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13 Realities of Employee Engagement

  1. 1 Realities of Employee Engagement
  2. 2 3 out of every 4 of your employees are not fully engaged while they are working for you. You are the last person they are going to discuss it with.
  3. 3 Legal Exposure Process Control Staffing Succession Planning What Woke You Up This Morning? Expense Reduction Safety Absenteeism Revenue Targets Operational Targets Presenteeism Profitability Quality Issues Customer Retention Waste Productivity Board/ Investor Expectations Customer Service Employee engagement is crucial for ALL of these
  4. 4 This eBook Will Cover: ● Rethinking Employee Engagement ● The Problem ● Human Capital ● A Model for How To Think About Your Employees ● Characteristics of An Engaged Employee ● The 13 Realities of Employee Engagement ● Top 10 Ideas for Improving Employee Engagement ● Questions For Your Organization ● Measuring Progress ● Summary ● About the Author
  5. 5 Rethinking Employee Engagement Perhaps you’ve heard the words employee engagement in the past. You may have even had conversations about engagement. If you are like most, engagement gets pushed out of your mind by other more immediate needs. This is the case for most organizational leaders. Engagement all by itself is not a problem we business leaders are actively trying to solve. Sure, it is important, but we are busy focusing on the more tangible challenges in our businesses. A new way to think about engagement is to understand employee engagement’s role in the challenges your business is facing today. While you may not be focused on engagement. You are, however, spending most of your time and energy solving specific problems and improving your business. But here’s the thing...employee engagement has a dramatic effect on every business challenge we face.
  6. 6 The Problem Without effective engagement efforts, organizations are plagued with inefficiencies, mediocrity, waste, increased expense, malicious obedience and existential risk. Higher engagement leads to decreased absenteeism, decreased presenteeism, increased motivation, increased attention and increased focus. All of this drives increased productivity.
  7. 7 Human Capital Human Capital is simply an idea based on the concept that not all employees are considered equal. The quality of employees and their contribution is modifiable through investment, education and experience. Additionally, growing discussion is taking place on the topics of resilience, energy, emotional intelligence and other capabilities. Attention is growing in the area of understanding employee’s needs and helping them be more productive. Unfortunately, the tendency is toward a “one size fits all” industrial approach that has a very real risk of further disengaging employees. Humans are complex. They are constantly evolving in response to the environments in which they operate. We must incorporate the individual’s specific context if we are to make any progress toward a more engaged employee.
  8. A Model for How to Think About Your Employees Individual Security Risk Tolerance Skills Training Resilience Cognitive Capability Cultural Adaptation Tolerance for Change Ability to be Present Emotional Intelligence Physical State Personal Drivers of Engagement Perceived Value Personal Vision 8
  9. 9 Characteristics of an Engaged Employee We see it all the time. An effective team working for the good of the team outperforms a team of highly skilled individual performers. The same thing goes for companies. An engaged team will outperform a team where members are less than enthused about their relationship with their employer. But how do you define an engaged employee? An engaged employee generally exhibits these behaviors: • Brings the best effort they have most days • Exhibits a high level of focus • Demonstrates a positive emotional connection to the work they do • Possesses a positive emotional connection to their employer • Puts forth an effort beyond the minimum level required to maintain employment • Offers thoughts, ideas and solutions • Contributes to conversations • Asks questions • Articulates what they are doing and why in a positive manner • Maintains a posture of wanting to go to work vs. having to go to work • Picks up the ball, identifying the next action and following up • Treats their co-workers with trust and respect
  11. 11 The 13 Realities of Employee Engagement There are 13 realities that employers must understand before they can improve employee engagement. In order to be effective, any employee engagement initiative must take all of these realities into account. 1. The engagement must be within the individual’s context in order to be relevant and effective. Attending off-site meetings and conferences are usually nice, but cannot offer real change to the individual because they do not offer individually customized coaching, training and mentoring. 2. The engagement must be individually created and individually customized to each person based upon specific needs. You must address needs at the individual “fingerprint” level. Each person needs an ongoing and individually tailored approach.
  12. 6. Engagement must be offered with service to the individual as the top priority. Typical interventions are focused on the business and based upon what is easiest and most realistic to offer. For example, gathering everyone together on one day to talk about stress management techniques is about the company and not Joe Smith in row 3 seat 5. These kind of “easy” efforts actually create a false sense of progress. They also damage management’s credibility. 7. Employee engagement cannot be measured in the typical ways. A report showing utilization or other activity data doesn’t mean engagement is being affected. Engagement efforts do not fit into neat report formats. 8. Engagement is a process. A belief. A part of “who we are”. It is not precise. It is not a single event. 9. Engagement efforts need to be ongoing. They must happen In the background. They must also be constant and consistent. 12 3. Management is typically too busy and not able to provide what is needed for engagement. They are often not comfortable with the right conversations that can lead to improved engagement. These conversations typically need to expand beyond the boss-employee relationship. Credibility is often lost with distracted attempts by management. Most managers are not trained to have these conversations. Think back in your own case...what was the reason you were promoted? It wasn’t because you were a great mentor. Also, did you ever receive any real training in the area of employee training and coaching? 4. Focus on effectiveness over easy and efficient. Employee engagement is not about having access to information, it is not about web sites, software or apps. If this were the case, we would not have a massive engagement problem. 5. Conversations must be confidential and secure. Employees must be free of fear. They must be sure there will be no negative consequences as a result of working on their engagement. They must be able to be vulnerable and completely honest.
