The pressure is on. It’s a do or die for many businesses. Businesses must push forward regardless of a sluggish economy. Efficiency, productivity, profitability, competitive advantage, quality, or customer satisfaction are all critical objectives.
To achieve those results we create plans that use action phrases such as:
Manage by walking around, planning, presenting, cascading information down, holding managers accountable, training, communicating, implementing, rolling out, analytic reporting, evaluating, visibility, holding meetings, directing, telling, and surveying.
Yet moving the needle and getting traction towards objectives appear to be stuck.
Why do you think that is?
There is one word missing from those action phrases above…involving. Involving front line staff in initiatives is critical key to success.
Here are three key points to consider:
1) Know the difference
Know the difference between real employee involvement and topdown activity. A director having meetings with staff and asking their opinion is good, but not necessarily true involvement. An employee participating on safety committees or a task force is what qualifies as true involvement.
2) Vary the Levels of Opportunity
Don’t get stuck on one activity. The same process can get old and people grow complacent over time. Even leaders grow complacent and shift to mental autopilot. Mix it up. Give employees options and create different and multiple venues for participation. Employees will pay attention.
3) Audit Your Plans
Take a look at your plans with different lenses. Review whether employees are or can be involved in:
- Development of policy;
- Organizing the initiative;
- Planning – procurement, design, problem solving;
- Measuring – proactive and reactive monitoring;
- Auditing and reviewing – auditing for efficiency, effectiveness and reliability.
A word about the “uninvolved clock puncher.” An uninvolved clock puncher is someone who only wants to come to work, do his or her job, and go home. There is something important to note about them too. Knowing there is an option to participate and seeing coworkers participate can still influence overall satisfaction and acceptance of the direction needed to achieve key targets.
It is involvement that creates an positive experience that employees will remember. Experiences ultimately lead to positive perceptions, retention and a workforce that is actively engaged in achieving results.