YOUR EMPLOYEES' CONTRIBUTIONS
By Rich Knauss, Leadership
Advancement Resources, Inc.
A continuing challenge for every business
executive is how to better engage employees in the business of
our business. As successful leaders, we achieve results through
and with others. But as companies grow, the importance of people
and the issues surrounding people also grows. We hear story after
story of company situations where employees participate and are
part of a companys success, as well as stories of employee
Have you ever gone to a weeklong team-building
activity with people you did not know? It is amazing the connection
you build in that week. You leave thinking that your newfound
"team" could become successful at anything it collectively
sets it mind to. What if you had that kind of feeling within your
company? Everyone is focused, the mission is clear, communication
flows in all directions, and peer pressure facilitates 100 percent
participation. Well, it is possible.
Customers stay loyal to products and services
because of their "value-added" qualities, which translate
to service plus other "stuff." Employees are the same.
They are interested in the value-added. In most cases that means
they want to be part of the team; they want to feel they contribute
and make a difference.
So how do we involve people in the business?
The easy answer is, we communicate. We communicate consistently
what the company stands for, how our customers are to be viewed
and how the employees are to be viewed. It is the company mission
statement. But beyond that, it is the programs we put into place
and our actions that keep people continually involved with the
It begins with training training
that is designed not only to help the employee become proficient
at his job, but to place that job within the context of the company
mission. What are the employees responsibilities, and how
does that activity contribute to the success of the company? This
training provides the "big picture." The more information
a company provides, the more involved the employee feels. It is
continual training, formal training, informal training and cross
training, as well as informational meetings.
Parts of this training can be facilitated
through team participation. The team can be a work group with
a defined deliverable. It can be a team formed to make recommendations
or to provide resolutions to problems. Giving a group clear responsibility
and ownership for work activities, if properly facilitated, can
be a significant motivator for that teams individual members.
It trains and involves the employee in the business in a way that
focuses on results.
Cross training, short-term individual assignments
and company-wide informational meetings help provide a broader
company view. An article in Inc Magazine discusses how a modular
furniture manufacturer uses its offices as a showroom. Over time,
all of the employees are involved with customer tours. They become
part of the companys sales activities and gain an understanding
of customers needs. They also learn how their individual
and combined participation contributes to the companys success.
Facilitating employee participation is key.
The more we can involve employees in the business, the more rewarding
and valuable is their contribution to both the business and to
(Rich Knauss is President of Leadership
Advancement Resources, Inc. A former business owner, Knauss has
been consulting directly with business owners and CEOs in Orange
County for the past 5 years. Knauss focuses on the business owner,
helping facilitate and balance both business and personal growth.
He can be reached directly at (714) 241-0655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)