Tag Archives: building a culture of engagement

Engagement With a Purpose

Engagement with a purpose is a good way of building and sustaining a high-performing culture in a measurable way.

In many posts and during many client discussions, we have shared data showing that, when effectively initiated, enterprise engagement is the ideal way to achieve goals through people in a measurable way.

While studies have consistently found a high positive correlation between employee engagement and financial performance, the data also shows that correlation is not necessarily causation; and while employee engagement is a necessary ingredient for high performance, simply trying to make people happy is not enough.

In contrast, if we follow a strategic plan for engaging people around their work, we can achieve  a culture of engagement that is inextricably linked with team productivity, performance and job satisfaction — an organized plan for measurable results: engagement with a purpose.

Survey Says…!

An organization’s workforce is its most important and unique asset.

As such, we must make every effort to effectively lead, support, motivate, empower and engage employees, and to maintain a keen awareness of what this “key asset” thinks and feels about the organization.

Surveying employees on a regular basis is a good way to gain this knowledge. This simple practice can put us in the best position to make the best decisions, and can better-enable us to optimize our efforts to bring about a culture of engagement and continuous improvement — a high-performance culture.

By gathering critical knowledge about what employees really think and how they feel about our organization, we can identify the true status-quo and the best areas on which to focus our improvement effort.

Additional benefits associated with regularly-conducted employee satisfaction surveys include:

  • Maintain an accurate picture of current reality with respect to employee engagement
  • Understand what employees value… the things that are most important to them
  • Understand employee concerns and the magnitude of those concerns, and how to use this information to implement necessary changes and improvements
  • Compile facts and data by which to measure the impact of changes
  • Compile a relative ranking as to how our results compare to the “best” companies

Engagement Around the Work

Our previous post shared perspective on how productivity drives engagement, and that by enabling our workforce to become culturally-involved in continuous improvement we can promote greater levels of productivity which, in turn, yields greater levels of workforce engagement.

And so on…

Data clearly indicates that this outcome is most desirable, as organizations with an engaged workforce consistently outperform those without.

Here’s a short video that shares more details:

The Hidden Cost of Disengaged Workers?

wordleengage4A young, seemingly fast-rising junior executive had been working at a large bank for just over six years. When he was asked about his job and how he felt about it he said, “The job’s OK.” His lack of enthusiasm was evident.

When pressed to say more he added, “Well, I’m not really learning much any more… ”

When asked if he was fully-engaged he said probably not but went on to say that he still did a great job. “I still give 100% and consider myself to be a great employee,” he said. Then, after a short pause, he added,” But I don’t give them 110% and  there’s a big difference between 100% and 110% — at least for me.”

When asked if he was out looking he responded, “No…, but I’m listening.”

When asked whether he told his boss how he was feeling he said, “Yeah, but….”

How many people in how many organizations feel like he does? He is bright, skilled, and might be an ideal candidate for a senior leadership position…if he stays.

But is he being made to feel like an important part of the team? Does anyone realize that he could be giving more?

Is he being “engaged?”

Among the many documented advantages of an engaged worker is the “discretionary” effort that they put forth… going the extra mile; the above-and-beyond attitude… giving 110%!

How many innovative ideas might that extra 10% yield?  How much more productivity? What impact might it have on customers or coworkers?

What are the real, (or hidden!) costs associated with not getting that extra 10%?

Funding Engagement & Improvement Initiatives Through ROI

engagementroiEarlier this year a Deloitte research summary reported that 87 percent of business leaders “cite organizational culture and employee engagement as their top challenge.”

Fortunately we don’t need to create new budgets to engage people, as outlined in a recent article published by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance. Instead, dollars can be spent more wisely by aligning engagement and improvement efforts to better-address all of the “levers of engagement,” and to improve both the work and workplace in measurable ways.

In many cases, organizations are already doing some of the fundamental work; the difference is to take a more strategic approach to these activities by applying proven engagement and continuous improvement best practices.

This approach will include:

  • Creating a formalized implementation plan and establishing performance measures so that progress can be tracked.
  • Developing realistic, achievable, and measurable goals and objectives.
  • Working with the leaders so that they can model the right behaviors and cascade the concepts to their reports and throughout the organization.
  • Identifying and quantifying opportunities for improvement and engagement.
  • Fostering an atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, continuous improvement, and fun.
  • Making sure people have the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.
  • Maintaining open lines of communication, including the rewarding and recognizing of people so that they feel supported in their efforts.
  • Measuring return on investment.


Leading the CI Charge

culture2Among the highest achieving organizations are those that have  successfully planned and developed high performance cultures of continuous improvement.

Management promotes this culture by truly valuing the workforce, fostering open communication, and both educating and empowering people to think outside of the box, with amnesty, as they seek innovative ways to study and improve the work and work processes.

These organizations also tend to have a highly-engaged workforce in which most people have an emotional attachment to their work. These engaged employees are willing to go “the extra mile” because they  feel that they are part of something bigger, working on behalf of the organization and its goals.

But Continuous Improvement and Engagement are top-down-driven strategies.  Without the support and commitment of senior management, neither concept can become the cultural way.

“A culture of continuous improvement begins with leadership,” said John Knotts, a business professional leader and consultant in Austin, Texas.  “If it is not understood, influenced, and supported by leaders, it is doomed to struggle and fail.  Thus, it takes significant leadership engagement to create a culture where all employees are continuously improving what they do every day.”

The same is true about engagement, as summarized by Doug Brown, President of Engaged2Perform, a consulting company in Waterloo, Canada, who said, “If senior leadership doesn’t buy in or doesn’t understand engagement, the company isn’t likely to have engagement polices… even top corporate executives who are aware of engagement practices aren’t always aware of the financial return they can deliver.”

Finally, possibly Costco’s Jim Sinegal summed it up best when he said,  “Culture is not the most important thing, it’s the only thing”