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Celebrate (and Engage) Workers

by Beth on September 2nd, 2010

With the Labor Day weekend coming up I have been thinking a lot about what food to take on our family camping trip.  I have also been thinking about how work doesn’t work for so many people today.  This has been a concern of mine for a long time, as many of you might know.

The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated in 1882 in New York City.  And the truth of the matter is that the work structures and policies of many companies haven’t changed much since then!  Back then the amount of time workers spent on the factory floor was directly related to how much the company produced.  But hello, that was over 100 years ago!  We have long since moved on to a knowledge-based economy.  In most companies the physical time that people spend at work is not what matters any more.  What matters are results!

The success of companies today depends on the knowledge and capabilities of their employees.  Rather than worrying about how many hours employees spend at the office, we should be worrying about how to engage them so that they choose to put their talents to work for the company.

So just how do we do that?  Here are my suggestions:

  • Help them see how the work they do makes a difference.
  • Give them the opportunity to use their strengths.
  • Communicate clear goals and expectations.
  • Provide them with the resources and support they need.
  • Leave them alone to do their job however they choose.
  • Recognize and reward success.

Did I leave anything out?  I’d love to hear your opinion.  What do you think is the best way to increase employee engagement?

As we celebrate workers this coming Labor Day, let’s also take a moment to think about how we can make work a more positive experience for everyone.  Doing so will benefit both employees and their companies!

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