Engage & Connect

“Team not performing up to expectations? High staff turnover? Problem attracting talent?”

Do the above sound familiar? All the pay and rewards don’t seem to be working?
Well, there is something we can do about it, improving that one part of our organisation that separates us from our competition. Something that has seen the likes of organisations such as ZAPPOS, GOOGLE and VALVe achieve record performance, and attraction and retention of employees that have catapulted them in to stardom. Looking closer to home and away from tech world, local heroes PKT Logistics boasts employee retention rates that are nearly unheard of not just in the unsexy world of logistics but dare i say it, in Malaysia.
What do all these amazingly successful organisations share? The right culture. A culture focused on the single most important thing in any organisation, The PEOPLE.

We could not possibly talk about the most important aspect of an organisation in one post, so today i’m going to share 4 key things including action steps that you can take and implement in your organisation immediately to increase engagement and performance. If done right and over a period of time, your organisation or your team will become a much better place to work in.  What i call the 4C’s of Engagement.

1. Connect
How many siblings in the family? What does mum do? Brother? sister? What is your colleague’s hobby and passions? What do they do on the weekend? Favourite music? Significant events growing up?
Our personalities, behaviours and decisions we make are based on our accumulated life experiences and knowledge. By understanding where someone is coming from allows you to not only be able to put them in the right seat in the organisation but also enables you to understand him/her better, to know why he/she behaves or reacts in a particular way and thus empowering you to react or handle the situation from a better perspective. One of the easiest ways to connect with your colleagues is to just show up. Take the initiative to be visible and participative. As leaders find opportunities to show up, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Connect with someone for 10-minutes in the pantry over coffee, invite a colleague to have dinner after work, or if you find out what your colleague likes, you may have similar interest and can organise activities together.

Action 1: ‘Start from zero’
Organise a sit down over coffee or tea, and everyone in the team or organisation takes their turn to talk about their life from the day they were born, from ‘zero’ till now. Talk about everything from where they were born, school, and all the ups and downs in their lives, challenges they faced, love life, parents, to their pets. After every person, the rest of the group can ask questions for a few minutes (depending on size of group). Choose to finish with a group hug or a round of applause.

Action 2: Discover
Go find out what all your colleague’s hobbies or interest are, and find one thing to do together. Watch a football screening together, go for a game of pool, plan a Sunday morning hike, or go for a futsal game.

2. Communicate
Remember this, there is no such thing as over communicating. Assumptions are the mother of all fuckups! So talk, and talk often. Here are some of the things we do to improve and encourage communication. We maintain an open door policy, in fact, we have no doors. No physical or psychological barriers to speaking freely. Create opportunities for conversation through scheduled 121’s with managers, group discussions, ‘start-stop-continue’, and social outings.  We encourage the use of social media as a platform for communication through Facebook groups, whatsapp chat groups, and messenger. We also use Asana project management for project related communications. Find the most effective and most popular communication tools and test them out to see which suits your organisation the best.

3. Care
Roosevelt once said, no one cares how much you know until they first know how much you care about them. Frankie D could not be more right, especially in this day and age. Genuinely care for your team, take an interest in their lives beyond work. What are their goals and ambitions? How is everything at home? How can you help them achieve their goals? Any difficulties they are facing? Remember CSR begins at home, find out if someone needs help and find a way to help them.

4. Celebrate
One of the main roles of a business owner or one in a leadership role, is to continuously create the right environment for people to excel. We want to create an environment of joy and happiness, and the joys of celebration is euphoric! So its our job to to find joy. To find reasons to spread joy, to celebrate and promote happiness. Make it a point to celebrate festivities of all races and religions, throw birthday parties, express gratitude often, celebrate project wins, publicly announce any and all organisational wins big or small and praise publicly! One of the key human motivators is recognition, find or create opportunities to recognise the people in your organisation.

Action 3: Awards – Create superheroes
Is there something (non sales related!) that you can highlight and create recognition for in your organisation? For example. “Fit Hero”, a half yearly or yearly award for employees who achieve the greatest weight loss or the greatest improvement in health (there are various ways to test and measure these).

When it comes to culture, always remember is has to be conscious, deliberate, and consistent. Don’t expect a sudden change in your organisation just because you were nice to some of your colleagues and hung out with them a few times. We are in this for the long haul and if you genuinely believe in building a sustainable organisation then the 4C’s merely serve as a reminder to treat people like people, and not money making robots. Lets go forth and create gorgeous organisations to work with!



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