Tag: retention

TOMO! With Lindsay McGregor

Motivation. If you can understand what motivates your employees, you’ll have summarily solved your organizations engagement problem.

Unfortunately, the journey of understanding each employee’s individual source of motivation is long and difficult. While everyone is motivated by something, sources of motivation are as unique as the people themselves. Here in lies the burden of leadership, managers must know what motivates their people. It is impossible for the company executives to both understand and make policies that are custom tailored to all the employees. So, the burden rests with managers to make sure they lead their people according to what moves them.

When trying to better address the ever elusive “why” behind employee engagement issues, organizations must ensure they have created an environment that allows management to find real answers. All to often, organizations pass along as lip service the idea of management empowerment, which encourages them to run their teams they way they want to produce the best work. At the same time these same organizations enforce so much bureaucratic approval processes that nothing gets done without their bosses’ boss giving the sign off.

If organizations consistently reinforce the idea that management doesn’t actually have the power to make real meaningful decisions, then in time managers will stop trying to effect positive change in their teams. They will stop trying to figure out what moves their employees to greatness because even if they could figure it out, they’re powerless to enable those aspirations.

Without being able to motivate employees, organizations will be stuck in the void of low engagement.

In a recent podcast, Lindsay McGregor, author of Primed to Performand cofounder of Vega Factor, explained to us the science behind employee motivation. She described three instrumental characteristics to ensure that employees are fully motivated: play, purpose, and potential. She asserts that work needs to have elements that are enjoyable. People want to have an amount of fun while doing any task so why not help make work a little more fun? That fun shouldn’t just be random and directionless but be focused and with purpose. Everything that people do at work should have a purpose. Useless and boring tasks will demotivate people very quickly. Finally, the work should drive people to reach their potential. To reach out to Lindsey, visit her at her LinkedIn page.

Everybody has drive. Everybody has passion. As humans, there are things that move us and inspire us to be better than we are. While the specifics behind each person’s motivation vary tremendously, it’s imperative to understand that each of us has something for which we are willing to go above and beyond. Only organizations that enable managers to affect change in their employees’ lives will find success motivating their people.

Crafting the Employee Experience in Growing Companies with Bek Chee, Head of Talent, Atlassian

Often the story of poor employee engagement seems connected with companies that have been around for a long time. Typically, these organizations hold on to how things have always been done. With such a long history, it’s no surprise that there is a resistance to new processes and crafting a new culture. However, we live in a world of growing companies. These young, new companies are founded on ideals of innovation and effecting change. While it’s easy to have a pulse on employee engagement and to carefully create the company culture in the early stages, most organizations struggle to hold on to their roots as they grow.

No young company expects to survive without innovation. By and large all the good ideas have been taken. In order to advance, organizations must innovate their product/service offering. But what about their company culture? Most organizations don’t take enough time cultivating their growing company’s culture, until it’s too late. As organizations grow, owners must ensure that the collaborative, trusting environment that was essential to fostering the innovation that built the company, is maintained through growth.

The most important element of maintaining a strong, desirable company culture is onboarding. As owners in a growing company expand and begin to hire managers, it is imperative that these managers not only have the skillset necessary to get the job done, but that they will also be responsible for contributing to the cultural identity of the company. One of the biggest mistakes a young company can make, as it relates to ensuring the survival of the original culture, is to hire for skill and not character. Very few skills can’t be learned on the job. Doctors, lawyers, and handful of other degree-heavy professionals can’t afford to learn things live. Most everyone else, in almost every other profession, can be taught how to do a job. So, when young organizations think to the future of what their business will become, a critical component of that vision should be what the company culture will look like.

If organizations maintain the company culture that defined them in the beginning when they had no employees, then the employees that join as the organization grows, will have a fantastically positive experience. It is so much easier to maintain positive culture during growth than to let it grow wild and try to fix it later.

