High Performance News

A Performance Improvement  Newsletter

Time to Focus on Employee Engagement

In This Issue
Employee Engagement May Be The Answer
New HPL Website
About HPL

Since 1994, HPL has provided leadership, management, and employee development programs and consulting services to more than 300 federal agencies, manufacturing companies, and service firms throughout the United States. We help our clients to improve individual and team  performance, quality of products and services, and organizational effectiveness - especially during periods of rapid change. Our 25+ senior level consultants and training professionals have worked with many large private sector organizations as well as many federal agencies. Our Corporate Offices are located outside of Boston, and we have regional offices in Washington, DC and West Palm Beach, FL. 

HPL Programs and Services 
Birkman Assessment
Behavioral Interviewing
Change Management
The Changing Role of Management
Coaching for Success
Collaborative Conflict Resolution
Continuous Improvement
Customer Service
Dealing with Difficult People
Dealing with Unacceptable Behavior
DISC Assessment
EAGLES (Personal Achievement)
Effective Communications
Emotional Intelligence
Faciltation Skills
Group Decision Making
Handling Multiple Priorities
Influence Skills
Innovation & Creativity
Interpersonal Skills
Leadership Development
Leading Change
Leading Effective Meetings
Lean Improvement
Managing Difficult Conversations
Mastering Major Presentations
MBTIŽ Assessment
Motivation & Communication
Participation & Quality
Performance Management
Process Improvement
Project Management
Sales Training 
Sales Management
Six Sigma
Strategic Planning
Team Building
Team Problem Solving
Time Management
Writing Skills
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WELCOME to the latest issue of High Performance Learning's Spring newsletter: High Performance News.
By providing you with the most recent developments at HPL, along with highlights from the leadership, management and employee development fields, we hope to help you and your colleagues continue on your journey to becoming a high performing organization.
Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and colleagues, and as always, please contact us with any comments or questions. We look forward to hearing from you!
When the Economy Improves and the Job Market Recovers,
Will Your Organization Be Ready?

Employee Engagement May Be The Answer...


While some signs indicate economic activity is increasing, many industry leaders and economic experts remain skeptical. However, one thing is certain: when the economy and jobs are again on the rise, companies will face a dramatic increase in unwanted turnover. In a survey recently cited in The Wall Street Journal, 60% of the workers polled plan to quit their jobs or look for better ones once the economy improves. So, just when the demand for your organization's products and services finally starts to grow, you could find yourself short of the skilled workers needed to satisfy customer demands.

It doesn't have to be this way. Whether small or large, organizations that retain key employees - while also taking advantage of opportunities to hire star performers from competitors - can turn this potential employee turnover problem (and possible organizational turmoil) to their advantage. Here are six steps your organization can take now to avoid losing your best workers in the future:

1)  Identify your most important human assets. If you haven't already done this, your organization will need to assess the skills and talents of your current workforce. Then you can consider how they fit your business objectives, customer demands and process requirements. Don't be surprised if you find some gaps - every organization has some, or even many. Once you have identified these needs, you will be better positioned either to train existing workers to get the work done or be prepared to create new jobs when economic conditions allow. We think that filling these jobs by promoting your best performers and/or hiring your competitors' ex-workers could be the best plan. A talent assessment can also pinpoint employees who are critical to your operation. Again, you may find that some employees you thought invaluable can be replaced by others already on your team. And, you may learn that you have overlooked some who are among your best performers.

2) Resist just pulling out your checkbook. While all employees will welcome a raise (and many probably deserve one), the reasons for the recent record lows in employee job satisfaction have more to do with employees: not feeling appreciated; not understanding their role in the organization's strategy; not getting to do work that is important and properly acknowledged; and not having the training and/or tools needed to perform tasks. For many workers, these issues are more important than receiving more money. You may wind up having to pay more to keep your best workers, but you can try other meaningful changes first that will enhance employee engagement.

3) Make your staff feel appreciated. There are lots of low-cost moves you can make to boost feelings of appreciation. How about reinstating the company-supplied morning doughnuts or Friday pizza lunch you offered before cost-cutting measures took hold? Or offering employees more opportunities for professional development? Many recent surveys show that employees want more training. Providing more employee oriented training - something else that many companies have reduced - will help your organization and will show employees that you are investing in their future. Little things can go a long way when it comes to letting employees know you value them and their efforts.

4) Re-engage employees with the organization and their work. During the past two years, many organizations were forced to dictate which changes and cutbacks would be implemented, and the communication was often one-sided. It's time to talk with employees, using everything from casual conversations to company-wide email newsletters to monthly or quarterly "town hall meetings." Get them involved in both formal and informal problem solving meetings and/or process improvement teams. Emphasize how their work fits into the company's overall objectives and performance. Alert them to wins and losses, and ask them for their input in advance of some of the upcoming decisions. Then listen when they talk and acknowledge what they say to you. It's time to have meaningful, two-way, discussions with employees and re-engage them in the day-to-day workings of your organization.

5) Make their jobs doable, if not easier. Productivity always rises during a recession because when people are laid-off, those remaining often do the same amount of work with fewer resources. This situation inevitably causes some workforce stress, burnout or unwanted turnover which will cause you to lose some of your best people. So, be alert to signs of frustration such as escalating individual and team conflicts, increased absenteeism and missed deadlines. If possible, assign more people to the most demanding functions and major projects. Whether it's more training, equipment, space or even temporary help, give them the essential tools and resources they need to get their work done right the first time.

6) Finally, avoid burning bridges. If a valued employee leaves, hopefully, you will not find yourself totally in the lurch. If you handle the resignation carefully, you might be able to tap the employee's knowledge base even after employment has ended. Ask whether the new person filling the job may call with any questions for a few weeks - sort of an informal consulting/mentor relationship. If there are no hard feelings, many conscientious employees will agree to that. And, there's always the chance the new job won't work out, and one or more of your high performers will be back to exert their considerable talents for you, rather than one of your competitors.

Leadership Training for Employee Engagement

HPL's newly redesigned Leadership & Management Development Program, High Performance Leadership, has been tested and proven in dozen of leading manufacturing, financial service, hi-tech, and government organizations. High Performance Leadership will provide your organization's leaders and managers with the skills they need to effectively lead and manage today's workforce.

"During these tough economic times, many leaders have had to focus too heavily on managing the financials and in doing so they have inadvertently caused many employees to become disengaged from their work team and organization," says HPL President, Steve Aronson. "High Performance Leadership was designed to provide the leadership and management skills and techniques that today's leaders need to quickly and dramatically enhance employee engagement and improve performance."

For more information please contact us at 508-877-3600.

HPL @ ASTD Chicago
HPL will be exhibiting at the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) 2010 International Conference and Exposition in Chicago. HPL will be in booth 549 and we'll be offering free Expo Passes to any clients and colleagues that wish to attend. 

Please contact us for more details on how to get free Expo Passes!
Big Changes are Coming to the HPL Website!
Later this Spring, HPL will be re-launching its website: www.hplinc.com. Be on the look-out for: new features, customer oriented pages, in-depth information on HPL programs and services, and more. More information to follow soon.
To discuss your organizational development and/or training challenges, please contact us at our:
Corporate Headquarters
Framingham, MA

Mid-Atlantic Regional Office
Washington, DC

Or, visit us on the web at: