All the Employee Engagement news worth reading.

Each week we bring you the very best news and views on Employee Engagement (and the related areas of leadership, learning and development, organisational culture and motivation) and all summarised in bite size chunks.  Here are this week’s must reads;

Top 5 Qualities of a Successful HR Director – 21st May 2014

In any organisation, the HR department plays a vital role that is depended on by every employee from CEO to new recruit. The role of  HR Director involves juggling a wide range of capabilities and skills, and so isn’t a role that be given to “just anyone”. So how do you know what the right person looks like? In this article, Michael Meere describes the top 5 qualities required for this demanding role.

  1. Motivation – the personal motivation and drive to do the job in a way that inspires to be as engaged and committed.
  2. Leadership – the ability to lead at individual level, and strategically.
  3. Organisation – one aspect of the role is compliance, and being highly organised is a vital part of the role.
  4. Communication – outstanding oral and written communication skills are essential.
  5. Professionalism – being professional and being seen to be so; this includes following procedures properly, being available to meet people, and leading by example in every area.

You can read the full article here. Is Meere right that these are the top 5?

Best Places to Work 2014 – 21st May 2014

Every year, Great Place to Work put out a report profiling the organisations that have ranked highest in their employee engagement programme and display long-term commitment to creating cultures where employees thrive.

The just-published Great Workplaces Special Report, profiles 2014’s 100 Best Workplaces and shares insights into how trust and engagement drive their business success. Leaders of these top-performing organisations talk about their values, how they create their unique workplace cultures and how being recognised as a Best Workplace benefits their employer brand.

Report highlights:

  • How Barclays is using values to re-build internal and external trust and confidence
  • How one company dramatically increased its survey results after introducing a senior management programme
  • The latest facts, figures and findings from the Great Place to Work® research including the top 5 performing sectors

You can read the full report here:

What could your company learn from these top performers?

Invest in employee engagement for the future Not the Present – 20th May 2014

Too many organisations expect instant results form their employee engagement initiatives.  In reality, engagement is a long-term project, more techniques and strategies than beer and pizza on a Friday:

  • Be clear about what you want to accomplish
  • Study and analyse all of the issues
  • Train your managers
  • Review progress regularly
  • Role model the change you want
  • Be prepared for downs as well as ups
  • Commit to long-term support

In summary, invest in engagement like you were Warren Buffet, not a day trader.

Read it here.

Leadership: Influencing what matters – 20th May 2014

Owain Smolović Jones points out that leadership is not confined to people in high places.  Instead it is a role we all play through “little acts of leadership”.  His question is, how far are we prepared to go to influence the leadership that matters to us?

Jones goes onto explore the role of conflict and the concept of a leader with authority as an orchestrator and provocateur of leadership from others.  This approach can bring about resistance and pain for the leader but it is this disruptive process that brings about new learning.

The journey of employee engagement leads to success – 20th May 2014

Max d’Unienville, Director: Talent at TNS South Africa, describes how his organization creates a work environment that promotes employee engagement.  Max highlights specific areas that drive employee engagement at TNS:

  • A reward system trusted by employees
  • Recognition for contribution
  • Horizontal and vertical career development
  • Dynamic work environment
  • A culture of continuous learning and development

While TNS ensure the work environment is energizing and inspiring, equal importance is attached to the quality of the relationships at all levels in the organization.  The overarching factor though according to Max is the alignment of personal and organisational values.

It’s good to read about successful organisations whose approach to engagement mirrors our own extraMILE process and confirms our approach to increasing and benefiting  from employee engagement.

30 Secrets to Hiring the Right People – 20th May 2014

The success of your business depends on the quality of your employees. Small businesses, especially, know that one bad hire can ruin their entire team’s productivity. That’s why entrepreneurs obsess over hiring.

This is a guidebook of hiring tips from top small-business owners in the US.  Almost every respondent emphasized the importance of hiring employees who organically fit into corporate culture and who are passionate about the brand.

Overall, personality trumps credentials when entrepreneurs are deciding who they want to bring onto their team.

Strong leadership needed to overcome financial pressures on the NHS – 19th May 2014

Chris Ham makes the argument here that the NHS needs a different kind of leadership model.  Too often the default leadership model is what he terms ‘pacesetting’ i.e. the leader is the hero who leads by driving people to meet performance targets.

