"Many employees are not committed to the work they do," says The Conference Board, a business membership and research organization. Among the findings in its report, Employee Engagement: employee commitment is directly connected to an organization's financial success. Employers should know that happy, well-treated employees contribute to the company's (or association's) bottom line.

Mary Corbitt Clark, of Winning Workplaces, shared this information today with small association CEOs at Association Forum of Chicagoland, explaining the importance of focusing on the welfare of association employees.

As often happens in meetings of CEOs, though, attendees spoke nearly as much as the speaker, discussing workplace problems with their peers.

Here are some of their comments:

One association exec holds weekly 1 1/2 hour staff meetings PLUS weekly face-to-face meetings with each of the nine staff (more about this tomorrow).

Two CEOs employed aspiring actors.

One exec lamented that two employees see their jobs as "a paycheck" and rarely work extra hours.

Most share all financial data (except position salaries) with staff and give them a heads-up if the Board is wielding a budget axe.

One exec asked why it is OK to leave the office early for a family dinner but not for an acting class. Neither has value to the association but both have value to the respective employees.

A CEO intended to relocate from a space with numerous offices (and closed doors) to an open office space.

Another countered that people need privacy and don't want others eavesdropping on conversations with gynecologists or therapists.

Everybody left the meeting thinking about the care and feeding of employees. That's the point.