Are Your Employees Engaged?

Jathan Janove spent 25 years litigating workplace relationships that had turned toxic. He then switched from “firefighting” to “fire prevention,” and now as a coach and trainer, works with employers to improve employee performance, accountability and engagement.

Jathan is Director of Employee Engagement Solutions of Ogletree Deakins, one of the nation’s three largest labor and employment law firms. He is an internationally published author who has written Managing to Stay Out of Court: How to Avoid the 8 Deadly Sins of Mismanagement, (co-published by SHRM), which the late Dr. Stephen R. Covey described as “Marvelous! Every manager will benefit immensely,” and which Richard Drezen of the Washington Post described as “an extraordinarily useful book for managers and workers.” Jathan is also author of The Star Profile: A Management Tool to Unleash Employee Potential, a Gold Medal winner at Book Expo America 2009.

Jathan tweets @jathanjanove and writes a blog on employee engagement, which can be found on his firm’s website:

He is also Editor of the SHRM-Ogletree Deakins book series on HR and employment law.

See Jathan’s bio on the Ogletree Deakins website.

If you’d like to receive Jathan’s weekly e-letter (stories, best practices tips & selected video clips), please sign up here:

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins shares research showing that the most effective leaders combine humility with strong personal will. I’ve been fortunate to know such a leader, Homer L. Deakins, Jr. When Deakins became Managing Partner (equivalent to CEO), Ogletree Deakins was a relatively small southeast law firm. Under his leadership, the firm created an entrepreneurial culture and expanded throughout the country. It has now grown to over 750 attorneys in 46 cities across North America and Europe. In our interview, Deakins discusses the importance of humility in effective leadership. Here are his principal observations.

Ravila Gupta is president of Umicore USA, a global materials technology company with 16 sites in North America. In my interview with her, Gupta describes how executive coaching has helped her grow as a leader.

Why would a blog on employee engagement discuss bullying? Well, have you ever known a bullied employee who felt engaged? I had the opportunity to interview Dennis A. Davis, Ph.D., National Director of Client Training for Ogletree Deakins Learning Solutions, and an acknowledged expert on preventing workplace bullying and violence. In my interview, Dr. Davis addressed several important topics.

If you’re serious about training your managers to increase employee engagement, what do you need to do? Jeff Bushardt is Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Comporium Communications, Inc. I worked with him on a project where training objectives included building trust, creating a shared vision, giving and receiving feedback, and improving accountability and employee engagement.

Josh Greenwald is Head of Organization Effectiveness for TIAA-CREF, a financial services company with $613 billion in assets under management. In a numbers-driven industry, TIAA-CREF has made employee engagement a fundamental priority. In an interview, Greenwald shares what companies can do if they’re serious about increasing employee engagement.

My first post discussed how engaged employees benefit their employers. My second post defined employee engagement. Here, we explore what creates a foundation for fully engaged workplace relationships. In my view, employee engagement rests on a three-legged stool.

“Employee Engagement” is the management concept du jour. It follows in a long line—Management By Objective (MBO), Quality Circles, Total Quality Management (TQM), Kaizen, Hoshin kanri, to name a few. All focus on the question: “How do we get our employees to do what we need them to do?” Last week’s post connected employee engagement to business results. Here we focus on defining the term.

Assume you are a member of your company’s executive leadership team. Your CEO is unhappy. Markets have tightened. Competition has increased. Costs have risen while revenue has declined. The CEO presses you and your fellow executives for ways to increase profits. Suggestions include launching a new marketing campaign, shortening sales and product cycles, and conducting layoffs. “I’ve got a solution,” you say. All eyes turn to you. “Let’s increase employee engagement!” What’s the most likely reaction from your CEO?