Philie Group Blog

Keep Your Employees Engaged
By Mike Philie

Jim was the general manager of a large printing company. I worked there early in my career as a customer service rep along with 10 other CSRs. The work we did was all critical color and ran on sheetfed and heat set web offset presses. Jim was a big guy and had hands like catchers’ mitts. He’d walk up to where you were working and ask what you were working on. That was his way of doing a one-on-one meeting. These were always learning opportunities and I viewed them as such. Looking back at this, he took the time to listen, to learn, and to teach. He did this with everyone, it was just his way.

What I Learned

I’ll be honest, there were times I wished Jim would go learn and teach with someone else and leave me alone! But what I learned was that he was engaged in making the company the best it could be. This was his way to make sure that everyone there was engaged as he was.

Fast Forward to Today

As time has gone by, we’ve all changed. When you read about the stats that show how many people are NOT engaged in their work it’s unfortunate. This could be caused by several factors and could probably be best explained by somebody a lot smarter than me. I’ve always thought that if you really enjoyed what you did, then it really wasn’t work. You were passionate about what you were able to accomplish and enjoyed the group you worked with. I’ve also seen those in the wrong jobs, and just hating life every day when they wake up and begin thinking about having to go to work. These are the folks that are usually there for the paycheck. Perhaps your best move as a leader would be to help them find a job that they can excel at. And by the way, that job may or may not be with your organization.

What You Can Do

Leaders lead and managers manage, right? While some may argue semantics, there is a difference between the two. The addition of good coaching into the mix can help to keep your team engaged and learning.

So where does coaching come in? Coaching plays an important role in your organization and can be that vital third dimension leading to your success. Coaching can take several forms. I view it as the things you do to encourage, instruct, and provide feedback. You encourage when your team needs to be reassured that they are doing the right things. You also encourage when you help people to believe in their true capabilities, believing in themselves. The instruction comes to play when the expectations either haven’t been clear or aren’t being met. Feedback can be a softly spoken “thanks for all that you do.” The feedback can also be a one-on-one discussion that lets the employee know that they are not meeting expectations, and then working together to create a path forward. The coaching activities support and is sometimes the glue that solidifies the managerial and leadership efforts within the organization. Jim did it his way back in the day, how do you do it today?

I welcome any thoughts or questions, please add them below or reach out to me directly.

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic counsel, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.comLinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions.


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