Employee engagement and superpowers!

Subconsciously or perhaps consciously, everyone envies superheroes a little bit. Think of pushing away someone you don’t like just by looking into their eyes ☺ Isn’t that fun? Or simply raising your hand and flying somewhere that you would normally get to in 30 minutes by car. Or reading someone’s mind just by looking into their eyes! Admit it, everyone wants superpowers. But for some reason, powers and characteristics that already exist within are overlooked.

Yet findings from studies on employee engagement reveal the power of engaged employees to help the company soar. Wasn’t soaring what you wanted?

What do the numbers say?

As Engage & Grow, when it comes to employee engagement analyses we predicate things on Gallup’s findings. According to Gallup, customer satisfaction is 10 percent higher in companies with higher employee engagement. If we consider that customer satisfaction is one of the primary objectives of organizations, this is a substantial percentage.

Yet there are three more numbers that peak executives’ interests much more. In companies with high employee engagement productivity is 17% higher, even higher still is revenue at 20% and profitability at 21%. As you can see, employees with higher engagement actually contribute to their companies with their own superpowers.

Let’s look at the numbers again, this time on the negative side, and see what low engagement triggers in companies: The turnover rate in companies with low engagement rates are shown to be 25%. So in the corner of the employees’ minds exists always the idea of a better job. If you cannot engage your employees you are already complying with a lapse in quality of about 41 percent. This is a horrific number! You face 37% of your employees not showing up for work in the morning. If you ask me, this number may increase as the next generation takes their place at our tables and in the game.

The last numbers I will share are spine-chilling: Low employee engagement causes 50% more work accidents — if someone doesn’t enjoy the work they do, if they aren’t committed to their workplace, they are much more fallible. In risky lines of work, engagement is seen as a corporate dream and causes countless injuries and deaths.

Do not look for a superpower in Planet Krypton

Executive teams have certain typical behaviors regarding employee engagement. There are some that confuse the phrase with employee happiness and consider that ‘the employee has no intention of working’ if the work doesn’t bring them happiness.
There are executive teams that have experienced truly engaged employees, seen their benefits, and internalized the joy of leading such groups. The moment there is a drop in engagement rates of the company they announce code red. It becomes a joy to work with them for us as well.
There are executive teams that demand to discuss price first when we tell them about employee engagement. We see this all over the world… Of course, there is a price for every job that is done, but what is the point in asking about its budget when you don’t yet know what it will bring and how it will benefit you?
There are companies that have managed to create an engaged community themselves, incorporated it into their corporate culture, and built their system based on the human factor; these companies have bright executive teams. Working and discussing our team-oriented solutions with them is a completely different experience. In highly engaged companies supplier engagement to is high, and you are especially pleased and satisfied with your work with them.
If it is a client I personally value companies seen as an owner-managed business yet open to growth thanks to its missions and their executive teams.
They are aware of the long path ahead of them and that their biggest advantage in competing with their rivals is their employees. We work with them in all corners of the world and together carry out many successful projects.

In search of superpowers…

When writing this article, I started with two sentences written in the content recommendations from my social media agency…
How is the atmosphere in companies where employee engagement is high?
Teams feel energized and empowered in the positive atmosphere of companies that have highly engaged employees. It becomes a pleasure to go through a process, and you feel motivated and enjoy being a member of that team.

In companies with highly engaged employees, teams soar! Productivity and profitability increase. Isn’t this all that management teams and shareholders are looking for?
What is it that you are looking for? What superpower do you need to grow? Or do you already have a team that has such powers?

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow


Everyone is the same different

Twenty years prior to this, globalization was only a charming vision. There were companies who had succeeded in going global, of course, but their numbers were few. It seems to me that globalization which picked up its pace with the addition of internet technology to our lives is now our complete reality. Even the local’s value increases directly proportionally now to its power on the global market. Developing new and different markets ignites pace and amount of production. Now a very important part of competition is being ‘worldly’. Well, have you ever considered that being worldly simultaneously means to be able to manage differences, that managing differences require a cultural change and that it is not as easy as it seems?

