Employee Engagement Archive

Performance feedback: Specific positive feedback

There are many stories about employees who received glowing performance reviews right up to the day they were let go for “performance issues.” There were problems that should have been addressed, but instead “positive” platitudes were used to cover the underlying criticism to avoid hurting feelings. Not all positive feedback is created equal. In order for feedback to encourage positive behaviour it needs to be …

Effective email tips for business

Here are a few great tips for creating effective emails. Try them out and see the difference! Most emails end with the point of the email, which many readers never get to. After the call to action summarise your key points, then add detail. NB: If you need to clarify details, misunderstandings or resolve a conflict, pick up the phone.

Why neuroscience matters in business

Too much focus on the bottom line can lead to disengaged employees as they feel they do not matter. Managers now have the hard science to support development of our most important asset, our people while developing engagement. Passionate engaged workers translate in to a healthy triple bottom line (people, profits, planet).

Slide design tips: Start with the Pain

Demonstrating your knowledge of your audience’s real world business challenges sets the expectation that your talk is relevant to them. As speakers we have an opportunity to entertain as well as inform. Often our audience could have picked up a book and discovered the solutions for themselves.

Fairness at work

It turns out we are far more stimulated by the idea of fairness than by free money. Our pleasure/reward circuitry is activated more when the offer is perceived as fair. An unfair offer produces resentment,and may lead to the desire to punish.

The power of price framing

We often use comparisons to assess value. Learn the skills Williams-Sonoma, The Economist and great sales organisations know to ensure your ideas and product have perceived value.

Listening skills beyond words

Relationships are a dance between two emotional human beings who colour each interaction through their own expectations, experiences, and history. Each of us has a different skill level when it comes to communication, luckily better communication is a skill that can be learned. Communication can make or break your relationships.

Become a buying preference

Think about what you have recently bought that you didn’t really need, but wanted. We buy mostly based on our emotional preferences (wants), not always on what we need. As we become aware of this emotional drive we can learn change the way we sell to, or influence, our customers.

Sell emotional experiences to engage

We are emotional beings first, we use reason and reason to make sense of our emotions. Studies have shown repeatedly that we value experiences far more than things. People will pay more for an enjoyable experience than a thing.

Performance feedback: Positive Tipping

Positive acknowledgement is the tipping point, it encourages positive behaviour. Criticism, with little or no acknowledgement, encourages apathy and disengagement. At work, and in relationships, when we get acknowledged for effort, we tend to repeat the appreciated behaviour and add new positive behaviour. When we get criticised we often think “well why bother” and stop trying as hard, reasoning “It doesn’t matter what I …

Fridge choice overwhelm issue

Using the analogy of a child stand in front of a fridge full of cold drinks to understand the impact of choice overwhelm. The fear of making the wrong choice leads us to feel less satisfied with the decisions we make. When our decisions have disappointing results we tend to blame ourselves.

Performance feedback: Three times tips

The Tipping Point, for teams and individuals, is a Positivity Ratio of at least three times (3:1). Every interaction impacts your positive to negative ratio. Operate inside the three-times-positive zone and your team will flourish, achieving a state of flow.Fall outside this zone and your team will become sluggish, work together less effectively, and easily get caught up in the pull of a downward spiral …

Slide design: Using Presenters view (PP and Mac)

Learn how to use Presenter's View. Stop boring power point where the presenter reads what the audience reads and everyone falls asleep. Presenter's View, on Power Point (2007+) or Keynote (2004+), allows you to see your notes on your laptop, while the audience sees just the current slide.

Slide design: Lessons from TED

TED talks aim to persuade, influence and change the way we Think and Act. We should be aiming to do the same thing in our business presentations. No more “Death by Power Point”, ever. Microsoft comes with Power Point, Excel and Word - they are meant to do different things. Word is for documents to read, PPT is to visually augment what you are …

Performance feedback speaker: Make KPI’s easier

Giving and receiving feedback is potentially some of the most important communication we can engage in with the members of our team. Once, or twice, a year we deliver a pile of “stale constructive criticism" to each employee and are surprised by the negative responses. Giving feedback effectively is a skill, that takes practice to build competence and confidence. Without a tried tested process which …

Performance feedback: Make KPI’s easier

Giving and receiving feedback is potentially some of the most important communication we can engage in with the members of our team. Once, or twice, a year we deliver a pile of “stale constructive criticism" to each employee and are surprised by the negative responses. Giving feedback effectively is a skill, that takes practice to build competence and confidence. Without a tried tested process which …

Create a positive Feedback Culture

What leaders do the rest of the organisation will imitate, bad or good behaviour. Organisations with a strong feedback culture tend to perform better. The transparent approach ensures the focus is on problem solving; it reduces speculation which damages engagement levels and the brand of the organisation. Behaviour acknowledged gets repeated.

