Organisations of all sizes are recognising the benefits of engaging their employees in major decision making. Engagement means a combination of listening and being heard. It means a formal agreement of respect, for each other’s point of view. It means transparency and discussion on who, what, where, when, why and how, on the reasons the employees are asked to stretch.

What does employee engagement deliver?  

The latest Forrester Research, published Q1, 2020 entitled, ‘The Forrester New Wave ™, states in their global study, that an investment in employee engagement can produce as much as,

• 8% increases in return on total assets
• 11% increase return on stock equity and
• 20% return on EBITDA

In March 2019, Gallup Marketplace reported, ‘Organizations that are the best in engaging their employees, achieve 4x the earnings per share over their competitors. That those companies in the top quartile of engagement realize substantially better customer engagement, higher productivity, lower turnover, fewer accidents and 21% profitability.

The same gallup poll, reported the 8 factors that build engagement:

  1. Trust and Integrity (psychological safety): They feel safe to learn and challenge the status quo
  2. Meaningful Work: Employees can see how their work is related to the mission of the organisation
  3. Success: It’s important for employees to feel that they are successful personally and professionally
  4. Caring: Feeling cared for, heard, and listened is vital in this process, this means getting beyond the pay check, being authentic and genuine in this regard
  5. Accountability: Employees expect accountability of themselves and of their leadership
  6. Innovation: Knowing that they are working to push the organisation to be leader the industry, being on the cutting edge of growth, knowledge and technology
  7. Growth: Employees need to know that they are growing that their career is growing, that their company is growing
  8. Fun: Happy employee is more engaged and is able to give more on a regular basis

To embark on this journey, the employers can use some pretty cool and sophisticated technologies. One tool that I have seen used extensively by IBM is a ‘jam’ session. You may want to look into IBM Innovation Jam tool. I’ve seen IBM use ‘Jam’ sessions to pull together conversations between 172 countries and 440,000 employees. It’s an amazing experience to engage brilliant minds from all over the world engage with employees throughout the planet; to see ideas generate and evolve real time.

Critical to the endeavour is the quality of surveys you take and the feedback that you provide to the employees of the results and findings. This way the audience understands and accepts that it the collective decision that is made by the employees that is the foundation of the steps that are being undertaken.

Forrester has provided a list of vendors, leaders and challengers in the market place shown below.

They also propose interlinking the employee experience insights with customer experience insights to fully leverage the insights from engagement. We will discuss details on customer engagement in a future post. As you evaluate various technologies, it’s important to assess the technology in the following factors:

  1. Does the solution have omni-channel invitation and engagement capabilities (e.g. phone, email, video, etc.)?
  2. Can the solution collect and collate employee data across the entire employee journey with your brand?
  3. Does the solution protect personally identi able information of your employees?
  4. Can the solution analyze unstructured employee comments to understand emotion and sentiment to better manage the experience?
  5. Does the solution have a data sciences team to provide in-depth analysis and recommendations
  6. Can the solution display VoE data alongside VoC and employee engagement data?

In these tough, uncertain and tricky times, when we are locked up inside our homes with threat of Covid-19, how can your organisation use some of the knowledge and insight of employee engagement.  Here’s what your employees are looking for from their managers.

  1. Leadership!  Empathise with those struggling to see or understand your vision.  Provide coaching, training, enablement, resistance management. Thank who are part of the solution. Take decisive steps where needed – mandate rules and regulations that need to be put in place
  2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate, and then Communicate some more
  3. Dial up the Inspiration, and bring people together, tell them that we are going to win the war against the virus, when certain communities begin to flat-line

As you start to see the results of the extensive effort by your employees, make sure you share engage the employees in sharing the results: celebrate the wins, the heroes, the departments, the individual groups, the company, the vision and its accomplishment.