Episode 183.5 – Green Apple Slice


Feel Like a Boring Boss? How to Improve Employee Engagement in the Workplace



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 Jostle article, “Feel Like a Boring Boss? How to Improve Employee Engagement in the Workplace” by UpGifs.com.

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    Good morning. It’s John Garrett coming to you with Green Apple Slices Rachel Fisch Edition. No, they all are Rachel Fisch Edition. I have her on the other line, Accountant and Alliances for Sage Canada.

    Rachel: Hello, John. How are you doing?

    John: Doing well, doing well. I’m going to not use the word “the” in any of this episode, just to practice your title.

    Rachel: Okay. That’s why it sounded like there are a few words missing in that intro there. Nice.

    John: People would be like, “I think my ear buds are breaking. He’s missing words.”

    Rachel: No. Yeah.

    John: I’m just that good. So we’re going to start episode now. I don’t know what to say. But yes. But I found an article on no UpGifs or UpGifs.com. I don’t know. We could probably debate that for seven minutes.

    Rachel: I think it’s UpGifs. I call them Gifs and not Gifs.

    John: Yeah. You also say niche.

    Rachel: I can kind of get it, the whole Gif thing. I feel like I am an authority on how to say the word.

    John: Yeah. You would think that by saying niche all the time, that sounds fancy, so you would say Gif because that also sounds fancy.

    Rachel: Oh.

    John: But no, you’re going simple with Gif.

    Rachel: Yeah, shaking it up.

    John: Pronouncing it the way it is.

    Rachel: The way it looks. Yup.

    John: Yeah, just like niche.

    Rachel: It’s not even like process and process. When somebody says niche, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. It’s like I’m that passionate about niche.

    John: Everyone listening, next April Fools’, we’re all going to call Rachel and leave her a voicemail saying the word niche in them as much as possible.

    Rachel: Ugh, don’t do that. Yes.

    John: But we found this article on this blog. It was, “Feel Like a Boring Boss? How to Improve Employee Engagement in the Workplace.” No, it wasn’t sent by everyone in your office in Toronto.

    Rachel: What is it? Here’s a couple of things. I do like that — I mean some of the places that you find these articles and blogs, I’m like, “I didn’t even know that place existed,” like some of the blog, —

    John: That’s what they said probably too, Rachel. Don’t worry. It’s all good.

    Rachel: “I didn’t even know this thing.” But this one is — I feel a little fishy. There’s no author listed. It’s right next to — so favorited on this are, “7 Hacks That Will Make Looking After Your Dog Easier,” and, “A Beginner’s Guide on How to Install Recessed Lights.”

    John: Oh, you have a different one than me. You have the Canadian version.

    Rachel: Oh, what are yours? What are yours?

    John: Mine are, “7 Creative and Cheap Giveaway Ideas to Promote Your Small Business,” and, “8 Cool Cheap Gadgets That Will Aid You on the Road to Self-Improvement.” Maybe they just know that I need some help. Maybe that’s what it is.

    Rachel: And apparently, I’m into pet ownership and home decor, which I’m totally not. Whoever’s doing this targeted marketing or whatever, yeah, not so hot. Okay, okay. Onto the article, onto the article.

    John: But yeah. But how to increase employee engagement? I think there’s some ideas here for the people that are listening that are like, “Well, I don’t know what to do because before me, the behavior wasn’t modeled. Before me, when I first started, the people didn’t care. ‘Just get your work done and then go home. I don’t want to hear about it,’” all these things. So people are like, “I don’t have any ideas. I don’t know what to do.” So that’s where I think this comes in with just some small ideas just to get you started. For instance, “Make time for breaks.” I mean just taking regular breaks, especially lunch. I was a huge advocate for this when I worked in the corporate world. We’re going to lunch and we’re not talking about work. If anyone would start talking about work, I would just change the subject rudely and be like, “So how about the Cardinals,” or whatever, any sort of these –

    Rachel: That doesn’t sound like you at all. That sounds like nothing that you do.

