I was reading an article yesterday by Henry Engelhardt – the CEO of Admiral. He’s really big into employee engagement, and said that that when the business was housed in one building, he would ‘walk the company’ four times a day.
He still gets involved in the welcome of every new employee – every single one since 1992 – giving each a piece of a jigsaw to symbolise that every individual team member is part of a bigger whole.
He also gives them a share in the business, his logic being that if everyone has a share, then everyone’s shares do better! I guess you just need to look to John Lewis for further proof that that works.
Ok, so this is big business, but which of Henry’s ideas wouldn’t work for you?
Walking your business every day? Getting involved in employing new team members? Giving them a symbol of your togetherness? Or is it sharing your business that scares you?
What might it be like if you celebrated an employee’s 1 or 3 year anniversary with you by giving them a 0.5% stake? A team of ten people would own 5% of your business. How might that engage them and make them feel valued? How clearly would it say, ‘We’re all in this together’?
Scary or exciting?
McDonald’s used to pay consultants to find potential new restaurant sites until they realised that nobody would know better what was needed than the people who worked there. Their own people had the best knowledge of the business and their local area. So they encouraged them to send in suggestions for prospective sites and rewarded them when the a new restaurant opened as a result. They found some great sites this way, and it didn’t cost anywhere near a consultant’s fee.
Great leadership isn’t always about the ‘once more unto the breach’ speech. People value a leader who takes an interest in them, their work and their contribution. Someone who makes the time to listen and ask for their opinions.
As we said last week in ‘Cake before icing’, it’s about getting the basics right before adding the bells and whistles.
Do one thing: floor walk today, even if it’s virtually, and see what you can learn from your team