In a recent podcast, we had the opportunity to speak with Head of Talent at Atlassian, Bek Chee. In our conversation, we learned that this is an organization that epitomizes this concept maintaining strong, positive company culture. Founded in 2002, in Sydney Australia, Atlassian boasts impressive employee engagement scores in excessive of 80%. Employees love working there. When asked how the organization accomplished such an impressive feat, Chee responded that the company had always stayed very close to its roots and maintained the great culture it was built on. For more insights on cultivating an incredible employee experience, listen to the rest of the podcast at Forging Employee Experience. Feel free to reach out to Bek Chee via LinkedIn. By keeping a hand on the metaphorical culture steering wheel, growing organizations can ensure they never lose what made

Employee Engagement Is Not a Generational Problem with Michael Beck

My knee-jerk reaction is to blame the Employee Engagement epidemic on the increase of Millennials in the workforce. Though they may complain the loudest, they can’t be fairly pegged as the culprits behind the low engagement in the workspace. Looking at the Gallup numbers around 80% of employees world-wide aren’t engaged, but the workforce only consists of about 50% Millennials. Assuming every single Millennial is disengaged (impossible) that still leaves a very large percentage of other generations that are also not engaged. Furthermore, the research behind such high disengagement in the workforce goes back well before Millennials were in the workforce. Prognosis? Employee Engagement is a workforce problem, not a generational problem.

At the end of the day, all people problems are really leadership problems. Low levels of engagement follow bad leaders. If an organization has too many of these bad leaders, they’ll find the bulk of their workforce simply isn’t engaged. To fix this problem, organizations must make sure they have better leaders leading their workforce. Leadership development is a very robust and advanced industry. The number of fixes and strategies organizations have at their disposal is truly staggering; however, one of the must effective of these strategies is intelligent promotion.

All too often, a contributor is promoted to a leadership/management role because they are good at their job. For example, the top salesman is a very likely candidate for sales manager. But does being good at selling a product mean a person will be good at leading a team? Impossible to say. There’s simply no correlation between the two. Truth be told, most individuals who excel in their field probably don’t want to be bothered by the administrative burden that comes with management. Yet, these high performers still aspire to be managers and continue to be promoted. Why? Because all too often, the pay bump from contributor to manager is too much to pass up. Paying a person more because they take on extra responsibilities is both fair and equitably, but it can also have unintended consequences. In this case, promoting an associate simply because he or she is a high performer will almost certainly lead to the creation of a disengaged team. Leadership skills are different and need to be treated differently and cultivated differently. This doesn’t mean that a high performer with no leadership skills can’t acquire those skills, but it does mean that if organizations wants to enhance the Employee Experience, they’ll need to ensure that all of their managers are trained to be good leaders.

In a podcast with Michael Beck, he brought up how leaders shape the company culture (a reflection of the Employee Experience). He defined company culture as the set of values and behaviors that an organization will tolerate. He went on to say that if leaders simply establish a set of shared values, they’ll like not find the results they want. However, if managers across all levels are actively encouraging and supporting those shared values, then the organization will become those shared values – or culture. To listen to Michael’s full podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience and to keep in touch with Michael you can follow him on twitter @Michael_Beck or visit his website. His, Eliciting Excellence, can be purchased on Amazon.

Employee Engagement is a vital metric to understanding the health of an organization. If companies want to help positively shape their employee’s work experience so that metric increases, they must make sure they are promoting individuals who are ready for leadership and enforcing values that matter.

No Excuse for Slow Moving Employee Engagement with Andria Ink

The Employee Engagement industry is filling up with software solutions that enable organizations to more quickly implement effective Employee Engagement initiatives. However, even in organizations where this software is being used, companies tend to move slowly when trying to affect change that would boost engagement. There is no excuse for not prioritizing and implementing change.

By and large, customers won’t buy in to an organization if the employees haven’t already bought in to it. If the employees aren’t having a positive experience, that energy will flow to the customers and sales won’t be as strong. However, when organizations allow their employees to have an experience that excites, customers will flock to the product (assuming the product isn’t terrible).

In a recent podcast with Andrea Ink, head of Employee Engagement at BC Hydro, we had the chance to understand how she takes the lead on building an employee experience that employees love. She works for a government-controlled agency that, while using only an annual survey, boasts 84% engagement among employees. In her company, she focuses on making sure that everyone is seen, felt, and heard. These fruits of these efforts are partly seen in the success of the employee council that connects top level management with the workforce to make sure that everyone is being heard. The result of fostering a spirit of collaboration from top level executives and employee representatives has been the creation of a company culture where employees know they have a voice and that the organization is listening.

