Follow through with action: Employee engagement is more than listening

“The buck stops here.” –President Harry Truman

Have you ever felt like you just can’t’ get everything done on your to-list? Does it ever seem the most important things are the last to command your attention as you deal with what everyone else demands are the most urgent for you to complete? We just can’t do it all and something inevitably always gets left behind. Not only is this challenge the nature of life in a world that continues to pick up speed at an exponentially faster pace according to Thomas L. Friedman in his book Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration, but in America, the long list of what we haven’t gotten done and level of “busy-ness” has in many cases become a badge of honor. Over the last 40-50 years in our culture an undercurrent has developed that has taught many business owners and managers at all levels of their career that if they are working so hard, they can hardly keep up, they must be on the right path. Attaining the American dream of being in the top one percent (or fewer) of people abundant financial resources must surely mean they would finally have all kinds of time to treat themselves and others around them as well as they really intend.

BC_Young Female Doctor w Clipboard.pngLeaving some things left undone until later – or maybe even never – is okay. It can even be a healthy and motivating practice to purposefully leave something on your list that you enjoy doing. It can help you get going on meaningful and productive work the following day. On the other hand, if you have been wasting time doing things that do not contribute to your goals or are not consistent with your values, cutting them out of your routine may be a good idea.

What you may want to consider moving up on your urgent and important list of to-dos, however, is following through on your words with action. The popular speaker and Oscar-winning radio broadcaster of “American Countryside” Andrew McCrea describes extraordinary leaders as those who stop long enough to say thank you and do the things many others only think about doing. “You really gotta stop,” he says, “and do Gotta Stop Signfacebook-In-Stream_Square.jpgthem.”  Good intentions don’t get the job done. Even if it is late, as Friedman reminds us, it is better than not at all … especially when it comes to your employees and co-workers.

Employee engagement that leads to greater profitability is all about great relationships. “Employee engagement is a property of the relationship between an organization and its employees. An ‘engaged employee’ is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests,” according to Wikipedia.

Great relationships are built on trust.

We spend as much or more time with the people in our work as we do with our family and friends. Our integrity in these relationships is directly tied to our professional success and the success of our organizations. Building employee engagement includes activities like annual surveys and performance reviews that allow both employer and employee to share what they feel is going well and what they feel needs improvement for the working relationship to continue. These have proven to be excellent practices in organizations of all sizes from two employees to 200,000+ employees around the world. Listening for understanding versus just hearing each other is an essential part of healthy and engaging relationships. The troubling question that some employers still wrestle with is, “Why do we continue to underperform, have a higher than desired turnover rates, and challenges with apathy and animosity?”

The answer may lie in understanding that listening is only part of successful relationships. Mutual respect, openness, transparency in communication and especially support and reliance on each other to complete their responsibilities are the other parts that make up the whole workplace picture.

When an employee doesn’t work to make an improvement on the areas requested in their performance review, consistently makes thoughtless mistakes on assignments, or shows up late to work without any communication to explain why that balance of reliance is compromised. When an employer messes up something with payroll, keeps changing a team meeting time, demands time-consuming assignments on short notice without reasoning or appreciation, or doesn’t provide feedback in a timely manner, they are also compromising the essential balance of reliance.

All of these behaviors are small decisions that can become habits that define our workplace systems and culture.

One thing we have noticed in our work through Balance Concierge is that following through on promises is incredibly important to healthy relationships. When a request is made of our team that is within the realm of our capabilities (a very long list of engagement services) [] we not only log and listen to that request but make a choice each and every time to swiftly follow through with action to deliver on our brand promise. Our Concierge Ambassadors serve and engage the workforce as they balance the responsibilities of integrating work, life and their own well-being.

Follow through is essential to any enterprise – for-profit or nonprofit – that exists to deliver a benefit.

Are you delivering on your brand promise? We’re not talking about your company’s brand promise here, although that is also an excellent question to ask yourself and your team. We’re talking about your word. Are you listening to your co-workers and employees? If so, what are they saying with their words, their actions, and with what they aren’t sharing with you? How are you responding? Do they know you’ve really heard them and value their input? How do they know? If you are telling them, that is good. If you are showing them, however, that’s even better. Non-verbal communication signals such as body language, behavior, surprising people with unexpected kindness, and most importantly…following through on what you say you are going to do is even more meaningful than your words. Actions ensure your message will be believed.

BC_Young Female Professional w Team Back-Up.pngWhether or not your responsibilities include managing and leading other team members, employees, colleagues, caregivers, or another creative name you might have for people who carry out the work of your organization you can probably relate to the feeling of being out of control of your schedule. Our calendars can get very full based on the decisions and commitments we make. And, we do have control over our decisions. We have control over most behavior choices. The little things matter.

President Harry Truman’s famous phrase, “The buck stops here,” is a reminder that we not only have control over our decisions, but we also have responsibility for their consequences. Whether we stop long enough to say a kind word or make the phone call we promised to make or finish a task or provide the training and direction needed or not is up to us. The consequence or reward may not be on the scale of world peace, but it can definitely make the difference between improved employee engagement and organizational success or decline.

Learn more about how Balance Concierge Contact us at  877.502.2201 or Click Here.