Last year, I sang and danced in front of hundreds of my employees. And it was great fun!
Why would I do such a thing? For the past two years, first in India and then in the Philippines, several hundred Integreon employees have been participating in a talent show where they can show off their amazing skills -- everything from singing to gymnastics. It's really a fun event -- and it allows all of us to see a side of our coworkers we don't usually see, which I think is important for any company. In my previous company, I took my entire management team and we spent three months preparing and then executed a Bollywood dance in front of all of our staff at a company meeting. The following year was Irish dancing. And my feet still ache!
I chose to join in the talent show because I believe it's imperative to show that all employees, at all levels, bring unique skills and strengths to the table -- and respecting and celebrating those results nurtures a better, stronger workforce by giving a voice to those who don't usually have one. Think of it as "redefining" talent management.
Though talent management has been a buzzword in the boardroom for years now, in many organizations, it still has not progressed beyond the traditional notion of personnel administration. Yet actively managing talent as a strategic resource and asset of a company can enhance employees' creativity, execution and management skills.
To keep talented, passionate employees, talent management must be about engaging employees and making them feel valued. But companies must realize that creating company culture is not just a matter for the human resources department. As simple as it sounds, company culture must come from the people who make up the company and live out that culture every day--the employees. And so employees must be made to feel comfortable expressing themselves--their interests and passions, as well as the ideas that can improve the company.
And as a CEO, I believe a company's leadership plays a vital role in setting the tone for company culture. A buttoned-up company president who shows little personality sends a tacit message to employees that they too should keep within a set of narrow boundaries for self-expression at all times. But a leader who is willing to have a little fun--yes, even embarrass himself or herself a little in front of a crowd of peers--is saying that it's ok to show your colleagues other sides of yourself; you have official permission to let your inner gifts shine and not be afraid to be yourself.
Making employees feel more comfortable is not only good for the employees; it's also good for business. There has been much study on the relationship between high employee engagement and profitability. To do that, a company needs to make sure its employees have a voice. And what better way to give them a voice than to let them sing?
That's what we strive to do with events like "Integreon's Got Talent." With offices and delivery centers spread around the globe, our employees come to us with a wide range of experiences and skill sets, interests and passions. Recognizing the individuals who make up our company--and the unique talents they bring to the table, or the stage--is key to our company culture and passion for excellence for our clients.
Robert Gogel is CEO of Integreon, a global outsourcing firm.