Developing People...
Inspiring Success

"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."
Theodore Roosevelt

Volume 2, Issue 9-- September 2005
ISSN 1556-3820

In This Issue

Feature Article  |  Resources  |  Fast Facts 
  Survey  |  What's New  |  About Regina | Blog

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Feature Article: Moving the Needle on Employee Engagement and Commitment

When it comes to employee engagement and commitment to an organization, most companies would agree that they ‘have some, want more.’ Why? These companies have come to recognize that their organization’s long-term success relies on employee performance, which is directly impacted by the level of employee engagement and commitment to an organization.

How is employee engagement and commitment defined? According to a 2003 report by Towers Perrin, it is defined as “employees’ willingness and ability to contribute to company success.” What does that mean in real terms? It is the extent to which your employees are willing to put
discretionary effort into their work in the form of “extra time, brainpower and energy.”

If you’re like most corporate leaders, you are probably thinking to yourself, ‘Wishful thinking.” Worse, some corporate leaders think that simply making people happy and paying them more money is the solution. Not so. These are certainly important considerations for any company that wants to attract and retain the most qualified individuals, however, they are less important when it comes to engaging employees in their work. Further, engagement requires both a rational and emotional commitment. And, as you might suspect, it is far more difficult to engage employees emotionally. You have to engage not only their minds but their hearts as well.

So, what’s a company to do? Here are some suggestions to help get you started in moving the needle on employee engagement and commitment.

  1. Measure: start by establishing a baseline. Develop an annual engagement survey. To maintain confidentiality and build trust with your employees, it may be beneficial to work with an outside consultant.

  2. Analyze: when reviewing the survey data, ask yourself these key questions: How do we compare with other companies in our industry? How do our employees compare across job levels? What attributes of engagement is our company strong in? Weak in? It is also a good idea to conduct employee focus groups as part of the analysis process. This will provide additional meaning and richness to your analysis, while providing an opportunity to further engage employees in the process.

  3. Plan: identify those areas that your company will focus on. Identify goals and involve your employees in developing an action plan. Remember to involve employees at all levels. Your plan should include sponsorship, change management, training, communications, key measures as well as the tactical plan for actually implementing your goals.

  4. Perform: now it’s time to execute your plan and measure results. This should not be relegated to Human Resources. Rather, all divisions need to have accountability for employee engagement and commitment and should have engagement goals that tie back to the corporate goals. And remember, you have to inspect what you expect. It is advisable to develop an engagement and commitment scorecard that is reviewed at least quarterly by senior management with monthly check-ins on key initiatives as appropriate.
It’s a fact that highly engaged and committed employees outperform other employees. Use the MAPP process noted above and watch employee productivity and morale improve with a corresponding impact to your bottom line. Of course it will take time and commitment with a focus on long-term results. However, no matter how you slice it, focusing on employee and commitment just makes good business sense, but remember, it’s an ongoing journey, not just a destination.

Regina Barr is a business consultant with a passion for helping companies develop their full potential by focusing on their most valuable asset: their people. For more information on her programs and services, check out her website, .

Copyright 2005 Regina Barr, Red Ladder, Inc.

Resources This website provides free and fee based assessment tools in the areas of aptitude, personality and occupational assessments.

Meeting the HR Challenge - This article, by Fay Hansen discusses enhancing work force performance while reducing corporate spending.

Show Me The Recognition - Why It Isn't Always About The Money - This article, by Kathryn Meyer discusses how companies can significantly improve their employee engagement and commitment using other techniques.

Fast Facts

August Survey Results - Employee Engagement and Commitment in the Workplace

100% of respondents AGREED that their company gives its employees a clear picture of the direction the company is headed and its mission.

80% of respondents AGREED that where they work, employees receive the training and development needed to perform their work successfully.

100% of respondents AGREED that where they work, day-to-day decisions are consistent with the company's mission and values.

100% of respondents AGREED that they enjoy what they do every day at work and that their job makes use of their skills and abilities.

80% of respondents AGREED that they believe there is a promising future for them at their company.

80% of respondents AGREED that where they work, they have clear performance standards.

100% of respondents AGREED that they have the authority to do what is necessary to get the job done.

Only 60% of respondents AGREED that the people they work with cooperate to get the job done.

Only 40% of respondents AGREED that their company seeks out customer feedback in order to improve their work processes.

100% of respondents AGREED that they have confidence in the future of their company.

100% of respondents AGREED that they would recommend their company as a great place to work.

100% of respondents AGREED that their company offers quality products and they have recommend their company as a great source for these products.


Each month we will be asking for your input on a short survey. This month our survey is on Climbing the Corporate Ladder in a Zig-Zag Fashion.

What's New

Interested in hearing Regina speak? Here are some of Regina's upcoming programs:

October 25, Alternative Staffing, Inc., Moving the Needle on Employee Engagement, Bloomington, MN.

October 28, API Outsourcing, Expect the Unexpected: How to Think on Your Feet Without Getting Knocked Over, St. Paul, MN.

November 16, Alternative Staffing, Inc., Female Perspectives in Leadership, Bloomington, MN.

Contact us at for information on how to register.

About Regina
Regina Barr, President of Red Ladder, Inc., holds a BBA, an MBA and an MA in human development. With over sixteen years in the financial services industry, Regina has a broad range of leadership experience in product, sales, and marketing. Red Ladder provides people development services for individuals and organizations with a goal of developing people and inspiring success. In addition, Regina has a special passion for helping companies attract, develop and retain women leaders.
Email Regina

What our clients are saying...
"Northeast Bank contracted Regina Barr to design and facilitate customer focus groups. The goal of the focus groups was to determine whether we are meeting the needs of our clients, whether we are providing superior customer service, and opportunities for improvement.

In addition to formulating a process to fit our clientele, she brought a high degree of efficiency and experience to the table! With Regina's assistance, the Bank has been able to develop key strategic initiatives to help ensure a competitive advantage within the Bank’s market area. Not only were we able to identify key initiatives, we were also able to identify areas that were not of interest to our customers and to avoid costly development mistakes.”

Suzanne M. Sjoselius, Senior Vice President
Northeast Bank

Copyright (C) 2005 Red Ladder, Inc.  ~  
 651-453-1007  ~  Inver Grove Heights, MN  55076