Assessing Your Employees can Enhance Productivity and Employee Engagement!

I attended a CEO roundtable session this week in Tulsa, OK with Dr. Steve Robbins.  He was talking about how we do not utilize the skills and abilities of our staff to their potential. One reason is because we have not taken the time to assess them.  

The reason most companies do not get better productivity from their people, is not that they are not creative people.  A closed mind is the problem.  The closed mind is not the employee’s problem, it’s management’s lack of creating a learning culture that encourages people to use their creativity.   His focus was on getting our organizations to open our minds to cooperative collaboration for new ideas.    Creativity is coming up with the ideas; innovation is the putting of these ideas to work. Collaborative teams can bring a multitude of ideas that are simply not available from a smaller pool or individual.

He did an exercise that proved his point.

Everyone was asked to take a piece of paper and  write out as many animals, insects, mammals or creatures that we could think of in one minute that began with the letter S.  

One minute later here were the results.

At my table the number written down by each individual ranged from 1 to 8, other tables were similar with 4 to 5 people per table.  Total for the list between each of us at my table was 15 which was about average for the room of about 8 tables.

Each table reported to Dr. Steve the names and he wrote these on the screen.  No one was allowed to repeat any animal, insect, mammal or creature that had already been mentioned.

You can imagine the result.  The group’s results reached 49 different creatures all within one minute!

So you see, as individuals we averaged about 4, as a table we averaged about 15 and as a group we reached 49!

What was the point?  Teams that collaborate with one another will do 4 times more creative ideas with a small group and 10-12 times more than individuals. Exclusion of others on your team will diminish the power of a team.  Assess individuals, teams and the organization, by looking at the innovation of new ideas your people are putting forth and invest accordingly.  Disengaged employees have a tremendous impact on productivity.  Engaged people work to their full potential.

So what did I learn – look at the ways you are using your people with their unique skills and abilities.  Utilize assessment tools to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Give them access to learning opportunities whenever possible.  Encourage teams to work collaboratively. Praise them for their efforts.  Show employees you value them by involving them in a learning process. Listen to what they say. Give them feedback.  Provide coaching for your high potentials. Build and sustain a learning and coaching culture in your organization with initiatives like the Manager as Coach Learning Series from Career Partners International. 

Give your local Career Partners International office a call to help you assess the effectiveness of your managers and their teams. You cannot afford to not be providing development opportunities if you want to move your company into the future with innovation and effectiveness.

A recent article in the June 2012 Harvard Business Review focused on assessing your leadership development skills.  One article, titled Leadership is a Conversation, challenged leaders to talk “with” your employees rather than “to” them.  Results include increased employee engagement and tighter strategic alignment.

Become a learning elite company, with a culture that embraces development, continuous learning and collaboration to generate more open-mindedness.  You will enjoy increased creativity and innovation, productivity and employee engagement to propel your organization into the future.

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  1. Travis Jones's avatar
    Travis Jones
    | Permalink
    After writing this blog post, I was curious what others are finding that has been successful in engaging your employees?
  2. Jim Robinson's avatar
    Jim Robinson
    | Permalink

    The creativity/brainstorming activity you shared was facinating. I may steal that idea in the future.

    You make some excellent points regarding communication amd engagement. Too many exectives are egocentic and have poor interpersonal skills with their staff. This disconnect affects morale, engagement, productivity, and ultimately a companies bottom line performance.

    I good place to start is with self-awareness... understanding one's strengths and development areas. As you mentioned, assessments and 360 surveys can help address these issues, but only if the initiative is supported from the top.

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