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Tag Archives: Employee Engagement

3 Simple Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Over the past seven years, I have worked for four different organizations. Each experience was unique, yet they all shared one thing: how it felt to be an employee. Regardless of what role you perform or what industry you operate in, every employee goes through a hiring, reviewing and managing process. […]

3 Simple Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Over the past seven years, I have worked for four different organizations. Each experience was unique, yet they all shared one thing: how it felt to be an employee. Regardless of what role you perform or what industry you operate in, every employee goes through a hiring, reviewing and managing process.

The software utilized to accomplish this, Human Capital Management (HCM), facilitates all aspects of what it feels like to work in for particular company. Called “Hire to retire,” HCM is the software that covers everything from processing online job applications, time and attendance, paying employees, performance reviews, and implementation of learning and development.

Most HCM vendors work tirelessly to stay ahead of the curve. They are listening to their clients, adding features and functionality and, continuously enhancing the software.  However, while these upgrades mean HCMs are now more sophisticated than ever, it falls upon organizations to determine how best to engage their employees.  What measures are they taking to keep their employees invested in the long haul?

How do you keep employees engaged?

The current rate of employee engagement is, according to the latest Gallup research, at 34%, tying its highest level since Gallup first began reporting the figures back in 2000. Conversely, the percentage who are least engaged is now at its lowest level. While all this is excellent news for both employers and employees, it illustrates that over half of your workforce is “not engaged.” Therefore, although they are showing up and performing their jobs, organizations should be aware that it’s highly unlikely for unengaged employees to stick around and go the distance.

However, organizations can leverage their HCM to start to shift the needle and actively engage a higher number of their employees. While there are many ways to accomplish this, the following are the top three approaches for organizations to increase employee engagement and demonstrate tangible results.

1. Understand your people

Most interview processes are tedious and excruciating. Whether it’s over the phone, video, in-person, a demonstration, an interview follows a basic pattern of question after question. Then, boom, once hired, the questions stop. Why? Why don’t organizations want to learn more about their people? People’s opinions change, goals change, needs change and careers change. The things learned early on, may no longer apply.

Therefore it is critical companies continue beyond the interview stage to learn about their employees. Find out what are their strengths, desires, and goals.

Ask employees the following:

  • Where do you want to be in five years?
  • Do you like the idea of being a manager?
  • Is there someone you’ve met at the company that you’d like to shadow or better understand their responsibilities?
  • What skills do you want to increase?
  • What did you like to do in your last company?

2. Provide continuous feedback

Provide continuous feedback

 

The annual performance review is rightly almost a thing of the past. At SumTotal, we conduct the 30×30. Every month I have a comprehensive evaluation with my manager, where we discuss everything that happened over the previous four weeks.  We also hold a weekly 1:1 and meet twice a week as a team. Outside of these designated times, if I have a question or need guidance, I will call or message her.

My colleagues are another source of feedback.  We speak about talk tracks, tactics, overcoming objections… really anything. As a remote worker, feeling part of a team is challenging. However, these daily interactions offer the support and closeness I need to grow and succeed.

3. Be transparent and authentic

We all want to be in “the know.” As a member of a large sales organization, I want to know why certain things are happening. Why is marketing doing this, why are operations doing that? While these are all very straightforward requests, the reality is most that organizations lack transparency. Getting the answers to these questions is almost impossible. When employers adopt this type of secretive approach with their employees, it results in disengaged and disconnected workers.

Management makes all the decisions and doesn’t ask us for feedback. Management rules top-down and doesn’t care about the floor employees. The day shift had to pick up all the pieces.

Here are some recent comments I found on Glassdoor that illustrate this disconnect. “Management makes all the decisions and doesn’t ask us for feedback. Management rules top-down and doesn’t care about the floor employees. The day shift had to pick up all the pieces.”

Being open is especially important when a manager has to deliver bad news.

In a previous job, my manager had the unenviable task of informing the team that due to a company merger, some of us would lose our jobs. However, the professional and candid way she handled it ensured we all were in the loop and therefore could prepare for the fallout in advance.

Another reason for transparency and authenticity is that they are the perfect antidote to the rumor mill.  Gossip spreads fast in organizations and can be very dangerous. We live in a digital world where one single piece of misinformation, one bit of hearsay can spread like wildfire, and suddenly there is a mass exodus from an organization. Keeping employees informed is critical.

It is great to hear the number of employees who feel engaged is improving. However, HR must continue to exploit their HCM to continue the drive forward.  One recent study put the cost of disengaged employees at between $450 and $550 billion a year. We can all agree that such phenomenal figures demand our attention. If companies have the technology to engage their workers actively, then it is in everyone’s interest that they do so.

