I recently returned from New Orleans, where I had the opportunity to speak at the Society of Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) Annual Conference and Exposition. I, along with 15,000 fellow attendees, also got to listen to many other speakers, authors, and thought leaders. I would like to share with you three consistent employee engagement themes that bubbled up during the conference which could be the focus of your 2017 engagement strategies.
1) Engagement is a hot topic across industries, and the war for talent is alive and well
In this hot job market, it’s easy for talented people to hop jobs for better pay and benefits. So how do you convince your talented employees to stay put? While tech companies are still offering benefits such as free food, pets at work, and on-site yoga to keep employees happy, there’s more to engagement than just amenities. Employees need a strong connection to the values, purpose, and culture of the organization - in other words, how they fit into one's mission. We like to call this the Employer Value Proposition, or EVP. If you have this connection with your employees, you will be able to connect with your employees at both an intellectual AND emotional level. Capturing your employees' heads AND their hearts is the surest way to get you workforce to go above and beyond for you. Their added passion working at your organization will translate well to your customers. Engaging employees is the first step to customer engagement. This combination allows you to leverage word of mouth branding, is helpful for hiring, and for securing new customers as well. You can read more about EVPs and your employment brand here.
2) Everyone’s trying to fix the performance appraisal
One of my favorite questions to ask a group is “who likes their current performance appraisal process?”. In a room full of people, perhaps a hand or two will go up. The dreaded performance appraisal process is an outdated process, which hinges on the onerous collection of paperwork from managers and employees. In this time of instant communication, conversing once a year to discuss goals and accomplishments is rather ridiculous when one thinks about it. The millennials require ongoing feedback - think breadth versus depth. Increasingly, companies are evolving performance feedback to include real time feedback, and monthly or quarterly 'check-ins'. Companies such as Accenture, Deloitte, and GE have all increased the number of 'boss-employee' touch points, while eliminating the destructive forced rankings and bell curves. Many other companies are still struggling to find a more regular check-in process that is effective but not overly time consuming. We have a few ideas about how to get started, and are really interested to see how other companies will be tackling this issue in the future.
3) You’re only as good as your team
Patrick Lencioni gave a terrific keynote on the three traits of a successful team (hungry, humble, and emotionally smart), and it got me thinking about the importance of team dynamics to get a job done. What goes into your thinking when constructing a great team? You’re undoubtedly looking at the skills, education, and experience of the team members. But are you also looking at the ideal behaviors and traits of your desired team members? Our BEST model of staff selection is a great way to think about this, and pairs well with Patrick’s “hungry, humble, and smart” team concept.