Blog : Collaboration

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? How to Engage Your Employees

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? How to Engage Your Employees

ic3 consulting – a firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.

The ACE Model

awareness + alignment = insightful companies
communication + = innovative collaboration
(lead to lasting) employee engagement = intentional culture

The last article in the 6-part series, How to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work, speaks to engagement. What does a company look like if they have made it to this level?

Genuine engagement is the culmination of all that has been discussed. It is the result of clarity and transparency generating safety and trust within your company. It includes a thorough understanding of your own biases and taking the time to know your employees’ strengths. It is committed diligence to ensure that your employees and customers feel connected to your company’s mission and that teams are working together in a collaborative and innovative manner. It is asking if your stakeholders feel valued and heard.

Everyone wants to feel connected and purposeful. It is what numerous happiness studies reveal as primary. When employees feel satisfaction and connection to their work, their team, and your company, you have a happy and engaged company culture!

This is done intentionally, by design – not by chance. Engaged and loyal stakeholders create agile, nimble and resilient organizations. However, the ingredients of employee engagement need to be taught, modeled and practiced within a company. It requires, “harnessing the heart and empowering the minds” of your employees – at every level.

Engagement and an intentional culture that supports engagement are not static. Culture is dynamic and will grow and change with the company, and it is the responsibility of leadership to continually create the company culture you intend. It requires understanding the basic needs of humans, from the inside out, and building it into the fabric of your organization.

You, as the leader, have to decide, then define, and design. This is what is meant by an intentional and purpose-driven company culture.

Tools for genuine engagement to increase retention, productivity and reduce turnover:

  • It is a process. Learn the essential ingredients in our ACE video series – How to Become the Best Place to Work – delivered to your inbox in biz-size segments over the next two weeks.

This Week’s Action Steps:

  • So, after learning more about what is necessary to create a fully engaged workforce, how would you grade your company(A, A-, B, B-, C, C-, D, D-, F)?
  • What opportunities do you see to increase engagement?

 

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes. 

 Sign Me Up

 

ic3 consulting is a staff engagement consulting firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science to the workplace to improve employee engagement.  ic3 delivers improved employee satisfaction for their clients through customized corporate retreats, ongoing training, and executive coaching. ic3’s vision is to make the world a better place, one company at a time, through facilitating the creation of human-centered workplaces and business practices.

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? You Need Lasting Employees

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? You Need Lasting Employees

ic3 consulting – a firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.

The consequence of the aforementioned steps (#1 -#4) in How to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work, is lasting employees.

The ACE Model

awareness + alignment = insightful companies
communication + creativity = innovative collaboration
(lead to lasting) employee engagement = intentional culture

Businesses are complex systems that have human beings at their core. People are the alpha and omega of business and are the true X-factor. By focusing as carefully on people as they do on products, systems, and org charts, organizations can humanize and create sustained success.

However, only 33% percent of leaders are extremely confident in their organization’s ability to motivate employees at an emotional level (Northhighland White Paper, 2018). The emotional commitment an employee has to your company equates to their level of engagement.

Engaged employees don’t just work for a paycheck, bonus or promotion; they believe in the company’s values and work toward its success.

Disengaged employees can cost your company a lot of money.

  • Decreased productivity
  • High turnover
  • Absenteeism
  • Fiscal costs of stressed-out workers (illness, etc.)
  • Poor customer service

You might not always notice that you have an “engagement” problem, but you will definitely notice the effects of disengaged employees.

Conversely, actively engaged employees are three times more productive (Rapid Learning Institute 2017). And, companies with a formal engagement strategy in place are 67% more likely to improve their revenue per full-time equivalent on a year-over-year basis (Aberdeen 2016). In today’s new economy, long-term market success is less about what you do, but who you are as a company: your mission, values, beliefs, culture, and your people. The companies that get this win.

Difficulty retaining good employees in this current competitive workforce? Quick Tips for reinforcing lasting employees in your workplace:

  • Learn how your employees feel rewarded and incorporate what you learn into a regular acknowledgment tradition (e.g. announcements in meetings).
  • Administer regular employee engagement surveys, either written or interview style, so you can get a pulse on your employees level of engagement.
  • Provide opportunities for employees to share both their personal and professional goals and brainstorm ways they can achieve those goals inside and outside of the office (e.g. professional development).

This Week’s Action Steps:

  • What is it about your employees that sets your company apart?
  • How are you going to share the knowledge of that differentiating factor with the world?

 

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes. 

