Do you have a leader in your company that is talented at engaging her employees? Does she have the top performing team in service or sales? Does it matter? It may not matter, unless your company is trying to have more leaders like her? But are they taking actions to try to develop others that know how to engage other employees? Almost always the answer is , No.
Repeatable, this is the biggest struggle for companies when it comes to improving employee engagement. More companies each and every day are coming to the realization that their focus needs to be engaging employees to become more customer-focused, and they need to develop employees at all levels that excel at engaging other employees. Even Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, faced with a Government proposal of a $500,000 salary cap on executives from receiving TARP monies stated concerns over “losing talent”. Because without top talent, all companies struggle. And top performing organizations are the best at retaining top talent. So how can engaging more employees be done consistently?
When not consistent, companies fall into the focus of the month, the flavor of the day, the latest and greatest; it all increases resistance. When things like this happen, everything is scrutinized due to the lack of integrity and trust in the company. “Why should we believe anything”, is the mindset inconsistency creates.
So how do you prevent the flavor of the month with your employee engagement programs. To make a shift requires to go beyond hollow, intent, and only employee engagement surveys. To become a living reality, and change your company culture, your employee engagement program needs to be systematized in a way that is repeatable and sustainable, is easy to use and has obvious benefits for all users.
This employee engagement system presupposes goodwill, a commitment to partnering at the executive level and communicating, listening, negotiating and problem solving. It also requires the company to value mutual respect and be prepared to invest time and money for people development. Implementing these seven tactics (and more) has generated success for many companies:
- Focus on transforming from the inside out: Changing the culture at micro levels (one-to-one) before you move across teams.
- Focus on transforming from the bottom-up: Forcing employee engagement and customer-focus from above falters.
- Think incremental and developmental: Transformation takes time and effort, success builds momentum.
- Avoid the knowledge trap: Go beyond mere training into workable practices.
- Create a roadmap to critical mass: This will prevent shortcuts that have a boomerang affect.
- Use technology to support the workflow: Don’t rely on human memory to push things forward.
- Rinse and repeat: Commit to continuous improvement by replicate what works best and keep trying.
Just remember…what is not systematized, is not sustainable. A strategy for employee engagement is as important as a business strategy. After all, without employees do you have a business?
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