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Employee Engagement: Making Your Staff Rock Stars is Critical to Client Care & Bottom Line! 


  • Employee engagement had been steady at 36% during the first half of 2021 and has dropped during the year.
  • Managers and healthcare workers had the steepest declines in engagement
  • Boosting engagement requires a focus on the fundamentals

No doubt it’s been a couple of  tough years for many.  The Pandemic has created many new “normals” for us all. Some of you have established a hybrid work model, where some of your staffs are on-site, some remote, and some are a mixture of all of the above. Pivot power will dictate the speed at which your organization handles the current challenges.

Organizations are asking staffs to do more with less.  It is also a tall order to steadfastly recognize, measure and uphold employee engagement.  Hard working professionals are especially vulnerable to burnout and disengagement, making it difficult to improve client satisfaction and care quality.  In fact daily stress, compassion fatigue, overachiever personality types, long hours, and lots of changes are hallmarks of industry standards today.

Based on HR Solutions’ International Normative Database, only 34 percent of employees are ‘Actively Engaged.’  The remaining 66 percent is divided between ‘Ambivalent’ employees (50 percent) and ‘Actively Disengaged’ employees (16 percent).

Turn the Tide on the Great Resignation

Benefits of engagement far outweigh the downsides when you take into account tangible results reported. If you are not yet a devotee to the Employee Engagement movement, I hope you will consider the wonderful benefits ramping up your EE factors can do for your organization and clients.

Let’s jump in and answer a few of the most popular EE questions:

What exactly is Employee Engagement?

Although there is not one agreed-upon definition, a few Employee Engagement Network authors described it on their terms:

My favorite quote sums it up nicely:  “Great work, done well, with others, every day.”  David Zinger, Founder The Employee Engagement Network

Encourage open, honest conversations in which staff feel heard and also feel they are an important part of the organization.  Susan J. Meyerott, M.S.

When the heart, mind, spirit and desire to do is synergized and in harmony with the vision and mission.  Rudolf Peter Lanc

Employers need to get creative to create and promote a culture where employees feel valued, believe they are making a difference and are having fun.  Jason M. Beauford

Build a sense of achievement by linking head (strategy and outcomes) to heart (authentic communication). 

Jo Manchester

S. Max Brown’s take simply summed it up by saying, “Engagement is caring about how you show up.”  Consider how you define engagement for your organization. Is it a blend of some of the above?



Employee Engagement: Making Your Staff Rock Stars is Critical to Client Care & Bottom Line! 

Our last blog covered some of the key definitions and stats dealing with what Employee Engagement is.

Now we will tackle actions to help you optimize your engagement culture.

Are we already doing it? As they say if you have to ask, you may not be doing an effective dose of it.  

If so, are we doing it right?  Are we doing it enough?

One thing is clear: assessing your employees is not the same as engaging them.  A common malady happens when we put an engagement survey out there, let our employees fill them out and then not do anything differently or worse, try to engage them all with a cookie cutter mold.

Years ago—before EE was a buzz word–I used to suspect my management did not read any of our Suggestion Box ideas.  Even worse, I secretly suspected the slot we fed our suggestions into led right into a paper shredder.  Not only was I disengaged, I didn’t think anyone really cared what we thought about improving the organization.  Even though I was their top salesperson, I left shortly thereafter. The moral of the story: we want to be heard and valued for our ideas—that’s what drives us.

What if we’re not doing it at all?

In a Human Resource Executive magazine survey, two huge concerns for HR professionals were Employee Engagement and Retention.  In fact, legendary GE leader Jack Welch said, “If you’re running a business, though, whether it’s a corner store or a multi-product multinational, we would say there are three key indicators that really work: employee engagement, (end user) satisfaction, and cash flow.”

He goes on to say, “Employee engagement first.  It goes without saying that no organization, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.  That’s why you need to take the measure of employee engagement at least once a year through anonymous surveys in which people feel completely…safe to speak their minds.”

If you have not yet done so, now would be a good time to embrace and enhance the EE wave.

How on earth do you measure EE? I mean how do we see tangible signs of it doing any good?

The votes are in:  Employee engagement is scientifically linked to improved business performance in the following areas:

Increased End User Satisfaction, Increased Employee Retention, Increased Operating Margin Increased Profitability, Reduction in Safety incidents, Reduction in Absenteeism

These areas can be your barometers to gauge your EE effectiveness.
When I think of EE, Kaizen comes to mind; it is the Japanese word for “continuous improvement.”  I also am reminded of the bonsai tree:  you may water and prune it for many years before you see what appear to be sudden blossoming branches.  In truth, constant and small changes lead big impacts; such can be true with on-going employee engagement programs.