Companies that feed off of differences

If you look at the contents of studies on employee engagement, you will definitely come across concepts such as comprehensiveness, management of differences, equality. These are essential factors that establish and solidify employee engagement. Differences enrich the work and the workplace, yes, but there are various complications that cultural differences can bring about. Cultural differences may cause conflicts. This clash environment causes performance, and naturally productivity as well, to decrease. What is it that causes the conflict? Different traditions, cultural habits, manners, behaviors and unfortunately, the norms imposed on us for decades… Before and beyond all this comes ignorance, which I will especially underline. In truth, ignorance is the insidious beast sleeping under every evil and conflict in the world. It dirties your corporate atmosphere, cripples teamwork, and prevents you from working well with other, different people/markets/companies. In short, it stops you. The ones creating conflict may look human to you, but they are simply reflections of your culture.

Differences starting with communication

During the first few years I started working as a coach in the Engage & Grow team I had felt that my colleagues from different cultures enriched my perspectives on work and people exponentially. Our job was to connect people to each other, to their work and their companies, so all our senses worked and improved towards this. This growth changed completely the way I viewed the companies in my own market as well. While meeting with my teammates at Spain in the morning and connecting to our headquarters in Australia in the wee hours of the night, we had started living not only the psychological but also the physical reflections of being different. Morning in one continent, midnight in another. National holiday in one country, regular workday in another. One a Muslim country, another region is on Christmas break. Some prefer not to work after-hours at all, others work at night and want to share when an idea hits them☺. When we run into each other in one country or another some of us hug in delight – I mean pre-Covid-19 – while others prefer cool and collected handshakes. We are all the same and so very different. This enriches us, and of course brings along a responsibility to consider many sensitivities at once at all times. And this does not happen with simply saying “we grow with differences,” it is necessary to make it part of the culture to embrace differences.

Look inside, what do you see in you?

Look both inside yourself and inside your company. Take time, in fact grab a magnifying glass and stare at it long and hard.

  • To be able to manage differences one’s inner scales of justice must be immaculately balanced. Are you certain your are?
  • Even if with good intentions, do you tend to try and provide convenience to your female colleagues considering that they may have trouble doing certain tasks?
  • Are you sure that cultural differences between your employees are important for the work and that for both sides it can be easy to misunderstand one another?
  • Do you evaluate feedback from a customer with a foreign cultural background within the frame of their own cultural habits , or are you heatedly defending yourself?
  • Have you ever considered that someone who doesn’t show the reaction you had expected is from a culture where emotions are suppressed more than they are expressed?
  • Are the profiles of your employees and customers surprisingly similar? Is this due to your preferences or some miraculous coincidence?
  • Take a look at the points you say ‘These are my limits.’ Is it values or definitions in the forefront of these decisions?

I know the answers to these questions are not at all easy. Neither is building a comprehensive company culture… When you look at companies who have managed to do so, aren’t you fascinated by the color and light that they exude? Because they are beautiful to behold.

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow


Your return shall be splendid!

TEMA (Turkish Foundation for Combating Soil Erosion), one of the NGOs I keep a close eye on the projects of, started a campaign recently with the slogan “Your return shall be splendid!”. The slogan caught my eye, and I wanted to plug it here in my writing to bring it some well-deserved attention.

(You too can visit https://bit.ly/3dbrVY7 and take a look at the posts with the hashtag #dönüşümmuhteşemolacak.)

Along with this beautiful slogan, I decided to discuss my opinions on normalization and the new normal, filtered through the perspective of employees and employee engagement. Speaking of, do you have a plan as to how you will return to your normal when this era of remote work ends, or slows down? I tried to define a simple roadmap based on the information I’ve gotten from chats with many company owners and executives, articles by the world’s most established consulting firms, and my own observations. I am hopeful that it will grow and thrive though your comments and suggestions.

Don’t you think the new normal is quite scary?

I don’t know about you, but from the first moment I heard the words ‘the new normal’ I’ve been wary about them. Truthfully, I find this definition ill-advised from a humanitarian perspective. Yes, a life awaits us where nothing will be like it was before, but still one finds it hard to face the fact that the world they were accustomed to, trusted, and knew its rules is no more.

