In a previous post, we spoke about the fact that most leaders think an engagement strategy is important, but that few really have such a strategy in place. We then outlined the importance of having an action planning session and how to do so.
The challenge with many organizations is they do in fact set goals, even documenting them. But then they put them away, perhaps doing nothing more than pulling them back out at the end of the year and noting whether they were accomplished. Most go back to their regular day-to-day grind, focusing on those urgent matters that come their way.
Know that improving employee engagement is seldom an urgent matter. It is important, but it’s not urgent. But important things that are not urgent are often displaced by important and urgent things. They even get moved aside by matters that are urgent even though they are not important. Real leadership means allocating time every day to focus on important matters that are important, though they are not important. Daily exercise also falls in this category. We know it’s important, but do we have the discipline to focus on it?
The answer is to host a stand up meeting. Stand up meetings are brief conversations held daily, focusing on important, though non-urgent matters like improving employee engagement. They can be simple events no longer than 5 minutes–that’s why they are referred to as stand up meetings. If you have to find a chair, it may be too long a meeting. And everyone should be able to carve at least 5 minutes a day for something that is important–though not urgent.
The analogy I use with many organizations is likening them to a firefighter. Fighting fires is an important and urgent exercise. It is at the heart of what firefighters do. But even the most capable firefighters are not able to fight a fire 24/7. Even the strongest of individuals would ware with time fighting a fire every moment they were at work. And in truth, no firefighter lives that scenario. Firefighting happens at best a few times during the week. They spend most of their time preparing for the next fire, readying their trucks, checking hydrants, and prepping their equipment. More importantly, they spend a considerable time out in the community preventing fires. They check facilities to make certain there are not fire hazards, and that safety systems like alarms and fire sprinklers are functioning properly.
So it is with organizations. There should be at least a few minutes each day spent to make certain that employees have the tools and resources they need. There should be time dedicated to recognizing their work, discussing key concerns, and providing on-going training and development. If nothing else, managers should ask the question: “What can I do to help support you today?” If 5 minutes a day were intentionally directed toward just that question, followed up by actions on the manager’s part to address those issues, it would be surprising just how more engaged and supported employees would feel. And engaged, supported employees are shown to be better at working together, reducing waste, producing greater output, and most importantly, providing greater customer satisfaction.
And all of that is triggered by one thing–hosting a stand up meeting for nothing more than just 5 minutes a day.
- How are you intentionally engaging your employees?
- If so, how much time do you spend a day doing so?
- How would your organization be more productive if you did so?