Andrea spoke volumes about how important it is as leader to always be present to listen and observe any issues that employees may be having. She focused on the idea that leaders must always be communicating information up and down the organization. Finally, she emphasized the notion of “follow-up and follow-through.” Every leader should make sure they follow-up with the communications they have with their groups, and they must always follow through with promises and commitments.  To listen to the full podcast, please visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Andrea, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.

If a government organization that only has official Employee Engagement survey once a year, can create a culture where people love to work, then so can anyone else. There is no excuse to not being quick and decisive in implementing new Employee Engagement initiatives. The employees and customers deserve the best experience.

Employee Engagement Comes From a Company’s Vision with Kevin Kruse

Boosting Employee Engagement scores don’t happen with the thoughtless purchase of more employee perks. This comes as both good and bad news for organizations looking to increase the engagement levels of their employees. On the one hand, the research shows that simply buying stuff for employees doesn’t actually move the needle. Organizations don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on perks to help engage their employees.

Unfortunately, the most effective solution is decidedly more difficult than just throwing money at the problem. Companies need to focus on converting employees to their vision.

Most for-profit organizations spend their time focused on revenue generating activities. Understandably, companies want to make sure that their resources are spent to increases shareholder value. Acting otherwise would be a disservice to stakeholders and to the customers. However, lost in the pursuit of financial strength is often the fact that employees aren’t automatically as driven to boost sales and drive down costs as top management. Employees join a company for a paycheck but stay at a company for a cause. The burden of converting employees to the company’s cause is critical to helping win the hearts and minds of the workforce and boosting employee engagement. Implicit in the idea that an organization can convert employees to its cause is that the organization actually has a cause. “Making money” or “increasing shareholder value” is unfortunately not a cause. Instead companies need to have a passionate, driving force that motivates its members to give it their all. Once that cause is established an organization can begin to rally its employees.

In a recent podcast with Keven Kruse, he mentioned that employees should be able to say, “I care about our goals.” This simple phrase carries profound meaning to an organization. It implies that an organization has established a cause with which it can inspire its employees and that those employees have internalized those goals and honestly care about reaching them. To listen to the full episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Kevin send him an email at kevin@leadx.org. For more information about his books visit his Amazon page.

By helping ensure that employees are converted to the company’s vision, organizations create a sustainable culture that employees will never want to leave. Though difficult, the work required to convert employees will pay off exponentially. Without spending a dime, organizations can watch their engagement scores climb as they enhance their employee’s workplace experience.

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.

The Most Important Word of Employee Engagement with Henry Albrecht

Henry Albrecht is the founder of Limeade, an employee engagement platform that builds great places to work by improving well-being and strengthening workplace culture.

He has led the company from an idea in his basement to a high-growth, industry-leading employee engagement technology company that serves some of the smartest companies in the world. Henry earned his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management with an emphasis in technology and marketing and his B.A. in economics and literature from Claremont McKenna College.

Limeade helps the world’s best companies develop happier, healthier and more productive employees. Learn more at http://www.limeade.com/ and keep in touch with Henry on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • Engagement: A deep sense of purpose and connection that leads to extra energy and commitment at work.
  • Engagement initiatives without thinking of the well-being of employees is short-sighted
  • We’ve fallen in love with people analytics, but we fail to act.
  • Square deal-I put in as much as I get out.
  • Bi-directional trust. What are you doing to show your employees that you care.
  • 3 questions to show you care:
    • How do leaders show up?
    • What resources do you give them?
    • Are managers invested in their people?
  • “Care” is the single-most important word we can talk about around employee engagement
  • When people can feel that their manager cares about them, they are 38% more engaged at work.
  • Learning to take a whole person approach.
  • Burnout is a luxury in a workforce who cares.

What is Employee Engagement?

Welcome to our podcast!

We’re here to help you gain a greater understanding of what employee engagement is and expertly craft the best employee experience.

Employee engagement is hard to define, and much more difficult to apply. That’s why we are digging deep into this crucial topic to provide you with practical and applicable results based on business research, expert advice and interviews, and giving you actionable best-practices to enhance your company culture and increase employee morale.

If you are concerned about your company culture or want to improve it, then jump in with both feet and learn what leading experts are saying about employee engagement.

