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Employee Engagement: 4 Engagement Hacks for the Innovative Manager

Employee Engagement: 4 Engagement Hacks for the Innovative Manager


    (Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series on employee engagement.)

    Now let’s discuss some options for increasing the level of positive engagement in your work environment.

    Option 1: Leverage Shared Responsibility

    Most agree that employers and employees share responsibility for the factors that create an engaging work environment. In a recent survey conducted by Training magazine and The Ken Blanchard Companies, individual respondents saw it as their primary responsibility to improve the factors of:

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    • Meaningful Work
    • Autonomy
    • Workload Balance
    • Task Variety
    • Collaboration
    • Connectedness with Leader
    • Connectedness with Colleagues

    They saw their managers as primarily responsible for improving the factors of Feedback, Procedural Justice (Fairness), and Performance Expectations, and they saw senior leadership and systems as responsible for Growth and Distributive Justice.

    It is critical that employees understand where they have the power to control their own destiny, and when they need to speak up if a system is broken and needs to be changed.

    Option 2: Leverage Social Networks

    Social networks help with engagement because they facilitate an employee’s ability to publish content and connect easily with co-workers and managers.  The latest in intranet technology is what I call a super-intranet, which is designed to be a welcoming source of information and support as well as a hub for real-time interaction.

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    A wonderful example of a well-executed super-intranet is NASA’s Spacebook.  Launched in 2009, Spacebook is a professional network that lets NASA people around the world interface with each other through the use of user profiles, forums, groups, and social tagging. Employees have their own pages where they can publish their own status, share files, follow others’ activity, and join communities of interest.  Spacebook aids the discovery of new ideas and approaches and encourages knowledge transfer as shifting demographics threaten NASA’s ranks.

    Option 3: Leverage Your Virtual Teams

    Given the number of virtual employees in most modern organizations, paying special attention to their engagement is essential.  The most effective virtual teams have access to sophisticated collaboration tools so that project work is efficient and seamless, and they use instant messaging, videoconferencing and super-intranets like Spacebook to converse in real time.

    The best virtual teams have also met in person more than once. Because they have had the opportunity to build in-person relationships, they are less likely to experience misunderstandings and breeches of trust.  Engaged virtual teams also know and communicate with their manager well.  Weekly check-ins and occasional visits support the virtual team member’s affiliation with and loyalty to the organization.

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    Option 4: Leverage Customized Career Paths

    Employers are beginning to recognize that one progressive and linear path in which all employees move from Points A to B to C it out of sync with many individuals’ desire for a life cycle-focused career.  For example, many aging Baby Boomers are opting to dial-back and work part-time instead of fully retiring so that they can continue to contribute brainpower while setting aside time for health and family concerns.

    Deloitte believes that long-term employee engagement and retention will result from a new method of career design it calls mass career customization.  Through a combination of climbs, lateral moves, and planned descents, individuals are able to pursue personal and professional goals while remaining tied to the organization.  Although career customization sounds like it would be difficult to implement, it really starts one manager to employee conversation at a time.

    What are your engagement hacks?  What do you do as an individual and as a manager to keep your team energized and committed?

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    (Photo credit:

      Businesswoman Drawing Out Innovation via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on June 19, 2019

      8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

      8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months

      Everyone has the ability to learn a life-changing skill not just this year, but in the next 6 months.

      By life-changing, I mean something that can have a positive impact in your life moving forward, even if it’s something you can’t envision today. Certain skills we can immediately reap the benefits of, while others will be life-changing when we least expect it.

      In this article, we’ll share 8 life-changing skills you can learn in 6 months, where you can learn them, and how you can get started today.

      1. Speed reading

      Bill Gates has been known to state that if he had one superpower, it would be the ability to read faster. What Bill and the rest of the mega-successful understand is that knowledge is power. The ability to process information faster from books, articles, and reports is what will help us learn faster, and therefore improve each aspect of our life faster as well.

      Where you can start learning: Speed reading courses are becoming more popular, as more people realize how important it is with the limited time we have. You can check out free courses like Read Speeder or you can start learning how to use Spritzlet, which allows you to speed read articles online with a browser extension.