He suggests that this style is unlikely to be sufficient to engage or motivate staff to play their part in making the changes now needed to use constrained budgets as effectively as possible.

Instead, leadership needs to be shared and distributed throughout the NHS with leaders engaging with colleagues.

Suggestions include;

  • Focus on achieving high levels of staff engagement throughout the organisation.
  • Empower doctors, nurses, managers and other staff to improve care without having to seek permission.
  • Enable members of the trust’s executive team work to operate as coaches and mentors.
  • Ensure leadership continuity.

Actually, he offers a pretty good definition of modern leadership and engagement practice with relevance for every organisation that intends to be great.

What Employees Want, Executive Guide
Overlooked Insights in Employee engagement White Paper – May 2014

Paycom have pulled together a number of studies to highlight under appreciated areas where businesses can improve employee engagement.

  • Pay your people fairly, pay them well and avoid payroll errors.  According to the Aberdeen Group, best in class employers spend 25% less on unplanned overtime and 83% less on manual time/attendance enquiries.
  • Create not only a physically safe workplace, but an emotionally safe workplace too.  Take HR related training seriously and communicate openly about the core mission and business performance.
  • Recognise employee contribution.  That means acknowledging individual effort, not just through pay and incentives.  A study by MIT found that people whose work is acknowledged are up to 47% more productive than those whose work is ignored
  • The carrot and stick approach to motivation is long dead and there are better motivators than money.  Offer your employees purpose.  Meet their basic needs and align their work with their natural strengths. Map out their optimal career path together

Just wanted to point our that our extraMILE Five Step Process addresses these very points.

Link to the article.

The Future of Research in Employee Engagement – 19th May 2014

Katie Truss, Professor of Management and Director of Knowledge Exchange in the Department of Business and Management at Sussex University, explores the differences in the way that academics and practitioners conceptualise and approach engagement – differences that do not seem to be lessening over time.

In this article she poses seven key areas that are ripe for future engagement research, starting with the fundamental question, ‘what is engagement?’

Related articles from Emenex are here and here.

Creating a Culture of employee Engagement – 16th May 2014

Steve Earley is CEO of Cross Company, a 100% employee owned sales and  engineering company with 200 employees turning over $100M.  In his regular blog he describes how he has created an employee engagement culture.

At the heart of his business is a strong and passionately held set of core values lived out dally by everyone at the company.  Steve regularly updates staff with progress and results and always ties that into the company vision.  People want to follow a leader, but they also want to know where they are going, he says.  His other top tips include;

  • Build Trust
  • Communicate frequently
  • Ask employees for advice
  • Admit mistakes
  • Get to know people individually
  • Empower people
  • Celebrate success
  • Reward good performance

Steve reckons this engagement culture is at the heart of the company’s success. This message is summed up succinctly by founder Bill Cross who said “Hire good people, trust them and get out of their way.”

5 Thought Changers to Grow Employee Engagement – 16th May 2014

Guest bloggers appear regularly on the numerous SAP Blogs.  In this one, Tim Wright explores how practicing thinking differently increases employee engagement.  He offers 5 challenges to stretch your thinking patterns and stimulate increased engagement:

  • Look at everyday objects from a different angle or perspective
  • Turn everyday objects into a metaphor  – imagine your staple gun as a snappy puppy
  • Play “what if” and make them fun to free yourself from reality
  • Change one part of an object, it’s size, shape, colour. Apply that same thinking to your work challenges
  • Look fast to think faster.  A bit like the Generation Game conveyor belt, but do it faster and faster.

These are all fun exercises but applying then to your work is where they become game changers.

Make Experience Count – 16th May 2014

Cindy makes the case in this article for focusing leadership development more towards on-the-job stretch experiences (we tend to use the term Assignments) rather than concentrating on education led development.

She suggests that this requires a change in mindset about leader development and proposes the following action steps;

  • Partner with line managers to staff work with development in mind.
  • Identify and fill experience gaps.
  • Promote a learning-from-experience mindset.
  • Integrate formal development programs into work experiences.

