I introduced the five stages of the talent engagement cycle in my last blog post because I am on a mission to revolutionize company culture and leadership.
The stages are:
- self-engagement (developing skills from the inside out)
- pre-engagement (promoting your business)
- on-engagement (from hiring through the first months)
- in-engagement (retaining your employees), and
- re-engagement (creating an employee alumni program)
The talent engagement cycle I’ve developed begins with self-engagement. One of my key themes for my speaking engagements is “Put YOUR Oxygen Mask On First”.
If your employees are not growing in their leadership, regardless of where they fit on the food chain, you are doing a dis-service to your business and your employees.
Corporate culture relies heavily on employee engagement and their desire to come to work every day with passion for what they do. Simon Sinek in his two “Why” books, Start With Why and Find Your Why, helps us to better understand that why.
Are you playing just to win or are you elevating to a more worldly view and focus? Has your business developed their why?
Once you have established an “inside-out” philosophy with your team (i.e. employees) we move into pre-engagement. Essentially that is defining and living your corporate culture. Your “why”, as Simon Sinek would say.
Why do you exist and why do employees even care to come to work?
Then how does that shift into expressing your brand to the people who don’t even know they want to work for you yet? How are you communicating your why, corporate culture, vision, mission, and values? If you are a tech company, are you finding the gaming organizations and recruiting those talented folks?
Now that you’ve found that employee, the work really begins. On-engagement is how you treat that employee after they have “signed” and during their early months of employment.
A tool that I have found exceptional for engagement is DISC. The John C. Maxwell Team has developed an entire program around DISC to help businesses grow their employees and bottom line.
How are you engaging employees in their community? Has your employee handbook been updated to current standards?
In-engagement is for the employees who are committed to the organization, at least for now. I had a great conversation with an employee charged with employee engagement at a major tech company in my community. The challenge is helping people grow in their skills when the food chain is crowded at the top.
Are you using coaching or mentorship to engage your employees in the culture? Do you know the difference between the two and which one is appropriate?
There is always room for leadership development, no matter where the person is on the organization chart.
The final phase in the cycle is re-engagement. It is a challenge to keep all of our employees, so what are you doing when they leave? If the circumstances of their departure are good, treat them like alumni from your college where you continue to maintain the relationship through something as simple as your corporate newsletter. People often leave because the grass is greener and then they realize it wasn’t so bad where they were before.
Basic Company Culture
I came across the following skills that Mid-State Technical College in central Wisconsin supports for its’ graduates (i.e. part of the upcoming workforce):
• Behave responsibly—both individually and cooperatively
• Communicate effectively
• Demonstrate effective critical and creative thinking
• Demonstrate cultural, social, and global awareness
• Uses appropriate technology
Many years ago, there was a project out of Duluth MN that was picked up at several area community foundations called, “Speak Your Peace.” It centered around nine very similar soft skills that included pay attention, listen, be inclusive, don’t gossip, show respect, seek common ground, damage repaired relationships, use constructive language and take responsibility. You can see the connection with the soft skills listed at the beginning.
Many times, we don’t know how to impact people around us with these soft skills. We feel like our hands are tied.
The simple, but not easy solution:
- Commit intentional acts of kindness, not random ones.
- Have an uncomfortable conversation using the skills on the lists above.
- Support local businesses.
- Dig a little deeper to support the non-profit community.
- If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Failing forward is part of everyday life.
It is what it is.
We will have to fail forward through the talent challenge again and rely on the engagement cycle to fully nurture our prospective and current employees. While those employees are on our team, we have to focus on growing their soft skills while enhancing their hard skills.
The hardest part for change is getting started. That’s where I come in to the picture. A conversation costs nothing but can bring great value.