      2. Public speaking

      Research shows that people fear public speaking more than death itself. There’s something terrifying about being in front of dozens or hundreds of people, and exposing yourself completely. It’s when you’re most vulnerable, but learning how to public speak is a life-changer.

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      Warren Buffett has given advice to recent graduates that the number one skill you can have to succeed is public speaking skills. Everything from communication, confidence, and sales is developed when you develop your public speaking skills.

      Where you can start learning: Luckily, there are great communities out there like Toastmasters that organize local meetups all around the world. You’ll find amazing public speakers that are looking to get to the next level to beginners that are just getting started. Check out Toastmasters’ website here.

      3. Spanish

      As the third most spoken language in the world, the ability to speak Spanish will allow you to reach over 500M people around the world. No matter where you live, knowing how to speak Spanish is becoming increasingly more important, with the Hispanic population and economy spreading quickly worldwide. If you’re living in the US, this is even more important, with over 30% of the population being Hispanic.

      Spanish is also on this list, because it’s one of the easiest languages to learn. Sure, Mandarin is an important language to learn, but it’s an incredibly difficult one to learn. If we were to measure the level of importance and the time to learn for all the languages available, Spanish would make it to the top of the list.

      One of the biggest reasons why people never reach fluency in any foreign language is: using the wrong method, and lack of time.

      It turns out that humans retain only 5% of what we learn from lectures, 20% of what we learn from apps (visual cues), and 90% of what we learn from immediate immersion. Yet, how do 90% of learn a new foreign language? Language schools (lectures), books, Duolingo (apps), etc that don’t provide the real-life immersion required for our brains to learn faster.

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      Where to get started: If you want the most effective way to learn a language, learning from real-life interactions is the best way to do it. There are great websites like Rype, which offers Spanish coaching for busy people, solving the issue of lack of time and bringing real-life immersion to your screen. With Rype, you can book as many lessons as you want, at any time of the day, any day of the week, allowing you to fit it into your schedule, no matter how busy you are.

      4. Accounting

      If you’re looking to get into business, accounting is one of the core fundamentals you’ll need to succeed. While you don’t need to be an expert, you definitely should understand the basics.

      This skill can also be used to manage your personal finances, to meet your financial goals, and having more control over your life.

      Where to get started learning: If you didn’t learn accounting in school, no worries. You can either teach yourself using books, or check out free accounting courses online.

      5. Microsoft Excel

      Most people reading this probably have a basic understanding of Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. While this is a good start, there are so many powerful functionalities that are hidden, which could make your life a lot easier.

      Excel is also a great asset to have whenever you’re looking for a job, as many corporations rely on Excel to organize and manage multiple parts of the business.

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      Where to get started learning: With the popularity of Excel, you can find tons of free resources and videos online to learn. Check out Excel Exposure, Lynda, and Excel with Business.

      6. Blogging/Vlogging

      Blogging is a powerful tool if you want to spread your ideas, build your brand, or grow your business. Since it was introduced, blogging has taken on a life of its own, and today there are ~2M blog posts being written on a daily basis.

      Where to get started learning: Anyone can start blogging today. All you need is a content-management system like WordPress, which is completely free. Personally, I think the best way to start learning how to blog is to just start writing. There are techniques you can learn on how to promote your blog, but the best way to grow your blog is to write great content.

      7. Weight training

      Yes, weight training is a skill. It’s not as advanced as learning how to code, nor will it take as long as learning a new language, if you just want to learn the basics.

      We’re not promising that you’ll get a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you will see much faster results for whatever goal you have, just by understanding how to workout properly. And of course, when you’re dealing with an activity that involves physical strain, you’ll always want to caution yourself.

      Where to get started learning: There are amazing body builders that are sharing all of their secrets for free on Youtube. You can check out Bodybuilding.com’s Youtube channel to get started.

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      8. Photo and video editing

      In the digital world that we live in, from Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook, there is no avoiding photos and videos. In fact, social media has increasingly gone away from text sharing and almost everything to photo and video editing.

      Where to get started learning: For photo editing, you can use Photoshop. For video editing, you can use iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Keep in mind, there are dozens of editing software tools for video and photo editing, but what’s more important are your editing skills, not the tool itself.

      Check out education websites like CreativeLIVE or Skillshare, where you can learn from experts themselves on how to best use design and software tools.

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