Episode 89.5 – Green Apple Slice


Want to Increase Employee Engagement? Hold Managers Accountable


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 an ATD article, “Want to Increase Employee Engagement? Hold Managers Accountable“.


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    John: Hey, happy Monday. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices. I’ve got with me Rachel Fisch. How you doing, Rachel?

    Rachel: Good. How are you doing, John?

    John: Doing great. Doing great. The national Sage Queen of Everything. Things are going well. You’re in your second week now of Sage. That’s really exciting.

    Rachel: Yeah. Things are going great. Just got back from Vancouver. Heading to see a bunch of accountants in Calgary. Yeah. Pretty excited.

    John: Sweet. Very cool. Very cool. Every Monday, as most of the listeners know, you and I talk though and article that we found online and just get the week started off with getting people thinking.

    This one I found on the Association for Talent Development blog, an article by Natalie Hackbarth called “Want to Increase Employee Engagement? Hold Managers Accountable”.

    Rachel: Yeah. I really love the title. I got all excited, because one of the things that I was noticing was that C-suite level people are – they want this for their company. There’s an expectation of the employees to be engaged, or as we talked about a few weeks ago, even inspired even, but there feels like there’s a gap in between. It’s usually company process, and it’s usually things that they don’t do actively within that middle management level to actually foster engagement and to actually get that out of the staff. I got really excited by reading the title.

    John: Yeah.

    Rachel: Then I kept reading.

    John: Then you kept reading.

    Rachel: You know what? Absolutely. Here’s my thing. I think that by now, anybody who has listened to us even a few times probably knows that we aren’t huge fans of surveys.

    John: Yes.

    Rachel: Not sure if we’ve been clear on that, but this is many not the most effective mode of communication with staff to get feedback is to send out a miscellaneous, anonymous survey. People clicking boxes. Then you take that and number crunchers do things with it and I don’t know what. That’s kind of it.

    We were talking about that that’s not really the best way to get feedback from your employees. Where I’ll give credit is that if you are in a very large organization – because larger organizations tend to not pivot quite as quickly as smaller, more nimble organizations do, is that if you are doing surveys, then this is a great article to talk about more that you can be doing with those. Getting the feedback from those, making sure that the managers know that there’s something to be done with those numbers when you’re done with them, that they can foster communication and discussion, but I just feel really strongly that we just need to scrap the survey.

    John: Right, or if you’re going to have the surveys, at the very least, be more proactive about it and have the manager interaction happening throughout the year, then when the survey happens, your numbers are going to be a lot better, but you’ll also not even have to do the survey, because you already know, because you just asked the person to their face.

    Rachel: Right. I’ve done a lot of surveys within the last year. I’m not sure if even how I would have answered that question was an option on the survey. There are companies that build surveys. This is part of what they do. They do all this market research and try to figure out – but they also talk to the corporation to say “Okay, what is it that we want to draw from the people who are taking this survey?” That’s part of the conversation, too.

    I’ve done surveys. It’s like, is “none of the above” available?

    John: Right, or “other”, so I can type in what I’m really thinking. Like you said, if you are in a larger organization that is slow to change and what have you, then there are some tips. Just put it in the job description. Empower the managers to be able to do that. Make the information easy and digestible so then the manager can communicate that and the team can receive it.

    But as we’ve said all along, if you can not do surveys, then you’re way ahead of the game.

    Rachel: Right. If you can just genuinely invest yourself in time with employees and get their honest feedback, I think that is probably a better way to go.

    John: Yeah. Well, that reminds me of a manager at EKS&H is a firm outside of Denver, and Rebecca Kelly is a partner there. She was a guest on the Green Apple Podcast and had some really great examples of just interacting with her staff and even in performance reviews incorporating their staff hobby or passion into their performance reviews. Somebody was a rock climber, and she used rock climber terminology and things like that in the performance review.

    Rachel: Oh, that’s awesome.

    John: That’s the kind of person that shows that they care all along and not just waiting for a survey at the end to just throw their way.

    Rachel: Beautiful.

    John: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. There you go, everybody. We’d love to get your thoughts. You can follow us on Twitter @greenapplepod.

    Rachel: Awesome job, Rebecca. Keep it up.

    John: Or if you want to read the article, go to greenapplepodcast.com. There’s links to iTunes and all the Android apps, and if you’re listening on one of those, if you could just take 20 seconds and give us a review, that would be really cool, because that’s what the computer algorithm’s like.

    Thanks so much, Rachel. Enjoy the rest of your week. They’re with Sage.

    Rachel: Thanks again, John. Talk to you later.

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