Episode 120.5 – Green Apple Slice


Engaging Environment Challenges Explained

The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a HR Director article, “Engaging Environment Challenges Explained by Nigel Purse.


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    Happy Monday, everybody. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices. And I’m so excited to bring along my co-host, partner-in-crime, the Accountants Group Leader for Sage in Canada, Rachel Fisch, everybody.

    Rachel: That always makes me a little nervous when you’re trying to find the word. I’m like, “Say good words.”

    John: Right. But yeah, but everything’s good and you’re — where in the world is Rachel today?

    Rachel: I just got to Vancouver.

    John: Oh, nice.

    Rachel: And, yeah, going to be in Vancouver for a couple of days, maybe even get out on the slopes. I haven’t skied in forever. So I figure it’s a good place to do it, but we’ll see what happens.

    John: Well, awesome. Well, good, that sounds fun. But yeah, but every Monday we always hang out and chat briefly about an article about engagement or culture or what have you. And so found this one on thehrdirector.com. So tiptoeing into the HR world which makes me nervous because every time I interactive with HR, it was never a positive experience.

    Rachel: And for me, it always makes me nervous because I know I’m going to get a call or a text from my sister basically HR-explaining all of the things that I said wrong.

    John: But we have a really great article titled “Engaging Environment Challenges Explained.” That’s kind of hard to say actually.

    Rachel: It is a little bit.

    John: An article Nigel Purse. It just talks about how — these are some of the challenges when you’re trying to get better engagement. And I thought it was some good points that they had.

    Rachel: There was. Like we’ve talked about it being like a top down approach where the sea level people basically say, “We’re going to create a mission statement that is going to make all of our employees engaged. And it really requires the active engagement of those employees in order to be successful.” We also talked about employees even if they aren’t feeling the support to be engaged. That’s something that they can kind of do within themselves and within their peers and to create those really great sticky relationships.

    The part that I do like about this is that it does at least require kind of buy-in I think from the CEO or from the upper level management that this is something that’s important. This is something that requires action, and this is something that we’re going to spend some time and energy working on.

    John: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because I mean like you said, it can be from the bottom up. It doesn’t necessarily have to. It’s just a lot easier and a lot nicer if it is.

    Rachel: Oh, for sure.

    John: And I think the smaller the organization, the greater the impact the leadership has.

    Rachel: I agree.

    John: Yeah. Because if you have a giant firm that’s across the country, so many offices, then really what impacts you the most is your manager and maybe your senior associate that’s running the project as opposed to the managing partner of the entire firm nationwide. But if you get buy-in at the top, then wow. I mean then it’s green light all the way and magic happens. And the thing that I thought that really stuck out in this article to me was near the end, they talk about how it’s part of the daily work engagement is.

    And that HR needs to tell managers explicitly that their primary responsibility of a manager is to make sure that you’re building engagement within your team. And I think that really is unique and something that I hadn’t really thought about before because most managers think my primary responsibility is getting things done and out the door versus making my team more engaged.

    Rachel: Right. But if my job is to get things done and out the door, then engaging my employees that makes them more productive will get things done and out the door.

    John: Right.

    Rachel: Right. So I guess it’s kind of a chicken-egg thing. But I think the reason why the concentration is on managers is because those are the people that you see every day.

    John: Exactly.

    Rachel: Right. And so we’ve already talked about the difference between being told a message and being exemplified, no. Being the example of a message, basically just showing them instead of telling them what you want out of your employees or whatever.

    John: Yeah, no. I think that’s exactly it. And something for everybody to think about is what is my primary responsibility as a team leader, as a manager, as a partner, as a principal in a firm is really to make sure that everybody below you is engaged. Because the more people that are engaged, the more people that are locked in, the more excited they are to be there, productivity goes up, bottom-line goes up, everything’s good.

    Rachel: Right. And what I love about this is — so for the example is — so how often does engaging with your employees appear in the job descriptions? Their objectives, is it assessed? Is there performance on it, right? So you can say whatever you want about engaging, but unless you’re actually creating it as a goal, setting deliverables against it, being able to measure it somehow, not with a survey. It’s creating that expectation that it’s part of your job.

    John: That’s exactly it. So I thought it was fantastic and really great to think about and something I wanted to share with everybody and talk through with you so we could start our weeks off right.

    Rachel: Great.

    John: So there we go. Well, enjoy Vancouver. And everyone, if you want to see the article check out greenapplepodcast.com and don’t forget to hit subscribe so you can check out every episode we have every Monday and then there’s also interviews on Wednesdays. So be sure and check that out. So have a great week, Rachel.

    Rachel: Awesome. You too, John. Talk to you later.

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