Month: January 2019

The Neuroscience Behind Employee Experience with Scott Halford

We begin to get a feel for a room from the first step we take inside. We feel temperature, light, air quality, and aesthetics. After spending time co-occupying that space with other people, we begin to feel and sense a group vibe. We’ve all been to parties that should be awesome but aren’t or family dinners that check all the boxes to make it great but it’s not. These same experiences shape the workplace. Are the feelings and vibes real or perceived? Does it matter?

When employees come to work every day, they are met with a feeling. The office lighting, the floor plan, the general comfort, and the demeanor of colleagues all play a key role in shaping how employees feel about the environment they work in. This general feeling when applied universally to all employees is a large driver for company culture. But some organizations are met with frustration when they go through the motions checking all the great-place-to-work checkboxes and find their employees still perceive a lackluster experience. Whose fault is this? It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, the company leadership maintains primary responsibility for how the workplace feels and feelings are subjective. The reason so many organizations fall short of cultivating a great company culture is because they can’t get past the fact that it doesn’t matter how many great things the organization does on culture. Most important is how the employees perceive the company.

The million-dollar question: how do we fix it? Books can and have been written trying to answer this very question. However, one of the best places to start is with communication. We live in a society that has embraced text-based forms of communication. Most of the communication that happens with in businesses occurs in written form. To try and turn back the clocks and shy away from an emotion-poor, communication median is pointless. The best alternative companies have is to shift to a concerted effort of infusing emotion into written language.

In a podcast with Scott Halford, he brought to light another concept that can help craft a positive perception of an organization’s culture. Backed with research from his book, Scott suggests that creating a brain-friendly environment will drastically increase the productivity and efficiency of employees. To that end, companies must both embrace change allowing for the transition to a brain-friendly environment and create a place where progress is measured and rewarded. To listen to the full podcast at Forging Employee Experience and connect with Scott visit www.completeintelligence.com or www.scotthalford.com.

Molding another person’s perception takes a huge amount of effort. Companies can’t take shortcuts and change doesn’t happen overnight. By listening to employees and understanding how they are feeling, organizations can know if their efforts to saturate communication with emotion and create a brain-friendly culture are successful.

People Analytics Can Distract From the Employee Experience with Lewis Garrad

Over the last couple of decades, Employee Engagement has started to become more and more important to companies. Early data showed how much time and energy companies lost to a disengaged workforce. In recent years, organizations have started making huge efforts to fix the Employee Engagement problem. Yet despite millions of dollars of investment, the average number of engaged employees has only risen 3% in the last almost 20 years. So, what’s the problem?

At a fundamental level, employees don’t feel a connection with their companies. The relationship cultivated from their first day on the job perpetuates a feeling of obligation. Employees tend to feel like once they have provided the work their companies have paid them for, then they have fulfilled their obligation and are typically content provided the minimum to get by. Employees don’t feel connected with their organizations on an emotional level. If organizations want to see real change, they’ll have to start focusing on curating a working relationship such that employees feel truly connected with the company.

To make that change happens, organizations must stop focusing so exclusively on the numbers. Yes, employee engagement stats are an important metric. Yes, increasing retention is a huge bump the bottom line. But at the end of the day, it’s about the people. It’s not about the numbers. When organizations can honestly say that they care most about connecting with their employees, then they’ll find the engagement stats rise organically.

Furthermore, many of the past efforts of boosting engagement have missed the mark. Quick fixes like beer Fridays, snacks in the break room, or casual dress don’t move the needle. This failure stems from the lack of efforts that the company exerts when they do these things. While they think they are showing how amazing they are to work for, most employees see it as an attempt to make them more loyal. It doesn’t work.

In a recent podcast with Lewis Garrad, he discussed another major factor to employee engagement. He related that about 50% of the tendency for employees to be engaged at work can be traced back to their personality, and that those type of people that tended to be more engaged shared a similar set of cognitive characteristics. He warned that while it may be tempting to hire based on those characteristics, a workforce full of individuals who are all more inclined to be engaged would prevent cognitive diversity and promote group think tendencies. Listen to the full podcast at Forging the Employee Experience and follow Lewis Garrad on Twitter at @LewisGarrad or connect via email at lewis.garrad@mercer.com.

Employee Engagement can be boosted, but there is not shortcut to success. Organizations will need to look place the ineffective low hanging fruit, stop focusing on the numbers, and commitment to creating a workforce full of positive connections.