THE BLOG
12/16/2014 10:34 am ET Updated Feb 15, 2015

Dear Executive: A Holiday Wish...

Yes... you in the C-Suite. You worked very hard to get where you are. Your name is in the box at the top of that organization chart. Congratulations and happy holidays! You are smart, well connected, and you have great intentions. (Let's be honest...you also had some lucky breaks along the way). All of these factors led you to where you are now. You are paid several times more than most others who also working very hard in your organization. All is fair (within reason) in the corporate game we have created in this country. But the best thing about where you are is that you have the ability and authority to make your employees' work wishes come true.

After all, your employees are creating the value that serves your customers - that in turn brings in the revenue - that impresses Wall Street - that makes the shareholders happy - that pays your bonus. Without them there is no game. What they really want (as well as holiday parties and bonus checks) is to feel that they are truly respected for all they bring to your organization. You probably know this, but the question is does your behavior reflect that knowledge? Less than one third of American employees are truly engaged in their work or feel valued at their organizations. You can change that. Here's how...

Be deliberate in how you engage all levels of the organization in the creation of plans, programs and practices. Ask your people in the boardroom/ lunchroom/ shop/ warehouse/ mailroom for their feedback - regularly, face-to face. Give them clear, attainable goals and then let them figure out individually and as teams how, where and when they get the work accomplished. Get to know them. Not just the ones that are attached to your box on the org chart or who went to your alma mater. Everyone. Listen to them. Really listen. Let them know they matter and hold your leaders accountable for doing the same things.

You spend many hours a day making sure that the spreadsheets look good and that your shareholders are happy. Spend at least as much time demonstrating that you really value and respect your people. An abundance of research proves that it will pay off in major ways. When you really focus on your people and let them know that they matter. You will be amazed by the incredible value they can bring to your customers and shareholders.

When you make your employees' work wishes come true ... your corporate wishes will come true as well.