What exactly can we do to get on the EE Train?

Communicate – Clarify and let them know what’s going on, so they can innovate and create solutions that make sense.  Trust them to have all the information they need to make informed decisions and solutions.  Do annual surveys and candid focus groups.

Involve – Clarify & update to help employees understand what’s going on.  Knowledge is power only when we use it.

Benefit – Help them connect the dots by asking first before telling.  Let them tell you what the benefit is to them for engaging while serving up the organization’s vision/mission.

Enable Career – Developing Opportunities  -prepare them for cross training and a thorough understanding of all the working parts of “how we make money here.”

Individualize – Connection makes room for correction.  You must treat each employee as an individual and learn what makes him/her tick and what ticks him/her off.   This customized appreciation will prove a huge ROI on your time and energy invested.

ENGAGE YOUniversity  COOL Bonus Tool!
Simplify Individualized Engagement by finding out what drives them. As my Greek grandfather used to say, “You gotta know what makes them tick and what ticks them off!” Here’s my handy Team Engagement Blueprint  Team Engagement Blueprint to use as your blueprint for Engagement Excellence.

Brian Tracy, Personal Development Expert, says this individualized motivation is all about the A’s: appreciation, approval, admiration, and attention.  As he suggests, “Imagine that every person in your organization is wearing a sign around his or her neck all day long that says ‘Make me feel important.’”

“Listen to your employees and understand what gets them excited about coming to work.“ Kathy Fitzpatrick

Observe the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert, and don’t be him.  Rev. James Rosselli

What are some TOP FUTURE EE Trends to Watch for?

1.)  Since the Co-Vid Pandemic  helped increase disengagement levels, there’s work to be done to recapture engagement ground.  Organizations will use the most Actively Engaged employees to mentor, motivate and re-energize the disengaged.

2.)   Corporations will capitalize on this new-and-improved flex plan with Employee Engagement Surveys, department meetings and focus groups.

3.)  HR professionals will invest more money and time developing strategic retention plans and learning what key retention elements are within their respective organizations.

4.)  Social media will be used more and more to engage and recruit employees.

One final quote to add : Deb Holton, EE Network Author, “Engagement empowers every employee to maximize his or her connectedness, contribution, collaboration, creativity, and celebration of success.”

It’s up to you now to enlist an Engagement Culture of Staff Rock Stars with your actions, not platitudes. This strategy can help your organization truly have them after “Hello.”

Drop us a line and let us know how your teams are practicing Employee Engagement!

Or ask us a question: [email protected]

We look forward to sharing a chat with your to see how we may help enhance your ah-mazing work culture!



GRAB-BAG Q & A: Quick Answers to Often-Asked Questions on a Variety of Topics: Speaking Tips

Always happy to answer any and all questions!  Simply ask in the comment section of the KelliGram or jot an email to me :

[email protected]       Re: KelliGram Question on _______________ (topic goes here for quick reference). Thanks!

Today’s Question: “Thank you for the awesome talk. Please kindly send me the notes.  “What are 3 ways to better one’s speaking skills?”

Quick answer to your questions: Practice, Practice, Practice :0)

Now the real answer:

Seriously, 1) Speak often (to any group who will listen. Volunteer to recap 5-minutes from conference notes. Always try to ask a question in public gatherings for practice speaking in front of groups.

2) Using notes is okay–just remember to not sound like you’re reading: Read with your head down (mouth closed) THEN Speak with your head UP. Pause, check notes, look up and deliver more info, rinse , repeat…

3) Cut out the “Ah, Mmmm, Uhh” by keeping mouth closed in between sentences.
4) Pause more to let them soak the info in.
5) Care more about getting the message across than how you look when delivering!
6) Remember there are always 3 presentations when you speak:
1. The one you bake
2. The one you make
3. The one they take……away (ideas and messages) –Always tell them what you want them to KNOW/DO/FEEL when they leave; tell them this early (right up front) and tell them mid way through, then tell them again just before they leave.

Whew! How’s that for overdelivering on your request! I believe that’s actually about 10 things! Now go try some of these tips  and email us to report how it goes! THX–enjoy the journey!

[email protected]

Quick Tips for Busy Busy Busy People!



Have a Windex-Fixes-All Kinda  Year!