Successful Employee Engagement – Six Top Tips – 16th May 2014

Leadership is a critical part of employee engagement and leaders that get it right will reap the benefits says Engage Customer here:

  1. Canvass employees, they are the lifeblood and character reference of an organisation.  Find out what make them tick.
  2. Separate morale from motivation. Good leaders are quick to separate more – how people feels from motivation – turning talent into productivity.
  3. Explore solutions. Focus on what is working. Managers need to provide regular positive  feedback, and emphasise the culture/employer brand.
  4. Action plan. Put success stories as first item on agenda and shift from discussing problems to exploring solutions.
  5. Be clear about training outcomes.  Training is very motivational but be clear about how the training is delivered and what the learning outcomes will be. Make sure team building events involve everyone.
  6. Set up a reward and recognition programme. Rewards programme can be powerful but don’t focus on money, people respond to recognition more than reward.

How GE Trains More Experienced Employees – 16th May 2014

In this article, Raghu Krishnamoorthy describes how GE has created mid-career leadership development programmes to support the growth of their talent pool, broaden their skill-set, and shorten the promotion cycle.  The key elements of these programmes include:

  • Employee development plan customisation
  • Identifying the right raw-material
  • Sponsorship from the highest level
  • 360 feedback
  • Development assignments
  • Coaching support

The Physics of Employee Engagement – 15 May 2014

In this 8-minute video Chuck Gosse of Stratcache explains his Physics of Employee Engagement presentation delivered at the Employee communications Thought Leadership Summit at the London Velodrome.  Chuck uses Newton’s laws of motion to highlight strategies to improve employee engagement.

“In the absence of an unbalanced force, an object in motion will maintain this state of motion. Sound familiar? That is the challenge companies face. Unmotivated employees will stay unmotivated. They are at rest. And they will stay that way until a force is applied. Disengaged employees will stay disengaged”

Chuck’s focus is communication and the imperative for communicators to add value, rather than simply deliver the message. In the video he gives some useful tops for making more creative, entertaining communications that are more personal to the recipient.

Boost NHS Employee Engagement to Save Lives – 15th May 2014

Research from the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA) suggests for every ‘ordinary’ (one standard deviation) increase in engagement, mortality rates among patients would be 2.4 per cent lower.

Research indicates employee engagement is vital to high quality care in the NHS. Evidence shows it is linked to both patient satisfaction and quality of care.

Joe Dromey, Head of Policy and Research at the IPA highlights the findings of a major new piece of research on engagement in the NHS. He argues that by better engaging with employees, the NHS will be more able to face the significant challenges of the next few years.

Move From Transactional To A Transformational Approach To Employee Engagement – 14th May 2014

The Hay Group’s experience is that success in engaging employees is dependant upon engaging managers in the process. Failing to address concerns and connect managers with the process will result in managers not playing their part in making engagement initiatives successful.  In this article Hay suggest three considerations in building engagement approaches:

  1. Develop an organisation specific definition of engagement and build a business case
  2. Stage the cycle of results with business planning cycles to generate more impact
  3. Focus on what matters and avoid simple pitfalls

This 3-step approach gives managers compelling reasons to get on board with employee engagement. And recognise it is a core part of their role, rather than an add-on activity.

When Companies Suffer From CEOpathy -14th May 2014

C-level turnover is greater than in almost any other part of the business – approaching 50% in some cases.  Aubrey Daniels makes several valid points in this article, about the problems companies face recruiting and retaining the right top level leaders including;

  • A failure by the Board to identify the behaviours they want
  • A lack of support and guidance once the new C-level person is on board
  • A failure to establish and agree the strategy the person will employ in order to achieve the goals
  • The shear difficulty of recruiting successfully when all you have is a resume and evidence of past experience (in a very different scenario)

He suggests it’s good practice to have staff interview the candidates to see if they can work with them (not the other way around).

Why SMBs Fail the On-boarding Test – 14th May 2014

Why do SMBs spend thousands of dollars in time, effort, and cash to hire a great person, only to see their new hire jump ship within 6 months?

Data from a recent BambooHR survey enlightens us on what matters most to new hires and what we can give employees for a great on-boarding experience. In this article, Ben Petersen highlights the three most important things that people want when they join a new firm;

  • Give new hires “organized, relevant and well-timed content”
  • Assign employees a “buddy” or mentor
  • Facilitate relationships with other employees

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About Emenex

Emenex enables organisations to get the best from and for their staff.

The Emenex extraMILE process aligns employees with their organisation’s priorities and enhances every individual’s emotional connection with their employer, so releasing increased levels of performance and personal fulfilment.

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