Sign Me Up

 

ic3 consulting is a staff engagement consulting firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.  ic3 delivers improved employee satisfaction for their clients through customized corporate retreats, ongoing training, and executive coaching. ic3’s vision is to make the world a better place, one company at a time, through facilitating the creation of human-centered workplaces and business practices.

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? Try Creative Collaboration

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? Try Creative Collaboration

ic3 consulting – a firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.

Creativity is #4 in How to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work.

The ACE Model

awareness + alignment = insightful companies
communication + creativity = innovative collaboration
(lead to lasting) employee engagement = intentional culture

You might be asking yourself why is creativity one of the cornerstones?

By 2020 creativity will be the third most important skill in the job market according to the World Economic Forum, and of CEO’s polled, 60% agreed that creativity was the most important skill to have in a leadership role (Fast Company, 2017). Creativity and imagination are the drivers of innovation, the keystone to differentiation.

If you remember back to #1, safety and trust and how the brain is divided, you will recall that as the brain evolved new layers were, essentially, added to the top. These additional “layers” include the limbic system and the frontal cortex, which are divided into two cerebral hemispheres, the right and the left.

Creativity targets both the right hemisphere and limbic system of the brain – bypassing language and “rational thought and logical assumptions” (left brain attributes). Therefore, creativity gives expression to that which cannot be spoken, due to the structure of the brain.

This provides the opportunity to re-imagine concepts – the very core of innovation. However, as a leader, you need to be prepared to sustain the creative process in its various stages, some of which look very different than detailed gantt charts or profit and loss statements.

Quick Tips to increase creativity in the workplace needed to differentiate and harness your competitive edge:

  • Encourage doodling at your next meeting. Yes, doodling! Be the example. Draw or sketch ideas at the whiteboard. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist and if your circles don’t even look like circles. Just the act of sketching your ideas will engage a different part of the brain, which will foster new ideas!
  • Find times and ways to “zoom out”. For instance, go outside and go for a walk. Insights, those “aha moments”, occur when we relax our focus and become receptive to see the whole. (Brain tidbit: Insights are associated with the right hemisphere of the brain that can detect anomalies and occur when not highly focused on them.)
  • Welcome opposites. The tension of opposites is part of the creative process and can produce results that are greater than the original parts! (Brain tidbit: The right hemisphere has the ability to hold dichotomy. It does not categorize things as opposites, but rather sees them as connected and in relation to one another.)

This Week’s Action Steps:

  • Refresh your understanding of the creativity cycle.
  • How do you practice creativity in the workplace?
  • Do you feel it is important to do so?

Imagine for a moment, if you could unleash and realize a fully-engaged and innovative company culture. What would be different in your company culture, what would be different in productivity and motivation and what would be different in your ability to use innovation and creativity to make the best services and products for your clients?

To transcend a current situation, we have to be able to imagine it differently. To understand and change the way we think is to change the way we form our lives – and businesses.

 

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes.

Sign Me Up

 

ic3 consulting is a staff engagement consulting firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science to the workplace to improve employee engagement.  ic3 delivers improved employee satisfaction for their clients through customized corporate retreats, ongoing training, and executive coaching. ic3’s vision is to make the world a better place, one company at a time, through facilitating the creation of human-centered workplaces and business practices.

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? Effective Communication is Key

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? Effective Communication is Key

ic3 consulting – a firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.

Our teachings are founded in neuroscience – what we’ve come to term the ACE model of employee engagement and leadership and include: awareness, alignment, communication, and creativity, which lead to lasting employee engagement.

The ACE Model

awareness + alignment = insightful companies
communication + creativity = innovative collaboration
(lead to lasting) employee engagement = intentional culture

Open, respectful and effective communication, once considered a “soft skill”, is increasingly being understood as a key ingredient to the success of a business.

This type of communication and emotional intelligence are not necessarily “intuitive”. Rather, the building blocks of effective communication need to be continuously taught, modeled and practiced within a company.

Additionally, our need for safety must be satisfied before we can consistently practice effective communication. As mentioned in the brain integration article and safety video, when we traverse our way up the brain we move from the brainstem to the limbic system (area in pink in the image below). triune brain

The limbic system includes a variety of structures such as the amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus. It is the part of the brain we share with other mammals and is responsible for deep-seated emotions, learning, and memory. Its basic need is satisfaction, beyond the survival of self and to rewards found within groups (Me to We).

And, let’s face it, as humans the best way to have our needs met within groups is to communicate effectively.

