Don’t Waste Your Time on Engagement
By Brad Federman
Federman is the founder and president of Performancepoint, a performance enhancement company, that emphasizes strategic execution, improving sales and service achievements, and driving stronger employee commitment and engagement. Federman has 20 years of experience in sales, operations, product development, and performance improvement as a professional, a leader, an executive and a coach. Federman previously held positions with Accenture, Norrell Services and Humana Inc. Federman is the author of Employee Engagement: A Roadmap for Creating Profits, Optimizing Performance, and Increasing Loyalty, published in August 2009.
You may be wasting your time and money implementing employee engagement programs. Consider the following:
• According to a recent Hewitt study only 16 percent of those companies using engagement surveys see positive results. That means 84 percent, a striking majority, are wasting time, resources and money in their efforts.
• Think about how much money has been spent on engagement initiatives such as engagement surveys, survey action planning and leadership training that did not produce lasting results. Think about the lost productivity, revenues and profits that result from unmotivated employees.
• Many companies have found the results of their employee engagement efforts level off in a fairly short time or, worse, they lose ground. In fact, the very efforts many companies initiate seem to cause more damage than good. Why? Because they approach engagement as a managerial responsibility when in reality, to be most effective, it must be a shared responsibility of all employees. Engagement is not a project or event; it is about your culture.
How do we make engagement everyone’s responsibility?
1. Stop making engagement solely the manager’s responsibility. When a company places the responsibility for engagement mainly on the shoulders of direct supervisors they unwittingly create the demise of their efforts over time. What do quality efforts, customer service efforts, and branding strategies all have in common? They involve the entire company. Each person in each department affects all three of those efforts. The same holds true for engagement.
2. Success is not found in an HR program. Employee engagement, if handled appropriately, has an enormous impact on the business. CEOs, presidents, and C-Level executives get involved in the brand, the numbers and the deals, but unfortunately, not enough of these executives get as deeply involved with their people. And they usually leave the employee engagement effort to the good folks in HR.
3. Focus on the whole person. Employees and managers are not psychiatrists, but we need to understand that our employees suffer from stress, burnout, fear, problems outside of work, office politics and many other challenges. We need to be concerned about associates who are irritable, impatient, lack time for reflection or strategic thinking, or send text and email messages while having conversations. We can only engage if we are present, and we are only present when we focus on the whole person.
4. Promote self efficacy. Self efficacy is the belief that you are capable of performing and attaining certain goals. It is the confidence that you have the capacity to produce certain results or a desired effect.
What if our employees felt they had the influence, competence, and ability to achieve their work goals, realize their talents and passions, develop their career, and live a more productive and happy life? If their employer helped them cultivate just a few of those items, do you think they would be more productive? Would they stay with their employer longer?
Making engagement everyone’s responsibility does not happen in the classroom, on a certain day, in a survey or in a board room. Making engagement everyone’s responsibility happens everywhere and all of the time. For employee engagement initiatives to be effective and long lasting they must be woven into the strategy of a company, part of the living culture, discussed in the hallways, and in team meetings, rallies, and huddles. They must be part of the customer strategy and woven into how relationships are built with customers.
Make Engagement Everyone’s Responsibility