Emenex Weekly News

Each week we bring you news, opinions and research on Employee Engagement, Leadership and Motivation, along with some thoughts on practical workplace applications.

Engagement Is a Means, Not an End

Organizations frequently misunderstand and misapply employee engagement and empowerment. Engagement and empowerment represent admirable and desirable values but they are fundamentally means, not ends. The business purpose of greater employee engagement and empowerment is not happier employees but people who are more productive, innovative, and accountable for the choices they make. Empowerment is an investment in accountability. Successful organizations expect healthy returns on their investments.

Whether in sales, customer service, or software, empowered employees who consistently underperform are probably in the wrong job. Indeed, empowerment may be the surest way of determining whether rigorous compliance or greater initiative delivers the greatest value-added component of a job. Empowerment is the antithesis of compliance; its purpose is increasing choices rather than limiting them.

But where compliance holds employees accountable for following the rules, empowerment makes them accountable for their choices. The more empowered employees are, the more accountable they become. In other words, be careful of what you wish for because you are sure to get it.  The article in full at Harvard Business Review.

It’s time to move beyond engagement.  Empower and align employees with organisational priorities to build a culture of high performance, well being and career satisfaction.  To learn more, call 03450 523 593

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Blog: Value Based Decision-Making can Aid our Euro Vote Dilemma

With the announcement that there will be a referendum held on June 23rd to decide whether we will remain in the European Community or not, will come an extensive period of campaigning and debate aimed at persuading us to vote one way or the other that will divide families and communities in different ways to traditional political lines.

So how shall we make our minds up through what will now become an onslaught of arguments for and against that yachts anchored off the island of st maartenwill bombard our media over the course of the next few months?

A helpful model that we use in coaching employees to take responsibility for the decisions that they make concerning their role and career development is to look at the alignment of their personal values with the values of their organisation.

Values are the anchors that secure our beliefs to our ocean floor and stop us from being battered against the rocks of popular opinion in stormy times like these. Read more.

Take Charge of your career, team or organisation by aligning individual goals with organisational priorities. To learn more, call 03450 523 593

How to Make Employee Engagement a Top Priority

It’s well known that employee engagement has consistently averaged less than 33 percent over the past four years in the US, and it’s not so different in Europe. However, as Heather Human, writing for the Entrepreneur.com points out, the root of the problem is that many leaders are still not making employee engagement a priority.

Here are four ways leaders can improve on that goal (there’s a lot more info in the article here):

1. Make employee engagement an ongoing effort.
According to a 2015 Motivosity survey, 98 percent of CEOs only look at annual employee engagement surveys once a year and don’t discuss the matter with their employees.

2. Don’t dump problems on HR.
The Motivosity survey indicated that 70 percent of CEOs surveyed were delegating culture and engagement problems to HR, but it is vital for CEOs to be actively involved.

3. Make employee engagement engaging.
Leaders acknowledge just how important employee feedback is, but research shows that the way they typically gather and respond to it is inefficient. Huhman suggests instead the need to start with an open discussion with employees: “Let people freely speak their minds,” she says. “Hearing what people genuinely have to say will help you kick employee engagement off to a positive start.”

4. Encourage risk-taking.
A company is only as good as the employees behind it. That is why employers should promote innovation on a regular basis, suggests Huhman. “Do this at your company by presenting problems to your teams; give them the opportunity to take risks (and don’t reprimand them for failures).”

How else can leaders improve employee engagement in your organisation?

Leading at the Speed of Change

“Things are changing faster than ever before!”

We hear this statement so often that it is at risk of becoming a platitude. Yet, when we look across sectors or industries, there is no denying that there is a gradual acceleration in the rate at which new innovations are introduced, markets are morphing or new business structures are implemented.

Change is social

It is tempting to think of change as just a technology-driven issue, and that the change is primarily in the tools or the infrastructure. But technology and social change go hand in hand. From a Darwinian perspective, we would say that the faster the business environment changes, the more rapidly companies need to evolve and adapt. But companies are still burdened with old-school thinking around structure, annual planning cycles, performance management, leadership and how to engage talent.

Future-focused leadership

BlessingWhite is currently participating in research with several external research partners on the topic of future-focused leadership. While the research is not complete, they do have some preliminary findings, which they discuss here. Briefly, in order to adapt at a faster pace, companies need to look at three factors:

  1. How do you identify leadership potential?
  2. What are the areas or competencies that you should develop leaders around?
  3. How do you develop leaders?

Smart companies invest in leaders based on potential, not position. They also set the expectation that it is up to the individual leader to learn every day, and develop awareness of their environment, of others and of their own capabilities. The key is developing employees who can lead, regardless of the tide. [The Emenex viewpoint is leadership ought to be evident at every level: senior team, managers and each individual contributor – Ed]

“Now Wash Your hands”: Three Ways to Look at Employee Engagement

All the research we come across, writes Lucy Adams for Personnel Today, that tells us that, even with billions being spent on employee engagement in its various forms, levels remain depressingly low and stagnant.

She speaks to CEOs, HRDs and communication directors who are crying out for some fresh approaches to engagement, and she’s become increasingly convinced that the answers might just be a bit simpler than we’ve made them.

Through leading and experiencing numerous change and engagement initiatives, she has come to believe passionately that we need to do three things:

  • we need to treat our people like adults;
  • we need to think of them as customers; and
  • we need to engage with them as human beings.

Read more about her thinking here.

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