If we are going to use this term, and it seems to be the case, we need to have a game plan that makes our employees feel safe. These are the notes I’ve taken:

  • Whether you have 5 or 500 employees, learn people’s stories. You can establish the formula to accomplish this with your team, or with the help of a consulting firm. What you need to do is simple. How did people live when they were remote? How close did Covid-19 come to them? Do they have children? What will they do in this era when kindergartens and preschools are closed? Does it scare them to return? What are they most wary of? These questions can be infinitely multiplied, but the general point is to be aware and informed about the situations your employees are in. While doing this, sincerely reveal your goals, let them think not that you are playing detective but that you are working on solutions fitting them.
  • Talk through your plans to adapt into the new normal with your executive teams and mid-level managers in detail. Separately assess the workplace safety solutions, the stories of their people, all possibilities of every department and division. If you are thinking, “Okay, this was an era, now it has passed!” cast that out of your mind right now. Today all over the globe millions of people are unsure of what to do when they need to go to work. There are some extremely scared of the risks of public transportation. There are people unable to wear masks! Not ones who don’t want to, but cant! Instead of ignoring peoples emotions and fears, it is possible to understand them and produce solutions with a compassionate attitude. Doing this is essential in long-term successful leadership.
  • I bet you are thinking of physical solutions. Using disinfectants, taking temperature, wearing masks, etc.. there already has to be a series of regulations put into effect for standardized practices. But I suggest taking your own humanitarian precautions as well. From AC to ventilation, from regulating entrance and exit hours of employees to lunchrooms, create your own unique solutions.
  • Make sure all of these practices you implement are made visible. Your employees should know of their value and importance for you. Share, ask their opinions, ensure their participation. Keep a tight rein on inclusivity. Treat and communicate with everyone equally. Do not simply inform the white collars and disregard the blue. Plan your communicative efforts not only towards your employees but towards all your partners no matter their rank or position. Increase both awareness and your corporate reputation.
  • Know that client visits, meetings, sales marketing activities and travel will not be going according to its regular agenda for a while. Instead of making a hectic plan to make up for all the lost time, make a grounded and safe one. Look into online options when it comes to client visits. Have your teams assess your clients’ expectations. When travel is indispensable, check that your travel plans have the green light — with the approval of both sides. As for accommodation, eating outside, etc. make sure that you fend for your employees and show them that you do.

These suggestions can be infinitely multiplied, and can be diversified according to the organization. During this time, talk of unlimited unpaid time offs, violations of legal rights, practices disregarding employee right, even human rights, have reached our ears one way or another. All across the globe. There is corporate living way beyond the ideal definitions we all share in LinkedIn articles. But we don’t call that corporate. We don’t really know what to call it.
I wish you all healthy days.

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow


The Great Fall of Hierarchy

Everyone defines the new standard from their own perspective. The new standard in HR, the new standard in educational systems, the new standard in finance management. The business world now having taken 10-years worth of steps towards digitalization in just a few weeks has been teleported in the most literal sense of the word to the new standard. Alongside this transition, the new standard brought with it heavily lateral organizational systems. Hierarchy was already a notion the new generations were not very fond of, with digitalization it completely started to plummet.

The digital world is not fond of bureaucracy!

The new normal has accelerated digital transformation. Our biggest expectations from digitalization are easier facilitation of our day-to-day, communication, and speed. The marriage of these three concepts naturally abolishes bureaucratic transactions. Even leaders so inherently used to bureaucracy -most of them from our generation- have gotten accustomed to ratifying budgets over a WhatsApp message. Need more than one signature? Okay, we’ll just make a group chat with all of the people in it! That’s that.
Those leather-clad, shiny signature folders popular a few generations ago came to my mind just now. It put a smile on my face. When the general manager would need to sign a document, the papers would be put inside that leather dossier, and presented to the GM, and they would sign the document with their special fountain pen, with a showy glide of the pen on paper. Thanks to signature folders, if there was someone with the GM, the privacy of the documents too were protected this way.

Believe me, if there is anything pleasant left to reminisce, it is that leather signature folder. Nothing else comes to my mind. It was as if we were in a construct specifically built to slow down work. As hard as it was to make decisions, putting them into effect was even harder. This bureaucratic attitude that smacks the new generation right in the face as they first joint work force has in time changed and morphed, thanks to the very same generation it smacked. I think it has been buried in history by the arrival of coronavirus and its push towards digital transformation.

Welcome to the age of collaboration!

It is only possible for the new generation to breath healthy and happy through the development of a collaborative work environment. Proactivity and speed has replaced status and power. Young professional with diverse and creative ideas have sped up the business world and changed the very fabric of its thousand year-old traditions. When I look at the truly successful ones, I see they bring with them all the positive aspects of the old, and the strength of experience. Yet they write new rules, if they aren’t pleased with them they rewrite them tomorrow. They establish lateral organizational systems, they give a chance to new ideas and approaches. They bring forward unimaginable ideas, and they succeed with them too. If it doesn’t work, they have the time and energy to start anew. They have no tolerance for the time bureaucracy steals from them.

