Creating a highly productive workforce is any company’s dream. But figuring out how to motivate an entire workforce doesn’t happen overnight. Kevin Sheridan’s book, Building a Magnetic Culture: How to Attract and Retain Top Talent to Create an Engaged, Productive Workforce, provides a specific set of principles to help managers assess and enhance Employee Engagement—a term he uses to explain the degree of commitment an employee can feel for their employer.

By definition, Engagement can be an emotional commitment or the state of being in gear. For employees, loyalty toward an employer and desire to contribute meaningful work are powerful motivators. Sheridan goes beyond the historically popular Employee Satisfaction measurement to justify his perspective. In his excellent book, he makes the case for Employee Engagement as the true measure of success.

Sheridan illustrates how understanding and utilizing Employee Engagement principles can help foster a healthy corporate culture. A strong culture in itself is a motivator, and will continuously support and encourage employees to strive to do their best. Conversely, driven employees take ownership of their Engagement and proactively take steps to ensure they remain engaged. Sheridan states, “If you erect an Organizational Structure of Ownership, employees will exhibit the passion, pride, and loyalty that come with the character of ownership.”

Brand perception is not driven solely by corporations, but by a blend of external and internal factors. A highly engaged employee can positively impact the culture, and therefore an organization’s bottom line. Poor performers that are ignored by management will cause high performing employees to leave the organization. Eventually, the only people drawn to the organization for employment will be those who value only their paycheck.

Sheridan and his company, HR Solutions, use 19 dimensions to interpret Employee Engagement. According to their findings, most top performing organizations ranked above average on three dimensions in particular—Communication, Customer Service, and Strategy and Mission. Employees that are committed to excellence in these dimensions will always have the best interests of the organization, and client, at heart. It is this very dynamic that will breed a sense of success, regardless of the current economic and business environment.

“It is extremely important for leaders to make a constant effort to build magnetism at their organization, even during times of success,” says Sheridan.

Sheridan concludes that companies must actively engage their employees starting with surveys and feedback, to begin to understand how employees are motivated and what they find rewarding in their jobs. Aligning the feedback with corporate values, strategy and mission, will help define the culture and uncover opportunities to increase engagement.

The 244-page tome includes several real-world examples, including a few key learnings from mistakes Sheridan made during his tenure at HR Solutions, making the book an easy and enjoyable read.

Sheridan, Kevin — Building a Magnetic Culture: How to Attract and Retain Top Talent to Create an Engaged, Productive Workforce. McGraw Hill Professional 2011.

“Kevin Sheridan is Chief Engagement Officer (CEO) and Chief Consultant of HR Solutions, Inc., a Human Capital Management Consulting Firm specializing in Employee Engagement Survey and Exit Survey design, implementation, analysis, and results. Sheridan has extensive experience in the field, having cofounded three successful survey-related organizations.” — Courtesy Google Books

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