  13. 13 10. The individual is a complex being. They are much more than an employee. They are certainly NOT “Human Capital”. The entire person must be addressed. Engagement efforts must take into account all of the factors that impact engagement. Some of these include: • Skill gaps • Attitude • Motivation • Inner voice • Emotional resilience • Physical health • Emotional health • Organizational skills and techniques • Written and oral communications • Critical thinking • Collaboration • Self awareness • Problem solving • Positive and negative events in their life
  14. 14 11. Outsiders must do the intervention work. Employees trust outsiders more than they do the people they work for. Complete honesty is easier to achieve between an employee and a trained professional from the outside. This person is also better able to have a wide range of meaningful conversations (business, personal, other). 12. Engagement efforts must be able to work as a stand-alone offering or in support of other initiatives. An engagement effort is not necessarily a replacement for other initiatives. It can an enabler of them. However, engagement efforts need to be effective even when there are no other major initiatives underway. 13. Measuring engagement using surveys should be stopped until the strategic leadership of the organization is truly ready to think differently about employee engagement. Ongoing measurements without effective changes only serve to reduce the credibility of the strategic leadership. Measuring via surveys does nothing to promote engagement. It is not a value added activity.
  15. 15 Top 10 Ideas For Improving Employee Engagement 1. Make employee engagement part of how your business operates and part of who you are. 2. Commit to an ongoing engagement process, not one-time events. 3. Use an external resource to make sure the engagement work is getting done in the background. This work is the first to get delayed or dismissed when you get busy. 4. Support and maintain complete confidentiality. 5. When engaging with employees, consider the whole person. Do not just focus on what you need from them today at this moment. 6. Make engagement efforts about the employee, not about the company. 7. Deliver any engagement efforts only within the individual’s specific context. 8. Use a ‘low-tech” approach. Engagement is about meaningful conversations. It is not about web sites, apps and software. 9. Make sure what you do and what you offer is completely tailored to each individual person. Do not attempt any “one size fits all” approaches simply because they are easier. 10. Be completely honest and transparent with any engagement efforts you undertake.
  16. 16 Questions for Your Organization • How do we define employee engagement? • Is employee engagement something we care about? How do we know? • What current business challenges would be helped with higher employee engagement? • Are we able to improve employee engagement on our own? Why or why not? How? Why haven’t we done this before? • Do we understand what an engaged employee looks like in our environment? • Are we able to identify examples of people who are engaged? • Do we understand what a disengaged employee looks like in our environment? • Are we able to identify examples of people who are disengaged? • Are we satisfied with the previous and current investments we’ve made in our employee’s engagement, performance and productivity. Specifically, what are those investments? • Do we really know what our employees and managers think about our company? How do we know?
  17. 17 Measuring Progress Engagement is measured by observation at the individual level through examples and stories. Employee engagement is what we see and hear in hallways, meetings, on the shop floor and everywhere else your business operates. It is measured in customer feedback. It is also measured by direct employee feedback. Because employee engagement is an ongoing process and part of how an organization operates, it is everywhere. It can be seen and felt. Effective employee engagement strategies do work. At first, they can be slow. However, within a relatively short amount of time, more and more examples of higher employee engagement are easier to highlight. The catalog of these examples continues to grow and engagement becomes a part of the new normal. 3
  18. 18 Summary From the very small to the very large organization, strategic leaders everywhere need to decide for themselves whether or not to address the engagement level of the employees and managers that make up their organization. If they decide that they will meet the challenge of employee engagement, they must have an effective and realistic approach. Having an effective engagement program is critical to the success of the organization and the strategic leaders that run them. With an effective properly crafted engagement program, strategic leaders and the people that work for them will benefit from a more productive and higher functioning organization. They will also have a clear strategic competitive advantage. 3
  19. 19 About the Author Don Turner Don is an energetic and seasoned business leader with a background of growth and success. He has been successful in management, operations, sales and service roles. He has also had success in multiple industries and business models. He is a builder and cares deeply about the organizations and the people he works with. Contact Don at 734-812-2602 or 19
  20. 21 Realities of Employee Engagement