How Do You Drive Genuine Employee Engagement?
Talent management is even more important in the current candidate-driven market. Record-low unemployment is causing workers who are unhappy with their employer to head for greener pastures. There are so many jobs available right now but not enough workers to fill them, which means you must create a favorable employee experience to retain the talent you need for success.
At the 2019 Achievers Customer Experience (ACE) conference, industry leaders from across the globe convened to discuss the current talent crisis plaguing employers and offered a few ways to help boost retention based on their companies’ proven best practices.
During a lunch panel, leaders from Medxcel, Quest Diagnostics, Air Canada, and Samsung Electronics America shared their ideas on the future of employee engagement. Here, we’ll look at one topic the panel covered: driving genuine engagement.
Treat Employees How You Would Treat Your Customers
Experiences are a key component to maintaining and boosting your employer brand and this goes for both employees and customers. If you offer your customers a bad experience, they’ll share this experience with their family and friends, which could ultimately hurt your brand. If you thought impressing your customers was your only concern, think again!
Employees are just as vocal about what it’s like to work at your company as customers are about their experiences, which is why you’ll want to focus on treating your employees like they’re your customers. Vanessa Thurston, Interim Vice President and Head of Talent Management at Samsung Electronics America, explains that in order to do this, you must have a blueprint leaders can follow. Thurston explains that for years, companies have been researching their customers to understand what makes them tick, and that same practice can be applied to employees.
Thurston says it starts with looking at the employee journey and asking, “What solutions are we providing to individuals, not only regarding the work they’re doing at the company today but also regarding what will help them become more marketable throughout their careers?”
Getting employee feedback and listening to the kind of growth and support each employee needs are essential to their development, suggests Thurston. “So you have to check in very regularly, understand what are the challenges, what are the opportunities, and maintain that dialogue, but also ensure that your solutions are hitting the mark,” she adds.
Link Your Mission with the Community You Serve
Taking “customer” service to the next level, if you want to create a genuine experience for your employees, you must link your company’s mission with the community you’re serving, says Michael Argir, CEO and President of Medxcel. Argir says this connection may be difficult to link if employees don’t feel their work matters in the big picture; therefore, your company’s mission statement must include this connection as part of the “corporate vision.”
“Our goal is to execute on our brand promise and link the work that [our teams] do every day,” he says. “Many team members are not clinicians, but each person plays a role in improving the overall healing environment which ultimately benefits patients, care providers, employees and hospital communities.”
Argir adds, “Landscapers who clean the grounds; safety officers who make sure the environment is secure; and HVAC technicians who measure the temperature and humidity in the air to decrease the possibility of hospital acquired infections all play a part in upholding that brand promise.”
By making your company’s mission a big part of your company’s culture, employees will know where you stand and what matters most. These ideals must also align with your workers’ viewpoints; if they don’t, you may end up losing talent to companies that appear to be a better fit. But don’t fret revamping your company’s mission is a great way to attract talent with similarly held beliefs who will ultimately become your most engaged employees.
Provide a Sense of Pride for Employees
Another way to drive genuine engagement is to make employees proud to work for your company. When employees feel proud of the work they do, they’ll be more inclined to be engaged. According to employee engagement platform Achievers, “When employees feel optimistic about the company, embrace the mission, and see the connection between the company’s products and services and social good, they feel a sense of ownership and engagement.”
“We talk a lot about doing good, not just doing well,” says Arielle Meloul-Wechsler, Senior Vice President of People, Culture, and Communications at Air Canada. “Our employees have tremendous pride. They have this real desire to want to volunteer and help. Whether it involves delivering hurricane supplies by Air Canada aircraft or partnering with 4ocean to help clean debris in the Atlantic Ocean near Florida, employees are passionate about living up to company values.”
“Employees initiate ideas too,” Meloul-Wechsler says, “such as having an Arabic-speaking employee on every Air Canada flight bringing Syrian refugees to Canada, making the immigration process less overwhelming.”
Pride in one’s work isn’t just about the people he or she serves; it can be about the role he or she plays in the grand scheme of things. “Pride can come from actions that help internally,” says Cecilia McKenney, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at Quest Diagnostics.
“One of Quest Diagnostic’s affinity groups, or Employee Business Networks, featured an employee in the company magazine, sharing what it was like to be transgender,” McKenney explains. “The pride that employees expressed in working for an organization that was supportive enough to invite the employee to tell her story was priceless.”
“This kind of first-person story resonated with employees more effectively than any diversity training,” adds McKenney. “The retention payoff that we get in terms of just embracing different parts of our world and different parts of who we are is really quite remarkable.”
As you can see, creating a genuine experience can come in many forms. It’s not all about nap pods and Ping-Pong tables; to create a memorable experience for your employees, your methods should come from the heart and cater to your workforce’s needs.
Because every company is different, you should survey your workforce to see what’s important to them, what will drive them to bring their whole selves to work, and what will make them happy and make them stick around.