    John: Yeah. Not at all. Not at all. Not at all. But yeah. But I mean you need that mental break. I mean studies have shown that your focus fades over time. You’re not a very productive employee if it’s all work all the time, not taking any breaks. That also alludes to taking vacation. Some places are going to the, “We don’t track time off.” Well, then sometimes people feel guilty using it. So you need to encourage it and almost even force it to be a thing where you have to take X number of days a year.

    Rachel: It’s a little in contrast, right? It’s like in order to focus more, you actually have to step away. In order to be more productive when you get back from a vacation, you have to actually take a vacation, right?

    John: Right.

    Rachel: But it really does. I mean there’s been tons of studies that have shown that that’s actually the way that it works, that you can focus more if you shut it down for a few minutes and then pick it back up again.

    John: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

    Rachel: What else spoke to you on this one?

    John: Another good one I thought was check in regularly. It’s not just a, “Oh, it’s Friday. I haven’t talked to anyone. I need to get away out from behind my desk and go.” I think Steve Brown was on the podcast last year. He talked about how your desk is your enemy. You have to get around it. You have to go meet the people where they are and go talk to them. Just by checking in regularly, then the check-ins aren’t weird. Then they become more organic and more natural. Then people can actually start to open up because it’s not just that awkward time like when you were a little kid and you see your grandparents twice a year and you’re just like, “Oh, this is weird.” That’s what it’s like when a manager just creeps around once every six months. It’s like, “What are you doing?” It’s regular check-ins, casual talk. They don’t have to be work check-ins, just, “Hey, what’s up? How’s it going?” type of a thing. So I thought that was a good one. What about you?

    Rachel: It’s actually the last two: “Encourage Service,” and, “Provide Praise and Recognition.” So Encourage Service, I think Sage has done an awesome job with their Sage Foundation. There are other organizations that do take specific days for everybody to get together and go volunteer somewhere, which is awesome because not only is it really great for community, but it bonds you together as colleagues, which is really cool as well. Then Provide Praise and Recognition, it feels like sometimes when people are talking about recognition, it has to be a whole recognition program and this whole — you know what? It’s a, “Hey, thanks. You did a great job.” Or like if I’m going to give kudos to —

    John: You’re welcome. Oh, it wasn’t to me. Oh, okay. I get it.

    Rachel: If I’m going to go give kudos to somebody at work, they did an amazing job taking care of one of our accounting partners or something like that, I’m going to cc their boss in there so that they see this guy did an amazing job on this and needs to be recognized. But again, it doesn’t have to be some big fancy thing. It’s a thank you. It’s a, “Hey, great job,” especially if you can do it either, as I said, like cc the boss or whatever or at the office when the people around them also see and hear what’s going on because it just makes everybody, gets everybody a bit reenergized as well. But yeah. No, nothing big or fancy.

    John: No, for sure. The more that you do those, then when there’s critical feedback to be given, it’s not as harsh because you’ve already given them a lot of praise, whether it’s small or big or in front of a big show or privately, either way. When the critical feedback comes, then it’s not the only feedback that they ever get when you mess up type of a thing.

    Rachel: Right. Yes. Absolutely. Like when the boss says, “Hey, can we talk for a minute,” and if they’ve only ever said that negatively, it’s like, “Uh-oh, what did I do wrong?” Yeah. You don’t want to do that.

    John: “I’ll put all my things in my box before I come to talk to you.” Exactly. But yeah. But there are a lot of tips in here. So if you’re struggling or maybe you have a boring boss and want to just accidentally print it out and leave it on their desk, then go to greenapplepodcast.com. The link is there. You can read through the full article. Don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. Follow us on Twitter at @Fischbooks or I’m at @RecoveringCPA or the show is at @GreenApplePod. Check that out. Yeah. We’ll talk to you next week, Rachel.

    Rachel: Awesome. Talk to you later, John.

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