Leadership in the new normal

Digitalization is a concept that brings with it agility. Before and after Corona, we have made such rapid decisions at times that suddenly we became agile companies, agile executives with no control over their methodology. Now is the perfect time to investigate this. In a crisis we were completely unprepared for, what did we do right or wrong while trying to act agile? If we had been exercising an agile way of working before, what could we have done better? Looking back, what steps that we once took can we intervene in and modify? The transformation continues, there is no tardiness here, I suggest you take a look at your last steps.

An article I read recently suggests leaders to ask themselves this question: “Check your organizational goals. Is your goal still important?” This is a critical question. If your answer is yes, there is no issue, no need for a large-scale change. Yet if your answer is no, our organizational goal doesn’t seem as crucial as before, then you must be ready, willing and determined for change.

You must be open to change to remind the new generation, the ones chasing meaning and reason, the reason for your existence and what you work for.

After responding to the questions regarding goals by joining minds together, we must not forget that no matter what our answers, our tactics must change even if our goals remain the same. We must be ready for a plethora for scenarios. Sustainability has to be first in line on the agenda of the new business world. We will relive today’s struggle against the effect of coronavirus at a time not so far away from our present as expert opinion suggests, this time against the effects of climate change. It is the essential aspect of the leadership of the new normal to be ready for all possible scenarios…
If you think that’s a far off possibility, I suggest you update yourself on the topic as quickly as possible.

The bottom line of all my thoughts is this: good leadership is invaluable in leading change. The courage to rethink all we thought was important until yesterday, that is the most important trait of said good leader. I have every confidence and belief in the happier future that awaits us, with leaders that embrace change and inspire their colleagues and employees.

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow


Understanding Doctors

I realize everyone is trying to showcase the value of their own activities. In the age of COVID-19 we have experienced the criticality of certain lines of business in our lives. The most crucial among these is without a doubt the health facilities and workers. From the first day of the fight onwards, they have been in the midst of the crisis, setting their lives at naught and working across the globe for the health of others… Let’s take doctors. They are going through a really tough time of learning right now. Learning almost never ends in this case. Certain struggles arise when considering treatment spaces. Right now most of them are residing in hospital spaces or hotels to make sure they do not carry disease to their families. They are at risk of infection and they are losing their comrades.

Of course, there may be some among the that give up, they are all human but by and large they are fighting admirably.

What is it that makes them so strong and dedicated to their work?

I called a dear doctor friend and asked them this question.

It was this response that led to the creation of this article:

“The human health, of course. Our responsibility to save a life.”

They are neglected

For companies, employee engagement does not only mean a cultural but also a numerical healing. Companies with a high rate of employee engagement have a similarly high rate of profit. Yet doctors are neglected almost worldwide when it comes to employee engagement programs. Today they are in a great fight against a crisis and they stand strong, but in a 2012 study done in the U.S.A exhibited that one in three doctors showed signs of burnout syndrome and that 60% of doctors wanted to retire right away if the right conditions were provided. That is an incredible number. The same study showed that most commentary on doctors is negative and hostile, which also creates a great devastating effect.

This is the reality for doctors who are now being globally applauded.

Are they expected to self-motivate as employees?

Are they expected to hang onto the responsibility of “saving lives” as my friend suggested?

Are these people with such invaluable education and experience expected to be motivated with “the money they make (!)”?

Health organizations must take action

Yes, this era we are going through is an incredibly tough time. It seems as though right now all that can be done in hospitals and clinics is to focus on the human health. But admit it, right now the ones on heavy duty are the doctors, nurses, caretakers and their supporting administrative personnel. Executive teams are involved, of course, but the medical personnel is carrying the bulk of the weight. Right now it is vital that the motivation and condition of the medical personnel are supported and their quality of life improved even with the smallest changes. Public or private, all hospital administrations must take urgent and rapid measures on this issue. There are doctors in high-stress environments with no security of life. unfortunately, relatives and companions who have lost people, or feel that they are not given the attention they deserve are a potential risk in these environments.

It would be faulty to think that the performance doctors and medical personnel are displaying is —by and large— ad infinitum. Are pharmaceutical companies —there may be some, I haven’t heard any—taking steps towards bettering the quality of life of doctors, for instance?

A surprise phone call….

Sometimes life sends interesting messages. When this article was being written a friend called me. I am transcribing their words here, without commentary.

