Human Resources

More Keys to Keeping Engagement Alive

In yesterday’s Advisor, Ruth Ross, author of Coming Alive: The Journey to Reengage Your Life and Career, described her ALIVE plan for battling disengagement and the first step in the plan—Ask. Today Ross describes the final four steps of the plan.

2. Listen

It’s critical that the person conducting the stay conversation pays close attention to not only what was being said but also to what is left unspoken. If the right atmosphere is created from the beginning—that of a conversation and not a performance discussion—a two-way dialogue can occur naturally.

It’s important to focus on the ease in which the answers flow. Is someone talking from the heart or searching for what they believe to be the right answer? Someone engaged will be quick to speak up and share feedback both positive and negative. Someone just going through the motions because he or she is disengaged will answer in as few words as possible and will leave you without an opening to probe further.

Here are some tips for listening effectively:

  • Demonstrate your desire to listen by taking notes, asking questions, and probing further on what you heard.
  • Don’t try to problem solve in the moment, but rather continue to listen and dig deeper.
  • Listen for the hidden message. What your employee isn’t saying can give you important clues as to what really matters to him or her.
  • Look for nonverbal clues that might say something other than what the employee is vocalizing, such as not looking you in the eyes if something is causing them discomfort, or their face lighting up like bulbs on a Christmas tree if they are excited about something.


3. Identify

After the stay conversation, the manager should take a day or two to reflect on what they heard and saw. Based on that information, they will want to identify two to three concrete reaction steps that they can commit to doing for the employee.

These should be steps that can be reasonably accomplished and are designed to reengage and reignite the passion of the employee.

4. Validate

Step 4 is where the manager invites the employee to sit down again (preferably in the same week) to thank the employee for the conversation and to go over the reaction steps that they identified.

This process will serve as validation that the recommendations from the manager are the right ones and that they accurately captured the essence of what’s important to the employee.

5. Execute

The final step in the plan is the simplest yet most critical. Follow up on your commitments, execute your plan, and move forward to help your employee reengage.

If done right, this treatment plan is quick, easy, and cost-effective with no lingering side effects. It’s an investment that will pay off handsomely for a very long time to come.