The health and wellbeing of members, exhibitors, staff, and other stakeholders is our top priority. Due to the growing concern around the coronavirus (COVID-19), and in alignment with the best practices laid out by the CDC, WHO, and federal and local governments, CFMA has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 CFMA Annual Conference & Exhibition. Please CLICK HERE for more information.

Reach Out, Branch Out, Top Out: How to Improve Employee Engagement & Professional Success

Joe McLaughlin
Joe McLaughlin, CCIFP, Incoming Chairman

For many CFMA members, this time of year is the calm before the storm that is year-end close and audit season. During this period, take the opportunity to focus internally on your team; to encourage, develop, and educate your most important resource – your people.

With labor resources getting scarcer, it’s important now more than ever to attract, develop, and retain key employees. If you don’t invest in your people, someone else will.

Reach Out to Employees
As a manager, it is important to Reach Out to your employees and understand their goals, fine tune their strengths, and work together to improve their weaknesses.

A strategic way to stay aligned with your employees is to maintain a continuous dialogue regarding performance, goals, and opportunities. Having conversations and following up after initial discussions, project completions, or periodic check-ins provides helpful coaching and developmental training. Even a simple “Good job!” can go a long way in recognizing and motivating an employee.

For example, in her article, “How to Build a Culture of Continuous Feedback,” Jackie Bassett, Director of People Strategy at the University of Chicago Medicine, recommends that, as an employer, you should “give positive feedback three times as often as you give negative feedback. It’s very important for people to know when they have done something well, as it not only reinforces the positive behavior, but even more importantly, it sends a message that you noticed and appreciate the good work they are doing. When employees are appreciated for their work, they tend to feel more engaged.”

In addition, Bassett suggests to supplement positive feedback with coaching to further elevate employee performance and engagement.

Encourage Employees to Branch Out
Encouraging your staff to Branch Out to improve skill sets and approaches to internal processes is a great way to show that your organization is invested in their growth and development. As author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek said, “When people are financially invested, they want a return; when people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

One example of how you can foster a culture that embraces continuous growth and development includes promoting classes on software used by your organization to help employees learn new tips and tricks, and in general, keep abreast of the latest functionalities; another way is to advertise courses focused on improving productivity.

To further delve into employee development, I’ll take this opportunity to promote CFMA’s educational programs. In addition to our informative, scheduled webinars, CFMA will offer discounted classes during our Super CPE Days on December 11 and 12.

Check out the schedule below (subject to change), and take advantage of CFMA’s quality online education to help you and your employees advance your knowledge, fulfill your professional license requirements, and strengthen your foundation for success!

December 11:

  • Gain a Competitive Advantage, with Christian Moreno (1.5 CPE credits)
  • Top 10 Contractor Mistakes, with Mark Lumsden (1.5 CPE credits)
  • Improving Cash Flow, with Dan Owens (1.5 CPE credits)

December 12:

  • Improve Hiring & Retention, with Kathy Cole (1.5 CPE credits)
  • The Connected Jobsite, with Alex Lee (1.5 CPE credits)
  • The Leadership Connection, with Steve Lords (1.5 CPE credits)

Top Out to Success by Working Together
In addition to maintaining continuous communication and encouraging employee development, seek to Top Out with your team by providing timely employee annual reviews. Doing so will set an enthusiastic tone for the year and help manage expectations.

Engaging in detailed and honest conversations about performance, opportunities, and goals for the coming year can only strengthen workplace relationships, employee engagement, overall productivity, and success. When employees understand how they fit into an organization, they will be better equipped to produce quality work and maximize opportunities.

As we head into another busy year, I would like to take this time to wish you and your families a happy holiday season. I hope your year Tops Out professionally and personally!


Copyright © 2018 by the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). All rights reserved. This article first appeared in CFMA Building Profits and is reprinted with permission. CFMA Building Profits is a member-only benefit; join CFMA to receive the magazine.

Contact publications@cfma.org for reprinting information. You can also download a PDF of this article.