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What does an Engaging Workplace look like?

December 01, 2011, by

Stephanie Messier

| Work Environment and Policies

Have you ever wondered if your employees like coming to work?  If you answered yes, how do you know?  Think of the following situation:  It is 5:00 pm, and most of the department is on the way out the door.  However, one team is still there working hard and having fun at the same time.   What can you, as a leader, do to create this kind of environment for your employees?  Here are 10 ideas:

  1. Don’t micro-manage.  You don’t need to be breathing down your employees’ neck.  Show them interest, encourage them to think differently and ask them how they made a decision to understand their thinking.
  2. Give back credit.  Promote your team’s work.  Make sure they get the credit for their accomplishments.  Say thank you publicly.
  3. Minimize bureaucracy and promote simplicity.  As long as your team is producing and working on the right things, don’t bother them with unnecessary steps or details.
  4. Be open to feedback and mean it.  Ask a few trusted team members to be candid with you when you’ve done something thoughtless or insensitive.
  5. Know them personally.  Learn about their families, their career goals and truly care about them.  Ask them how they would like to be recognized. Show the employee that you care not only about work but about their life as well.
  6. Create meaningful work with purpose.  The most important thing any leader can do is to link the work to the strategic imperatives of the company.  That is the work your employees do is important to the success of your company.  When an employee feels he or she is making a difference, it makes a big difference.
  7. Hire Top Performers and get rid of the bottom performer.  It is well known that leaders typically spend more time managing their underperforming employees than focusing on their top performers.  In hiring A players, the standards are raised, the energy is high and there is a low tolerance for mediocrity.
  8. Lead by example – simple as it seems to be, we all have our blindspots and need to be aware of them.  Acting with integrity is key.
  9. Encourage socialization at work – something as simple as ordering pizza for lunch or having a popcorn break on Friday afternoons can help to build camaraderie during working hours and doesn’t intrude on employees’ personal time.
  10. Pay People for their Worth – although it is last on the list, pay is still a great motivator (maybe a great equalizer versus motivator; this is a minimum requirement, but once it’s met, the other factors above come into play, like Maslow’s hierarchy).  Your team may love what they do but if they feel underpaid, it may affect their long-term commitment.


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