Performance feedback: Don’t Bottle or Blurt

When we don’t have an appropriate method to express ourselves we may bottle up the emotion, or blurt out our feelings at the wrong moment. Both are destructive in business, or personal, relationships. If the lines of communication are not kept open we may miss out on important information relating to our skills, or relationships with clients and co-workers.

Performance feedback tips: Don’t Bottle or Blurt

When we don’t have an appropriate method to express ourselves we may bottle up the emotion, or blurt out our feelings at the wrong moment. Both are destructive in business, or personal, relationships. If the lines of communication are not kept open we may miss out on important information relating to our skills, or relationships with clients and co-workers.

Performance feedback: Three times positive

The Tipping Point, for teams and individuals, is a Positivity Ratio of at least three times (3:1). Individuals and Teams with these high ratios had higher profitability, better reviews, and customer satisfaction scores. Teams and individuals with a positivity/negativity ratio below 3:1 tended to be less engaged, receive lower customer scores, and were less profitable.

Chunk it, feel and repeat your way to success

You may have try an element of a process numerous times before you succeed. It is essential to pay attention to the process and get feedback as to what elements work, and those that do not. Our brains are elastic and will build up new pathways as we practice.

Performance feedback speaker: Praise effort not talent

When we praise intelligence we tend to put people in a fixed mindset where intelligence is fixed, and they have it (increasing the fear of new challenges as they may not have it after all). When we praise for effort we tend to put people in a growth mindset where they are developing skills as they are working hard.

Performance feedback should be Immediate, encouraging and clear

Imagine your parents had tried to help you learn to walk like most managers try motivate their employees? Would criticism, cajoling and feedback once a quarter have helped you learn to walk? As parents coaching kids we give them immediate feedback, rather than waiting for the end of the quarter. We are encouraging, in tone and words, rather than being sarcastic, critical and using negative …

Visibility, Mattering and Impact an Employee Engagement bottom line

We want to be acknowledged, to be recognised as individuals, and to know we matter. Take these first steps to Employee Engagement and see the impact on the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit). Miserable individuals infect each other, and this misery ripples out to the people who must work with them, live with them - their colleagues, families and friends. Visibility, Mattering and Impact …

Benefits of a positive workplace

Positivity creates the opportunity for human moments that transcend a smiling face and hopeful thoughts. A positive work environment impacts our body chemistry, reduces stress and improves creativity and problem solving abilities. Just as a negative environment increases stress, negatively impacts our body chemistry and reduces tolerance and empathy.

Demonstrate Leadership in business

Walk the talk. As a leader what you do gets noticed, even when you are not in the front of the room. Whether as a leader in your work, or in your family life, demonstrate the behaviour you want to see from others. Nothing makes your point more powerfully than demonstrating a desired action or behaviour. We are more likely to follow a leaders example, …

Engaging people in business change

Change is a part of every organisation. Unfortunately many change initiatives fail to consider how the changes impact the people involved, and thus most change initiatives fail. In order to make change stick, to drive and enable successful change, the communication and implementation needs to take the people into account.

Communication in Change Management


Change efforts often succeed or fail on the strength of communications. Research shows it’s almost impossible to over-communicate when instigating and leading change. Focus on the “Why should I care angle”, send a clear message to employees as to why they should get behind the change. How the change will prevent pain for them, or positively impact them, once completed.

The power of the Pause in speaking

Too many speakers rush to say something. Allowing too little time for you and the audience to engage each other, and settle in. The pause before you say a single word allows you to own the stage, and creates a presence that attracts attention and invites the audience to settle and listen.

You are the message as a leader

A lack of information can cause more harm than an oversupply, as fear can start rumours. Congruent Communication should be a priority for managers at every level of the organisation, especially in a change process. They need to demonstrate best practice, walk the talk.

