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Ron Thomas


Vice President

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Blog: Thank God it’s Monday – what it takes for true employee engagement


Thank God It’s Monday

While waiting on the bus the other morning, one of the other gentlemen at the stop started complaining about the local bus that makes the same stop as the express bus which we both catch. The driver of the local bus stops when she wants to, regardless of the number of people trying to flag the bus down.
“She always has attitude with passengers” he said. “Maybe it is because it is 6:25 in the morning,” I replied jokingly. No he assured me, she is always like that.
This conversation brought me back to another driver that I knew from another bus route that I took years back.
Engaged vs non-engaged
This driver was the perfect example of the engaged worker. He was the exact opposite of the above mentioned driver. He knew all his passengers. He always had a piece of conversation for everyone. His personality would melt even the most hardened faces. I would always watch with amazement as to how he had the passengers eating out of his hand.
If he did not see you for a few days, he mentioned it. I would watch him intensely, waiting for the opportunity that I could “interview” him. I wanted to know what his secret was.
One of the things that I have always noticed is that when people commute, their attitudes become brighter the closer Friday comes, while on Monday, everyone is buried in their paper, iPod, Kindle or whatever device or distraction they have.
Friday vs Monday
There seems to be no conversation beyond the occasional nod of the head. But when Friday rolls around, the cloud is lifted and you hear conversation all along the platform. The smiles are back, the swagger is awakened again, their is the sound of laughter. The acronym TGIF thusly is well earned.
As I left work early one day and headed to the bus terminal in New York City, my bus pulled in and my favorite driver was behind the wheel. Here was my chance because I knew that I would have front row seats to this performance and I could have that engagement conversation that I had wanted to have with him.
“I love to drive” was his reply when I asked him his secret of how do he stays so even keeled and joyous. He said that he cannot wait to get to work and get on “his” bus and meet with “his” riders. He said he can’t wait until Mondays roll around.
A few years back, my wife and I were sitting out in our backyard on a Sunday afternoon, when I wistfully asked her, “Do you ever wish that you could fast forward Sunday so that Monday is here and you are at work?” You can just imagine the look that she gave me. There is no need for me to give you the answer.
Ratio of engagement
What makes some workers just love their job so much, while you have others that are in the same environment see things differently? Imagine for a second that if you could get 70-80 percent of your organization to love their jobs that much.
Gallup created an engagement ratio that they feel is an indicator of an organizations health:
  • In world-class organizations, the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is 9.57:1.
  • In average organizations, the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees is 1.83:1.
It said: "Actively disengaged employees erode an organization’s bottom line while breaking the spirits of colleagues in the process. Within the U.S. workforce, Gallup estimates this cost to be more than $300 billion in lost productivity alone. In stark contrast, world-class organizations with an engagement ratio near 8:1 have built a sustainable model using our approach. As organizations move toward this benchmark, they greatly reduce the negative impact of actively disengaged employees while unleashing the organization’s potential for rapid growth.”
True engagement
Creating a great work environment will be the foundation of a great growth strategy. Engaged workers say ”my customers.” Engaged workers say “my company.” Engaged workers feel empowered. Their customers feel it as well as their co-workers.
As HR folks, what could we be doing with our programs to truly engage my employees? To delight them? To surprise them? To involve them? To give them something they can’t help but talk to other people about?
Thank God it’s Monday.

Ron Thomas is vice president of StrategyFocusedHR.

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One Response

  1. TGIM

    Interesting one this, because I know quite a number of people who have little regard for the organisation they work for, but absolutely love the work they do.  The bus driver referred to could well fit into that category, where all he wants to do is drive his bus and meet people.   Aside from that just imagine what happens if someone else uses his bus on his day off and leaves it dirty……….or has a dent or scratch!!

    The one organisation I have ever worked for where the TGIM thing really worked, was the quintessential model of what is most often proffered as the way to get initiative and engagement and involvement etc etc etc working.  It came from, in fact was driven from, the very top.  Small company I accept by international standards, 140 staff, but every Monday, not Friday, the CEO walked around part of the operation and chatted with folk.  I later found he kept to a strict timetable of 25 minutes.  Don’t ask me why 25 minutes.  And he made sure he covered every department over time.  Then most important, he made sure his senior team of 4 did the same within their departments.  In my time there one of the senior team was officially warned for failing to carry out this duty.  And the place hummed, because in the eyes of the troops they were important enough for the top gun to visit…………..recognition.  I sometimes wonder why we need libraries full of texts and what-have-you when at the end the simple things seem to work best. 


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Ron Thomas

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