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The most significant employee engagement tool you can use


Employee Engagement is a Global Issue

A friend of mine today wrote me this tweet:

.@chrislema Do you think there's value for a (distributed) team in using a tool like #BeachPress — Grant Landram (@GrantLandram) June 5, 2014

As I’m the guy that’s written an eBook on Virtual Teams and another one on High Performers, I appreciated his framing the question in an easy way for me to answer.

But what he was really asking about was employee engagement – and that’s something that isn’t just an issue with distributed teams. It’s an issue for everyone.

Some really sad statistics

One study suggests almost 80% of senior executives know they have a serious employee engagement problem.

Another shows that 89% of employers think their employees leave for more money. Only 12% really do.

75% of employees who voluntarily take off, quit because of their bosses, not their jobs.

Only 6% of those interviewed in this study felt like their performance management solutions were even worth it.

The real issue is communication

The real issue – the hard reality – is that the most effective tool you have is free. It’s all about sharing and listening. And you don’t need to pay tools to create a culture that embraces it.

Check out this infographic (source).


If you look at the four enablers of employee engagement, they focus on:

  1. Having a strong and compelling story (and sharing it)

  2. Engaging your managers

  3. Engaging employees and hearing them

  4. Corporate integrity

This isn’t rocket science. It’s not stuff you’ve never heard before. But you know what it is?

It’s hard work. Because it means you need to develop a culture around this kind of communication.

Why I don’t recommend software tools

And this is precisely why I don’t suggest tools like

It’s not because I don’t think it’s cool. I do. I think it’s very cool and likely useful.

The reason I don’t recommend tools is because they’re not magic. They don’t solve employee engagement. They assist it.

If your culture is awesome already, you’ll love it. And if your culture sucks, it won’t save it.

They have a cool little infographic that shows a little employee at the bottom of a big org chart saying “I feel heard.”

But ask yourself this – what causes an employee to feel heard? Is it the work of writing an email summarizing their tasks for the day or week? Or is it their supervisor listening to them and engaging them?

Simply collecting my feedback on my own efforts is actually  more work, not less. And if it sits there without you doing anything, or changing anything because you heard me, then it hasn’t resulted in making me feel any more heard.

In a great article on the topic, one writer called this a myth: “Managers know how to engage their employees.”

That’s right – a myth.

Managers don’t know how to help with employee engagement

The real issue comes down (at least on one level) to this. Managers are neither good, nor naturally equipped (simply by title) to help drive better employee engagement.

Remember: 75% of employees who voluntarily take off, quit because of their bosses, not their jobs.

So teach your managers to communicate more effectively. To ask better questions. To tell better stories. To engage with the overall strategy of the company. To listen and observe their staff.

It’s something you can do. It’s free. And you already have it with you.

Your single best tool is you. And no digital hosted solution will beat you. Ever.

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