Last week I talked about the lack of enthusiasm that seemed to come from the workplace along with the lack of employee engagement.
This week I want to provide a starting point to create a more enthusiastic workplace and engage employees.
When we work with groups one of the foundational pieces we look at is vision. We don’t create a vision statement but we have groups look at how they want the organization to look in five years. This is a good way to involve everyone to create a future workplace.
We do an exercise that takes about half hour to get people thinking about five years down the road. We ask the group to first think about it while we ask five different questions pertaining to the organization and all the employees of the organization. After participants have thought about it, we ask them to write down their ideas on flip charts for each of the questions. Specific themes usually result from the ideas. These themes then lead to setting some goals and objectives to achieve that vision. Everyone can help with the development and implementation of those goals and objectives. It gives people some ownership and help them understand they have a stake in their future and the organization’s future.
The knee jerk reaction we get when we tell people about this is “they won’t have the same vision as we do.” It doesn’t matter who “they” and “we” are because it’s the same whoever we talk to. But, surprising as it may be to each, they do have the same vision and, even more, they agree on things the other may not have thought about.
It’s a simple exercise that doesn’t take long that can have big results for everyone and the organization but to do that both managers and employees have some important issues to work on.
Managers must be willing to include EVERYBODY in the planning and decision making – especially the first time out. Sometimes it’s difficult for managers to do a little risk-taking and relinquish control. In addition, it’s important for managers to encourage participation and show employees the ideas will be used.
For employees it’s taking that leap of faith and be willing to work on the goals and objectives. They have to accept the belief they will be involved in the process even if there’s mistakes along the way – and mistakes will be made. It will also be important to realize it is a shared process. The trust factor is huge for both sides.
There will be some bumps and bruises at first but the key is to keep working at it and maintain the momentum by continuously pushing forward. Those groups and organizations that keep going with it will gain a lot including the establishment of the organization’s future!