Here are some simple, but not always easy, strategies for both the listener and the speaker. It’s important to remember that communication can be both verbal and nonverbal (e.g. eye rolls, walking away) and even though asynchronous communication sometimes seems easier, some conversations really should be had face-to-face.

Listener

  • Listen attentively. Look at the speaker with open body language.
  • Do not interrupt. Take a breath instead!
  • Accept silence.
  • Clarify what you hear. What and how questions versus why.
  • Reflect on what you hear, including empathic responses. (What you think they were feeling.)

Speaker

  • Speak attentively. Direct communication without being harsh.
  • Use “I” statements. Versus “you”, which sounds blaming.
  • Accept silence.
  • Do not overspeak. Take a breath instead!
  • Avoid cross-examination.

Dr. John Gottman, one of the foremost couples’ counselors, identified “the four horsemen” within communication styles that can predict that end of a relationship.

It is important to identify if any of these are a familiar way of interacting so that these types of negative communication patterns can be targeted and reduced.

  1. Criticism: When a complaint about something specific becomes global/general.
  2. Contempt: Exemplifies a sense of sarcasm and/or mockery.
  3. Defensiveness: Self-protection when an attack is perceived, but the effect is to blame.
  4. Stonewalling: The listener puts up a wall between herself/himself and the speaker and is perceived to be emotionally detached.

Quick Tips for effective communication in the workplace to increase retention and detoxify workplace bullies:

  • Co-create communication norms and print them in black and white for all to see. (If you want help in facilitating this co-creation, contact ic3!)
  • Model, model, and model some more. As the leader, it is up to you to make these a part of your company culture.
  • Try rephrasing “why” questions to become “what” of “how” questions. You will notice that people immediately are less defensive and, instead, partners in finding a solution.

This Week’s Action Steps:

  • Do you currently employ any of the “four horsemen” speaking styles?
  • What communication strategies do you use that work well within your company?
  • Is there an area within your company where communication is less than optimal?

 

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes. 

Sign Me Up

 

ic3 consulting is a staff engagement consulting firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science to the workplace to improve employee engagement.  ic3 delivers improved employee satisfaction for their clients through customized corporate retreats, ongoing training, and executive coaching. ic3’s vision is to make the world a better place, one company at a time, through facilitating the creation of human-centered workplaces and business practices.

Want to make your company the best place to work? You Need to Align Your Workforce

Want to make your company the best place to work? You Need to Align Your Workforce

ic3 consulting – a firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.

The ACE Model

awareness + alignment = insightful companies
communication + creativity = innovative collaboration
(lead to lasting) employee engagement = intentional culture

It is one thing to be aware; the next step is to be aligned – #3 in this 6-part series, How to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work.

Not only do you want your team to be aware of self and others and of the company culture, mission and values, you need them to be aligned.

When all of your employees and systems are working towards the same goal, mission, and values, your company, products, and services become an unstoppable force.

Conversely, picture cogs in a gear. What happens if one of those cogs is out of alignment? Friction builds, your machine slows downs and, eventually, stops. But now, imagine the power of a laser beam. A laser is created when light waves are coherent and “aligned” – generating high focus and impact.

A coherent, aligned and engaged workforce will save your company money by reducing turnover, absenteeism, and healthcare costs while improving customer services and increasing innovation. You will also be doing your part in creating happier, healthier employees, which has a ripple effect on their friends, family and the community at large!

Tips to create alignment in the workplace to tackle high turnover and burnout and increase productivity.

  • Offer an all-company retreat, where leaders and teams co-create the set of cultural values that drive your company.
  • Use those cultural values to hire. When hiring potential hires, make sure they are a good fit for what you and your company have established.

This Week’s Action Steps:

  • What is your personal North Star?
  • What is your company’s North Star?

 

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes. 

Sign Me Up

 

ic3 consulting is a staff engagement consulting firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement. ic3 delivers improved employee satisfaction for their clients through customized corporate retreats, ongoing training, and executive coaching. ic3’s vision is to make the world a better place, one company at a time, through facilitating the creation of human-centered workplaces and business practices.

Want to make your company the best place to work? You Need Awareness at Work

Want to make your company the best place to work? You Need Awareness at Work

IC3 Consulting – a firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.

In this 6-part series, How to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work, #2 is awareness.