“my wife has not been home for a month, you know she is a doctor and works in the intensive care unit. Me and our 8 year old son have been home for this whole month. Yesterday she sent us the photo of a test kit that came out negative. It was her friend’s test result. Her test hasn’t been done yet apparently, but wanted to cheer her son up in her ow way…”

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow


A new world of business, a new agenda

The first moment we heard the name Covid-19 or Coronavirus, the first time we looked at the news and started to see the gravity of it, the first case appearing in our hometowns, the moment we started getting scared… The increase of preventive measures, the consideration and start of precautions on a national-scale… All of this happened in a matter of a few months. We did not have any previous similar experience, and therefore no preparation to brace against it. Fortunately we were stricken at a time when technology has fundamentally changed our understanding of the word “communication”, and we managed social distancing without severing our contact with one another.

In this brief period of time, organizations too have had to reassess their methods of leadership. Things that appeared to function well until then in the past few weeks had to be completely remodeled. It became crystal clear that it is not so easy to keep employees far away yet connected and engaged. Hence here as the Engage&Grow team, we are in constant communication, both with our clients and with businesses and executives that aren’t in our clientele. For every executive looking for a roadmap, our coaches across the globe are hosting webinars free-of-charge, sharing their knowledge and advice.

Executive teams will be coming out of this process with more productive business results as they improve their mindfulness and discover the right methods for their team.

Leadership and HR at times of crisis

Last week, I participated in a webinar lead by Global Industry Analyst Josh Bersin. In this heavily populated webinar I had the opportunity to listen to the perspectives of the HR executives of companies such as Novartis, IBM and UnitedHealth. And I realized once more that HR’s agenda has completely transformed. While the first thing on the list had been talent management until a few weeks ago, now all of them are completely locked in on how the employees will be adapting to this new period and staying mentally healthy and sound.

Focusing on the family beyond the singular employee

HR executives believe that of course, working remotely is an option to break the chain of the virus, but it is their perspective that people constantly staying home against their will in itself has various consequences. First on this list is the psychological consequences that come with breaking habits and having to deal with the weight and chores that surface from staying home. We aren’t aware of it in the midst of the grind, but there are many things included in our daily work routine that fuel us in a certain psychological way. Getting ready every morning, chatting in the company shuttle, the scenes on our way to work, coffee breaks, face-to-face meetings, lunch plans, conversations over finished meals and perhaps even that little beep our card makes when we swipe it. These currently have ceased to exist. While this crisis ensues outside, most of us probably are not thinking of the times at work when we would miss spending time at home…

Human and Obligatory digital transition

Our sudden and forced transition to a digitalized world, the fear of the virus, the uncertainties about the future and the changes in the way we work, considering all that is on our plate right now corporations must adjust their priorities to what is happening around us.
Here are my notes from the webinar, purely from my perspective:

  • Working remotely was part of a vision, and now it is the way of life. The transition being so sudden and rapid can take a traumatic toll on our mental health. Organizations must approach their employee from a much more humane perspective at a time like this. It is not enough to just keep contact with the employee, the family must be brought into the picture as well. Novartis first made their remote training programs available to employees, starting from the basics of Microsoft, then moving on to time management, and onto mental health topics. The moment the programs were made available to families was when it became much more efficient and helpful.
  • It would be a mistake to think that our daily planners can be the same as our remote-work planners. You must especially empathize with female personnel who have kids and are working from home. Daycares and schools are closed, kids are home and there are responsibilities awaiting attention. The same thing goes for fathers alone with their kids but at this point we all know that the weight on the female is heavier (on a global average). Instead of keeping people in front of their screens for hours by piling online meetings for the day, you — we must find an empathetic, compromising method that works for all.
  • People are away from a business atmosphere. There is great need for efficient leadership. You must add a lot of “compassion” into the mix of this leadership, if it was lacking til now. Because when you say that the priority is the people, a compassionate leadership is essential.
  • You must add “requirements of today’s special conditions” to the list of standardized concepts such as “definitions”, “missions” and “duties of the position”.

We have always defended concepts that until today appeared sophisticated, such as agility, compassion, empathy, understanding, and tolerance. Because where people are, these concepts must also exist. When all of this is over, my conviction is that compassionate companies and leaders will come out of this with the least damage possible.
I wish all of you, all of the world, much healthier, much better days.

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow


Don’t let the viruses thrive!

