When someone like Jeff Weiner offers free advice, you don’t ignore it.
The current CEO of LinkedIn has more than 20 years of management experience, was ranked 35 out of 100 on Glassdoor’s 2017 “Highest Rated CEOs: Employees choice” list, and has a 97% approval rating from his employees. Basically, he knows his stuff.
That’s why Twitter followers perked up on Wednesday when Weiner sent out this tweet:
Inspire, empower, listen & appreciate. Practicing any one of these can improve employee engagement; mastering all four can change the game
— Jeff Weiner (@jeffweiner) September 19, 2017
Is it that simple Jeff Weiner–is it?
Actually, it might be.
Let’s follow Weiner’s four points and take a look how we can use employee engagement to change the game of your business from mediocrity, to maximum potential for both your company and your employees.
What is inspiration in the workplace really about?
It’s not just about a high energy level or intensity. Your employees aren’t looking for a high school cheerleader. It’s about being genuine.
It comes down to letting your employees know why they are there. Meaning, helping them to understand why the company exists and why the company needs them.
In order to achieve this, your company needs to formulate a strong strategic narrative, one that shows where your company comes from and where it’s going and again, WHY. We often talk about strategic narrative in context of connecting with the customer. But here we emphasize its value in connecting with the employee. Employees don’t necessary want to know the employer’s personal story, they want to hear the story of the organization, and hear it in a way that makes them feel like they belong there and want to stay.
Within your company there are probably (hopefully) a lot of great employees with great potential. You wouldn’t have hired them if you hadn’t see that potential. But the difference in the potential that you saw on their resume, and that potential being realized in the workplace has a lot to do with empowerment.
As you empower your employees you give them opportunities to use their strengths, building their confidence and capability while steering away with fault-finding and blame. You allow them to make mistakes and learn. You have genuine trust in them, and allow them to take direction and responsibility for themselves.
When asked about Clorox’s work environment, top-rated CEO Benno Dorer said, “Importantly as leaders, what we try to do is make the tough calls. Employees really expect us to be decisive, make those calls that no one else can make, and then empower them to make calls themselves as well. I engage with my people in the “when” but I leave it up to them on “how” they accomplish what it is we want to accomplish.”
Dorer makes the important point that empowering your employees does not meaning stepping out of the picture completely. Your company should see you as a leader; the difference is that you should not be the only leader. There should be a culture of leadership within your company, and the larger your organization the more leaders you should have. You should empower those leaders, and they should be empowering those who they are working with as well.
Keep in mind that some people can run with only the word “go” and achieve something great, while others will need a bit more structure. Know your employees so that you can understand how they are best empowered.
Listen up, because this next point is important.
Nobody likes to be ignored.
A crucial part of employee engagement is drawing on your employees’ knowledge and ideas to improve your products and services. Some of the best ideas for your business will not be your own.
You will never hear these ideas if you don’t provide opportunities for them to be heard.
That could be through online surveys, regular forums and discussions, or even a regular occurring open-door policy where you are available to your employees for them to come and talk to you about business related issues.
Overall, listening is a win-win situation for everyone. As you listen you will know the strengths, needs and motivations of your employees. You will then be able to inspire and empower them better than you otherwise could, and they and your company will grow together.
We don’t need to overcomplicate this one.
Remember what you learned in Kindergarten: say please and thank you; treat others how you want to be treated. Basic playground rules. TELL your employees you appreciate them.
Here’s another one you learned on the monkeybars, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Your teacher used to tell you that so you would stop calling other kids things like “stupid dumb-dumb” (our insult game was strong back in the day), but we mean this here as not saying something nice just for the sake of saying something. You have to mean it.
Employees can tell when you are just going through the motions, which comes off condescending and rude, and they don’t like it. Don’t be that stupid dumb-dumb.
Change the Game
As Jeff Weiner said, practicing any one of these points will improve employee engagement, but implementing all four will change the game.
That game will be one where employees look forward to going to work every day, where they give their best and where it shows for your company.
Thanks Jeff Weiner, for telling us how.