Re-engaging Your Workforce

10 Moments that Matter

Re-engaging Your Workforce

Posted by Sean Morris and Patrick Nealon on November 21, 2013

By now, the importance of an engaged workforce and its impact on the bottom line and mission success are well documented. In the past 10 years, a cottage industry – or larger – of boutique firms, coaches, and “new” tools have sprung up to help organizations better measure and assess how engaged their employees are. Several threads exist across these employee engagement services, including tying morale to business outcomes, developing new channels for communication across an enterprise, and promoting more meaningful face-to-face time between employees and managers. All good suggestions, but what are the concrete actions people can take to improve engagement, especially when times are tough?

What we’ve discovered at Deloitte is that regardless of the industry or organization, there are opportunities – “moments that matter” – that spark engagement. More so than “what” is done, these moments boil down to “how” it’s done. It is these moments and the “how” of what occurs that deepens connections and builds lasting relationships, creating value for those involved.

We are surrounded by moments. But often, moments just pass by in a blur of everyday activity, and particularly when times are tough, these moments may seem more like challenges than what they really are…opportunities to engage. Think of a moment when someone did something that surprised and delighted, sparked deeper thinking, or forged a stronger relationship. That’s what we mean by making a moment matter. It’s a focus on turning an ordinary occurrence into an extraordinary experience for another person. It just so happens that the power of these opportunities is amplified when an organization finds itself in the midst of a valley rather than on a peak.

We have created a field guide to these “Moments that Matter” that suggests 10 behaviors or “moves” that people can use to try to turn these moments into exceptional experiences. These moves serve as a sort of mental crowbar that can help someone pry loose from a sticky situation with an employee or maybe break out of a period of spinning wheels with a colleague or customer. The 10 moves :

  1. Walk in their shoes. When we take the time to tune into someone else’s world, to really “get it,” we often approach them differently as a result. In a word: empathy.
  2. Show up. Leading with enthusiasm and focus sends a clear message to your staff that they are your top priority. In one word: engagement.
  3. Tailor it. We know that everyone is different — that’s what makes each individual, well, individual. Add to that the fact that every situation is also a bit different, and it becomes clear that adjusting for fit matters. In a word: adaptability.
  4. Change the lens. When people get stuck, often what’s needed is a new way of looking at the situation. By challenging assumptions, reframing issues, and revealing new angles, we bring into focus realities and possibilities that weren’t clear before. In a word: perspective.
  5. Bring a point of view. Informed guidance, delivered with conviction, can sometimes be exactly what’s needed. In a word: conviction.
  6. Work it together. When we work in isolation, we risk missing the mark or leaving others behind. But when we engage others, the benefits go well beyond alignment — we tap into the collective genius of our colleagues and clients. In a word: collaboration.
  7. Suspend self-interest. It can be hard to take our self-interest out of the equation and instead ask “what’s best for them?” But in the long term, what’s right for our clients and our people is usually what’s right for us, too. In a word: selflessness.
  8. Own it. Leadership requires taking accountability for results — good and bad. When we fully own a problem, we’ve taken the first big step toward solving it. Scary as that may seem — it’s actually a show of confidence, strength, and commitment to make things right. In a word: accountability.
  9. Say what no one else will. It takes real courage to give a voice to that which is obvious to all, but spoken by no one. To identify and confront the inconvenient — and sometimes unpopular — truths. In a word: candor.
  10. Up their game. People and organizations grow when they have the chance to extend themselves — beyond the routine, beyond expectations, and — at times — beyond what they think is possible. But they can’t always get there on their own. In a word: improvement.

As you can see, there are many ways the 10 moves can be put into practice. Download the brochure for more information on incorporating the 10 moves into your leadership framework to re-engage your workforce — and even yourself.

Sean Morris Sean Morris is a Principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP and leads its Federal Human Capital practice.
Patrick Nealon Patrick Nealon is a Director in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Federal Practice and service line leader for its Talent, Performance and Rewards practice.

4 thoughts on “Re-engaging Your Workforce

  1. Sean, Patrick,

    What I like most about your list of “10 moves” is that each one is very easy to execute – it’s just a matter of staying alert to the opportunities to use them.

    In fact, I find them to be a great tactical complement to the list of 12 “actionable elements” recommended by Gallup, within their recent report on Global Employee Engagement:

    Great stuff, gentlemen – thanks for sharing!!!

  2. Most of the time the biggest thing a manager can do is make their employee feel like an actual person, and not just a piece of the machine. Small actions make a big difference.

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