The turn of the year is traditionally a time for reflecting on past successes and lessons learned, and then focusing on goals and commitments for the coming months. This makes it a great time to think about how to connect more deeply with your employees and help them become enthusiastic about what’s to come. Here are a few employee engagement ideas for 2015.
1 – Establish a Theme
What is 2015 going to be about for your company? Perhaps it will be the year company growth skyrockets, maybe it will be all about innovative new products, or maybe you’ll achieve profitability. For example, when our Mark Graban recently visited Japan, a hospital in Tokyo had an annual quality improvement and Lean theme for the year. In 2014, it was "improving workflows" and previous years had themes including "5S" and "think for yourself and take action."
Whatever it is, create a theme for the year that reflects what’s important and deserves the highest priority for your team. Get creative - make T-shirts, throw a party - do whatever it takes to set the tone and be very clear what will make this year special. Having a theme can create focus that's more helpful than a vague statement encouraging everybody to just improve.
2 – Communicate the Strategy
Once you’ve determined your theme for 2015, it is essential to communicate clearly with every member of the team about the strategy for achieving your goals. Employee engagement requires trust that leadership has a clear path to progress. Transparent communication helps employees feel more invested and improves decision making at every level.
3 – Identify and Clone Subject Matter Experts
OK, so you can’t literally clone subject matter experts (yet), but what you can do is to task the people in the organization who have specialized expertise with certain products or processes with documenting and sharing that knowledge with others. This helps engage both the expert, whose value to the organization is reinforced, as well as the learners, who all become more valuable in the process.
4 – Put a Bounty on Waste
No organization is proud of waste or inefficiency, but many are content to live with this as somehow being a natural part of life. It doesn’t have to be so. The people who are most aware of (and often most upset by) waste and inefficiency are front line employees. Why not offer an incentive and provide a platform for them to identify, report and fix problems and processes that are leading to wasted time, resources and money? In addition to being an effective process improvement tactic, this approach also makes employees feel empowered and proud when they are able to make a difference and their contributions are recognized.
As you ponder your New Year’s resolutions, think beyond getting to the gym more often and cutting down on carbs. Add something that will benefit your business both this year and in the long run. Resolve to implement one of these employee engagement ideas or one of the others we shared in our daily managment webinar. Engaged employees are more productive, stay at their job longer, and promote the brand. Who doesn’t want more of that?
Do you have any New Year's resolutions related to improvement? We'd love to hear from you... please leave a comment.
Free Upcoming Webinar:
January 27 at 1p EST
In this webinar, you'll learn how to:
- Create (and sustain) a culture of continuous improvement
- Encourage, inspire, and facilitate improvement
- Make sure your voice is heard
Last year, our Dr. Greg Jacobson and Mark Graban gave a webinar entitled, “Leadership Behaviors that Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement” and it was our most popular webinar of the year. They covered 25 behaviors, but that just scratches the surface.
In this new webinar, Greg and Mark will share some additional behaviors, illustrated by real stories from our work with KaiNexus customers.