you imagine for a moment if conflict in the work place included this particular best practice approach: 

Solution-based coaching: Helping the person tell their problem-story in such a way that reframes the presenting problem as being solvable and highlights the client's resources and ability to define and move toward a solution, while at the same time building a collaborative relationship where the coach has permission to hold the client accountable for proposed action steps. At its best, the solution focused approach enables people to access and use the wealth of personal experiences, skills, expertise, and intuition that resides within all of us. It allows coachees to find individualized and creative solutions to the issues and concerns that face them. Evidence Based Coaching–Putting Best Practices To Work For Your Clients

A company's most valuable asset isn’t products, processes or technology–it is people. 

Conversation and Listening . . .The Inseparable Pair

Conversation and Listening . . .The Inseparable Pair

To be effective, leaders must first win the hearts and minds of those they lead.

By Mary Verstraete

Have you ever had the embarrassing experience of someone asking you a question during a conversation when you were pretending to listen? You had no idea what the question was, and you responded with a blank stare when the person waited for your response. The sounds of the words may go into your ears, but that does not mean that your brain interprets them; nor does it mean that your mind stores the message. 

Listening is one of the most important communication skills that we can acquire because it’s the primary way that we develop relationships, understand others and learn important, often vital, information. What happens in the workplace when listening breaks down? Employees don't feel valued, they believe that their voice hasn’t been heard, and their contribution is not appreciated. Consequences follow:

  • Disgruntled employees

  • Strained relationships

  • Decaying moral

  • Trust erodes

A good leader has the ability not only to listen and comprehend what has been said, but to also make people feel heard through empathetic and authentic dialogue. This is not always the easiest thing to do, especially when working under pressure with multiple priorities. If leaders don’t accomplish these things, statistics like this are often the result: Of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs, 30 million (30%) are engaged and inspired at work, so we can assume they have a great boss. At the other end of the spectrum are roughly 20 million (20%) employees who are actively disengaged. These employees, who have bosses that make them miserable, roam the halls spreading discontent. The other 50 million (50%) American workers are not engaged. They’re just kind of present, but not inspired by their work or their managers. State of the American Workplace Report, 2013. In the 2017 Report, these same struggles continue in varying degrees.

One step to higher employee engagement is trustworthy dialogue:

  1. Become knowledgeable on the nature and structure of a conversation that will equip you to connect with your team and employees skillfully and effectively.

  2. Recognize that effective communication is a skill and art. Example: We don't one day decide to become an expert listener. Skillful listening requires training of our minds to listen attentively at a logical, emotional, and organic level.

  3. Commit and make time in your schedule to be trained in becoming skilled in listening and in conversation.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw.

 I couldn't be happier with the training. As a professional coach, I’m now involved in living my vision of being an agent for positive change in people's lives.

Alan Smith
CBMC Northland Area Associate Director