Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Secrets of Employee Engagement


Please welcome Doug Brown to my Blog. Doug Brown is President of Engaged2Perform in Ontario, Canada. For the past 30 years, Doug has served in roles covering the gamut from supervisor to president and has overseen production, quality control, sales and marketing, administration, and distribution and fulfillment. Engaged2Perform is an employee engagement firm that helps growing companies to increase productivity, reduce absenteeism, and motivate employees to achieve corporate goals. It is a network of affiliated partners in Human Resources, Organizational Development, Strategic Planning, Leadership Coaching and Training, Communications, Business Consulting, and Health and Wellness. Engaged2Perform has improved overall efficiency of its clients' employees by an average of 30% by providing strategic tools and services to engage people, so it is no surprise that the company's tagline is “People, Passion, and Profit.”

I recently had the opportunity to interview Doug about employee engagement and would like to share the highlights.

Business jargon is full of long words with lots of syllables. Some are easy to understand, while others seem to be out of Mary Poppins. How would you best explain “employee engagement?”
DOUG BROWN: I would explain it as a strong emotional connection between the employee and the organization that fuels employee motivation, pride, enthusiasm, passion, and commitment to supporting an employee’s company. This translates into meaningful action items that drive performance and productivity and contribute to the success of the company. The “meaningful action” I refer to includes advocating for the company; willingness to grow, improve, interact, communicate, and connect with peers and colleagues; and become involved with ideas and suggestions to find new efficiencies to improve the company.

Why are there so many titles for HR members of the C-suite: Chief Potential Officer, Chief People Officer, Chief Happy Officer, and Chief Engagement Officer?
DOUG BROWN: I suspect this is due to an organization’s trying to put a new spin and focus on the same issues and problems. This may be done to help change the mindset of people and avoid some of the rhetoric (such as, “our people are our greatest strength and asset”), but this is lost down the levels of the workforce. But, in a competitive market where success is defined by small margins, leaders are beginning to understand motivation and engagement and the fact that people may be the key to their business’ success. Programs centered on basic people principles are the key: principles that for several reasons have been lost or strained over time – due to downsizing, restructuring, advances in communication, etc. These basic principles are treating people with respect and courtesy, valuing their ideas and contributions, supporting them in their roles and responsibilities, and finding ways to inspire and reward them.

What are the five best strategies for effective new employee onboarding?
DOUG BROWN: Here are my best strategies:
  1. Recognition: Show appreciation of employee effort and accomplishment.
  2. Communication: Help them understand their role and responsibilities clearly.
  3. Listen: Allow them to ask questions and provide their thoughts and ideas on how aspects of the job could be improved.
  4. Treat Employees as People: Understand what makes them tick in a personal and individual way; what interests them, motivates them, and inspires them beyond the paycheck and their desire to be with the company.
  5. Help Employees Fit In: Employees need to feel that they belong, that their contributions are valued by the leadership team, and that they have become assimilated into the company’s culture.

What are the five best ways to create a successful corporate culture?
DOUG BROWN: Here are my best ways:
  1. Understand the issues that employees deal with and are concerned about.
  2. Strategize on how you can provide an environment that is meaningful for employees and will enable them to accomplish their best work. Leadership teams need to ask: What do the employees need to optimize their performance? Some programs can be applied across the workforce, while others need an individual focus.
  3. Train managers on how to interact, communicate, and connect with employees in ways that will help them engage. This is a critical link.
  4. Implement the proper tools and services that support the process.
  5. Take time to read and understand the research surrounding engagement, what the benefits are, what the key drivers are – this must be done from the top leadership down.

Some final comments from Doug: “Every company has several groups that they need to keep happy. This includes shareholders, employees, management, customers, suppliers, etc. Employee engagement has important implications for all of these groups as well as on a company’s brand. To ensure that you meet the commitments and expectations of all groups, you must have employees who are engaged and enthusiastic about their work, have the right training, the right tools and information, and the authority to take action. Don’t forget: Gallup research has shown that engaged employees are more productive and profitable, create stronger customer relationships, and remain with their companies longer than less engaged employees.”

What kind of employees would you like for your company?

Become a Fan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dougkbrown 

Read “The Impact of Engaged Employees” by Doug Brown: http://bit.ly/pjVDmd

Image Credit: People Insight: http://www.peopleinsight.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. This comment was added by Keri Jaehnig, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea Girl Media (http://ideagirlmedia.com):
    I agree, complaints can be a gift for businesses. Constructive criticism gives something to learn from. Responding to negative comments positively and efficiently can highlight customer service and the heart of the company. But I think that there's something missing in the psychology of "the correct way to complain." If companies would post policies profoundly and maps to how responses would be processed, the customer would understand more. If the call centers received probabilities and the policies beforehand, they'd be more apt to handle things better and stay longer. By waiting to "react" to a complaint, we are not being proactive in process, proactive for growth. Just my 2 cents.


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