If you saw Big Fat Greek Wedding, you know that Windex plays heavily in the  Greek home to fix all ills.  I do recall a lot of it at my grandparents house, so maybe they got a huge case of  it when they arrived dockside at Ellis Island back in 1906: “Hi, welcome to America: here’s your case of Windex–it fixes everything! ”

Wish I could fix all with one neat sweep!  Here are a few Quick Tips to tackle your challenges in bite-sized pieces: 

1. CLARIFY your goals for the year. Make a bucket list of things important to you–not necessarily to everyone else. You will be more motivated when you’re passionately connected with your authentic goals.

2. COMMIT: GET A WITNESS!   Pick someone you consider a dream supporter, NOT a dream squasher! Ask them to ask you if you did that one task  by a certain deadline. Tell them your reward/consequence if you did or didn’t.  They can be on the celebration side if you did. Ask them to come up with a negative consequence if you don’t do the step.

3. CANCEL  clutter, things, activities…yes, even toxic people from your world. Renew your relationship with your “Delete” key and go on a ‘Delete Fest” with spam emails, unsubscribe to mailing lists, clear out duplicate files (digital and paper), stop going to those boring parties, meetings, events, and just say “no” to the vampire life-sucking people who hang on because you allow it.

4. CREATE the energy-building connections you crave. Be proactive. Stop waiting for opportunities to ride up on that white horse; make them happen-one step at a time.

5.  CONCENTRATE and REINFORCE your goals with obvious visual cues: signage on your desk,  PC, mirror, near your clock, etc.

6. CELEBRATE and ACCELERATE! Have your own Prize Closet. Stock it with things and outings to reward your diligence. Indulge yourself in  . something you’ve always wanted to do.  Some people have a guilty pleasure of just hiding away for a few precious minutes and reading.  You’d be surprised how a simple pleasure can really recharge your spirits.

Alright, now, go out there and use that WINDEX! You have at least 6 different squirts to choose from.

Drop us a line and let us know how your teams are doing in any area.

Share your challenges and we’ll give you some spot-on answers!

Or ask us a question: [email protected]

We look forward to sharing a chat with your to see how we may help enhance your ah-mazing work culture!


Enjoy the journey!

Kelli V.



Simplify! Simplify! Simplify! (aka All Diets Don’t Have to Start on Mondays!)

“Less is More”

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”- Hans Hoffman

Welcome to a new day/week/month/year; it’s (always) a time for new beginnings, fresh starts. I like to look at it as the lucky moment we all have to shake that giant Etch-a-Sketch tablet and reset our slates to a clean, fresh palette.

Consider rethinking how you interact with your world, your work, your relationships.

“I think luxury is a matter not of all the things you have, but of all the things you can afford to do without.” — Pico Iyer

It’s a great time to take stock of what’s working and what needs work in our lives.
Some areas need fine tuning and some need complete overhauls. Remember habits take a while to undo and redo. Go easy on yourself in the growing transition.

Declutter the corners that crave the most attention (in the way of negative, frustrating destractive energy zapping).
As Henry David Thoreau said, “Simplify, Simplify!”

Rethink all things that you allow to steal precious time, effort and energy from positive, productive directions. (This includes people, things, and activities)

Absorb a few ideas on how to rethink, renew, recharge….rinse, repeat! Choose a simple path and get started. Test drive it and see how it works. Fine tune and keep moving on the path. Don’t be afraid to discard the things that no longer serve your positive, productive purpose. Just get it started…and press on.

Enjoy the journey—it’s the only one we have!
Best wishes for your ReNewal Year! Kelli V.



Nothing is Something: On Mindfulness

Breathe in , breathe out…repeat


Overload. Overwhelm. Overboard. Sometimes it’s good to just sit or take a walk to debrief the information overload we get each day. This is hard for us Type A’s, as many of us feel like we need to do, do, do something to accomplish our goals. An integral part of getting your stuff done involves the ability to step back and check your systems. Ask “What’s working?” and “What needs work?” or “What do I need to Stop/ Start/ or Continue to keep on track. Silence is golden. I took a peaceful lingering walk through a zen sculpture garden this past weekend. Usually it takes me awhile to come down from my high level of intensity to really enjoy my surroundings. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool…birds chirping…fountains gurgling…eventually, I found my peaceful zone. I was able to really think about some of the systems I have in place and make some mental notes on how to enhance them. Consider this a necessary maintenance routine…imagine trying to change the oil on your car while it’s still moving. You will have to pull over every once in while for a pit stop for progress.

