JJ Murphy of Hobbs, New Mexico: Employee Engagement

JJ Murphy is an award-winning leader who accepted the role of City Manager of Hobbs, New Mexico, in 2012. He has extensive experience in municipal government and military roles, and he maintains a reputation for the ability to implement organization change and development. Part of bringing about organization change is employee engagement.

Employee engagement is an approach to the workplace used by leaders like JJ Murphy in positions like City Manager of Hobbs, New Mexico. It creates the conditions needed for all employees to stay motivated and contribute to organizational success every day. It is based on commitment, communication, trust and integrity. Without it, individual and organization productivity flounders.

Approaching leadership and management with a mechanistic mindset that manipulates employee emotion and commitment does not work. Employees will quickly see through such attempts, causing the plan to backfire and lead to cynicism, disengagement and disillusionment.

Instead, it must be approached with positivity, empowerment and inspiration. “As City Manager of Hobbs, I changed our mission statement to ‘Our Mission is SERVICE.’ SERVICE is used as an acronym for Safety, Engagement, Responsiveness, Visionary, Inclusive, Customer Driven and Enhancing the Quality of Life,” said Mr. Murphy. “Our employees have changed their mindset to a service-minded organization. We measured how the employees felt about the leadership team and our culture . . . our third survey of our employees rated my management skills 46% higher than the national benchmark of thirty other local government managers.”

With his approach of SERVICE, Mr. Murphy engaged his employees and focused on creating an empowered, diverse and ethical team committed to this mission. By empowering each employee as an integral and unique element of the organizational foundation, he promoted professional growth and collaborative decision making throughout the organization.

Though you might not be working on employee morale from a position like City Manager of Hobbs, New Mexico, (or maybe you are), focusing on employee engagement will help you build the reputation you want. In time, like JJ Murphy, you might be known for your leadership and engagement skills.