Engaged employees can show us the way to continuously improve. Customers want our products and services to be better, delivered faster, and produced less expensively. This means that everything we do needs to be improved. All employees can be thinking about how to reduce costs, looking at safety issues, reducing wastes, and improving the environment, while at the same time developing skills to identify, articulate and communicate those kinds of things.
The Gallup Organization has studied thousands of companies and surveyed millions of employees. Their research has shown that very few employees are engaged and that a relatively small increase in the amount of engaged workers can reap great benefits for a company.
At the lowest level, engaged employees help a company stay in business and at a higher level employees start thinking about how they can improve themselves. They can take some ownership over their job; and also over their own development. It starts people thinking in new and different ways about the things they do.
In the book, в??First, Break All the Rulesв?? by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman from Gallup, it is noted that the manager, not anything or anyone else, was most critical in building a strong workforce. A lot of companies struggle with leadership skills, communications interaction, and improving management skills. We are now undergoing a paradigm shift as many organizations are beginning to realize that managementв??s job is to support the people doing the work as opposed to dictating how to do the work.
Engaging employees in improving their work creates new levels of communication and gives the ownership of improvements to the worker. We now recognize that в??you know your job better then management does because you are the one that does it every day.в?? Since people are the expert in their work, who better to come up with ideas to improve it then them. We all want, need and deserve respect.
Claudia designed a fixture to hold bubble wrap she used for packaging. It made her job easier. Ken saw the fixture; thought paper would work just as well and asked his customers. The switch to paper saved Kenв??s employer about $100,000 a year and a lot of storage space. Engaged people see the fruits of their labor as their ideas are implemented. They now receive positive feedback for a в??job well done.в??
Any process, any product, any service can be made better in some way, somehow. One plant manager said, в??It used to be that my problem solvers were solely the management team, but now my problem solvers are everybody in the building.в?? How can you beat that?
Copyright В© 2005 Chuck Yorke – All Rights Reserved
Chuck Yorke is an organizational development and performance improvement specialist, trainer, consultant and speaker. He is co-author of “All You Gotta Do Is Ask,” a book which explains how to promote large numbers of ideas from employees. Chuck may be reached at ChuckYorke@yahoo.com