Emotional buy-in in speaking

When building a relationship, speaking or making a sale remember to appeal to the emotional nature of your audience. People make decisions, and buy in, emotionally and then intellectually justify their decisions.The greatest skill any speaker or sales professional can develop is the ability to connect with their audience emotionally.

Demonstrate self esteem at work

We teach other people how to treat us .... by the way we treat ourselves and others. We each have different experiences - frame of references ...how is anyone supposed to know what you mean unless you clarify what you mean? Our actions clarify those references. In business and all other types of relationships this is true

Change management tips for business

Change creates a path that is easy to follow with small wins along the way, to enable a successful change process. Be patient with yourself. Significant change does not happen right away. Give yourself a break, and don’t expect to become a change wizard overnight. Change takes time and has key steps that make change easier to manage.

Communication in Conflict Resolution

Conflict can be an opportunity to build relationships ... or the demise of one. Here are some communication tips to help manage and build your relationships in the face of conflict. Use effective feedback (3-2-1), humour and other tips to engage your listener and find creative solutions.

Need 4 Clear Steps

In our business and relationship communication this means we need to create a clear path for clients or our partner to take once we raise the issue. If we raise a problem or fear tainted issue it will cause anxiety but is unlikely to lead to change unless clear action steps are agreed to in the moment and action is taken immediately. Otherwise actions will …

Performance feedback: Crave feedback

When customers give us feedback that something should be better, we can take it as an attack ... or as an opportunity to grow and develop better service. We live in a world where more attention is paid to the issues, problems and failures - the squeaky wheels. Unfortunately it is hard to hear the "helpful" advice when it comes in torrents. It is far …

Smile power in business

Don't wait for others to smile at you ... take this life altering step first ...Smile! :-D Nothing changes things like the power of a genuine smile. A smile can change your day. Turn a bad experience positive. If you enter a store and a greeted with a smile, made to feel welcome your shopping experience is made better.

Communicate One Clear Brand

Think of your Brand as the promise you make to the consumer. If a promise is made it needs to be kept. If this promise is made on behalf of the organisation, every member of the organisation has to keep that promise, not just the salesman or marketing department. A clear congruent message needs to be sent and delivered to the customer. Service and quality …

Clear writing tips for increased understanding

Multi-page wads of reports just don't get read, especially when they are dry and dull. Top management don’t have time to read your multi-volume ramblings, start with a synopsis of the facts then expand. The use of the news pyramid is useful to put across the important information. Think of a news article. Start with the headline. Then the most important facts in the first …

Clear writing engages in business

Do you know how to engage your readers? Clear writing helps engage our readers and communicates our message more effectively. Clear writing is logically arranged making it almost effortless to read and understand, leaving you wanting to read more. It has a clear meaning and uses short sentences and simple words. Clear writing keeps to a theme, rather than dotting around, making the facts easy …

Tapper and listener study a communication essential

How often have you wondered why someone listening to you talk is "slow" or "stupid"? The message seems blatantly obvious to you. Maybe you are falling into the tapper, listener trap. The ideas and feelings you hold are like music to the tapper. We cannot engage our customers or staff with poor assumptive communication.

Mirror neurons in the brain

Storytelling is a great way to activate these 'mirror neurons', allowing us to experience new behaviour or a new culture. We can watch someone do something then trying it ourselves, or live the experience through stories that engage our imaginations. In the fight against HIV and the abuse of women, radio programmes have been used to create a vicarious experience in their audience, allowing …

Choice paralysis in decision making

Does too much choice cause paralysis? Whether it is medical aids, retirement funds or jam, if it's a lot of work to choose among the options many people will put off the choice, and may never sign up. Limiting choices, or having a default option, can eliminate choice paralysis.

Connection based service delivery

The customer is a human being who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. It is our job, as customer service, sales people or management, to listen and ask questions to discover what they need, then deliver that in a win-win manner.

Business coaching, cultivating the bottom line

The person who is engaged, feels like the company cares, what they do matters is more energised, has less sick days and presents a better face to your customers. Engagement is directly linked to profitability, retention of key staff and absenteeism. Engaged employees build your brand.

