Editor’s note: Given the lingering questions surrounding employee disengagement and the link to customer loyalty, The Wise Marketer has put together a new thought leadership series that we hope will shed some light on the topic. We asked the employee engagement experts at Hinda Loyalty to come up with a framework for understanding and tackling the issues facing so many of our readers. The 5-part series began with an introduction to the four pillars of the new employee relationship. The first two pillars, Attracting the Right People and How to Engage, have been published previously.
The next entry in the series focuses on the third pillar: how to convey to employees. Readers’ participation and comments are always welcome. We’ll continue the series throughout the summer and end with a webinar (registration available here) bringing it all together.
By: Theresa Thomas, CLMP™, Hinda and Ric Neeley, Hinda
Welcome to the 3rd part of the 4 pillars of the new working relationship.
I hope you’ve read the first three articles: the series introduction, Pillar #1 – Attract, and Pillar #2 – Engage.
As we mentioned in the introduction, the four pillars are To attract, Engage, To transmit and Lawyer. Although this series of articles presents these pillars as separate entities, they are connected. You can’t work on one pillar and expect employee engagement or retention. Pillars work as a team to drive engagement in your organization. And, as you know, every winning team has a great coach. Your business — and its “team of employees” is no different. If you want to be a winning organization, you need a great team and a great coach. Or, as in a corporate situation, multiple coaches.
This is their experience
Employee engagement and retention is not a business issue. The responsibility for creating and maintaining employee engagement does not rest with any particular office, department or title. It requires a team of people coming together to create and sustain engagement.
Employee engagement, like culture, is influenced as much by individual experiences as by the sum of the experiences of all employees.
To quote Investopedia:
“Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and manage external business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implicit, not expressly defined, and grows organically over time from the cumulative characteristics of the people the company hires.
The culture – and we would say, the engagement – is soft, squishy, and based on the sum total of experiences – not just one person, document or policy. This is why your “coaches” are so essential to ensuring that the whole organization is engaged. They are the transmission lines of commitment and culture. And they all have to send the same signal.
Maybe 2022 isn’t the year to talk about “handover” — that word now has unique baggage — but that’s exactly how engagement, retention, and culture spread through an organization. It is transmitted by the people.
Humans will listen to and believe other humans more than a faceless “society”. When companies rely on technology or process to create impact engagement and retention, they remove the human and ultimately remove engagement. When a platform is seen as the solution, the tool ends up being used infrequently, or used frequently but incorrectly, creating favoritism issues and unintended consequences. You can’t buy an employee engagement platform and think you can set it and forget it. This only works with a Ron Popeil grill rotisserie and oven.
Create transmission lines
In order to have a great culture, great engagement, and great retention, you need an engaged and trained leadership team. They are your business coaches. These are the people who convey the goals and objectives of the company in daily behaviors. They are the people responsible for modeling appropriate behaviors and communicating the company’s mission and values. Their behaviors are visible proof of the company’s culture and commitment.
But if your coaching staff isn’t mission-focused, or lack the skills to engage their staff, engagement can’t happen. Period. Full stop.
The statement “People don’t leave companies, they leave their manager” is said so often that it seems cliché. But it is a warning that leaders should heed. Managing skills and training on the science and practice of engagement – rewards, recognition, appreciation, and communication – is the single most important factor that drives engagement and reduces turnover.
Managers are the keystone of the engagement equation.
So the question you need to ask yourself is, how much of your engagement strategy is focused on “the days you take your goldfish to work” and pizza lunches, instead of training managers?
How to Build Stronger Transmission Lines
Knowing that managers are essential for retention and engagement, you would expect managers to get a ton of training on this part of their job. But unfortunately, this is not the case. Too often managers believe and are measured on how well they “keep trains on time”. Tactical results become an indirect indicator of management performance, when in reality management performance should be measured by the quality of their team members. ENGAGED keeping trains on time.
Dr. Beverly Kaye, author of the best-selling ‘Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay,’ offered advice on how to encourage retention at the recent IOC Summit on the Future of Work .
1) Good managers make sure their people get training, get opportunities, get noticed.
Growth in a job is essential. If people don’t feel they are growing, they won’t stay. And they will leave if they feel their managers don’t care about their growth.
2) Assume that your staff can leave at any time.
More critical than ever, with the “Big Resignation”, managers must operate as if their new hire can be recruited immediately – and should recruit them continuously with opportunities for growth.
3) Remote workers may need more love now.
With remote work — and the increasing difficulty of real-life connections — managers need to work harder to create human connections. Managers need to reach out to their employees by all medium and mode available e.g. SMS, email, Slack, phone (yeah – that’s still a thing), smoke signals, whatever tool they can.
4) ALL employees say, “I want to be noticed. I want to be rewarded.
People haven’t changed for thousands of years. We are all still guided by basic rules of engagement. One of the most axiomatic is that people want you to notice them. Managers need to be comfortable with recognition. They want managers to give continuous feedback.
5) Employees feel they are not getting all the information they should be getting.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Managers need to do more to make sure they have enough conversations with their employees AND, just as important, make sure they’re addressing each employee’s issues. Are your managers asking their teams what they need to know? What are employees not hearing but thinking they should? In other words, bring them inside the circle.
Finally, managers must ensure that they do everything possible to engage and build on the passions of employees. If an employee is a dog lover, is there a project you can assign that matches that value to a job function? Managers who can connect personal and professional goals will win every time.
Enabling Engagement = Management Tasks
Here is the obvious net-net for “Transmit”. Each of the things we discussed in our “Engage” article are things managers need to enable and empower. Employees are engaged when their managers work to ensure they have the things they need eg communication, recognition, appreciation, growth.
Organizations TO HAVE TO put more effort and time into training managers on the drivers of employee engagement and measure them on what they are do personally to create engagement.
Do not forget. Get priority access
If you haven’t made it with one of our previous articles in this series, take a minute and click here to register for early access to our free eBook and a reserved seat for our webinar around the 4 pillars. The webinar will cover all the information in this entire series and where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in dialogue that will help you increase employee engagement and advocacy.