Check out our first ever episode!

We’d love your feedback so feel free to leave a comment and we’ll be sure to respond.

We look forward to providing you with the most value possible.

Thanks for listening and joining us on the amazing adventure. We’ll catch you on next episode with Employee Engagement Rebel, Debra Corey!

Transcript

Josh: Hello listeners and welcome to Forging Employee Engagement. Our official podcast and yes! this is our very first episode. I’m joined here with my co-host Alexander Noren. How are ya buddy?

Alexander Noren: Literally, couldn’t be better. It’d actually be a crime, it would be illegal if I was going better than I am right now. This is just exciting stuff that we are starting off here.

Josh: Wow! You sound like a puppy dog. Well, let’s get started man. What we are essentially striking out to do is we want to define Employee Engagement for the world. Let’s be honest if you’re listening to this, you have some sort of tie to the employee engagement space and it might be frustrating to look out there and find out that there is not much content at all around employee engagement. You might get people’s opinions and you might see some research articles that are very generic but when it comes down to it, nobody really knows how to define Employee Engagement.

Alexander Noren: Which is really a shame, right? This is a critical industry. We are talking about the future of how people work in the office. This is so important and yet we’re still not all on the same page. We are going to do our very best to help get everyone together here on one common ground to say, “All right. What does this stuff mean and how can we apply it moving forward.”

Josh: That’s right. Just to get us started, we want to address the idea that we don’t have a good definition of Employee Engagement. I actually have an article here from Harvard Business Review. This is done by Shawn Graber, I hope it’s the later because man that would be unfortunate.

Alexander Noren: Grabier? Perhaps.

Josh: Grabier.

Alexander Noren: Interesting.

Josh: Let’s go with that. This is Shawn Grabier.

Alexander Noren: Well, it’s Harvard so it’s fancy.

Josh: Or it could be French, it could be Grabee.

Alexander Noren: That could be, yes.

Josh: Shawn, could you please come on our show and clear this up for us. We can’t even define your name much less Employee Engagement. Anyways, he said this, “Each year, companies spend nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in an effort to improve employee engagement. That is a ton of money on employee engagement.

Alexander Noren: That’s a lot of money.

Josh: It’s a ginormous industry. He says, “Yet, you will get wildly inconsistent answers if you ask managers what that means. Academics, consultants and leaders have been grappling with this question for decades. Their working range is simple like Discretionary Effort to the mind bending complex nomological network encompassing trait, state and behavioral constructs.”

Alexander Noren: I understood next to nothing in that sentence.

Josh: Thank you Harvard Business Review. What he essentially saying is it can be a very personal thing for organisations and it can be very simple or it can be extremely complex. All I want to do on this podcast is to get down to the nitty and gritty and give you a nice solid definition. It starts with where did Employee Engagement even came from.

Alexander Noren: Yes, and it got an interesting story. Right? You turn the clocks of time back to the very beginning of the working world. When we started employing people, it was a very much, “Hey, you do this and I’ll give you money. Just do it right and that is it.” That is the extent of the relationship. As the decades have passed, we’ve come to realise that there’s actually more to this relationship than just an exchange of money and services. You started trying to develop this concept and that’s we are coming from. We are evolving as a society from this.

Josh: Yes, think of the evolution of industry in general. Back in the day, The Rockafeller’s and The Carnegie’s, we needed to build steel. We needed to create a railroad. We needed to hire people to come in and do a job. We needed to build two miles of railroad a day. I don’t care how I treat you or what it takes just get it done. We almost treated these people as tools and so we evolve in this workplace of “We still need to get the job done and you still need to do your job but we’ll pay you”, or we’ll compensate you so that you can at least feel that you’re doing something with you life.

Alexander Noren: Absolutely. What we’re looking at as we go forward into the future is saying, “Here we are, we are in a good relationship” where employees and organisations understand that there is a mutually beneficial connection between the two. How do we enhance that more to mimic real working relationships, if you take out the word employee and employer. Say person one and person two are in a relationship where person one tells person two what to do and person two is expected to do it. Person two receives an amount as compensation. That’s not a great relationship to be in; however, if you rephrase that. Well, person one and person two are in a mutually beneficial relationship where person one needs person two to do something and person two feels internally compelled to do it because they respect and appreciate each other. Now, all of a sudden that’s a positive relationship and that’s what really the future is in this industry is to have organisations treat their employees like their in a relationship. To treat them like a significant other or best friend.

