Thoughts from The 100: Getting and Staying Engaged at Work

In my last two The 100–related posts I shared my thoughts around happiness and getting clear around goals (yes, they are connected!). For me, and for most everyone that works at Intertech, being engaged with what we do also is a huge part of what makes us and our clients happy. Engagement is made up of many factors.  It ranges from having employees understand how they fit into the big picture to continuous feedback on how they’re doing in their jobs.

Employee engagement has become a hot topic for many in business and for good reason: not only are more engaged employees more satisfied, they happily give extra discretionary effort in their jobs.  According to a Gallup poll, engaged employees, when compared to non-engaged employees, are more than 20 percent more productive at work. They also are absent nearly 40 percent less than their non-engaged counterparts.

The good news is that fostering employee engagement is not expensive and it pays off big time. When companies can pair engaged employees with engaged customers, outcome-oriented business performance increases by 240 percent over companies where neither group is engaged (Gallup, 2013).

In my new book, The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership, I define concrete actions to improve a company’s performance in all the major areas of engagement.  Here is a high-level quick summary (check out the book for more detailed information):

  • Leverage teamwork – It starts with hiring professionals who understand the value of pulling together.
  • Use goal alignment – Work with employees to set achievable goals, provide training and support, and hold them accountable.
  • Build coworker trust – Find ways to foster communication and trust among coworkers, including social outings and things like Fantasy Football if that fits with your culture.
  • Recognize individual contributions – Consciously create a culture that celebrates employee success, particularly when it happens as part of a team effort.
  • Cultivate managerial effectiveness – Think of managing like coaching, helping others to see their part in the bigger picture and taking pride in their accomplishments.
  • Cultivate trusted senior leaders – To earn trust, senior leaders must lead the way, admit mistakes and communicate that it’s ok to be wrong.
  • Cultivate feeling valued – People are the lifeblood of your business. Make sure they know you could not do it without them!
  • Encourage job satisfaction—Have systems in place to encourage consistency, communication and teamwork. Provide interesting work opportunities in a friendly and respectful environment.
  • Be smart about benefits and pay—Pay people as generously as possible and provide creative benefits without breaking the bank. (Hint: it starts with asking people what they care about most.)

Next time:  Building a High-Performance Team One Employee at a Time

Thoughts from The 100: Living Your Best Life

The-100-Title-OnlyThis is the first of a series of posts with additional thoughts, examples, and insights from my book, The 100.


Ever dreamed of quitting your job and “reinventing” yourself? If so, you’re not alone.

According to an intriguing article in this month’s Atlantic Monthly, by former National Public Radio journalist Barbara Bradley Haggerty, only one-third of Baby Boomers and GenXers are engaged by their work.

Haggerty quotes Jim Harter, a chief scientist for workplace management and well-being at the Gallup polling organization, who says about half of the remaining working Baby Boomers and GenXers are “not engaged” at work. “They show up, get their paycheck and do the minimum amount required,” says Harter, which he describes as “a pretty desperate state.”

Desperate indeed!

We spend a good chunk of our lives working. Why not make our work lives engaging and – radical notion – use work to enhance the overall quality of our lives?

That radical notion lies at the heart of how I view my work and how I’ve structured my company. “Work should give life, not take it” according to The E-Myth author Michael Gerber. Since reading The E-Myth a couple of decades ago, I’ve worked to make Intertech a place that gives life: to employees, to clients, to our community and to my partners and to me.

How do we do this?

It really boils down to working in ways that keep everyone engaged and encouraging healthy work-life balance. Later in this blog I’ll share how Intertech builds employee engagement and work-life balance into the very fabric of our company. But today and for my next several posts, I’m going to focus on the broader topic of “living your best life.” If you own a business or manage people –or even if you live alone in the woods painting acorns— I hope you’ll find some of my ideas and tips useful.

Tip #1: Learn from happy people

Check out the book “What Happy Know” by Dan Baker. I’m happy I did! Baker debunks the myth that money makes people happy and reveals the authentic status symbols of happy people: a happy family, good friends and pride in their work.

Obviously happy families and good friends don’t simply materialize. We have to build healthy relationships over time, and work on ourselves if we have issues that make relationships tough. Myriad resources – books, workshops, and therapists – exist to help heal and build relationships. While I’m blessed with a wonderful wife and great kids, I’m certainly not qualified to advise anyone else on personal matters.

But pride at work is something I feel qualified to comment on. I see it everyday in the people who work at Intertech. They are curious, love solving client problems and motivated to keep learning and building their expertise. They also embrace our company’s core philosophy: “To create a place where people matter and our client’s businesses are improved through technology.”

As business leaders, we need to set the tone. Identifying your highest core values and making sure those values guide decisions will go a long way toward building a company where people are happy. (My next post will explore how values help propel us forward.)

You also need to choose your employees carefully because happiness seems to be hard-wired for most of us:

“Happiness doesn’t mean being in a good mood most of the time or experiencing the emotion of joy. Happiness is a way of life, an overriding outlook composed of optimism, courage, love and fulfillment.” – Dan Baker, What Happy People Know

Increasing Productivity and Profits with Employee Engagement

What if you could increase productivity, decrease absenteeism, and outperform your competitive set by over 2X?  Not only is it possible, it’s proven!  In this session that I delivered at the Entrepreneur Organization’s Thrive event, I share practical, actionable ways to increase employee engagement from building trust with co-workers to helping employees feel valued and understand how they fit in the big picture.

Increasing Productivity and Profits with Employee Engagement


What if you could increase productivity, decrease absenteeism, and outperform your competitive set by over 2X?  Not only is it possible, it’s proven! 

I’ll be speaking on employee engagement at the EO Thrive event on Thursday, October 29th.  Check out the conference and register here.

In my session, I’ll share practical, actionable ways to increase employee engagement from building trust with co-workers to helping employees feel valued and understand how they fit in the big picture.