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Stop Thinking of Your Workforce as ‘Employees’ and Start Thinking of Them as ‘Individuals’

We’ve all heard the saying “The customer is always right.” And many of us tend to think of our customers first, to the point where we focus on them exclusively. Having a strong customer focus is good, but ignoring your employees is bad for business.

What can you do to adjust your mindset? Learn to think about your employees the way you think about your customers. You need to engage them. How do you do that, and how do you measure the return?

Employee engagement is more than just a catch phrase

We’ve all heard the phrase “employee engagement” so often, it’s losing its buzz. What it all boils down to is this: personal needs trump professional aspirations, every time, no matter how good of an employee. People are human beings, not just employees. They have personal goals, problems, and needs and even with spending so many waking hours at work, those goals, problems and needs are always there.

Think about how many people these days start their morning by jumping onto Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare, to let their friends and followers know what they’re up to. They like to feel connected to the outside world. So instead of banning them from their interpersonal networks, let your employees keep in touch with these personal channels. Allowing them to retain their sense of self while on the job can actually help them professionally, because it takes their personal lives into consideration.

Cliché #2

Another way to ensure employee engagement is to remember the old mantra, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (and it makes Jill a dull girl!). Playing and work are not—or shouldn’t be—mutually exclusive! You can accomplish some really great things while playing. For example, for a company-wide kick-off meeting, adapt a well-known game show like Family Feud or Wheel of Fortune as a way to share your company values instead of a lecture. Getting your employees to recall and share the answers is a great way of teaching them indirectly, and they’ll have a lot more fun doing it. Create a Project Runway or Survivor-type scenario for project teams trying to develop or brainstorm new ideas.

The point? In a natural, enjoyable environment, you will discover the strengths and vulnerabilities of each “player,” and will know how to balance them so that they complement each other on teams. It can also show you a whole new side of them or a range of skill sets that you never would have guessed they had.

When you hire someone, remember that you’re not just hiring a skill set. You’re hiring a whole person. If you engage your employees by allowing them to bring their whole human selves to the office every day, you’ll see a tremendous return to your business.

At Synerfac, we know the importance of getting to know the whole person, which is why we’re so successful at integrating top people with top companies. Give us a call if you’d like to see how we do it!