Challenge Question: Ask “When can I schedule my zen zone this week? Can I put that on my weekly calendar from now on?”
Give it a try and pass it on!
Remember to enjoy the journey, Kelli V.

Kelli Vrla, CSP, CVP

Founder, Engage YOUniversity

Drop us a line and let us know how your teams are doing in any area.

Share your challenges and we’ll give you some spot-on answers!

Or ask us a question: [email protected]

We look forward to sharing a chat with your to see how we may help enhance your ah-mazing work culture!


Create New Habits

Greetings! So how’s your habit changing going?

Sometimes we find our life-enhancements (or lack of fulfilling them) pack on more stress.

Here’s an example of my resolutions over the last 3 years:

2 Years Ago: I resolve to join a gym and work out every single day!
Last Year (revised): I resolve to join a gym and work out 3x a week.
This Year : I resolve to drive by my gym at least 3x a week.

Don’t let the stress of new habits get to you.
Give yourself a break and take credit for trying to
create a new habit. Remember, it takes at least 21 days to change a habit. That means in order to
start or stop doing something, it will take time before it feels comfortable.

Work through the discomfort by knowing you’re being positive and proactive. The discomfort
is actually a good sign of your growing pains.

Stay focused on your new habits. Print them on a large sheet of paper and hang them on your
desk at work or on your mirror at home–somewhere you will see them often.

Don’t overload yourself with new things.

 If you have a long list of improvements (or self remodeling,
as I like to call it) then only tackle one or two before moving on.

Changing habits should feel like tweaking tune-ups, not major overhauls.

Soon the newer habits will replace old ones with more productive ways to do things.
Remember, you’re either moving toward your goal or away from it. You can only inhale or
exhale at once–you cannot do both at the same time. Focus on the end result of what you’re new
habits will accomplish.

 Stay light!

Training Tip: Move motivational posters around your staff’s office area. This helps achieve a
“new” look and keeps them from becoming part of the wallpaper. Consider rotating them on a
regular basis.

This has been another quick look at STRESS-RELIEF from the folks at
Have a super week and pass the lightness on! Take care, Kelli V.      [email protected]

Drop us a line and let us know how your teams are doing in any area.

Share your challenges and we’ll give you some spot-on answers!

Or ask us a question: [email protected]

We look forward to sharing a chat with your to see how we may help enhance your ah-mazing work culture!


Motion Vs Progress

 “Nothing is easier than being busy, and nothing more difficult than being effective.”  -Alex MacKenzie

 Busy, busy, busy—flying round and round, but what do you have to SHOW for it?

  Know the difference between MOTION and PROGRESS by first deciding what metric or RESULT means you’re moving forward. Ask an AM (Before) and PM (After) question to keep you on track. Example: (Before) “What exactly must I accomplish on this phone call to move this transaction forward?” (After) “What exactly did I accomplish on the call, etc” 

   Be alert to tangible, measurable moves in the positive direction. Stay focused with posted reminders in highly visible areas of your office: “Go for PROGRESS!” “What’s the TANGIBLE RESULT of this task?”  “Is this the BEST USE of MY TIME RIGHT NOW??” You will stay more on task and on target for bigger and  better ROTI (Return on Time Invested)!



You just cain’t fix stupid

Ask yourself right now: “How can I think before I engage in a frustrating encounter with one of my ‘SAI’ people? How can I remind myself to be more amused than mad?”

Dealing with the “severely aware impaired” (SAI) can be a daily frustrating challenge. Decide to be amused with people who just don’t get it. Your other futile option is to get increasingly upset when they continue not to get it.

“Where’s my surprise face?” If you continue to be surprised when they don’t get it, perhaps you’re becoming “severely aware impaired.” Resist the urge to give FREE SEMINARS to people who did NOT sign up! Stop wasting precious time and energy explaining the whole enchilada, when the chips and salsa are all they can handle.



75/25 Rule

75% of dealing with difficult people and situations is understanding. 25% of dealing with difficult people and situations is skill and technique.

The good news is it’s something we can all improve upon; most of us are not born with the ability to handle the sticky wickets among us. Practice every chance you get, as the opportunities are bountiful. Before diving in, strive to understand the person, the situation, the real issue, and the real obstacles. If all else fails, ask the person you’re dealing with his/her take on the situation, so you can at least agree on where the gaps are.

So ask yourself: How can I better understand a person or situation this week I have perceived as “difficult”?


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