Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Employees have less loyalty to their employers and most seek more than just a paycheck. They want a positive culture, strong teams, recognition, and opportunities to learn and to contribute. Sadly, a majority of employers don’t share the same goals and are hyper-focused on numbers and results, not engagement.

I have worked for a few companies that lack a strong or caring culture. They are all talk, and it shows up in employee engagement scores and overall company performance. One of my previous employers has recently fallen prey to lower sales and production. They took their eyes off of their employees and neglected to engage them, recognize their efforts, and apparently didn’t care about people or even work-life balance. Moreover, employee engagement was non-existent, and now the company is suffering.

Some of my experiences with prior employers were a stark reminder of the pitfalls of poor culture and low engagement. When I read Mark Miller’s new book, Win the Heart – How to Create a Culture of Full Engagement it hit home. Mark is very passionate about employee engagement and adamant that culture is the key to employee engagement and productivity. Engagement requires a certain level of care which is reflected in both overall attitudes and actions.

High performing companies have four things in common:
1.    Bet on leadership
2.    Act as one
3.    Win the heart
4.    Excel at execution

As leaders, we should take ownership and be proactive in creating an environment where our people will thrive, and success follows. The CARE Model is an active process to guide us on our journey.

•    Connection – People crave connection, and it drives ideas, engagement, and action
•    Affirmation – Use words and actions with our people
•    Responsibility – Entrust people with taking responsibility, and they will move mountains
•    Environment – Create a positive, appreciative, and forward-thinking culture to bring achievement

I enjoyed Mark’s relaxed and relatable style of writing. I read Win the Heart in one setting not only because culture is one of my passions, but he shares ideas and strategies through storytelling. I quickly fell into the story and felt like I was on the journey with the characters. Each chapter had me cheering them on, and I was engulfed in their struggles and wins.

Our story starts with our main character, Blake, the leader of a successful company. His team felt that everything was flowing smoothly until Blake slowly realized that everyone was just showing up to work and going through the motions every day. He started doing some digging and found out that indeed the culture was sluggish and employees weren’t heavily engaged. Blake's team began a courageous journey to travel the world to see what other companies were doing to engage employees and change the culture. Every company he met with had unique struggles and found ways to facilitate change.

Our journey with Blake opens up our minds to new ideas, solutions for engagement, and how to win back the heart of employees. We learn that employees are extremely vested in wanting to love where they work and strive to care what they do every day.

Blake’s team meanders through their journey walking into obstacles and challenges; however, it is so engaging to see how they handle the process and continue on because of the intense passion that they have for their people and the company. They have a strong commitment to winning the hearts of their people and placing them first because they know it will be an emotional and financial success.

Mark does an incredible job of writing this tale to bring the reader into the story for the entire book. I felt like I was a part of the team and was learning without even realizing it. I was thoroughly engrossed in learning about the perspectives of each character on Blake’s team and intrigued how they were able to bring their various ideas and differing views to work together for success – not always an easy feat.

Pick up Mark’s book today and jump into his story. You will go on intriguing adventure learning along the way, and I guarantee that your head will be swimming with new thoughts, ideas, and obstacles. You WILL win over the hearts of your people.