The ACE Model
awareness + alignment = insightful companies
communication + creativity = innovative collaboration
(lead to lasting) employee engagement = intentional culture

Google is doing it. Intel is too. By this point, you have certainly heard of mindfulness in the workplace. But, what does it mean to be mindful, especially at work? To be mindful is to be conscious, awake – aware of what is happening now, in the present moment, without a knee-jerk emotional reaction (aka judgment).

Ok then, what does it mean to be aware? Awareness is knowledge, or an understanding of the whole – not just particular biases or schemas. Just like every person, every business has strengths and vulnerabilities and knowing these is imperative. Knowledge is power and awareness is at least 50% of the solution.

And, primary, even prior to awareness of your employees, is awareness of yourself. As a business leader, we understand that you are self-aware. You had to be in order to excel. So, how do you continuously put this practice into practice and remain aware of your internal biases and schemas?

There are multiple ways, but a foundational one is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation is one of the key skills to create an integrated brain, leading to optimal functioning not only on an individual level but systematically as well. When your staff and managers are operating from this state, you will establish thriving teams that systematically innovate and collaborate with one another.

Quick Tips to increase awareness at work and overcome high turnover and achieve greater productivity and less burnout:

  • Employee assessments such as StrengthsFinder
  • Create opportunities where teams interact to co-create goals, objectives, and the values of the company.
  • Regular employee engagement surveys (Here is a quick 3-minute assessment you can take to begin to get a pulse on engagement within your company.)

This Week’s Action Steps:

  • How do you practice self-awareness?
  • What tools are already in place that helps you keep a pulse on the level of your employees’ engagement?

 

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes. 

Sign Me Up

 

ic3 consulting is a staff engagement consulting firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement. ic3 delivers improved employee satisfaction for their clients through customized corporate retreats, ongoing training, and executive coaching. ic3’s vision is to make the world a better place, one company at a time, through facilitating the creation of human-centered workplaces and business practices.

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? You Need Safety & Trust First

Want to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work? You Need Safety & Trust First

iC3 Consulting – a firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve employee engagement.

When you see those annual rankings of the best places to work, do you find yourself wondering what it would take for your company to make the list? In this 6-part series learn the necessary ingredients that we’ve come to term the ACE model of engagement and leadership, which include awareness & alignment, creativity & communication, and lasting employee engagement, with a foundation of safety & trust.

Each article and video is short and sweet with quick tips and actions steps so you can start implementing these strategies today.

The ACE Model
safety & trust
awareness + alignment = insightful companies
communication + creativity = innovative collaboration
lasting employee engagement = intentional culture

Why are psychological safety and trust the starting place? They are the building blocks that are needed for people to bring their whole selves to work – necessary for a fully functioning and engaged workforce.

When employees feel safe, they feel like they can share their ideas – even the ones that aren’t always implemented. Trust is established through transparency, or clearly defined expectations and established communication patterns practiced by all. These are the launching pad for happiness at work.

(Want to learn what is happening in the brain that necessitates safety being the starting place? Click here.)

Imagine a workplace bully. (Unfortunately, this usually is not too hard to conjure.) When employees start to feel threatened by a co-worker, especially if the company is small, they begin to dread coming to work for fear they will be insulted and provoked, or that their job is in jeopardy if that person is in a position of power. Suddenly, you no longer have a team that is working together. Employees do not feel safe or trusting. Rather, they are working from a place of fear and anticipation.

Take this moment and truly pause. Reflect. How many people and/or teams can you identify that are currently operating from a place of fear – not having their needs for safety met? (If this question is difficult for you to answer, click here for more information about awareness at work.)

Quick Tips for safety, transparency and trust in the workplace to address high turnover, low productivity and lack of innovation.

  • What would your employees need to feel more secure at work? Ask them. Not feeling secure often leads to a dramatic reduction in engagement.
  • Are there established methods for effective communication that are practiced and reinforced regularly within your workplace? If not, use this as a starting point.

This Week’s Action Steps:

  • Make note of what you do in your company to instill safety & trust?
  • What is one thing can you do to increase safety & trust within your company this week?

 

Want to become one of the best places to work? Learn how in this video series delivered to your inbox. Each video is under 3 minutes.

Sign Me Up

 

ic3 consulting is an engagement consulting firm that brings mindfulness and imagination, backed by brain science, to the workplace to improve stakeholder engagement. ic3 delivers improved employee satisfaction for their clients through customized corporate retreats, ongoing training, and executive coaching. ic3’s vision is to make the world a better place, one company at a time, through facilitating the creation of human-centered workplaces and business practices.