Happiness Is More Than Just Fluff
Could your employees happiness provide long-term employee engagement? Dr. Ashley Lesko from Square Peg Solutions believes that employee satisfaction contributes to a company’s ultimate success. Her experience and insight provides us with some ways to support colleagues to help them reach their full potential. We interviewed her to learn more about her processes to help companies achieve the productivity needed, starting with the beautiful simplicity of asking questions.
What is your background and how did you get into this line of work?
My multi-faceted background has included a range of roles from working in the military as a Naval Officer to training & leadership roles in Fortune 100 companies to educating students at colleges and universities. I have led hundreds of sailors and employees literally around the world. I was responsible for a multitude of leadership practices – from the training and development of sailors to succession planning and management of annual review cycles.
What is talent engagement and why is it so important?
Talent engagement is engaging an individual beyond what they do on a day to day basis in their job description. It’s knowing, assessing and using the strengths, skills, motivation and opportunities each employee has to make the most of their job.
Are they an operations manager that loves to teach? Have them teach a few classes to operators in leadership or Excel. Know someone who’s a programmer and has their head in a computer all the time but loves to coordinate events? Put them in charge of IT morale.
How do we get our colleagues to reach their full potential?
You first have to know what their strengths are for them to be more engaged. There are two main ways to do that:
- Find out through an assessment (such as StrengthsFinder, MBTI, or StandOut).
- The good old fashioned way – through 1×1’s – and ask them.
They could (and should) also be part of the process. Find out how they most want to support the company. What other tasks or projects are they interested in, and what are their ideas for getting those done? It’s a great way to challenge them with initiative.
What are the main impediments you see that block managers from getting the most of their employees?
Progress is most blocked when they don’t know, don’t ask, or sometimes… don’t care. For the first two, it can be an easy fix. I still see managers repeatedly surprised at what their employees will do when the leader shows they support the individual in the way they want to be supported.
What are the main road blocks that you see get in the way of individuals reaching their full potential?
Themselves, their confidence, their leaders! Ok… that seems a bit much (but it does cover a lot of ground). Many leaders and employees are kept fairly busy with their job – the one that’s ON their job description – that they don’t have time for anything else. They (both leaders and employees) have to make a cognizant decision to take some time to figure out what motivates the employee, and how they can give themselves time to do what they enjoy (It will end up feeling less like work and more enjoyed by the individual as it is part of what they do or enjoy best).
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