Employee Engagement Part 3

So you’ve decided that being engaged and having an engaged workforce is what you want to accomplish. You want to have the attitude Steve Jobs had when he said, “I want to put a ding in the universe.” You’ve looked at your culture, workplace safety, total compensation, and the four intrinsic motivators, and you’ve asked, how does one really wrap this up? Margret Thatcher once said, “Plan the work and work the plan.”  You and your organizations are no different: you need a systematic and strategic approach, a sound employee engagement survey to measure the dimensions of engagement, and individuals with strong leadership to follow through on specific actionable data.

Unactionable Data Is Useless

As a young middle manager and later at higher levels there was no actionable data. Through several organizations, survey methods, and service providers this was always the missing piece and truthfully has been since the inception of the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey. We need to demystify employee engagement, then “work the plan” based on actual data. For example what is the most pressing concern of my associates, are managers connecting with staff, or do people know our mission and does it resonate with them, are just a few things. Are you working from a plan with your staff?

Over the last decade, people have begun to understand there is often a gap when they got back giant reports from a consulting company doing their employee engagement survey; they were left thinking “what do I do with this?” The good news is people are recognizing and closing this gap, but meanwhile, the landscape also changed. Now we have Glassdoor and we see the connection between customer satisfaction and engaged employees. So what has emerged during this time are three key items to make you successful in this area: responses to environments (for example, to the notion of the Glassdoor), cultivating direct links between customer satisfaction and employee engagement, and finally ways to sustain customer satisfaction and employee engagement.

Times Have Changed—Hack the Workplace

In the age of the Glassdoor where everyone is searching for the perfect job or meaningful work, to just pay well, have good benefits, or have an associate population that doesn’t hate your company isn’t sufficient anymore. In today’s global economy with a shortage of talent, these sentiments have morphed; today “if you aren’t for me then you’re against me.”

Step one is to adopt an approach I call the Zone of Engagement, which incorporates both types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic. Step two of the Zone of Engagement is determined using Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology and questions. These questions are the 1–10 scale, ones that begin with “How likely would you be to. . .” recommend, refer, buy again, etc. In the beginning, NPS was founded on customer service, so its inclusion in the Zone of Engagement developed naturally. As NPS usage flourished, there was a direct link between an organization’s customer satisfaction and how engaged its workforce was.

Who Are You Attracting?

Finally, the third step is sustaining improvements in employee engagement year on year by doing surveys and responding to actionable data in some agreed-upon frequency, annually at a minimum. This final piece is called Continuous Cultural Improvement. My friend Bruce Vincent ask organizations “are you attracting and retaining the very best employees, customers, and stakeholders.” It’s not enough to just attract talent then you have to retain them; that happens by getting them engaged. Are you engaging your staff?

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