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;

Employers Engage On Engagement – June 2014 edition

In the current issue, Talent Management magazine discusses the 2014 Employee Engagement survey by Human Capital Media Advisory Group.

The research concludes that although recognition and work-life balance are the top two factors in promoting engagement, they are the least valued by HR Managers when measuring engagement. The article goes on to reveal the metrics and frequency used to measure engagement and its impact.

The definition of employee engagement was also surveyed and over 85% agreed with the following:

“the extent to which employees are motivated to contribute to organizational success and are willing to apply discretionary effort to accomplish tasks important to the achievement of organizational goals.”

Which is only a part of our definition…read more here

Creating a coaching Culture in 10 Minutes – 27th May 2014

Blessing White Consultant Kristen Bakalar highlights the confusion about what a coaching culture actually is.  It’s not about 1:1 meetings every Wednesday, nor is it about scheduling regular meetings to discuss performance.

According to Bakalar culture is defined by the nature of the relationship between the conversation’s participants.  She believes that all managers need to develop the skills to become effective coaches and develop effective relationships with their employees.

The focus of a coaching culture is helping others to succeed.  While there has been a move toward coaching silos – athletics coach, business coach, wellness coach, spiritual coach; stripping things back to this basic principle will enable coaching to take place in 10 minutes.

Coaching happens by the water cooler, in the corridor and in team meetings.  Managers create a coaching culture by asking questions and listening to the hopes and fears of their employees.  Bakalar identifies three steps to achieve this:

  1. Train managers to think like coaches – build personal awareness, learn how to have powerful conversations, develop positive relationships with employees
  2. Identify opportunities for coaching – every exchange is an opportunity for coaching
  3. Engage in the coaching conversation – ask questions, listen actively, seek to understand and encourage exploration

Simple…yet requiring high skill levels and dedication to achieve in practice.

Almost a third of employees feel performance management systems are unfair – 27th May 2014

Given the vital role managers play in creating an environment that leads employees to be engaged at work, and the direct link to engagement and productivity, a new report from the CIPD makes for uncomfortable reading.

The report shows almost a third of employees feel that performance management systems are unfair; in addition, about the same number feel progression within their organisation is unachievable, with one in five stating that their managers do not effectively communicate objectives and expectations.

The report goes on to say that trust and confidence in senior managers is at a two year low, so there is clearly a lot to be done in developing managers’ leadership capabilities.

10 Quick Ways to Determine if Your Team is Engaged – 27 May 2014

In this article William Arruda builds upon two earlier pieces exploring the important coupling of personal and corporate brands in order to drive employee engagement.  He provides a simple quiz to test the engagement of your team.

Topics include staff being clear about their talents, motivation and values and applying their capabilities effectively to the needs of the organisation.

In addition, he covers the responsibilities of leaders to communicate corporate purpose, values, and mission and provide appreciation to team members for their efforts publicly, where possible.

Agreeing with of 7 out of 10 equates to a highly engaged team.  Fewer could bring retention problems and a need for action.

Are you setting the stage for employee engagement and growth? – 27th May 2014

In his latest blog post, David Zinger provides some helpful insights, in the form of seven questions for managers to ask of themselves, to check that they are setting the stage for employee engagement and growth.

  1. Do employees know I care for them and what they are trying to achieve at work?
  2. Am I offering employees new challenges and opportunities for learning?
  3. Am I equipping employees with new skills and abilities to meet their work challenges?
  4. Do I give employees a high level of both trust and autonomy to do their work?
  5. Do I nourish employees with frequent conversations about their work?
  6. Do I fully recognize employees for progress and growth?
  7. Do I help employees guard against setbacks?

Importance of employee appreciation – 26th May 2014

This blog post urges us all to find time to stop and thank people who make a difference; not that difficult, one might think, but given recent research many managers are overlooking this basic management activity.

More than half of employees admit they would stay longer at their jobs if their bosses showed more appreciation, so it does seem extraordinary that so many managers neglect this simple, no-cost approach to people.

The writer points us to “develop a culture of appreciation throughout the entire organisation that can lead to success: increased performance, productivity and profitability. Not only that, but this success comes not at the cost of employee well-being but rather as a result of appreciation’s ability to increase employee happiness and well-being.”

