Tag Archives: engaging employees

Engagement 2020: Win/Win

A Winning Approach for Employees & Employers

The emerging field of employee or workforce engagement has captured the attention of most “C Suites” over the past year or two; and as more and more organizations are taking a more formalized approach to engaging employees, the correlation between engagement and Continuous Improvement (CI) has also emerged.

Consider that engagement is simply a framework for achieving goals through people in a measurable way. These “goals” can involve anything, and might include reducing team turnover, enhancing safety, or improving specific work processes.

But what many of us might not realize is the fact that today’s “engagement” plans are designed to benefit all stakeholders, including employees and employers.

Organizations that have embraced this approach have found it is not only possible to achieve almost any goal that involves people, but also, to the surprise of many, to realize a return-on-investment in the process. In other words, engagement can be a profit center rather than a cost center and the ROI can take on various forms.

For example, according to an Employee Engagement Benchmark Study by Temkin Group, highly engaged employees try harder and tend to drive business results. They are twice as likely to work after their shift ends, twice as likely to do something good for the company that is unexpected of them, and three times as likely to make recommendations for company improvements.

But these same employees can also be participants in an ongoing effort to improve their workplace. They can have a say, and they can have a hand in impacting the quality of day-to-day work life by improving the way their work is done. In these cases, which we call “engagement around the work,” many feel more empowered and experience greater levels of job satisfaction as well.

So, as noted above, engagement yields benefits for all stakeholders, employees and employers. Or, as the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

It is important to recognize, however, that engaging people to achieve results requires top-management support and requires more than a casual or ad-hoc effort. Far too many organizations have learned this lesson the hard way, only to find half-hearted efforts don’t work. This reality is evidenced by the fact that only thirty percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged.

Here is a more comprehensive and structured approach to engaging a workforce based on extensive research completed by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance – you might also note how well it aligns with tried-and-true CI methodology:

  • Develop realistic, achievable, and measurable goals and objectives.
  • Effectively assess the people and the playing field to identify opportunities and obstacles to success.
  • 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, etc.
  • Implement the appropriate integrated communication plan, including an Engagement web portal for the program when appropriate.
  • Make sure people have the knowledge or skills needed to succeed.
  • Foster an atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, and fun.
  • Reward and recognize both progress and achievement so that people feel supported in their efforts.
  • Measure outcomes and returns.
  • Reinvest and continue…

How Productivity Drives Engagement

productivityAndEngagementIn an earlier post we shared some of the reasons why so many organizations struggle to engage their workforce. Among the challenges cited was the failure to understand the link between engagement and productivity.

Based on research and experience, we have concluded that productivity drives engagement, not the other-way-around. By increasing employees’ productivity, you get increased engagement, and that engagement, in turn, increases productivity, and the other positive and measurable results that come from increased engagement.

A couple of supporting comments:

“Employee happiness and morale is NOT the critical path to employee productivity. but productivity and employee achievement are the critical path to high morale and a happy work environment. Morale and employee happiness aren’t the means to the end — they are the end itself.” —Morale and Motivation Myth…No Strings Attached

“Improving our work is what ultimately captures the mind, the heart and the spirit of employees.” —Results From the Heart by Kyoshi Suzaki

The concept of productivity driving engagement is one of the core principles of our approach to engaging a workforce and, ultimately, customers and the marketplace — it’s all about the work.

An Engaged Workforce: It’s Not About What They Get!

The topics of “enterprise engagement” and “employee engagement” continue to be front-and-center in many business circles, with senior managers continually looking for better ways to:

  • engagement4Improve the customer experience
  • Increase workforce productivity
  • Reduce “turnover” among both groups

As many have found, these three objectives are intertwined; and a consistently emerging principle indicates it is not possible to achieve one without the other, over time.

Consider a few facts…

First, the findings of numerous studies repeatedly indicate that employee engagement goes beyond simply being “happy” and a happy workforce is not necessarily a more productive workforce.

Similarly, loyal customers are more than simply happy customers. They are engaged; they trust and respect the suppliers to whom they are loyal, just as engaged employees trust and respect their employers. Stated a different way, and as published in a 2011 BlessingWhite report, “Engaged employees stay for what they give;  the disengaged stay for what they get.”

Engaged customers enjoy patronizing and are loyal to an organization that provides value, and engaged employees enjoy working in and remain loyal to an organization that is value-added – an organization that is successful and an organization in which they themselves feel successful; an organization in which they feel valued.

Engaged customers willingly spread a positive word-of-mouth story; and engaged employees make a consistently strong discretionary effort to refer others as potential candidates for employment and to refer others as potential customers.

As the “ripple effect” of engaging employees, increasing productivity, and reducing turnover spills-over into engaging customers, it’s important for senior managers to not only recognize this relationship, but to also proactively promote it by developing and maintaining a culture of continuous improvement in which the workforce is a vital component of success; a culture in which employees have a stake and a say in improving both the work  and the workplace.