Monday, November 30, 2009

Leading the ENGAGED Company

Over the last 18 months, there has been truckloads written on the importance of employee engagement during this recession and keeping focused on it as we crawl out of the recession.

Our company believes that engagement is NOT a program but it is an integral part of the culture and leaders should encourage and reward "engagement" behaviors. We also believe that you must look at employee engagement along with customer engagement due to the relationship between the two, known as the Service Mirror or Spillover Effect.

So, if engagement is not an event or a program, but an integral part of the culture of the company....How do you LEAD an ENGAGED company?

1) You must understand what engages YOUR workforce because although there are many simlar engagement drivers from company to company, your strategy and culture are different. The order of those drivers may also be different. In other words, clearly defined expectations may be number one in your company and number six in another.

2) You must measure those drivers making sure you are delivering on those to your employees.

3) Understand what drives your customers engagement and align your deliverables around those.

4) You must measure those drivers making sure your are delivering on those to your customers.

5) Design rewards and performance management systems with engagement in mind, making sure engagement of employees and customers are a component of both.

6) Engagement is EVERYONE'S job. It's not just HR's job, it is not just management's job. Everyone is responsible for both employee and customer engagement.

7) Allow employees to make customer recovery decisions at the point of service failure. This gives the employee the authority (influences engagement) and potentially saves a dissatisfied customer from telling all their friends about the experience.

8) Leaders must communicate and behave in a way that lets employees know that the customer is first and is the center of everything you do....the KEY is walking the talk. Employees know the difference. They can sense a service culture.

This list is not exhaustive by any means, please help me add to this list from your own experiences in leading engaged companies.

1 comment:

Charee Klimek said...

Cathy,

This is such a great post. You've absolutely nailed it. So many engagement programs fail because they are viewed as just that - drive by/short term project.

I wholeheartedly agree with you and truly believe leaders have an opportunity to integrate and recognize employee behaviors that drive business strategy. The key is to identifying those behaviors, tying them to brand and business values and illustrating HOW a specific behavior leads to results.

When employees clearly see and understand how their every day performance drives results (and are rewarded for them) there is an opportunity to build on positive peer-to-peer behaviors and that's when the spill over effect truly takes hold.

The good news is, behaviors and recognition are measurable and can be tied to bottom line results. But it takes a savvy leader who's not afraid to walk the walk to integrate this thinking into their every day actions.

Over time, leaders who are able to truly engage their teams create dynamic work cultures where employees want to contribute and create experiences that keep customers coming back for more.

Love your blog and your forward thinking. Keep up the great work!

Charee