Five Ways to Engage Employees

1. More holidays – private industry doesn’t allow time off for the same holidays as the federal government

2. Cross-train – it will broaden and enhance the skill-set of all employees

3. Casual Friday – give employees a chance to “let their hair down”

4. Provide more leave – many companies only provide 10 days of leave per year

5. Thanksgiving – close the office the day after because very little work is accomplished

Let me know if you need more ways to engage your employees.

I can be reached at and

Store Openings On Thanksgiving: A New Low for Employee Disengagement

It’s Thanksgiving, but our doors open at 8 p.m.!

The public’s recoil at major retailer’s decisions to open on Thanksgiving Day is a perfect example of how employee disengagement has hit a new low. Infringing on people’s time with family and friends is a fast track to creating animosity between employer and employee.

To me, opening on Thanksgiving Day is a clear indication of a new level of greed stemming from Corporate America. It tells me that companies weren’t satisfied with their profit margins by opening their doors at midnight. They had to up the ante on the competition somehow. So they decided that, the earlier they open, the larger their profit margins will be.

Employers know, in our current economic climate, jobs are hard to come by. So, if they tell us to come to work on Thanksgiving Day, they know we’ll be there and on time. Companies forcing their employees to work on a national holiday should be called exactly what it is — forced labor.

Disengaged employees are disloyal employees. In a previous post, I provided Three Reasons Why Employees Aren’t Loyal . Now, we can add “forced labor” to that list.

Were any of the executives that made the decision to open on Thanksgiving Day actually at work on Thanksgiving Day with their rank and file employees? I’m willing to bet they weren’t. So, if forced labor is okay, then why didn’t they hold themselves to that same standard? Just something to think about.

I can be reached at and

The NBA, the NFL and Employee Engagement

One of the reasons employee engagement is a broad topic is that what engages one person won’t engage another person. Let’s take a look at a couple of instances in the NBA and NFL where employee engagement efforts actually resulted in positive ROI.

Kevin Garnett (KG) of the Brooklyn Nets, formerly of the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves, was engaged during his rookie season. KG was 19 years old when he was drafted by the Timberwolves in 1995. Kevin McHale (McHale) was the General Manager of the Timberwolves at the time. McHale knew adjusting to the NBA would be difficult for a 19 year old, so he took KG under his wing and treated him like a son.

Because KG was under 21 years old, when the Timberwolves were on road trips, he wasn’t able to do a lot of the things his teammates did. In an effort to make KG feel like he was part of the team, some of his teammates stayed in the hotel playing video games with him. When McHale caught wind of this he suggested the entire team stay in the hotel to make KG feel welcomed.

Before his rookie contract ended KG re-signed with the Timberwolves for six more years. He said one of the major reasons he re-signed with the Timberwolves was because of the concern they demonstrated for him.

Pete Carroll is the Executive Vice President of Football Operations and head coach of the Seattle Seahawks (Seahawks). Before Pete arrived in Seattle, he was the head football coach at The University of Southern California (USC) from 2000-2009.

Prior to becoming a college football coach, Pete coached in the NFL. Being a college coach changed Pete’s perspective of football players. In order to coach college students, you have to be concerned about the mental and emotional health of your players. Pete’s experience at USC has translated into a holistic approach towards professional football players. The holistic approach Pete has brought to the Seahawks not only applies to the players but the entire Seahawks organization.

In the NFL, demonstrating concern for the mental and emotional health of your employees is not business as usual. Having grown men that are over six feet tall and weigh over 300 pounds, do yoga, and mediate is very different. Having a holistic approach to professional football players is a paradigm shift for most owners/coaches in the NFL.

The players in Seattle willingly talk to the media and other players around the league about the good things that are going on with their team. They appreciate having a boss that cares about their mental and emotional health.

Kevin McHale was the General Manager with the Timberwolves and Pete Carroll is the Executive Vice President of Football Operations for Seattle. In both instances, upper management took the lead in creating a healthy work environment for their employees.

If you want to engage your employees, treat them like human beings. Demonstrate a genuine concern for the mental and emotional health of your employees. It has a proven ROI. Like KG and the Seahawks, your employees will stay longer and willingly recruit for you.

If you have a question or comment leave it below.

I can also be reached at and

3 + Reasons Why Employees Aren’t Loyal

In my next few posts, I’ll address the issue of employee loyalty: why employees aren’t loyal, what is employee engagement, and whether tracking employee engagement is useful.

Earlier this year, someone told me that a potential supervisor implied if they promoted this individual they expected this individual to stay with the company out of loyalty for promoting them. If this was 1983, I wouldn’t be surprised. But it’s not. In 2013, staying with a company out of obligation is a belief very few employees hold. Loyalty in the workplace today looks different from what it looked like 30 years ago. Companies are not as loyal to their employees as they were in 1983. In 2013, many companies are so loyal to the bottom line, they don’t have time to be loyal to their employees.

I’m not suggesting that supervisors think the worst of their employees. There are many employees that will stay with a company out of obligation, but that number is small. With everything that has happened in the world economy since 2008, employers shouldn’t expect many employees to be loyal. Times have changed, and each generation is less loyal than the one before it. Gen Xers are not the loyal employees that Baby Boomers were. I don’t think the notion of being loyal crosses the mind of Gen Yers.

During a government shutdown, government sequestration, mass layoffs, and Detroit,MI and Jefferson County, AL filing bankruptcy, who has time to be loyal? For years, employees have been forced to do more work with no increase in pay. With all of this going on, who is going to be loyal to their employer? When your livelihood is at stake, you’re not going to stay with a company just to be loyal.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with being loyal to a company. If your company treats you well, why not be loyal? On the other hand, being loyal out of a sense of obligation can be professional and — more importantly — financial suicide. Even if companies weren’t so self-absorbed, the world’s economic climate is such that it’s every man and woman for themselves.

In 2013, company loyalty does exist. But I wouldn’t suggest any supervisor to expect it. Finding loyal employees is difficult because there is so much dysfuntionality in today’s workplaces. It’s really as simple as this: if you want high employee retention, treat people right. Employees are loyal to companies when companies are loyal to employees. There’s no magic bullet for this, just plain ‘ole common sense.

If you want to add to this list, have a question or comment leave it below or email me at

%d bloggers like this: