Do you want to improve the work experience? Sure, who doesn't?

Employee engagement is critical to running a successful organization, team, club, or unit. When employees are engaged, they will provide discretionary effort, increase morale, increase productivity, and ultimately profitability!
One good tip to engage your people is to help them develop. Allow them to attend career and professional development conferences and training sessions that get them out of the office, but still engaged with work. Company and team outings also foster team unity and contribute to a greater work-life balance."
This shows appreciation to the individual or team and feeds their brains to help them innovate, problem solve, and improve communications.

As a leader, this is your responsibility - to create the right kind of environment!

If you work somewhere or for a team that has a toxic environment - find a way to change it or get out. You deserve better.

Employee's most common complaints

People are unique and different things stick with us in a negative way or just leave a bad taste in our mouths.

One employee shared a story about showing up to their job and no one knew they were coming. They were hired over the telephone by Human Resources, given a start date, and told where to go. OOPS Communication gap. No one told the hiring manager they filled the role and the person was starting. Well that was a bad start.

Another person never felt accepted as a part of the team. The team seemed to always be talking around him and he didn’t understand the industry jargon (he was new to the company and the industry). That doesn’t feel very good because he felt like he appeared lost in the conversation and no one jumped in to help him!! That feels to me like purposeful exclusion.

One group shared with me that their supervisor left and they were temporarily reporting to their old supervisor’s boss. Four weeks went by and that manager never talked to them - not once! When she finally did it was to say, “You are temporarily going to be reporting to Joe. We’ll hire someone eventually.”

  • In these examples it is not about pay or benefits. It’s about how they felt.

This reminds me of my favorite quote:

“ I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

Let’s think about that as we approach our workday next time.

The Power of an Honest Conversation

Have you ever worked with someone and you and everyone else could see the error of their ways, but they couldn’t? I have and if you’re like me you think “I should have an honest conversation with them.”

One in particular was with someone at work that I had a very good relationship with so I approached it with a bit of humor. We were talking about some things that didn’t go as she had hoped in her recent work. I asked why she thought that was. She couldn’t really articulate it.

I said, “When you begin in the meeting you say something like ‘This is what we should do’ and you never bothered to socialize it with anyone before you just throw it out to the larger group to react to.” She said “Yes, why does that matter?” I said, “To quote Dr. Phil: How’s that working you?”

It wasn’t. Having that honest conversation with her, a little coaching, helped her change her approach. It changed things for her.

I am grateful to those that did it for me and love to see how it helps others when I do it for them.

Have you had an honest conversation that can help someone? Try it.

#workplaceculturematters #honestconversations #drphil #communicate



Leaders Look Different: 3 Ways to Spot a Good Leader

Have you ever had a bad leader? I imagine you have. I have, too. I’ve also had great leaders and good leaders. Great leaders inspire us to do great work, we’re innovative, and more productive! Bad leaders inspire us to leave.

There are many things that make a leader great. Here are three to consider today:

1.       Do they listen well and connect with you? Great leaders will want to hear your thoughts and ideas about work, what’s going on in your life, and what are your career aspirations. When they hear your answers, they will work to help you.

2.       Does your leader keep you in the know? Or are you looking for answers, surprised by things that others are working on, or surprised about a new product launch, new office, or anything? Great leaders communicate effectively all the things their team members need to know and explain WHY they need to know. How does this connect to the person? This helps people feel part of something bigger than just their role.

3.       Do they root for you? Do they make it known what you do well and where you might be a good fit for a future role? Do they sing your praises to others? I had that in one leader and it really felt good to have a cheerleader (also known as a sponsor).

Take a look at your leadership and determine if things are great or could be better.


6 Ways to Differentiate your Organization through Employee Engagement

Think about the difference between a toxic environment and a thriving one. You may notice it when choosing where to shop or where to eat, and it’s especially important when you think about where you work. You can tell when a business is well-run because the building is clean and the people are friendly. The atmosphere is positive and the service is excellent. It’s where customers like to shop and will return! It the employees do not care, do not greet the customer, are not helpful – customers will NOT return!

The people in an organization are often a reflection of the leadership and the environment. Disengaged employees are a sign that the leaders do not demand accountability. On the flip side, when leaders are committed to helping their employees, those employees in turn provide better service to the customers.

Think about things you can do to increase engagement. Here are a few ideas:
·         Recognize and reward employees

·         Communicate often and check for clarity

·         Be flexible when personal issues arise - Life happens!

·         Have fun and celebrate successes

·         Explain why you are in business and why they are important to the company’s success. 

Employee engagement is a game changer, yet many companies don’t focus on it intentionally. Those that do often sit among the top-rated companies in their industry or the top-rated teams in their company. It is well documented that companies with highly engaged employees have less turnover, fewer complaints, and higher productivity, and more profitability.

Though it can be challenging to implement new practices at first, the work will be well worth the reward. Your employees (and customers) with thank you.

Kindness is Underrated

For Leaders, Kindness is Underrated

Would you go above and beyond for a leader who wasn’t kind to you? I always found that the more kind my leaders were, the more willing I was to go out of my way for them. When I became a leader myself, I committed to starting with kindness and it has never failed.

Accepting These 6 Painful Truths Will Make You a Better Leader (July 21, 2016) from Entrepreneur magazine lists six painful truths about leadership. The importance of kindness is one of them. The author writes:

“You may think that your leadership position gives you license to say or do whatever you want. After all, you are there to lead, not to make friends -- right? But you will quickly realize how much havoc you can cause with a single careless comment. Showing kindness may be an underrated value, but it is an important and necessary one. Conscious kindness can transform how you lead your team and send a clear message for how they should treat each other.”

This is especially true in hard conversations. One time, a leader who reported to me was consistently falling short of expectations. When I called him in to meet with me, he assumed I was about to fire him. Instead, I explained my position and then asked, “What would you like to see happen here?”

This gave him a chance to explain himself. He opened up to me and said that he wasn’t happy in his current role. He wanted to take a step back and return to his previous role as a non-supervisor. He had done a great job in that role, so of course I agreed. The shift worked well for everyone involved. If I had come down hard and fired him for his mistakes, I would have lost a great employee.

As a leader, you set the tone for the people you lead and serve. If you commit to starting from a place of kindness, you can be sure everyone else will follow.

The 21st Century Leader

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

We know that circumstances can change in an instant, and because of that, learning agility is of the utmost importance. We must unlearn and relearn constantly to keep up with all the changes we encounter in life. Think about how differently you do your work now, compared to how you did your work five years ago. Changing and adapting is vital to success – remaining the same is simply not an option.

So how do you do it? How do you keep up to date with the changes in your industry or role? How do you make sure you’re constantly learning, unlearning, and relearning? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1)    Network, network, network. Internally and externally. You can learn something from anyone, and it’s important to have to have a friend or a group you can tap into when you have a problem to solve. You can even use these connections to put others in touch with each other and introduce people that can use their specializations. You can do this on LinkedIn or in person, by joining groups or attending events. My favorite is Rotary International – I have met some amazing people this way and made some wonderful friends.

2)    Join an industry trade association. I am a member of The Association of Talent Development (ATD) and I truly get a lot out of that membership! I get to learn from many others who know things that I don’t. It’s also a great way to learn about what is on the horizon in the industry, like new tools or approaches.

3)    Learn from those in your company in a different department. The more you know about the company, the more credible you are when trying to sell an idea – a new project or maybe a promotion. Set up time with colleagues who you have limited interactions with, and learn about their processes, skills, and what makes them good at their jobs. 

Never stop learning, never stop unlearning and relearning, and always be ready to embrace change and improvement. 

Get Your 2019 Calendar Together

Implementing a routine, and scheduling time to get through your daily tasks can lead to a major improvement in your productivity. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re utilizing your time properly and staying productive at work. Schedule time…

·         For your email. Carve out time at the beginning and the end of the day, and stick to it

·         For the regular meetings you MUST have – and make an agenda to stay on track. If you lead people, meet with your team members regularly and consistently.

·         For rewarding people. You don’t have to do the actual reward at that time, but think about who you want to reward, who did something really cool, or who went the extra mile. You can also send out an email to leaders or peers and ask them. It doesn’t matter how you do it – just do it!

·         For intentional thinking and brainstorming. I put items I need to focus on and mull over in my morning notes, so it is top of mind throughout the day. You can multitask, too. Sometimes I brainstorm while I’m driving, sometimes while I’m getting my hair done, and sometimes it’s while I’m doing some chores or errands – make sure you set the topic, so when you make time, the topic is top of mind.

·         For mentoring. Set this time to make sure you’re helping and mentoring others, but also that you have time to help yourself, and spend time with a mentor of your own.

By setting aside time in your day to tackle your big tasks, or to meet with your teams, you’re setting yourself up for success to be productive and efficient. It only takes a few minutes, but if you stick to it, can make a world of difference.  

Thanks for the Lessons 2018; Bring it on 2019!

As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time that we think about year-end reviews. Ask yourself, did I accomplish all I wanted to? What feedback will my boss have? What do I want to do differently in 2019?

For me, 2018 was a wonderful year of transition. I left my corporate job after 33 years and started a business on my own. I moved back to my hometown and began to live my dream job of helping leaders and employees be happier at work.

I was driven by how great some of my experiences in the workplace had been throughout my career. I was also inspired, however, by some of my experiences that were less than great. When they weren’t great, I had to force myself into the office – but when they were great, I loved going to work. That’s so important to me – for people to really love going to work. 

This year, as I was setting my business goals and creating my 2019 plan. This year, it’s all on me. I am my own employer, and business success is all on me. It’s a little scary, but more than that, it’s exhilarating! (That last part is said in a sing-song voice!)

Take time to reflect on 2018 and figure out what you want to work on in the new year. Set goals, make plans, and write them down. Keep them visible and set time to check in with yourself. Don’t wait for your boss to do it – do it on your own. You will start creating deeper ownership of your success at work, and an entrepreneurial spirit that will prepare for you for anything!

Bye 2018!

Honest Networking

It is so important to network. My mantra for the last year has been “Skills UP and Network WIDE!” You may find yourself needing a network and not having one. More importantly, you may have a connection that can help others. The best feelings come from helping others.

My networking has evolved over the years because I put my focus in areas I love. I love Rotary International, working in my community, nurturing friendships I cherish, connecting with other learning professionals primarily through The Association of Talent Development, and building relationships with my new neighbors. It is amazing how these worlds collide sometimes, too! I can help others get what they need or want by connecting them with other people in my groups! This is what I call honest networking.

It is different from showing up somewhere hoping to get new business or a job. It’s not what you can get out of it. You start with what you love. The connections will come organically.

Network wide!

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People Quit

"The employer generally gets the employees they deserve."  J. Paul Getty

I could not agree more!

People quit for a number of reasons. Here are a few:

1. Lack of meaningful work.

2. No recognition.

3. No relationships are established.

4. No one is listening.

5. Everyone is going through the motions.

We all want more than that. Are you doing all you can to have a lifetime of work that you enjoyed and creating a work environment that people enjoy?

#workplaceculturematters #effectiveleadership #happyworkplace

The meeting before the meeting, and the meeting before that.

Have you ever heard of the ‘meeting before the meeting?’ What does that mean?

It is about preparing how you/your team will effectively communicate to a larger audience. You must think about what it is you are going to say, anticipate what questions they may have, what is the goal or expected outcome of this meeting. Think first about what you want to come out of this meeting. Then think about what you need to communicate to get that good outcome. 

But think about this: what happens even before those meetings?

Each meeting participant has a reputation.

·If you are delivering the message, are you credible on this topic? Or do you need a partner with credibility on this topic so your message will be received as you intend.

If your receivers are known to be inquisitive – be prepared; if they will be concerned about employee impacts – be prepared; if they will be concerned about the environment – be prepared; the numbers – be prepared.

Bottom line: Get to know people, build a network and strong relationships. This will help you be more successful in your messaging and getting a ‘YES’ when you need one!

Feedback to Feedforward

Giving feedback can be difficult but it is important to do. It’s necessary for the receiver if they want to move forward.

As a receiver of feedback, remember that there is always something that you can learn from this even if you don’t want to believe it. Someone is perceiving you or has observed you in a certain way. 

Don’t punish the person giving the feedback. Reflect on what you heard and put yourself in the position of the giver. If you really want to move forward, you will receive it in an appropriate way so you’ll continue to get good feedback.

Giving good feedback is a gift to the receiver. If you are a receiver of this gift, accept it with grace.

Profits go up & companies expand...

Company executives talk to their employees about profits, reducing expenses, and what each person can do. Some people wonder why because they think "I can't make a difference here or profits don't matter to me." But they can and it does matter. If your company is profitable, that means there is money available for raises and expansion. 

When companies expand, that means more opportunity for people in the company and more jobs for people outside the company. When more people are employed, there are more taxes going into the tax system. That pays for schools, bridges, roads, parks, police/fire, and many more services.

More jobs and money also means more money being spent in your community so there are more things to do and places to go.

Ultimately, it means everyone wins! Consider how you can contribute!

Leaving your legacy.

Ever wonder what people will say about you at your going away party or your retirement party? I do. I hope it’s good things!

I have been to numerous going away parties at work and always pay attention to what people remember about someone who is leaving. Mostly, people share heartwarming or funny stories because they remember feeling good. Seems obvious but really – what they remember was how they felt.

Do people feel good about their interactions with you?

Would you walk across hot coals? I did and here is why...


Do you consider yourself to be adventurous? Not me. I’ve never been very adventurous. Riding roller coasters, hopping on the back of a motorcycle, starting a conversation with a strangers -- no thank you.

But over time, I couldn’t just say no to every uncomfortable or scary situation.  I came to the realization that in order to grow,

I was faced with leading 350+ people, meeting and learning about as many of them as I could, and being in a new community and without friends on the first day. As I faced this fear, which for any introvert is as scary as going 100 mph on the back of a motorcycle, I learned that I could do it. And it got easier with each interaction.

I began to feel braver while realizing that pushing my comfort zone would help me grow as a person and as a leader. I started doing other things that scared me. I started big! My friend, Lynnette, and I decided to do the FIRE WALK!

 We attended a Tony Robbins seminar. The first day was very motivating, high energy, thought- provoking, and ended with the fire walking ceremony. I stared at 10-feet of red hot coals. How on earth was I going to do this? I needed to take one little step first, then another, and then another. It’s like a frog crossing a pond – it goes from one lily pad to the next. I was not going to be able to jump over the coals in a single jump!

Prior to walking across fire, I had joined a very extroverted group – Rotary, opened a restaurant, went zip-lining, started public speaking about my passions, and then eventually participated in a fire walk with 7,000 other people!

I learned that after conquering some fears, I felt like I could do anything! I'm getting more brave with every day!

What steps do you need to take to "walk across your fire?"


What Do People Love About Work?

I love being challenged, having fun with intelligent, hard-working, creative people, and learning new trades and skills. Rewards are nice, but for me, rewards without those things are short-lived when it comes to remaining invested in my job.

There are numerous studies on this topic, but they all center around a few things:

  • People want to feel like they matter. They want to be noticed, valued, and appreciated for what they do. Does anyone even care that I am here?
  • They want work that is challenging and that they can manage.  I want to feel competent and confident in the work that I do.
  • They want to feel like they are a part of the team. I like my team, they feel like my family.
  • They want their basic needs to be met, like pay and safety; however, there is a little more than that. They want the opportunity to self-actualize.  I want to work at my best!

In addition to the basics, people are as unique as their thumb prints. So, different things will ignite the fire in the belly for each person. Find out what works for you and chase after it!


V as in Victory

We’re off! Welcome to the Vogelmeier Consulting blog – I’m Dana Vogelmeier. I’m thrilled to launch my business (and blog) that focuses on real people, real development, and real growth in the workplace. Every organization needs a strong, healthy workplace culture and climate. I can help you get there. V as in Vogelmeier Consulting.

I have worked in some excellent work environments and I have experienced the feeling of looking forward to work each day. I want that for others. I have made that happen for others and I’m ready to do it again and again and again. V as in voracious.

My personal coach recently said to me “For every day that you don’t provide help, there are people who don’t look forward to going to work. You need to change that.” This pushed me to finally launch Vogelmeier Consulting. I know what employees value and I know how to create a culture that leaves them happy, inspired, and thriving. V as in value.

There are a lot of new things happening right now. New business, new clients, new website…and a new logo. The Vogelmeier Consulting logo holds symbolism in many forms. The black line in the shape of a W symbolizes a mountain and the challenges one must face when working toward their goals. It also stands for workforce, which is being upheld by the V, or Vogelmeier Consulting. We’re ready to help you and your team create a thriving workplace with winning employees who love coming to work. V as in Victory!

With that being said, let’s get started on creating a successful work environment for employers and employees alike!