Tag Archives: connecting Continuous Improvement with employee engagement

Leadership, Engagement & Continuous Improvement

Leadership is getting people to want to do what needs to be done, and it provides the energy for change as well as the commitment to sustain it.

This aspect of leadership is critically-important if an organization hopes build and sustain culture of continuous improvement in which employees are truly engaged, and in which measurable improvement goals are achieved through people.

In a recent article published by Engagement Strategies Media, the connection between leadership and engagement was discussed.

“They’re connected because we can’t create the levels of engagement we would want and get all of the benefits we know can come from that without people leading…. we have to have someone leading us in the direction of this desirable goal of higher levels of engagement. They’re completely one hundred percent connected.”

The article goes on to explain that improving engagement scores requires intentional effort, and “most leaders, most organizations, aren’t placing a high enough priority on it to make that intentional.”

Thus a formalized, goal-oriented plan is a must… a concept that is presented in our “Engagement Around the Work” white paper.

Consider that people are much more likely to become engaged when they feel productive… when they feel like they are achieving success and that they are an important part of the organization’s success; when they feel that they have a voice in creating a better, more productive workplace.

By following proven Continuous Improvement methodology leaders and people at all levels can achieve measurable goals and higher levels of productivity; and this productivity leads to engagement.

Once leaders recognize that productivity leads to engagement, not the other way around, it becomes easier to allocate the necessary resources to sustain the Continuous Improvement effort. This means we must create a culture that is based on improving all that we do and which enables and empowers every employee at every level to make improvements through involvement and commitment — through being engaged!

Ten Steps Toward Workforce Engagement & High Performance

engagement4In a previous post we referenced the concept of “engaging a workforce around the work,” because while employee engagement is a necessary ingredient for high performance, it is not, by itself, enough.

An effective way of going beyond engagement involves an approach that combines engagement and continuous improvement efforts, and that also involves regular measurement (see related post on linking engagement, improvement and performance).

Since people tend to link measurement with surveys, it’s worth noting that when it comes to surveys there is a marked difference between what we say and what we do.

In other words, “actions speak louder than words.”

So hands-on leadership will involve regular interaction with the team…possibly Yogi Berra summed-up this point best when saying, “You can observe a lot by just watching!”

Therefore, if you want to get some insights into how engaged your team members are, you might track and evaluate the following indicators:

  • Level of absenteeism
  • Staff turnover
  • Participation in meetings
  • Projects getting completed on time
  • Team members coming up with new ideas
  • Team hitting targets

Here’s a “top 10” list from an article published on LinkedIn by Adrian Swinscoe, author and business leader, on how to achieve employee enagement:

  1. Link to High performance–engagement does not equal employment satisfaction
  2. It Starts at the top
  3. Engage front line leaders
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate
  5. Individualize engagement
  6. Create a supportive, motivational culture where employees can excel
  7. Create feedback mechanisms—employees may not be motivated by money, but they are incredibly motivated by achievement
  8. Reinforce and reward the right behavior (and consequences for wrong behavior). Money is not an engagement driver, but not enough money or money not awarded fairly is a disengagement driver
  9. Track and communicate progress…
  10. Hire and promote the right traits for your culture. People are hired for aptitude, but fired for attitude

Linking Continuous Improvement, Engagement & Performance

culture2In a recent post we referenced the ROI associated with engagement and continuous improvement.

A sustained culture of continuous improvement enables company leaders to more easily establish greater levels of trust with the people closest to the work. People like it when problems they have known about for a long time are finally solved and that their ideas have been welcomed-parts of the solution.

Adding support to this perspective is data from a recent study by Alex Edmans, Lucius Li and Chendi Zhang entitled Employee Satisfaction, Labor Market Flexibility, and Stock Returns Around the World, in which they reaffirm the link between engagement and financial performance.

The authors note that “employee satisfaction is associated with superior long-run returns, valuation ratios, and profitability… and that high employee satisfaction is a valuable tool for recruitment, retention, and motivation…”

Read the full article…