01 May 3 Employee Engagement Scenarios for your Management Discussions
Something that you need to optimize from your employees is Time and attendance. Without your employee’s engagement then work just won’t be done and your business will suffer. If you doubt the value of employee engagement, it’s not hard to become a believer. On Elizabeth Lupfer’s blog, The Social Workplace, a roundup of data on employee engagement includes such nuggets as:
- The lost productivity of actively disengaged employees costs the US economy $370 BILLION annually. (Gallup)
- Most non-engaged employees say that not being listened to was their main source of frustration and lack of engagement. This shows you should get advice on hr if your employees aren’t engaged so they feel like they are being listened to. Maybe it would be useful for some employees to become more assertive but we know this doesn’t work with all employers.
- 70% of engaged employees indicate they have a good understanding of how to meet customer needs; only 17% of non-engaged employees say the same. (Wright Management)
- Those companies with a highly engaged workforce improved operating income by 19.2% over a period of 12 months, whilst those companies with low engagement scores saw operating income decline by 32.7% over the same period. (Towers Watson)
The disturbing part is that many companies aren’t doing anything to nurture engagement. In fact:
- Less than 50% of chief financial officers appear to understand the return on their investments in human capital. (Accenture)
- 75% of leaders have no engagement plan or strategy even though 90% say engagement impacts on business success. (ACCOR)
But there is opportunity!
- Out of 10,914 workers surveyed by Blessing White, only 31% are engaged
If you understand the value of engagement but aren’t doing anything to support it, consider where you are and where you could be. To illustrate the point, check our Lupfer’s Pinterest board on engagement and then consider these two hypothetical companies: Worldwide Widgets Inc. and Global Gadgets Inc. Which company do you relate to more? Which company do you want to relate to more? Visualize a fully engaged workforce in which you value your employees as people, not job descriptions.
Empty Memos vs. Subtle Empowerment
WW: At Worldwide Widgets, management believes that everything it sends to its employees is read and understood. When the value of employee engagement finally hit home, a memo arrived in everyone’s inboxes indicating that the company cares about how happy, satisfied and engaged its workers are on the job. The memo included a line about vowing to fix its employee engagement issues … and then nothing happened. Memos are popular at Worldwide Widgets. In fact, when any organizational change happens there, a memo is drafted, sent and promptly ignored by disengaged employees.
GG: At Global Gadgets, management understands the value of employee engagement and is doing things about it at every level. Helping employees feel empowered is critical to engagement, so when Global Gadgets launched an organization-wide change, the company’s CEO got in front of a camera. She announced the change through an enterprise social media channel and asked for feedback. Through the social media tool, employees posted feedback, asked questions and saw from their coworkers’ comments that they are not alone in their concerns. When a lot of employees questioned one particular aspect of the change, management revised its plans. That kind of empowerment really strengthens engagement. At Global Gadgets, employee engagement strategies take a holistic approach and subtle steps. There’s no memo announcing a commitment to employee engagement. They just do it.
What a Consultant Says vs. What Your Employees Say
WW: A consultant hired by Worldwide Widgets to improve its employee engagement sold the corporate communicators on a Twitter-style tool to anchor their enterprise social media strategy. “It’s new! It’s exciting! It will allow your employees to engage in real time and share things just like they do on Twitter,” she said. “Sounds great! Where do I sign?” the CEO said. The tool launched — via a memo announcement, of course — and activity started to grow. And then it dipped. And then it died. The Worldwide Widgets corporate communications team chose a tool without considering how the company’s intended users engage with social media in their own lives. They came to find out too late that their employees aren’t big Twitter users. There was no emotional response to this Twitter-style enterprise social media tool, and so it failed.
GG: With the help of a consultant, Global Gadgets found out what kinds of technologies and tools engage its employees outside of work. It turned out that YouTube and blogs are incredibly popular among its workforce. Instead of trying to force a drastically new tool on its team, the Global Gadgets corporate communications team met them where they are already engaged and comfortable. They developed an internal blog platform that makes creating and sharing videos easy. They launched the blog using a video introduction and tour, showing users how to post and what the blog is all about. Participation steadily grew and has continued to climb. Tapping into that emotional connection to what the employees already had an emotional response to was vital to its success.
Rewarding Numbers vs. Rewarding People
WW: At Worldwide Widgets, the dollar is the most valued sign of an employee’s contribution to the bottom line. The company is focused on numbers when it assesses performance. “If he’s bringing in new business or saving us money somehow, then he deserves a reward,” is the general opinion. What management fails to account for are the contributions of other employees to the “moneymaker’s” overall team. If they didn’t silo knowledge, they would have a clearer understanding of who is contributing to the success of the company.
GG: Through its commitment to engaging employees and the use of enterprise social media tools, Global Gadgets has broken down the barriers of knowledge sharing. By making information, conversations and project updates open and transparent, a team’s overall contribution is visible. Management is able to account for things like the quality of work, the depth of relationships with customers and brand loyalty that a team or department has. This empowers Global Gadgets to recognize and reward entire teams, strengthening their own working relationships to continue on the upswing.
Where Do You Fall?
Are you a Worldwide Widgets or a Global Gadgets? Do you engage with job descriptions or do you engage with humans? If you are serious about realizing the value of employee engagement, remember to treat your employees like people.