How to Use an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to Attract Top Talent

In an era of skills shortages and low unemployment rates, the task of recruiting employees is getting more challenging. Plus potential employees have access to insight about a prospective company on an unprecedented scale. Glassdoor is a wonderful tool and a real boon to candidates wondering if they should take a job with one organization or another. […]

How to Use an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to Attract Top Talent For Your Organization

In an era of skills shortages and low unemployment rates, the task of recruiting employees is getting more challenging. Plus potential employees have access to insight about a prospective company on an unprecedented scale. Glassdoor is a wonderful tool and a real boon to candidates wondering if they should take a job with one organization or another. While I am happy that such transparency means job seekers can make a more informed decision, I am also acutely aware of the pressure it now places on employers and often HR, in particular, to rethink just how the organization presents or markets itself to new potential employees.

The answer to how enterprises can effectively market themselves to job candidates lies in the concept of employee value proposition (EVP). Not to be confused with an employer value proposition, this EVP “refers to a combination of benefits and rewards that an organization offers to its employees in return for their work and skills… a strong EVP also includes intangible components such as culture, opportunities for personal and professional development, and more.”

With an EVP, employers create talent personas which cater to the specific roles they need to fill and highlight critical components of the job most attractive to these personas. Think of it like this, designers tend to be most interested in working with companies who have a strong sense of identity, brand and aesthetic, while engineers and programmers are more likely to favor companies that prize and highlight their commitment to innovation and cutting-edge technologies. Tailoring EVPs to specific roles and individuals helps organizations stand out in a big way.

The Five essential characteristics of an EVP

According to Gartner, EVPs portray the value of working in an organization across five attributes:

  • Opportunity: Can I learn and grow here? Is the company growing?
  • People: Will I connect with my co-workers, manager, and can I see myself here? Do I have confidence in upper management?
  • Organization: Is the company socially responsible? Do I connect to the causes it promotes? Are the products or services from the company those I place value in?
  • Work: Will my new role facilitate a work-life balance?
  • Rewards: What sort of compensation is on offer? What is the salary, the health benefits package, and how much paid time-off is included

Be sure to communicate your EVP

A 2018 poll of 12 Fortune 500 companies found that 59% of employers neglect to provide information on why employees would want to work for them. Ignoring your EVP is a lost opportunity for HR to attract and retain top-performing employees and build positive brand awareness and ambassadors. Highlighting the benefits offered is important, but framing the value and perks of your company through a lens of differentiation is the most powerful way to harness these traits. EVPs are not only about what an employer offers to its workforce; they are also about how these offerings make a company different from its competitors.

How to strengthen your EVP

Leading HR research firm Mercer simplifies what it means to have a compelling EVP into three components: contractual, experiential and emotional.

Contractual rewards are basic salary and benefits like healthcare and PTO. Most companies phrase their EVP only in terms of these contractual rewards, and these are features that make your company competitive. While salary and benefits are essential, they’re the baseline for competitiveness in today’s world. Research shows that money isn’t your best stronghold against attrition. For every 10% rise in pay, employees are only 1.5% more likely to remain with their employer.

Tip: Make sure your salary and benefits are competitive in your market for each role. Be sure to consistently review your remuneration scales. The current competitive marketplace means changing salary benchmarks. Falling behind may leave your organization at a competitive disadvantage.

Experiential rewards are essentially to “reflect how employees experience their organizations, both in and outside of work.” Included under this category are wellness benefits, retirement savings, 401K plans and social interaction in the workplace. These are some of the benefits that can help differentiate your organization.

Tip: Make sure you deliver a robust set of non-traditional benefits. These include wellness benefits and other suggestions, such as parental leave.

Emotional rewards are the most meaningful, useful and powerful components of an EVP. These rewards characterize the actual level of engagement an employee feels to their employer and work. These are often intangible but are the things that make an employee feel as though their work is purposeful. Many times, organizations that excel in the emotional rewards, and therefore have the strongest EVPs, are socially oriented companies. It’s the social capital of employers like this that galvanizes a sense of fulfillment and purpose in work. Organizations who articulate their business objectives into a broader societal purpose tend to foster a heightened emotional connection between organization and employees.

Tip: While emotional rewards are tough to articulate, employees appreciate acknowledgment from managers and colleagues of a job well-done, which contributes to creating a culture where employees feel valued.

Leading global employers and HR departments are using the EVP to answer the all-important question, “how does the organization I work for, work for me?” If you have not established your EVP, attracting and hiring new talent will get even more difficult, and your oversight will be the competition’s gain.

