Invest in Your Employees for a Wealth of Breakthroughs

How much are your employees worth?  Is there a number figure you can place on them?  Labor rate, plus benefits, and so on? What about the value they have in light of the 8 Deadly Wastes every business faces?  It’s been called people waste, underutilization, or more commonly known as non-utilized talent.  This waste eludes to an unknown value for your organization. One that is difficult to measure using monetary figures.  

Employee engagement is important because of this value but capitalizing on it requires investment.  Similar to a mining operation without advanced technology, it is hard to know how much gold or oil is actually in a particular location.  So time spent digging or drilling and taking a chance is a major investment.  The mining industry has found real value in that, again even apart from using technology to know what is underground.  My point is that tapping into the value of your employees takes investment because not every employee is going to offer you a break through idea on their own.

Ways to mine your existing talent

Companies everywhere have differing approaches on how to engage and involve their employees.  The tactics and strategies are all over the board, starting with employee suggestions all the way up to full-blown project involvement.  Figuring out what works for your organization is the challenge and the most difficult part is understanding the culture of your workplace.  If you don’t understand your culture then how can you match it with an appropriate strategy?  I have worked in a culture where employee suggestions are not working, but they can be very effective in other places.  I have also witnessed weekly meetings just scratch the surface.  Not to mention everyone hates meetings!  There is successful employee engagement through Kaizen activity and that is highly suggested.

The Plan

My personal belief is that using a mix of tactics is a good strategy.  Build an employee suggestion program as a start, but make sure that you are prepared to back it up with action, otherwise it will fail and no one will believe you care.  Next create an open dialog for transparency by showcasing the ideas and suggestions. Build excitement around the program to keep momentum.

Create project teams, call them whatever you want, but be original.  So many companies just copy each other, it’s called benchmarking.  At least call it something different though and put a new spin on it.  Identify problems to hand over to those teams and give them real time to work on it and brainstorm solutions.  This approach is the best because when you offer people time and include them, you will get that unknown value and you may even strike gold.

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