We all are going through extraordinary times. At times like these, we do not have the words to tell each other what must be done. We have our hopes, intentions and positive energy at our side and all we can do is to hold onto them tightly. There is no giving up!☺

Guess what I have noticed these days: the viruses that reside deep within companies have started to show their colours. Make sure to wash your hands, take precautions, follow the rules, yet never let these viruses reproduce and thrive.

How to identify a virus

They tirelessly make grand announcements about crises in chat groupsyou use for work. It may seem as though they simply wish to shareinformation, but in truth they are content that everyone is officially goingthrough the sadness and struggle they themselves continuously feel andthey want to share their happiness. After all, the viral era has begun and itis their time to shine.

Of course we are all a bit on edge and more than a bit too pensive. But werely on our common sense and coolheadedness —traits essential to everybusinessman or woman — and minimize the reflection and effect of ouremotions to daily life. I am not talking about belittling people’s honestemotions, fears, and pretending they do not exist. But if you detect andbehaviors that trigger a panicked and fear-loaded climate, know that theyare always present. They are simply hiding.

How to protect yourself against viruses

We all know the measures to take against you-know-which-virus — we areall tired of hearing its name daily. We wash our hands, try to stay onlineand aware as much as possible, and practically live in a stand-by mode toprevent the spread. I am assuming we are getting the needed amount ofnutrition, sleep and vitamins in our bodies. We are respecting ourselves,and of course our communities, and taking responsibility in taking goodcare of it

A few suggestions come to my mind, please share yours if you have any.

  • Even if it is remote, do not cut communication with your employees.If you disrupt the communication, then it is just the right time forviruses to thrive. They are the ones to spread sentences like “Thereare no news” “Are they planning to fire us all together?” “Of course,they are well off, who would care…” Plan your communicativestrategy, designate application methods with your operationalleaders and stay in close contact with your employees, even closerthan your day-to-day. Leadership is felt and shown most at times likethese
  • Technology at our age has come to a point where we are as close toeach other online as almost reaching out and holding one anotherthrough the screen. No matter where you are on the globe, all atonce you can be part of a meeting. Let’s take advantage of theseopportunities. I think this is an amazing chance at digitalization.
  • At times, there is no decree in the idea of turning crises intoopportunity. These days I have started hearing this an awful lot.Salesmen of antiseptic solutions, masks and gloves have turned thiscrisis into opportunity with lightning speed. Bravo! But we cannottalk about continuous success in a business environment withoutvalues. Right now, not only their clients but also their employees aretaking notes on this show of opportunism. They may seem to beapplauding you but be sure that gaining a reputation is always thebiggest opportunity.
  • Corporations with high employee engagement know very well howinvaluable a supportive attitude towards employees can be. Yes, partof this supportive attitude is monetary yet most of it is throughbuilding a sense of trust. Do not make empty motivationalannouncements, create a platform they will trust and feel secure
    with. An organization that endures even the most challenging timeof crisis has much more to gain after the crisis passes.
  • There are sectors where the workflow and rates are decreasing. Ofcourse they must be planning and working on a foresight of theoutcomes of this decrease. But this time of stand-by can also beused as a moment of introspection. Opportunities for online learning,long-postponed project meetings that can now be done remotely,brainstorming… I would advise you to look at it from this angle.
  • One of the most important aspects of protecting yourself againstthese viruses is the investment you will be making for employeeengagement. Are you thinking, she has brought it somehow to herown area of interest? You are right, yet I deeply believe in themission of the work we do. I believe that every Engage & Growcoach is a beacon for all that is around them. If you reach out to theclosest E&G coach in your area and have a little chat, you might alsobelieve in the possibilities that will appear in front of your eyes.Client experiences and our efforts til now say as much.

– Isık Serifsoy


Are your organisational values visible through your team?

In life, it is our behaviours and values that define us. It should not be any different within the workplace. On a day to day basis your shared organisational values should be clearly identifiable through their embodiment of the aligning actions and behaviours. These make up who you are and what your organisations stands for if applied effectively. Through this your team are able to deliver your brands promises to your clients.


Your organisational values should be unique, truly representing what you and your product or service stand for. You want them to be powerful, motivational, authentic and simple to grasp by both your team and your clients.

These values set the tone for the companies’ culture, identifying what your team and the organisation as whole care about. Hence why it is so important that each individual feel that their values align with these. When this is the case, everyone has a common purpose and is working together for the greater good of the organisation.

When values are out of alignment, people work towards different goals, with different intentions, and with different outcomes. This is damaging to work relationships, productivity, job satisfaction, creative potential and profitability.