Want to learn more about the strategic value of a clearly defined EVP? Read the new whitepaper, The EVP is the New MVP, by Jim Poisson, SumTotal’s Senior Director of Product Management.

 

Unified SumTotal Suite Enables Digital Workforce to Develop, Lead, and Achieve

We just unveiled a range of new features and additions to our SumTotal Talent Expansion® Suite. What do these enhancements mean? As well as supporting our mission to deliver beautiful technology,

We just unveiled a range of new features and additions to our SumTotal Talent Expansion® Suite.

pexels-photo-287240

What do these enhancements mean?

As well as supporting our mission to deliver beautiful technology, they mean we can stay true to our commitment to empower employees – allowing them to become more informed, engaged, and better able to take ownership of their own career paths.

How?

By giving you and your employees:

1.      Enhanced Career Planning and Job Matching capabilities.

Employees are a company’s single most important resource. With these enhancements, we’re introducing new capabilities which will enable employees to feel more engaged, while simultaneously making them their company’s biggest ambassador.

For instance, career maps are created which will identify the steps needed to be taken to progress and what, if any, gaps exist that could hinder such progression. We also added new dashboards, which provide at-a-glance competency metrics that highlight any areas that need developing in both the current position and any role targeted as part of their career path.

This enhancement is invaluable not only because it will help HR departments demonstrate their commitment to employee retention and progression, but it demonstrates it to their employees as well. This also feeds into the goal of encouraging internal mobility – employees will remain loyal if they can see a clear path for progression within and enabled by their organization.

2.      The full benefits of Mobility

With the new SumTotal Mobile App, managers and employees can learn, manage, and give feedback, anywhere at any time.  Accessible anytime is everything from a complete employee profile to compensation and performance details to the ability to provide continuous feedback to colleagues. What’s more, employees can now access content using Windows 10 on their laptop and Windows Surface devices either online or offline.
Gone are the days of yearly reviews. This is the era of mini-reviews.

This 24/7 accessibility means users- at every level- can easily request and provide feedback “in the moment” via a tablet, smartphone, or laptop, regardless of location or time. For managers, it means they have constant feedback at their fingertips on individuals – information that allows managers to have continuous conversations on both positive comments, but also improvements an employee can make. In real-time.  Talk about optimizing your workforce!

3.      A streamlined and unified Workforce Management (WFM) user experience

We’ve given our WFM a new appearance, making it easier to use with a single sign-on and a new unified look and feel. We’ve also made it easier to integrate daily shifts and schedule changes and given you a new single timeline for managing and completing tasks.

By giving everyone a single point to search for other employees, reports, or activities we are using technology to do what it does best – improve and increase efficiencies in workflow. This will then, hopefully, translate to a correlating improvement in the organization’s efficiencies and output. Making it a win-win for everyone.

How Does March Madness Impact Office Productivity and Engagement?

As “mad” as it sounds, an estimated 20 percent of the workforce followed the annual basketball tournament costing employers in 2016 over $3.9 billion in the first week of March Madness1!  Extra-long lunch breaks, streaming games and filling out brackets at work are fairly common. […]

As “mad” as it sounds, an estimated 20 percent of the workforce followed the annual basketball tournament costing employers in 2016 over $3.9 billion in the first week of March Madness1!  Extra-long lunch breaks, streaming games and filling out brackets at work are fairly common. There are similar findings of lost productivity during the Olympics and the World Cup2, 3.

Before you close your browser for being called out, hear me out! I believe that the above findings are a bit short-sighted. What if you and your colleagues were encouraged to follow the games, participate in office brackets, and had the championship games streaming in common areas? You may find that you have common ground with your co-workers—not to mention customers—and lively conversation is easy where it was typically small talk. Imagine the workplace satisfaction you will have!

Channeling enthusiasm and energy with work relationships can bring a sense of camaraderie that overflows through the workforce. After all, we’ve all been taught that in business, relationships are EVERYTHING. Positive and supportive work relationships boost morale and increase engagement. As 78 percent of us spend more time with coworkers than we do with our families4, peer relationships are critical to our professional investments and career satisfaction. Further, take into account that only 51 percent of us use our vacation days5. This may help managers justify practicing more flexibility than normal during major sporting events. Particularly when intangible benefits include departments who rarely interact begin to have rapport and INCREASE in productivity. Engagement would be through the roof!

Why not leverage these moments of sporting competition and nationalism into a positive environment with lasting results?

Comment or send me a message! Let me know if your company encourages interoffice sport synergy or punitively frowns upon it.

