I’ve often been asked how companies that have work at home employees keep them engaged and connected to the companies culture. In the past I’ve had some basic answers like: bring them in once a week, utilize IM and video conferencing or intentionally reach out to the employee daily with positive news. All of these are good ideas, but recently my company, Valor Global, has decided to implement a program called Dream Manager. The more I look at this program the more I begin to realize how ground breaking it is. Dream Manager gets to the core of what motivates employees to perform for and stay with a company.
First some background on Valor. We are a business process outsourcer (BPO) that provides collections, customer care, help desk and technical support services. These are services that traditionally equate to high stress, high turnover work environments. We also launched our own work at home program in 2009. Our goal was to find and implement a game changing strategy that would dramatically impact our culture, improve attrition, increase employees satisfaction and motivate employees to produce more. For us Dream Manager hit the target.
Conceptually Dream Manager created by Matthew Kelly is easy to understand. It recognizes that we’re all human and we all have (or should have) dreams. It’s our dreams that we hold for ourselves and our families that really motivate us all to get up in the morning, to overcome the difficulties in our lives and to excel at what we do. However, it’s also a complex idea. Understanding our own dreams and creating a plan to realize them is difficult enough. Creating a process within your organization to help others do the same is a significant commitment. But, it’s a commitment that can payoff is a big way.
Recently I read an article in the Business Courier entitled “Five Takeaways From ‘Dream Manager’”. One of the takeaways that focuses on baby elephants kind of leaves you puzzled…Well sort of. It makes sense once you give it some thought. Read the article and let me know what you think. However I felt one of the takeaways did a fantastic job of describing why the dream manager program works
Fully engaged people believe the future can be bigger than the past, and they believe they can directly influence that bigger future. That’s our No. 1 job as leaders, to convince people of those two things.
That’s really what it’s all about isn’t it? Don’t we all want to be fully engaged? Don’t we all want to believe in a bigger, better future for ourselves… And aren’t we all hoping that our work will help to create the clear path to get us there?
But lets get back down to earth for a moment. Here are some questions and points about about your organization that may be worth considering.
- The most important competitive advantage an organization can have is to attract and retain valuable employees and team members. How well do you do that?
- Are your employees connected to their work? Think about the word connected and what it implies. This is a big question.
- Your organization (at the heart of it) exists for people (customers and employees). Do your employees have a future? Can their jobs help fulfill their dreams? Is their work a stepping stone to a greater future? If the answer to these questions are no what are the implications for your company?
- There are two things that keep employees engaged: 1. They are making a difference; 2. They are progressing (in life and at work). What drives the people that drive your organization?
- The equations for breeding employee loyalty is as follows: “An employee is responsible for adding value to life of the company and the company is responsible to adding value to the lives of it’s employees”. Does that formula equate within your organization today?
The dream manager program provides a tangible process for addressing these points and addressing them can have a profound effect on employee satisfaction, loyalty and productivity. What’s most important from my perspective is that the above points that can be addressed and Dream Manager can be applied no matter where your employees sit (in the office or at home). Our dreams go with us no matter where we are. We pack them up and they motivate us where ever we go.
So how do you get started.
First read the book. Valor also hired a Dream Manager. The Dream Manger’s role is to:
- Meet with every employee.
Discuss and give permission to pursue their dreams.
- Avoid judgement.
Provide tools and accountability.
- Develop a plan to help employees achieve their dreams.
- Meet with employees on a regular basis to review their progress.
- Set goals for the number of dreams realized each year.
- Establish a funding mechanism that will support the program.
We believe in the effectiveness of the Dream Manager program. I’d be interested in hearing from you. What do you think about think about the idea? Does your company use it today?Ian Bellais VP Strategic Business 480-263-0562 firstname.lastname@example.org Connect with me on LinkedIn