Red Sauce

May 12, 2016

How to Grow Pride and Productivity

Red Sauce Spring 2016


    1. Give employees a voice
    2. Equip managers and they’ll thank you
    3. Help senior leaders set the tone 


Why does your neighbor’s yard grow so green while yours is withering? Because someone is giving it regular attention.

At work, regular attention will also keep your employee engagement thriving. Ongoing opportunities for staff to give feedback and build stronger ties with the organization will increase their pride and productivity.

Consider the following tips to help you cultivate deeper employee engagement year-round.

1. Give employees a voice
Tip 1Company newsletters, emails, intranets, meetings … employees have a lot of information coming their way. Do you have as many avenues for feedback from the staff? Only 17 percent of employees strongly agree there's open communication throughout all levels of their company, according to a Gallup poll.
Two techniques for inviting feedback include a brief, anonymous “pulse” survey based on a specific topic; and a more structured, ongoing employee feedback panel. Both methods help employees feel like their voice matters. The feedback can help you revise goals, start new programs and adjust key messages to be more meaningful to employees.

Doing it right: KentuckyOne Health is building a strong workplace culture because leaders listen and respond to employees. The Employee Feedback Panel of 300+ volunteers serves as a sounding box for the health system’s 12,000 employees year-round. Return to top
Feedback funnelTips for a Successful Employee Feedback Panel
  • Recruit a panel roughly representative of the employee population.
  • Offer an incentive to volunteer and another to answer up to one survey a month. 
  • Ask no more than 5 questions, only 1 open ended.
  • Cover just 1 topic per survey.
  • Assign someone to field inquiries from panelists. 
  • Report back what was learned and what was done. 
  • Start the year with a calendar of survey topics. 

2. Equip managers and they’ll thank you
Tip 2Immediate supervisors have tremendous influence on an employee’s experience at work. Leaders will be more confident and effective if they have tools such as talking points, Q&As and fliers to help them talk about new initiatives. Managers will be more engaged if they are offered professional growth opportunities such as leadership workshops or industry conferences.
Doing it right: Managers at KentuckyOne Health have an allotment of employee recognition points they can award at their discretion. All employees can use the online recognition program to honor their peers and celebrate milestones. It’s another form of feedback and building pride in the organization. Return to top
3. Help senior leaders set the tone 
Tip 3If employees pay most attention to their supervisors, what influence do executives have? Plenty. People throughout the organization will calibrate their attitude toward employee engagement based on the senior leaders’ outlook. If it’s a priority at the top, others will follow.
Leaders also shouldn’t wait for an awards luncheon or quarterly newsletter to acknowledge good work. Celebrate successes and recognize achievements swiftly and personally. Executives’ actions will set the tone and carry more value when they think like Dale Carnegie: “Treat employees as ‘valuable people’ with skills rather than as people with ‘valuable skills.’”

Doing it right: Senior leaders at a Central Washington hospital made quarterly “rounding” visits with employees. Executives stopped by each person’s desk or work station for a brief chat about work or personal topics. And they left behind a small bag of candy or other token of appreciation. These small gestures build strong relationships. Return to top


Jackie ZilsA farewell lunch and pension paperwork often signal the end of a retiring worker’s engagement with a company.

Not for retirees of Simpson Lumber and Green Diamond Resource Company. These longtime former employees gather quarterly in Washington and California to share lunch and family photos. There’s even a guest speaker, usually a current or retired employee. They’re all still interested in the companies’ ongoing operations.

That’s why it was important that we include retirees in designing a new employee newsletter template earlier this year.
I admire the retirees’ deeply rooted company connections. The “emotional currency” they’ve received is just as valuable as the paychecks that supported their families over the years.

About Jackie

Jackie’s first assignment at JayRay was in employee communications, and she’s been growing deeper roots in that area ever since. Now if only the flower beds at home could do as well. Return to top