Archive | Employee Engagement

3 Ways to Supercharge Your Onboarding Process

Inc Blog Post Photo - Onboarding
They were hired with good intentions, but they never really fit in. Their fault? Think again. If your company is like most, your onboarding process is a big part of the problem. Too often, people’s onboarding experience leaves them feeling bored, frustrated, or confused. Instead, design a process that sends powerful messages about the company and employees’ roles in it. Here are three ways to supercharge your onboarding process. To read the rest of this post, which just went live on, click here: 3 Ways to Supercharge Your Onboarding Process.
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Change Leadership Challenge 5: Use Networks for Change

Networks and Performance. Image from
This is the fifth in a series of posts about change leadership. Previous posts covered active, committed leadership, building a compelling business case, embedding change, and meaningful employee participation. “I’ll tell you how communication really works around here,” the data architect told me over coffee. “Jeff, Susan, and Ramesh make a decision. I play video games with Jeff during lunch and get the scoop. I tell the other architects.” Jeff successfully found the key to getting information in this organization: work through the network, not through the hierarchy. Unfortunately, too many organizations assume that formal communication processes work, when in reality people use networks to get information. Make sure your next change initiative isn’t undermined by tapping proactively into your company’s hidden human networks.
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Change Leadership Challenge 4: Meaningful Employee Participation

Meaningful employee participation is important during change. Image by SandiaLabs on flickr.
This is the fourth in a series of posts about change leadership. Previous posts covered active, committed leadership, building a compelling business case, and embedding change. Remember when you first learned to ride a two-wheeled bike? It took some work to find your balance. You wiped out a few times and scraped some knees. But you did it: You figured out how to steer, brake and fly like the wind down a hill. When you did, you felt exhilarated, proud of yourself and pleased with your accomplishment. Now compare that experience with how change often works in organizations...
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Four Rules of Leadership for Tough Times

Thank You Cards

The leaders knew bad news was coming as early as 2002. As with many other companies, First Allmerica Financial had been damaged by the post-9/11 stock market plunge. After much consideration, the company decided to stop writing new life insurance policies, which caused the first round of layoffs.

In 2005, the inevitable occurred—the company sold its life policies. This created a unique challenge: The 250-plus remaining employees had to service existing business while transferring knowledge to the acquiring company. Managers needed to motivate and retain staff members, even though they had been given tentative lay-off dates up to 12 months into the future.

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Getting the Message Across: Five Levels of Change Communications

Five Levels of Communication

You told them… and they did the opposite.

You told them… and they ignored what you said.

You told them… and they got it.

People often tell me that change communications are the most challenging implementation task. Everyone knows that communication is necessary. But so much communication fails. People misunderstand the message, ignore it, or even counter it. That’s not how it should be.

The Five Levels of Communication

This tool, the Five Levels of Communication, provides a simple, intuitive, and logical method for planning and implementing communication during change initiatives. Developed by Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson of Being First and highlighted in their book, The Change Leader’s Roadmap, the Five Levels of Communication is the best tool I can recommend for change communication.

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Building Your Network: How to Make It Work with Your Boss

collaboration at work

Is your biggest networking problem your boss? Read this article for tips and techniques on how to network with your boss.

The relationship with your boss is one of the most important in the workplace. Your boss has the power to recommend you for new assignments, high-profile teams, promotions, and raises. She can make your life miserable or help you achieve your goals. Yet, despite the importance of this relationship, there are many more books on how to manage direct reports than how to manage bosses. This article explores four factors—style, context, relationship, and urgency—to consider before giving up on the relationship with your boss.

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“If Everyone Jumps, Do You Jump Too?”: Using Social Ties for Change Leadership

The positive side of peer pressure. Image by ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser on flickr.

It’s 1981 and I want nothing more than to own a pair of designer Jordache jeans. My mother thinks they’re too expensive. “But,” I complain, “All of my friends have them.” Her response: “If all of your friends were jumping off a cliff, would you jump too?”

That was my first lesson in the importance of resisting peer pressure. (It didn’t stick, by the way. I eventually wore down my mother. In my jeans, I thought I was the coolest kid in town.)

My views on peer pressure are a little more nuanced today than it was in 1981. Today, I believe that social pressure has power that can be used for good.

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Herding the Smart Cats: Successful IT Change Leadership

Herding the Smart Cats: IT Change Leadership

Technologists are notorious for having independent thoughts and ideas. Sometimes this is a help to organizations, such as they’re innovating a new process or technology. Other times, this is a challenge, like when trying to change behavior. Now imagine that those desired behaviors are perceived as limiting freedom and independence on projects. Change could be hard.

One organization, a former client, succeeded in herding a group of smart cats—technologists—to implement software engineering best practices by adopting the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). For those of you who live outside IT Land, CMM is a proven approach to process improvement implemented by many companies throughout the world.

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Handbook for Strategic HR: New Book Coming in November

Handbook for Strategic HR Book Cover

I’m delighted to announce that November 28, 2012 is the release date for Handbook for Strategic HR: Best Practices in Organization Development from the OD Network.

This volume draws on the best thinking on strategic Human Resources from the chapter on Change Management.

Here’s the blurb about the book from Amazon:

The role of human resources is no longer limited to hiring, managing compensation, and ensuring compliance. Since the 1990s, a transformation has occurred. Companies are calling upon a new breed of HR professionals to behave as organization development consultants, helping to determine priorities in running the business, design how work gets done, craft strategy, and shape culture.

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Making Organizational Networks a Force for Learning & Innovation

Image by Leigh Blackall

Social networks are hot topics these days. But the allure of Facebook and LinkedIn also holds a trap: they can lure us into thinking that building and maintaining our connections ties is simply a matter of using our smart phones to “bring people to the square” (as in the Arab Spring), communicating through Twitter, or attending the latest networking meeting.

To make informal networks a force for institutional learning and innovation, we must get beyond the idea that network creation is finding each other in the virtual hallways of social media. We need to bring focus to our networks, identify the value we wish to mine from them, align around that imperative, and then take joint action to pilot and perfect new products and services.

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