Permission to Speak – Leadership Blog – Dr. Joe Garcia from the Home Depot on Employee Engagement

Permission to Speak

Leadership Video Blog & Podcast

Hosted by Leadership Communications Expert Kelly Vandever

Permission to Speak is the video blog and podcast that loiters at the intersections of leaders who want their people to speak up, technology that facilitates connections, and results that serve an organization’s higher purpose.

Our guest for this episode:  Dr. Joe Garcia

About Dr. Joe Garcia

Dr. Joe Garcia is the Head of Talent Management and Organizational Effectiveness at The Home Depot where he is responsible for enterprise-wide talent management systems including change management, selection strategy, succession management, organizational design, performance management, and engagement surveys.

In addition to more than 26 years of business experience in retail, medical equipment, life science, and management consulting, Dr. Garcia has extensive international experience consulting with multinationals in Europe, Latin American and the Caribbean and leading major selection and organization development projects in Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, and Brazil. Dr. Garcia holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from the University of Miami and conducted his doctoral studies at the University of Miami and the Fielding Institute, where he graduated with a Ph.D. in human and organizational development.

Topics Discussed:

– Industrial / Organizational Psychology

– Impact of employee engagement on key business metrics like customer service and sales

– Research within Home Depot comparing top stores and poorly performing stores

– Wanted to also measure how much of impact there is from employee engagement

– Stores higher in engagement had 8% lower rate of turnover

Gallup’s 12 Questions

– Factors that impact employee engagement:  being emotionally connected, give the right level of discretionary effort, alignment of personal and company values, treatment received from peers and leaders, do you like the people you work with, do I feel capable, supportive feedback that helps you do better, your boss has your back and your best interest in mind

– How do you make employee engagement important to leaders:  Get the leaders to buy into the fact that employee engagement will help them look better and get better results, that they would gain rewards and benefits from a better performing organization.  Once convinced, show them how to do it, show them how to drive better levels of engagement.  Teach and maintain the behavior until it becomes a habit.

– Create metrics to measure the leader’s success around engagement

– In addition to the leadership component, you also must hire the right people

– Increase your ability to bring people into the organization who will align with the organization and who will connect with what we do and what we’re all about

– It’s a combination of good leaders and the right people who will welcome and appreciate what you have to offer as a company

– Diversity and inclusion

– Doing the right thing when it comes to diversity versus the better results we get when we have diversity in the workplace

– Diversity of everything including diversity of thought

– Having the lens of someone with a different perspective helps a business better serve their different customers

– Diversity isn’t only about helping society, it’s about helping you be stronger and more competitive as a business

– The one thing that leaders don’t do well is develop their people

– Development is a key part of how people feel engaged with a workplace

– If you help me be more successful, I’m less likely to leave you

– Of 67 leadership competencies examined through research, “developing others” is consistently at the bottom of how effective leaders are at the competency

– How leaders develop their people is difficult but very important to engagement

– A key part of your job is a leader is to develop others

– Knowing the skills needed to be successful in a role or a role they aspire to and helping them get there

– Dr. Garcia recommends development fall into the 70 – 20 – 10 rule.  10% of development should come from reading or training, 20% should come from others such as mentoring/coaching and connecting/networking with those who are successful with a skill, 70% should come from putting yourself out there, forcing yourself to demonstrate your skills, volunteer for a job, do cross-functional assignments, practice new skill over and over and over again

– More important than money, benefits, or making people happy is being there and letting employees know, I’ve got your back, I care about you, I’m going to help you develop if that’s what you want and give you the tools to help you get promoted and do better.

– One challenge most people have is the pace of change in business today.  It makes it very important for leaders to help their employees deal with the pace of change.

– Need to know how to understand the human side of change

– How to get people to want you to go on this journey with you because they want you, not because they have to

– Pleasant surprise:  there aren’t differences between the generations when it comes to engagement and development.  The different groups want the same thing.

– Maslow’s hierarchy of needs still applies

– If I take care of basic needs (pay, predictable schedule) people start asking for the next level

Questions Answered:

– How do you coach a manager to increase employee engagement

– Does employee engagement matter?

– Why does employee engagement matter?

– How can I better engage my employees?

– How can I develop my people?

– How do different generations look at engagement and development?

– How do millennials look at employee engagement?

– How do retirees in jobs look at development?


Kelly Vandever is a leadership and communications expert who helps leaders and organizations thrive in today’s attention-deficit, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-Facebook world.   Connect with Kelly and discover how being professionally human can bring you better business results. 

Contact Kelly by phone at 770-597-1108, email her or tweet her @KellyVandever.

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