Josh Drean: Person one, if you’re listening. You need to do a little bit better helping person two get through life in the workplace at least. You think about it, these people are dedicating a lot of time to being at work. They should feel satisfied, their work matters and that they’ve been taken care off. Let’s be honest, this evolution continues to happen to where now we have employee benefits, extra things like Google who lets you do yoga with your dog at work or Facebook. These are places that you want to work at because–

Alexander Noren: It’s a community.

Josh: –it’s a community and you feel taken cared off. In today’s world, we have not evolved yet. We are still treating people as tools. Here’s you contract and how well is that working? If you’re listening to this, you know it’s not working well at all. Did you know the average retention rate in companies is a year and a half.

Alexander Noren: Yes. It really is sad and with all of the research that has been done and all that progress has been made we know there’s a better do it. If you’re listening in, you know that too. You know there’s a better way and we are going to embark on this journey together to figure out how we can best navigate this space and make the most improvements and changes to organisations so that employees and employers can co-exist together in a harmonious way I supposed to this contractual obligation.

Josh: That’s right. We are seeing cool stuff done in the industry. Currently, we have Employee Engagement Software that lets you do surveys more than just one time a year. They complied the results and package it nicely so that you can look at it in a report. There are great companies doing that right now, we’re moving just passed self recorded data like sensory analysis. We can look at how people are feeling based on their communications via e-mail or another aspects.

Alexander Noren: Right.

Josh: The future is A.I. in compiling this data that we can now collect into a way that HR Tech is no longer just this fluffy alias talk to about work culture. We turned it into this thing were we can bring hard data to the table and we can show the CEO that the reason people aren’t staying because of X Y and Z. We have proof in the data and if we make these changes,we would end up saving thousands of dollars.

Alexander Noren: Millions of dollars.

Josh: Millions of dollars a year on a–

Alexander Noren: Internal review, training, finding new people, the stress. There are many reasons why financially, from a business point of view, it makes sense to pay attention to this data.

Josh: And Alexander, you mentioned quite often about the customer experience revolution.

Alexander Noren: Oh yes.

Josh: This is a huge deal, right? Now, we have to treat customers like people because we’re not the only option. We don’t have monopoly, they could go buy our product in five different places. We need to create an experience for customers that is untouchable.

Alexander Noren: Right.

Josh: If you look at it, the best driver for happy customers is happy employees.

Alexander Noren: Absolutely.

Josh: One can make that argument.

Alexander Noren: That’s an easy argument to make. Any product or service that you interacted with where you had to speak with a company representative. By enlarge, your impression of that product or service is greatly affected by how you interacted with that employee, airline is a great example for that. You can tell which airlines treat their employees terribly and which ones don’t. It reflectively takes a flight student to be nice or could not careless. The same thing translates absolutely to every industry. Make sure your employees are treated like they matter. Then they will in return not only work harder which is nice but they’ll be invonnvaters on the job. They will think about, “Hey, what can I do to help this organization that I worked in the best possible way” whether that’s customer service or product development, sales or even banking stuff like accounting. All these aspects would be enhanced as employers start helping the organisation, employees feel that they make a difference.

Josh: Helping your employees feel that they make a difference is going to give them a sense of significance and belonging. We don’t want to jumped too far from the psychology of this all yet. A happy employee tends to be a productive employee. What we want to do is very simply dive into some of this. We want to interview lead researchers, we want to take the top performers, we want to look at companies that are doing it right. Bring their CEOs onto this podcast and ask them what is the secret sauce. Let’s be honest, it’s not going to work for every single company but at least listeners have a place to go where you have all this information in one place and you can draw upon it in your own business, you can take the stuff that you like, you can throw out the stuff you don’t like and hopefully we can help you create a better and safe work environment.

Alexander Noren: Absolutely right. The good new is we already have lots of people lined up for our show and we are excited to take a real deep dive into this wonderful space and bring the most value to you. We’re excited to have you in this journey with us.

Josh: Stop listening to this episode because it’s just us rambling. Let’s get to the experts joining us on the next episode.