A Sunday Stroll Turned into Much More for This Formerly Disengaged Employee

    Don Turner

    It was just another Sunday in 2006 – or at least, that’s how it seemed at first to Don Turner, who was on his usual morning walk dreading the thought of going back to his job in corporate America on Monday morning.

    Don Turner
    Don Turner

    He had been feeling less engaged with his work, and his goals no longer aligned with those of that company. This wasn’t about finding a new job; he actually liked the company where he worked. Instead, Turner knew he had joined the ranks of those workers who felt disengaged and unproductive at work.

    It was shortly after that walk that Turner founded Long Walk Partners, a Canton-based company that would work directly with employees and middle managers to be more engaged and better trained.

    “The issue of low employee engagement in the US workforce is well documented,” says Turner. “An amazing 70 percent of employees are not engaged at work and this is troubling news when we consider that 80 percent of business innovation ideas come from the people doing the work and serving customers on a daily basis. If employees are disengaged, their boss is the last person with which they are going to discuss it.”

    While still an employee in the corporate world, Turner began having informal one-to-one conversations on his own time with employees from a variety of different companies, most of whom were people he had met via his day job. From 2006 through 2012, he began building a team of other professionals, and the conversations between employers and employees became more frequent and formalized.

    “When it comes to employee happiness, engagement, and productivity, it’s all about context,” Turner says. “It’s easy to send employees to conferences, training classes, or team building exercises. It is also easy to conduct employee engagement surveys and form engagement teams inside the organization. The problem is that these approaches don’t have any real impact on what the employee does once they are back to their daily routine and daily reality.”

    Walk photoIn January 2013, Turner left his corporate job to focus solely on Long Walk Partners. Client growth steadily increased and in early 2015 Long Walk Partners began implementing the next phase of its growth plan to offer services to an even more diverse cross section of organizations. The company has been disciplined in making sure to take the time to learn how to help employees in a meaningful and sustainable way.

    In the course of the last nine years, Long Walk Partners has developed and practiced these methods known as Employee Performance Facilitation. There is a powerful change in the ongoing conversation employees have with Long Walk Partners.

    “What we do to impact performance, is to meet the individual employee and build a rapport with them,” Turner says. “We need to invest the time to understand their daily context and provide them with constructive tools and training aligned to their needs in a customized and risk-free way. This is what we do. It is why Long Walk Partners exists.”