ACTIONABLE TIP: Involve your employees in creating your organisational values. If they already exist, get the team in a room and uncover what everyone truly thinks of the current values. If needed, give them a face lift. At the end of the day it is your employees who embody these values so there is no point of having values that they do not know, understand or agree with.


Your behaviours are shown through the practical application of your organisational values, evident through the team’s day to day actions. More common than not values are broad; behaviours are where you can nail the detail of exactly what you expect your people to do.

Your organisational values and linked behaviours should come together to create a clear framework that demonstrates how they are aligned. This framework can then be utilised to create clear objectives to hold your team accountable. The values, behaviours and objectives should then be aligned with your performance management system in order to reward stand-out behaviour, as well as, highlighting when actions may not reflect the companies’ ethics.

The agreed behaviours in your company give your team a clear and precise way to act, a reference when faced with a tricky situation and an easy way to identify instances that are deserving of reward and recognition. This is the simplest way to take the organisational values off the office wall and place them within your teams’ actions.

ACTIONABLE TIP: If you do not already have your organisational values aligned to behaviours, get your team (or core team) into a room and go through each value, deciding as a group what behaviour or behaviours best reflects each value. If you do not have organisational values, ask each individual in your organisation to come up with what they feel are the top five most important behaviours within your workplace, tally these up and choose your Top Five Agreed Behaviours. Put these behaviours where they are visible or come up with a creative way to memorise them.

Now it is time celebrate what sets you apart, the unique set of values and the behaviours that your organisation embodies. Through this you will create a sense of unity, which in turn will build an engaged team and positive company culture. Remember, your team want to do the right thing by the organisation, it is human nature. Utilising these values and behaviours allow them to clearly see what the ‘right thing’ is in your organisation and then applaud them when demonstrating this. More and more people will come to see what ‘good’ looks like and you will create the foundation for an authentic rewards and recognition approach.

– Eve Laidlaw


Employee engagement and health

We are going through an era where almost every affliction or ailment is associated with stress. I would like to avoid listing them out and risking anything regarding “follower addiction” but many diseases continue spreading despite incredible advancements in technology and in diagnosis and treatment methods. Heart disease has been seen at an alarming frequency around the globe. And the long-disregarded issue of obesity us threatening the world, establishing the unfortunately exact foundation for future heart disease.

A U.S. study based on Gallup data shows the direct correlation between the feeling of trust at the workplace and the seven risk factors triggering heart disease: smoking, obesity, low physical activity, poor nutrition, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

The study presents very striking data.

Employees who do not work in open and trusting environments have higher likelihood of suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

It is more probable that employees who work in distrusting settings will become   heavy smokers, develop unhealthy eating habits, and be more prone to obesity.

In these types of settings, women have less chance of appropriate levels of physical activity.

Four or more of the risk factors —defined as smoking, obesity, low physical activity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure— are seen to arise in environments where employees do not feel secure and comfortable.

This study was conducted for the U.S.A. yet we must agree that it strongly sheds light to the general tendencies in this area. Until today, employee engagement was considered a question of productivity. Yet we have not even discussed at length the most important factor on productivity: human health…

Am I happy? Am I well?

A good consultant never misses the first, minuscule reaction on someone’s face when they are asked if they are happy where they are.  Their facial reaction says so much more, beyond any answer to a questionnaire can. An enthusiastic “Definitely” is of course satisfying. A thoughtful “I mean, yes” is enough to open up the conversation. “For the most part” can give you enough material for a book.

If you believe that the happiness and wellbeing of the employees is not one of your responsibilities, you may have yet to realize the correlation between productivity and human health. Til today, it was common belief that a happy worker is a productive one, and the health issues that an unhappy employee is at risk of were mostly swept under the rug. Everyone was responsible of their own health after all, right? Now it becomes apparent this was never the case.

I will as usual present you my concerns and ideas on the subject as a list.

  • If you work at an environment you do not feel good or happy, getting out of bed in the mornings can soon become torturous. Is black coffee what gets you out of bed, instead of the energy, joy, hope of the day? On an empty stomach?
  • Factors such as traffic, late -and unwanted- wake up, or long commute have not allowed for a healthy breakfast. Did you start your day with a dry bagel, not even with cream cheese?
  • How many cups of coffee or tea have you drank to get through the hours til lunchtime?
  • Are you a smoker? Do you feel an urge to light a cigarette at every moment of stress? How many times a day?
  • In a company with no feedback culture in its foundation, what kind of bodily reactions arise from not knowing when what will be critiqued? From the continuous feeling of something being incomplete?
  • For employees working under executives who create high pressurized work environments, can it be healthy in the short or long term to not know when the volcano will erupt on them?
  • Have you ever thought of the similarities between maps of environments characterized by unhealthy communication and the map of an unhealthy humanbody are? Can you see the signals not reaching the brain and paralyzed organs in both?

