Getting Employees to Take Interest in their Work

Dear M & M:

How can I get my employees to be more responsive and take an interest in their work and the company they work for?

– George

Dear George:

Practical approaches to engage employee’s hearts and minds must always be genuine and clear. Marnie Green has written a book called, Painless Performance Conversations. In it she has some very good tips and tactics that are relevant in today’s workplace. She calls it creating a culture of ownership. She goes on to say, share the big-picture on what you are trying to accomplish early and often.

Have the employees assist in developing goals for the organization. We all know part of any buy in includes being a part of formulating what you are buying into. Don’t keep people in the dark. Regularly have conversations about what the employee feels is important to them to keep them motivated, engaged and wanting to work with you. Most importantly make the messages clear when people are meeting expectations.

Don’t sit back and avoid the conflict, one must also let them know if they aren’t cutting the mustard.  Recently, Franklin Covey conducted a survey among 2,000 businesses and found out that 90% of people who worked for an organization don’t even know the company’s mission statement.

That is 9 out of 10 people didn’t even know the most important thing their company wanted to accomplish. Think about it. Do you know what the most important thing the organization you work for is trying to accomplish?  Going deeper they found out that once they knew what their company wanted to do 80% or 8 out of 10 didn’t know what they were supposed to do to help their company accomplish their most important goals.

Remember what we talked about in regards to buy-in. Let the employees make some suggestions to come up with something they feel they can do that is relevant to them to help the organization accomplish its goals. Now it is your job as manager or owner to give precise, clear and timely feedback to let them know if they are meeting expectations. Seek customer feedback and share with your employees often and regularly what you find out.

Stay away from micromanaging. As Marnie Green says in, Painless Performance Conversations, “set expectations and allow for space for employees to grow and learn”.  The last thing that needs to be done is to set up a system that rewards people that take an interest and does something that shows initiative, finishes a task or accomplishes something that they have initiated to help the organization accomplish one of its most important goals.

Remember it is all about having them do something they want to do that helps the company accomplish one if its goals. Dwight D. Eisenhower said it best, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want because they want to do it.”


To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email


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