In the process of putting together a new course on Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment, I've discovered some interesting information about employee engagement. A survey by The Gallup Organization over a 30 year period posed the following question to millions of employees: "Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?"
Isn't that an interesting question? Most of us might not even think of it as a measure of how engaged we are in our work. But if the truth be told, doesn't the slightest personal attention -- even a small inquiry about an ailing parent -- make you feel like you're more than just a worker to your manager?
I love the example cited by Stan Shimizu of Resourceful HR LLC in the podcast about reward and motivation that he and I recently did for PMI. Stan explained how the executive team at his former company made sure, in spite of the long hours everyone normally put it, that he left the office every day by 5 p.m. to tend to his wife who was having medical problems.
The executives even sent meals to his home. These actions meant more to Stan than monetary compensation could have and made him feel tremendously valued as a person. He states that these simple, kind acts increased his dedication and loyalty by 1000 percent!
Here's another wonderful example. Roberto Daniel, vice president of engineering at Invensys Controls South America, regularly spends one-on-one time with each of the people he manages.
During this hour, the person is not "allowed" to talk about work at all -- just about personal interests, family, hobbies and the like. His people look forward to it, as does Roberto. He considers it an essential tool for getting to know his people and what they are about, and he says it makes a huge difference in the productivity and engagement of the team. Since 2006, he has had over 200 of these face-to-face meetings.
Especially in this tough economy, we all have to work doubly hard to let our people know that they are valued and appreciated. Let's not let this simple pathway to productivity and well-being be overlooked!