Tag Archives: engagement

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…

 

Engagement, Improvement & ROI

engagementroiWould you like to implement and sustain a culture of continuous improvement?

Would you like to increase the team’s focus on quality or safety, enhance overall wellness, or possibly help them to work more productively?

Would you like to increase revenue, customer loyalty, and referrals?
How about motivating your channel partners so that they place added focus on your organization?

All of the above-listed objectives are among the reasons organizations have chosen to proactively focus on engaging people; and all of the above-listed objectives can generate a measureable return on investment!

In fact, research from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance indicates that organizations will get the best results when they systematically:

  • Develop realistic, achievable, and measurable goals and objectives
  • Create a formal Engagement business plan outlining the desired outcomes, behaviors that lead to outcomes, key program components, roles and responsibilities, timeline, and return on investment.
  • Effectively assess the people and the playing field to identify opportunities and obstacles to success
  • Make sure people have the knowledge or skills needed to succeed
  • Implement an integrated communication plan
  • Foster an atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, and fun
  • Reward and recognize so that people feel supported in their efforts
  • Measure return on investment

Aligning Organizational Culture & Strategy

culture4Continuing our theme of how organizational culture is a key driver of continuous improvement, it is important to properly align strategies with culture because culture can support or constrain strategy in a number of ways.

For example, an organization that that fosters employee engagement supports a culture of hard work, innovation, and “going the extra mile;” a culture in which people generally like coming to work. Such a culture enables successful execution on a strategy to give customers better responsiveness and reliability.

Similarly, a culture of caring and respect for others is essential to a strategy based on providing the most helpful and caring service to customers so as to win loyalty and referrals. For example, one of the Partners described how their cultural value of giving back to their communities in donations and volunteerism enabled them to appeal to the civic-mindedness that their customers valued. Another described “maverick thinking” that prompted employees to challenge things that were not quite right as a culture that supported the strategy of constantly improving safety, quality, and efficiency.

Each of these examples described core strategies that were aligned with and supported by their cultures.

But what if an organization’s culture no longer supports a winning strategy?

Sometimes a culture becomes out-of-step with its strategy due to internal changes. For example, a change in leadership behaviors can very easily shift an organization’s culture from engaged to disengaged, from collaborative to everyone out for his or herself, from maverick thinkers to risk-averse CYA’s. Careful work is required to rebuild and to sustain the cultures that support the strategy.

Sometimes, leadership must create a new strategy that the culture is ill-equipped to support when external factors change. For example, a company with a culture that values tradition and continuity will suffer from the entrance to the market by an innovative, paradigm-changing upstart. A company that thrived by attracting and rewarding hot shot individuals may struggle when the market begins to demand sophisticated coordination and execution. A company that thrived on risk taking may suffer when expectation about quality and reliability rise.

Clearly in some instances the culture must change, or it will devour the organization’s strategy and everyone will be out of work.

Engaging & Motivating Channel Partners

channel2In a recent issue of Engagement Strategies Magazine, an article co-authored by Conyngham Performance Group and SpearOne stresses the immportance of engaging channel partners.

Employee and customer engagement have become priorities, the article says, but it’s important to remember that channel partners are subject to the same drivers and emotions as employees and customers; and channel partners might even have added distractions since they often work with numerous source manufacturers or service providers and, in most cases, will tend to favor some over others.

The key objective is simple: organizations should actively nurture a culture of partner engagement so that, just like employees and customers, channel partners become emotionally engaged and become more likely to take an active interest in the organization’s success.

The main requirements are:

  1. Recruitment – know what kind of partners to pursue; set clear goals and objectives
  2. Enablement – reduce the time it takes for partners to become productive; help and motivate partners to run better businesses
  3. Management – simple and reliable processes that promote ease-of doing business; focus on benefits
  4. Reward – express appreciation, and include non-cash rewards

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Engaging Customers on Social Media

A number of recent posts have focused on enterprise engagement, which involves engaging our workforce as well as our customers, channel partners, suppliers and the community.

In a recent focus group discussion, a number of participants indicated that their organizations did not have a formal process for engaging customers beyond standard sales and customer service protocols.

With this in mind, a recent post on The Gallup Blog shares some good fundamentals for using social media for this purpose – but beware! To be effective, we must go beyond “pushing product.”

“When companies focus their social media efforts on pushing product and not cultivating communities, they overlook the real potential of these channels,” the article states.

The piece goes on to explain that to positively influence purchasing decisions through social media, marketers should learn to use it to listen and interact. Consumers are more likely to engage when the brand-related posts they encounter are:

    • Authentic. Social media sites are highly personal and conversational. And, as Gallup finds, consumers who use these sites don’t want to hear a sales pitch. They’re more likely to listen and respond to companies that seem genuine and personable. Companies should back away from the hard sell and focus on creating more of an open dialogue with consumers
    • Responsive. The social media world is 24/7, and consumers expect timely responses – even on nights and weekends. Companies must be available to answer questions and reply to complaints and criticisms; ignoring negative feedback can do considerable damage to a brand’s reputation. Instead, companies must actively listen to what their customers are saying and respond accordingly. If they made mistakes, they must own up to them and take responsibility
    • Compelling. Content is everywhere, and consumers have the ability to pick and choose what they like. Companies must create compelling, interesting content that appeals to busy, picky social media users. This content should be original to the company and not related to sales or marketing. Consumers need a reason to visit and interact with a company’s social media site and to keep coming back.

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