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3 Radical Tips To Engage, Develop, and Encourage Our Employees


Employee engagement and development is key to worker happiness. These three radical tips can help produce a truly empowered workforce.

Image of five mannequins huddling to encourage each other

We all say it right?  Let’s hire the right people.  Let’s give them room to grow.  Let’s develop their skill set.  Let’s keep them engaged.  Let’s provide some fun.  And on and on and on.  The list is endless, and the diatribe tired and worn out.  It all starts sounding like meaningless, outdated platitudes expected to be spoken and heard in our work place.  Not only is it boring now, but guaranteed, as soon as you start to say one of these tired sentences, your listener has already tuned you out.  S/he’s heard it all before.

It’s time to get radical!  If you read my blog series on Radical Credit Management Efforts, then you know, there are times radical works, radical is good, radical can be right (to paraphrase the infamous Gordon Gekko character of the movie Wall Street).

Radical Tip #1
Survey your Employees — this doesn’t sound radical, but it is if you follow this format:  Put a descriptive paragraph at the beginning of the survey that says:  “You own this company.  You are responsible for ensuring that all the bills are paid and all the employees are paid.  You are responsible for ensuring that your company remains compliant with all laws, rules, and regulations.  You are responsible for ensuring the customers remain happy.  You are responsible for ensuring that new customers find us and we can successfully bring them on board and provide them the product/service promised.”

Then go into a series of questions around that paragraph:

  1. What would you do to market your company?
  2. What would you do to improve the customer experience?
  3. What do you see as in impediment to delivering the best customer experience?
  4. How would you go about developing your skills: technical, business, and communications?
  5. What would you do first if you were paying the bills?
  6. What areas do you see as successful?
  7. What areas would you improve?
  8. What is the first thing you would do to improve a particular area?

This is a radical survey.  Why?  It helps the employees see things from a business owner’s perspective.  We want our employees to “take ownership” right?  Well, this is a great start for them to first become aware that there is a business owner’s perspective. And second, there is a customer’s perspective. And of course there is the employee’s perspective…

The other reason a survey like this is radical, is that the company will actually get a few great ideas!  That’s right!  This is a great way to harness your employees’ thinking and creative faculties and get them engaged.

Radical Tip #2
Start a training class on a technical skill and ask for volunteers to attend on their own time.   This class is not mandatory in any way, shape or form.  Instead, the class is there for people to sign up for.  An example for us as a telephone answering service would be to devote one class to Call Dispatching.

You announce the class, put out sign-up sheets, and employees can attend the class to learn this new skill.  It is a way to continually develop our employees, and ensure we have talented, skilled, and happy (they’re happier ‘cause they’re learning something new!) employees ready at a moment’s notice to move up the ladder as opportunities open up.  Employees who sign up for the class and don’t attend are not chastised in any way.  It is no reflection on their employment status.  Again, this is strictly voluntary.  They can come or not.

If your environment operates 24/7, 365 days a year like ours or you have multiple shifts, you might hold the same class at two or three different times.  The class may be only two hours in length (perhaps two one hour sessions), or it may entail one hour a week, for three or four weeks.

Here’s a clue when designing one of these:  Four weeks is about maximum to stretch this out.  If the class can be, divide it up:  beginner’s class, this could last a couple weeks, then intermediate class for another couple…get the picture?

These voluntary classes are a great way to engage employees, develop their skills, ensure a talented workforce, and it also helps employees, managers and trainers engage together.  They learn to communicate, to ask questions, to make suggestions…they learn to work together, and to learn together — it creates an opportunity to develop rapport and camaraderie.

Radical Tip #3
Job Rotation and Cross-Training — you may think this is old-hat, but it’s not.  It is a way to help employees who demonstrate readiness to take on additional skills. They can actually finish their in-house education by cross-training during live sessions under the close eye of their trainer or supervisor.  It is a great way to help employees who have learned additional skills to actually use them and keep them fresh by rotating them in and out of different, but equal, tasks and positions.

Well, those are three radical ideals to help us provide opportunities for our employees to actually learn, develop and grow.  Instead of paying lip-service to tired, worn out phrases like “take ownership” or “develop your skills” let’s actually implement some easy methods to carrying out our intentions and at the same time build morale and forge a sustainable, solid, talented, skilled, engaged workforce.

Carry on, carry over…


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Sound Telecom  is a leading nationwide provider of  telephone answering services,  call center solutions and business phone systems.  Our friendly, courteous, and professional staff represents your company the way you want it represented, with your messaging, your branding, and your mission.