HR Session Recap: Keeping Employees Motivated, Interested and Engaged

By Nathan Denny and Scott Axelrod

A group of CEOs discuss How to Keep Employees Motivated, Interested, and Engaged in the latest Private Advisory Board session.


How do I create a culture where all employees are working towards the same, company-wide goals?

A CEO’s family-owned business is suffering from poor culture. Employees are well compensated, but also rewarded for inefficient work — there’s no incentive to be efficient with labor or costs.

Why It’s Important

  • The most tenured employees are the biggest problem, as they set an example company-wide.
  • Estimated Financial Value: $300,000

Suggestions (Solutions)

  • Examine the cost of changing out employees. Is it less costly than investing in re-training current employees?
  • The Three Ts were suggested: Train (employees). Transfer (put people in the right seat). Terminate (if nothing else works). “The best thing to do for a good employee is to fire a bad one.”
  • Green Beret Leadership: Turn the job of “creating culture change” over to subordinates. When they ask questions, say you don’t know the answer — that’s their job. Give them the total responsibility and power to execute changes to meet your goals.

Action Plan

The CEO will focus on THREE initiatives.

  • Meet with two specific people and train them;
  • Create two Green Beret teams; and
  • Empower others and be willing to give up the reins.


How do I FIND and KEEP employees with the training and aptitude to get the job done correctly?

The CEO has faced loss of employees, and currently has a “D Player” as the office manager, causing him to spend too much of his time on administrative work.

Why It’s Important

Growth has been stifled. More time needs to be spent managing and less doing menial tasks.

Clarifying Questions (Background/Understanding)

  • Why are employees leaving your company?
  • Are you hiring employees out of trade school? Out of high school?
  • Have you considered advertising in hopes of drawing in potential new employees?

Suggestions (Solutions)

  • Replace your underperforming “D Player”
  • Bring in a recruiter to help execute your plans
  • Search for new employees at local trade shows and schools
  • Find ONE Superstar — they can help attract others to your team
  • Better define the type of worker you’re looking for. Bring in people who want to be there.

Action Plan

  • Get new office management in place — goodbye, “D Player” — and install new benefits package by end of month.
  • Thereafter, find and train one or two new employees every six months.


How can I effectively engage our contract staff so they feel like part of the company?

Re-stated Issue

How do I manage a company in a virtual environment?

Why It’s Important

  • The company’s performance and level of satisfaction is a critical element of its success, so staff motivation is important for ensuring client satisfaction.
  • Estimated financial value: $3,500,000

Clarifying Questions (Background/Understanding)

  • What are you doing to sell your company to these contractual employees?
  • How often do you get people together — physically, and virtually? Do you fly everyone in for an annual get-together?

Suggestions (Solutions)

Action Plan

Adopt the Vistage model of shared values as company culture. “Focus more on the human side.”
Session date: Jan 17, 2012
Originally published: Jan 17, 2012

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