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Employee Engagement is HERE!

by Betty Woodman
I have always felt that if I am going to spend most of my waking hours away from the people I love, work better be fun, stimulating, creative and purposeful.


Employee engagement became my passion in the late 1980’s. In my first job, our VP called my colleagues and me into a boardroom for a discussion. She felt there was too much laughter in the halls and that we were spending too much time talking to each other and that must mean that if you were talking, you were not working. Frankly, we were having too much fun.


She said:  “We have a process that we purchased in 1960 and if you follow this process it is a guarantee that you will be successful!” I was not even born in 1960 and had the audacity to say so. Furthermore, I suggested that it was time to try something new, perhaps our business has changed and we needed to find a new way of achieving the same goals. I was fired two weeks later.


I was relieved and I was sad all at the same time. I missed my friends. We kept each other motivated, we had each other’s best interests at heart, we worked collaboratively, and we cared. Even with a management style that was completely opposite our own view of the world, we were a group of people with a passion to be the best we could be – we were engaged. Oh yes, and did I mention? We were successful.


Years later I found an organization that shared my same vision and goals. The owners and I ensured that all staff contributed to our small company, to our clients and to each other. We spent a great deal of time finding the right people to share this journey and we wanted to make sure we kept them. In the 1990’s we called it “retention programs” and we were ahead of the curve in understanding what people might need or want from a company. We worked every day to create a culture rich in laughter, enthusiasm, and meaning. Oh yes, and did I mention? We were successful.


At the core, we all need to feel wanted. When we do, we give more of ourselves. We need to feel valued.  When we do, we want to give more value in return and accomplish greater things. Research shows that an engaged workforce increases an organization’s profitability. How true!


Start with core relationship principles: respect, trust, caring, listening, collaboration and actively looking for ways to show colleagues you value their contribution. Say thank you every time and see what begins to happen. Be curious about others and ask questions instead assuming you know. Inject fun and laughter and watch your employee engagement rise along with your profits. Oh yes, and did I mention? You will be successful!
Betty Woodman has a diversified background and over twenty years of experience dealing with people and their relationship with their work.  Betty is a Certified FISH! Facilitator. As an independent consultant working in the areas of employee engagement, facilitation, resource management and executive coaching, her biggest client currently is the federal government. See Betty’s presentation at Cannexus 2011. You can reach Betty at 613-222-7123 or

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