We can as ourselves countless questions like these.

But I think our first question should be: Am I happy? Am I well?

If the answer is no, why? Everyone’s happiness and wellbeing may have various and personal parameters, but the happiness in the workplace is under the responsibility of the executive teams.

Then, the health issues dependent on this unhappiness would also be under their responsibility, right?

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow


“The Year of Human” in the Calendar of the World

Do you believe in the stars? The zodiac in the Western calendar takes inspiration from the Heavens while in the Chinese calendar the essential inspiration is the cosmos, nature and the farming calendar. In the West the stars are of principal importance, in the East, it is the sun and the moon. Don’t take me as an expert on astrology, these are the mere few facts I learned in my research before I started writing.

Ι was considering putting my pen to paper and scribbling about the expectations of 2020 and wanted to find a fitting name for this year. Μy path crossed with astrology. And so, the year of human was fashioned.

The stars on Earth

The concept of the year of human I have distilled from my readings, research, experiences, and expert opinions once again involves the stars. But these stars do not live in the Heavens but on Earth lighting up their surroundings. All of them have different qualities. Some are incredible researchers, others very creative, very studious… The abilities that exist in some amount in all of us shine especially bright in them — I have been working closely with one of these stars for a long time, and have witnessed up close how they make an incredible difference @Richard Maloney.

Let’s summarize the common qualities of the stars leading the way in the age of human;

1. They create new tracks for themselves. Racing in tracks created by others does not sit well with them.

2. They consistently learn. Their appetite for learning and growth is truly shocking.

3. They affect the people around them with the light they beam with, they activate others whether they want to or not.

4. They do not fear the trial and error method. They are brave.

5. They are always on the move, stopping does not fit their style.

6. Most of them have already given up on ‘me’. Τhey believes in the strength of ‘us’. ]

7. They use a different pair of glasses, it shows the big picture to them.

8. You cannot find them involved in daily, mediocre conversations that keep people stuck to one place. Even if they are in the same room.

9. They do not look for a culprit, they look for results.

10. They have the effect of glue. Even if you do not like them, being with them gives you a sense of satisfaction. Because they add excitement to work.

11. They are flexible. They wish to move according to the flow, not according to rules.

12. Their sense of time is different than others’. Their working hours are different. It is impossible to delineate the time they are productive.

Star effect

A large percentage of stars are entrepreneurs. But the stars working in large organizations too are a number impossible to overlook. And all of them have amazing qualities in addition to all I have listed above. They recognize it right away when they get a glimpse of a star yet only sparkling. They even have a superpower that helps them unearth stars hidden under dust and time. Τhis makes them leaders.

Because they know that activating the potential in someone else will add to their performance.

What will the year of human bring?

I do not understand those who wish to measure the incredible heights that technology has reached with humans’ capacity. I believe that artificial intelligence will ease the efforts spent on routine work and allow for time for people to reach their true capacity. This is only possible by focusing on people, by uncovering the inherent value in them.

Ask yourself these questions:

Can you manage differences? Among these differences you need to direct, there may be stars hiding. No one dares to fly in a workplace where different is punished. But now is the time to fly.

Are you aware of your own performance? Or, have you let yourself get carried away by the currents of the day, of work, a project? What have you contributed to your own life? How many of the star qualities I listed above with great admiration do you harbour in yourself, how many of them do you repress?

Do you have the energy for the renovation? Let this be a concept I add to the business dictionary. If you are afraid of change, be open to renovation. Not everything old is bad, but there is much you can uncover thanks to renovating.

Every year is a gift.

You cannot outrun time — ones who have lived beyond half a century will know this best.  Before you know it, it runs out. Suddenly there is no opportunity or time to say ‘wait for a second, there’s so much more to do’.  This is exactly why today is the time to stand across your mirror and discover the parts of you that shine. Yesterday does not exist, tomorrow is yet to come and the day is definitively today.

I welcome the year of humans with love. I believe in the stars and their strength. And I wish wholeheartedly that this strength multiplies in its effect and blankets the whole year.

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow

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