How to Get Employees More Engaged in High Performance
It has been called a union problem, a generational issue (Gen-X, Gen-Y, Gen-Z), and everything but what it is – a leadership gap. How do leaders get their employees more engaged in building and being part of something special? How do employees improve performance to standards of excellence on a continual basis? How does the bottom line get better, whether private or public sector, service or product industries? It’s an age-old management concern that has resulted in labor-management conflict and lower levels of performance continues to vex many organizations.

As a retired Police Chief and Senior Manager in two Fortune 200 corporations, I saw and experienced first-hand many of those concerns. I asked myself the obvious question – why was this happening and why didn’t it get any better? Having dealt with the variety of problems organizations face, I learned that we really don’t answer the difficult questions many times. We have become very proficient at attacking symptoms of problems rather than identifying real causes.

Organizations operate based on their culture and values – not what is typically printed, but what actually occurs. When there are problems there is usually an undercurrent of distrust and a lack of communication. Values diminish, as does performance and attitude.

So what can you do? Getting to a high performing organization is actually pretty simple. I learned by doing and the advice here works – every time. Your employees want to feel like they are a part of something special, they were hired for a reason. They weren’t brought into an organization because they were substandard or poor performers. They were brought in because they went through a vetting process to determine if they were the right fit and better than the other applicants for what the company is looking to achieve. Once in, employees need to know what is expected of them – specifically, and that they will be provided the tools, resources, and training to get the job done. They also need to know what the boundaries are – what is and is not acceptable (policy, procedure, and culture).

There are two statements that leaders should never tolerate in any organization:

  1. The standards are what is allowed here.

  3. Results are aimed at achieving the minimum results.


To create a climate of performance excellence by implementing these 5 things:


  1. Create a compelling vision and mission statement that everyone in the organization sees and is informed about what it means. All staff and resources need to be deployed to achieving it.

  3. Continually and consistently model the behaviors expected by everyone in the organization, from top to bottom – walk the walk.

  5. Organizational performance must be based on the philosophy of continuous improvement – always looking for ways to improve. The people best positioned to identify and solve problems are the people most closely positioned to them. Listen and be open to implementing to these suggestions.

  7. Let your employees help you build it – if you want your people to buy into what you’re doing. Watch their pride and ownership of the process and results reveal.


“Everyone in the organization must commit – no one is sitting on the bench. ”

Everyone in the organization must commit – no one is sitting on the bench. This requires leadership. I’ve applied these principles across multiple private and public sector organizations, across diverse cultures, backgrounds, educational backgrounds, experience, unions, and attitudes – you’ll win every time. It’s about taking care of the best asset you have – your people. Get the right people in, the wrong people out, and the right people in the right places. Combine that with your vision and watch what happens.

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