 

How to Drive Employee Engagement

Almost every business report, article, blog (and maybe even tweet) you read today has one common thread: driving employee engagement is paramount to your success as a manager and an organization.

Empowering and engaging your employees is not a complex topic. […]

Almost every business report, article, blog (and maybe even tweet) you read today has one common thread: driving employee engagement is paramount to your success as a manager and an organization.

Empowering and engaging your employees is not a complex topic. It’s actually quite simple. However, there is still a huge population of managers out there struggling with the concept. Layer by layer organizations continue to pile on new technologies designed to engage, develop, train and retain top talent. But organizations often lose sight of the one commonality that we can all agree on – we are all human beings who desire constructive and meaningful face-to-face conversations.

That’s what it’s all about, right?

Earlier this week we sat down with the always insightful and very funny Fistful of Talent crew members, Kris Dunn, Paul Hebert, Holland Dombeck, and RJ Morris, to discuss the truths of driving employee engagement.  I could go on and on reiterating what they said, but the proof is in the pudding. Take 22 minutes out of your day and watch the video. I promise you that you’ll enjoy it, and in the event you don’t let me know, I am all for constructive criticism.

Help Wanted: Smarter Talent Management

Personally Engaging Leaders to Drive Employee Engagement

“Employee engagement” is a key concept these days, and while I will explore its origins and modern interpretations in my upcoming webinar, companies have to focus on literally engaging people on a personal level today just as you would “engage” someone in conversation. […]

Personally Engaging Leaders to Drive Employee Engagement

“Employee engagement” is a key concept these days, and while I will explore its origins and modern interpretations in my upcoming webinar, companies have to focus on literally engaging people on a personal level today just as you would “engage” someone in conversation.

Our research of nearly 5,000 workers worldwide showed that while one out of three people are engaged, less than half the time they are working, one out of two are actively or passively looking for their next job. Alarming, isn’t it? Employee Engagement

So to increase engagement and prevent exodus, every professional should ask does their company have the following four characteristics:

  1. Vision and values.
    Establishing the mission is critical to employee engagement and productivity today, not just serving a valued customer, but corporate social responsibility issues of treating the workforce with respect and engaging with ethical suppliers and business partners. This is increasingly true as many organizations specifically take on philanthropic causes as an outcome of the business plan — think Starbucks’ coffee farmers and Tom’s shoes and eyeglasses going to underprivileged children.This is true for both younger and older generations who seek a greater meaning in their work lives. And even if a company can’t find a noble cause to follow, creating a culture of teamwork and recognition of colleagues can be the value people find in their daily work.
  2. Transparency and trust.
    With the advent of social media and public forums such as LinkedIn and other recruiting networks, where anyone and everyone can find out who works for a company and what it is like inside the firm, companies have to be more proactive than ever in sharing information on how business is going, challenges they face, and how they are coming together as a team to solve them. The diversity in the workplace means people have less and less tolerance for the old top-down “do what I say and not what I do” management styles and are not motivated by heavy-handed policies and procedures in an age where agility and flexibility rule the markets.
  3. Communication and collaboration.
    New technologies have allowed more and more people the flexibility to work remotely, whether in a home office, on the road, or after hours, but they also allow people to avoid inter-personal conversations and discussions where ideas are generated and issues are addressed. Everyone has a story of how a single email has derail an entire day when a careless executive declares a new initiative or kills off another without giving people context or consideration of the decision. Leaders have to be thoughtful about not only what they are saying but how they are coming across or workers can easily tune out and turn off.
  4. Presentation and promotion. Offering workers the opportunities to present at internal client review meetings as subject matter experts and attend conferences for professional development are critical for establishing relationships, external brand building, and on-going education, but too often just top management goes as travel costs increase and budgets are closely watched. In the absence of this, individuals “promote” themselves and their expertise to peers and colleagues through social media tools, which can serve to supplement those hierarchical job promotions that may not exist anymore (or people do not want for work life balance these days). Building personal brand equity inside and outside of a company has always been at the heart of a successful career and companies should think about how they can help their employees in this regard or they’ll seek other ways to do it on their own.

In the Power to the People survey referenced above, respondents across the board said “smarter management talent” was the number one challenge to their engagement and productivity in business. To my mind, it is these very basic organizational people principles and practices around engaging with people as individual human beings management has overlooked or abandoned that has resulted in the pervasive lack of employee “engagement.”

To hear more, register for my upcoming webinar, Engagement vs Productivity? Chicken or Egg? Which Can HR Really Impact? on Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. EDT.