In this talk Shawn highlights a really common employee engagement error. One of his key points is that our happiness cannot be tied to a goal or a metric (like your annual employee engagement survey), instead we must create happiness first.
For a lot of companies, their employee engagement plan is structured around the results and timings of their annual employee engagement survey and their thinking is based around how they can move whatever score they got a couple of points higher. Or they base their employee engagement success on entering an award and competing against other organisations of their size.
Another great point Shawn makes “if we study what is merely average we will remain merely average”. Instead Shawn suggests we should “not just how people move up to the average but how we can move the entire average up”
Something that all employee engagement experts agree on is that employee engagement without context is like going to a birthday party for nobody in particular birthday.
A key question for employee engagement plans is ‘what are you trying to engage employees about?’ As Simon Sinek rightly points out people don’t get engaged with a sales strategy or a slide deck, we are engaged by a common purpose. Simon encourages leaders and companies to figure out why they exist.
When you do that people align and engage with your purpose.
Keevin O’Rourke, a millennial himself, talks about how to engage this generation that will make up over 50% of the workforce by 2020.
A Forbes study shows that 67% of millennials want to start their own business, whilst only 13% of millennials want to climb the corporate ladder.
Therefore, thinking about fostering a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurialism more than ping pong tables and beanbags is the way forward.
Every organisation has analysts who, if let loose on the latest employee engagement scores can segment employees by tenure, gender, age, department and try to apply some basic social assumptions to make an employee engagement plan look a bit more scientific.
However, employee engagement expert Margaret Heffernan used her talk to remind us of the importance of social cohesion at work and warns us of the dangers of overzealous performance management cultures and the havoc they can wreak on employee engagement.
This talk reminds us that we are social creatures and to think about how we treat people holistically.
Recognition is an important psychological need, Gallup in their state of the workplace report stated that “Employees who know that they will receive recognition for acting on the brand promise will have a strong incentive to do so”.
In fact, study after study shows that employees that feel appreciated are more productive, more engaged and have more satisfied customers. Helping managers and leaders in your business harness the power of appreciation will drive employee engagement without having to spend a penny.
Employee engagement expert Mike Robbins distinguishes the difference between recognition and appreciation and demonstrates that organisations who under this distinction have much more impact and meaning in their with their employees.