Navigating Ambiguity: Career Research Report 2014

Blessing White’s annual Career Report delivers some important messages for employers wanting to build commitment and engagement from its staff.  It also highlights the employee responsibility to manage their own career and establishing a partnership with their employer for mutual benefit.

Key recommendations from the report offer strategies for both the employer and the employee.  For the employee the overarching strategy is to focus on continuous professional development, building skills and experience.  For the employer, its important to align future organisational needs and individual ambitions through effective dialogue.

Employees need to do the planning without settling on a definitive plan:

  • Know Yourself: Invest time in understanding skills, personal values, desired work environment and ambitions.
  • Know Your Options: What do career opportunities look like? How does an employee prepare? What connections do they need? What skills should they be developing?
  • Take action: Career progression does not happen in giant leaps. Rather, it occurs in many small steps. Employees should be proactively building skills and experiences that will prepare them for that future formal role.

Employers can help frame the discussion and guide individual decisions to ensure future talent needs are met while also ensuring organizational nimbleness:

  • Build alignment between the future talent needs of the organization and the  ambitions of individuals.
  • Set the stage by (re)defining career and clarifying ownership.
  • Train managers to effectively use career as a conversation around the work, skills and future interests.
  • Provide support and resources, using a multifaceted approach.

Why You Need to Step Up Your Training Game – 26th May 2014

In this article by Jessica Stillman you can read her take on a recent survey by Accenture which shows just how badly businesses are doing at integrating and training recent graduates.

It seems that graduates are having their hopes and expectations dashed – finding that too may employers don’t provide training and development.

80 percent of 2014 graduates said they expect their first employer to provide formal training.  But less than half of employers (48 percent) actually provide training to new entry-level employees, according to the responses of the 2012 and 2013 graduates.

The report goes on to make the point that the churn and disengagement caused is actually more costly than providing the training.

Who should lead the charge on employee engagement? – 26th May 2014

Many organizations say they are committed to achieving high levels of employee engagement, however new research indicates they are going about it the wrong way, according to this article by Claudine Kapel.

She finds some key concerns in a recent survey by Bain & Company which suggests that HR shouldn’t be the team responsible for it.

In a briefing note entitled “Who’s Responsible for Employee Engagement?” Bain makes the point that delegating to HR is misplaced because “HR is not in a position to take or direct actions required to affect attitudes at the employee or team level.”

Bain notes “making employees loyal advocates of their employer is not an end goal in itself, but rather a means to achieving customer and financial goals.”

Bain finds some worrying trends;

  • Engagement scores decline as employee tenure increases – which means employees with the deepest knowledge of the company, and the most experience, typically are the least engaged.
  • Scores decline at the lowest levels of the organization – suggesting that senior executive teams “likely underestimate the discontent on the front lines.”
  • Engagement levels are lowest in sales and service functions – which is where most interactions with customers occur.

Bain says a more effective approach to employee engagement would have “line supervisors, not HR, lead the charge.”

Address Employee Engagement During Management Training – 21st May 2014

Author Todd Patkin says in this article, that all managers should be taught the subtle signs of employee disengagement.  Patkin believes that technical competence is no substitute for being able to build effective relationships.  Managers don’t take time out to nurture and build relationships with their employees, he says.  Patkin list three top phrases that should form a part of every manager’s vocabulary:

  • What do you need from me? – Provides insights for individual and organisational improvement.
  • Thank you – Regular positive feedback and recognition is a key ingredient to performance and engagement.
  • That’s OK – Mistakes are an essential part of growth and risk-taking should be encouraged.

Employee Engagement Doesn’t Equal Employee Happiness – 20 May 2014

This article makes the claim that assuming employee engagement equates to employee happiness can be seen as a false equivalent.

If organisations aren’t providing the right opportunities, benefits, development, or creating the right atmosphere then attempts to make employees happy won’t go very far.  Indeed, efforts designed solely to boost happiness can drive disengagement.

Your most engaged employees might irritate you a little bit; they may propose wild ideas, get frustrated when projects are derailed and step up for every assignment. But they may rarely seem blissfully happy, because they are busy pushing the envelope – striving for change.

Aren’t these the people you want in your organisation?

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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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