dr_loveFlowers and chocolates celebrate Dr. Love’s favorite holiday - Valentine’s Day.  Hello out there in radio and blog land, your favorite management and relationship counselor, Dr. Love is here to help you spread the love and build employee engagement in your business.  Last Valentine’s Day, the good Doctor shared how to build employee engagement by thinking – and acting – as you do when you’re in love.  Remember?  When you’re in love, you listen to your beloved.  You care about their well being.  You want them to be happy.  You pay attention to their needs, wants, and desires.  In short, if we pay attention to – and focus on – our employees as we do our loved ones, you have taken the first step to building employee engagement with your team.

This year, we took your questions on the subject.  And, I must admit, you really stretched Dr. Love this year!  We don’t have space to answer every question here – but not to worry, if your employee engagement inquiry isn’t listed below, Dr. Love will send you a direct email response.  Here’s the first question:

Dear Dr. LOVE,

Our hotel is located in the heart of Cairo in Tahrir square where it all happens: arguments, demonstrations, closed for traffic on some occasions, and therefore business is not coming, although the hotel and the surroundings are perfectly safe!  The employees’ moral is slipping deep down as in Egypt employees income is not really fixed, it has to do a lot with the size of business!!!!  What do I do?

~Manager, Semiramis Intercontinental - Cairo

Thanks for your question.  Yours is a particularly challenging and interesting set of circumstances because you have something that is completely beyond your control, in this case, social and political upheaval, significantly impacting your business, and, in turn, employee engagement.  Your team is likely anxious about more than just their job right now, so “traditional” employee engagement techniques may not be enough. 

The odds are good that many of your team members feel they have lost a certain degree of control.  My advice to you is to focus on that which you can control—and to empower your team to do the same.  For example, give your team a chance to contribute to decisions that have a real and meaningful impact on your hotel.  As you mentioned, their compensation is directly linked to the amount of business the property generates—so it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sound business decisions.

You may find that the benefits of engaging your team members in the decision making process are twofold.  On one hand, your team is re-invigorated and excited by this sense of power that they have.  And on the other hand, your hotel and its guests will benefit from the fresh and exciting set of ideas your team will bring to the table.

And this one from our friends in the UAE:

Dear Dr. Love,

What are some of the best ways to engage employees?

~Food and Beverage Trainer in Dubai

Thanks for the great question.  Let’s get back to basics for a moment and talk about what constitutes employee engagement.  Last year, Orgwide did a three part series that broke down employee engagement into three critical components: trust, communication, and participation.  So, the short answer to your question is to establish trust with your team, communicate effectively with your team, and encourage employee participation.  How do you do that?  Let’s take a closer look at each of those components.

Trust - leadership must be reliable, open, candid, and accepting in order for trust to exist in the workplace.  Make sure that your employees know they’re safe in expressing their opinions and that their voices are truly heard.  Just as important: Leadership must demonstrate their reliability through their actions—do what you say you’re going to do - and your team will know they can trust you.

Communication is comprised of three elements, verbal communication: what we actually say, non-verbal: how we say it (and the various media we use to convey the message), and feedback loops: the back-and-forth dialogue that results from effective communication.  These elements are critical because women and men, young and old—all need effective communication in the workplace in order to be fully engaged.

Participation can be accomplished in a variety of ways.  First, focus on the environment.  Think about the physical arrangement of your offices.  Does it encourage collaboration and communication among the team?  How often does your team gather for ad hoc meetings or brainstorming sessions to share ideas?  Secondly, take your team’s temperature every so often to see what’s going right and what isn’t.  Consider offering a team member survey to gauge their level of engagement and show them how much you care!  Finally, consider “incentivizing” participation by giving your team members a piece of the action through bonuses tied to what they save or make for the business.

Building employee engagement is complicated and this has been a lot of information to take in.  Hopefully, Dr. Love has given you a good place to start.  Click on the link you see below to hear a special message from Doctor Love OR to share your feedback.  Until next time, this has been Dr. Love, your employee engagement physician saying good night everybody!

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