Adding meaning through the business why

We all look to add meaning to our lives, if we are able to discover and craft that meaning; we can deal with far more in our lives. When we find meaning in the work we do, we discover more meaning in our lives. After all work takes up more than half of most people’s waking hours.

Team building through improv

Team building games can effectively improve the experience of empathy, enabling members to see a different side of each other. As human beings we naturally want to care. We care for people, not drones. We need to see the human side. Humour and fun games can allow us a deeper look at that humanity. A great way to build team rapport and spirit is through …

Hire your customers for increased Employee Engagement

Who has the greatest feel or empathy for what your customers need? If you need to maintain your connection to your clients then follow the example set by Harley Davidson, Nike (many runners and sport junkies), Microsoft (Hardcore gamers who helped create the Xbox) and many other successful companies and hire your customers.

The link between business relationships and dating

Is there a correlation between business relationships and dating? Definitely. If on a date, on their best behaviour with you, and they treat people like that, be aware, they will probably treat you badly soon. Long-term business relationships require manners, empathy and the ability to relate to each other as human beings. Communicating with them to improve the relationship is also is valuable … …

What is corporate culture?

Corporate culture is the personality, values, conduct and attitude of the business or individuals comprising the business. The culture lies between plans made, the written rules and the reality of years of habits, unwritten ground rules and political vested interests. Culture is like an iceberg, what you see above the water is only a small percentage of what lies below. The culture of an organisation …

HI – Humorous Intelligence a business skill

I'd like to add HQ or HI - Humorous Intelligence to the list of Quotients. The ability to laugh and see the funny side of life is a much underestimated intelligence in life. People who are able to laugh (at themselves or their troubles) are able to cope far easier.

The Importance of listening

We all love the sound of our own voices. In order to connect with clients and build relationships we need to take the time to listen, pay attention and allow them to talk so we can discover their needs and a manner in which we can fill those needs.

Performance feedback: Not all praise is equal

Beware not all praise is created equal... In work or parenting situation be aware - sometimes praise of an individual can set them back. When praising children or adults - praising their looks or intelligence can lead to insecurity and failure, as these are areas they have little control over. Praising effort and attention to detail can have great rewards as this is an area …

Kaizen – small steps

Why Kaizen? It helps bypasses fear, fight-or-flight, amygdala flooding response, and helps creates new connections in the brain. Small steps are far easier to make that large steps. Many people procrastinate as a project or task as it seems too daunting. Breaking it down into smaller steps, bite size chunks, makes it easier to begin. Once a task is begun it is often easier to …

Business relationship poisons cripple teams

The 4 Poisons that kill business and professional relationships. The combination of these are the death-knell of your business or professional relationships. Your clients or so-workers will vote with their feet and leave or refuse to work with you. By actively counteracting these, being kind and supportive you can grow your relationships, create customer loyalty and team cohesiveness.

Negativity can kill relationships

What are the bad things you have done .. and the good you have not? It encouraged them to look at themselves, and others, with disdain. They broke loyalty between the men and their leaders until they would no longer take orders from their superiors.

Law of giving- a business essential

In a business relationships the one who gives more, becomes invested more. The one who receives more, and gives less, is less invested. In order to create deeper connection and investment in the relationship it is essential to also allow the other to give to you.

Outside validation and confidence

Unfortunately the second route is not only destructive but also extremely temporary. The short-term ego hit we get from this criticism last less and less and we end up feeling worse about ourselves. The critical attitude and behaviour erodes our own self-esteem and leaves us feeling lower on the self-esteem scale than before.

Crab in the bucket syndrome in change

If you were to go with a bucket to the beach to catch crabs, you will need a lid for the first two you catch, as they will try climb out. Once you catch your third crab, however, you will not need the lid. Strange as it may seem, once there are three or more crabs, the others will pull it back if one tries …

mental gymnastics – association and perspective

Have fun. If someone insults you instead of taking it as an insult try twisting it as a weird compliment. It has two affects, it helps you learn to use your imagination in a positive direction rather than belittling yourself and it also annoys the person trying to insult you, leaving them frustrated.

Emotional Pictures – goal setting

Many people have wishy washy goals or negative goals. When asked what you want do you start off with "I don't want something like my old..." Or maybe worse a wishy washy goal "I want something 'nice' ..." A miss world answer does not help...