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Confronting the Ugly Truth of Poor Employee Engagement - How to Modernize Your Business Practices

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Confronting the Ugly Truth of Poor Employee Engagement - How to Modernize Your Business Practices

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Why your employees don't care and what you can do about it.

Companion audio: https://soundcloud.com/worksmart/33-why-employees-dont-care-what-you-can-do-about-it

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Get alerts when we publish new podcast episodes: Register @ blog.getspeakup.com

Create positive change at work and give everyone the power to SpeakUp, try it free: getspeakup.com

Host more intelligent meetings with SpeakUp Live (live Q&A): getspeakup.com/live

Follow us on Twitter: @GetSpeakUp

Why your employees don't care and what you can do about it.

Companion audio: https://soundcloud.com/worksmart/33-why-employees-dont-care-what-you-can-do-about-it

-----
Get alerts when we publish new podcast episodes: Register @ blog.getspeakup.com

Create positive change at work and give everyone the power to SpeakUp, try it free: getspeakup.com

Host more intelligent meetings with SpeakUp Live (live Q&A): getspeakup.com/live

Follow us on Twitter: @GetSpeakUp

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Confronting the Ugly Truth of Poor Employee Engagement - How to Modernize Your Business Practices

  1. 1. Ray Gillenwater CEO, SpeakUp Confronting the Ugly Truth of Poor Employee Engagement How to Modernize Your Business Practices
  2. 2. Who Am I? • Co-Founder and CEO of SpeakUp – getspeakup.com • Ex Managing Director at BlackBerry • Student of Communications • Contributor to Entrepreneur.com • Host of the “Work Smart” podcast
  3. 3. Today’s Objective: Commit to implementing at least two new changes
  4. 4. Let’s start with definitions Employee engagement is quite simply: The emotional connection you have to your job Just like in other relationships, it is made clearly apparent by: The level of discretionary effort you invest An intrinsically rewarding experience creates engagement Things like: Money, surveys and events don’t (on their own)
  5. 5. Now let’s quantify the problem We’ve all heard the stats, and they’re an indictment: • Only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work • 24% are actively disengaged – undermining everyone else’s work Which equates to an opportunity cost of: Over ½ a TRILLION DOLLARS in the U.S. alone But, there’s another reason to care about engagement: • People are spending the majority of their waking hours doing work they don’t care about
  6. 6. The impact is clear But why is it happening?
  7. 7. Does your company have a problem? Let’s look at the symptoms (you don’t even need a survey): • Average results, even from your most exceptional talent • People have a vanilla, boring and safe “work-persona” • And completely different energy levels, language and behaviors outside of the office • Most don’t “speak up” to share new ideas or challenge bad ones
  8. 8. But wait, there’s more • The team is in the office when asked to be, no more and no less • Dozens of meetings per month, many with ill-defined agendas • Stale products, customer happiness at mediocre levels • People accept their fate when things don’t make sense • A new policy, a bad product, software that doesn’t work • Venting behind closed doors, no open/constructive debate
  9. 9. Let’s evaluate root causes …And some potential solutions
  10. 10. Common root causes: Work is not a good place to be 1) 20th Century workplace rules • Rigid office hours, grey cubicles • Strict dress codes (even for non customer-facing staff) • Too many things that have “always been done this way” What you can do about it • Poll the team – let them decide which practices to kill • Do a self-assessment • What changes would make you markedly happier and equally or more productive?
  11. 11. Common root causes: Work lacks meaning 2) The “why” behind your company’s existence is missing • With no “why,” there is no emotion – no connection, no sense of purpose • People feel like a cog in the wheel • Employee <-> employer relationship is transactional What you can do about it • “The company exists to _________” Define it • Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” is a good place to start • Communicate it. Refer back to it. Use it as a rallying cry! • Everyone needs to know how they contribute to the “why”
  12. 12. Common root causes: Employees can’t make real change 3) Bottom-up communication is broken • Even those that want to speak up, don’t have permission • Front-line input isn’t systematically captured and curated • When was the last time a product innovation or process change happened due to team input? What you can do about it • Deploy software that suits your needs – Hint: SpeakUp • Rollout a process to match: Toyota has 40M new ideas! • Don’t forget – asking people to speak up and then failing to respond shows a lack of engagement from leadership
  13. 13. Common root causes: Getting work done is frustrating 4) Software is slow, outdated and not user-friendly • IT makes decisions without considering user-experience • Sales, marketing, etc don’t have input into what SW is used • Cloud services and/or BYOD are limited or not allowed What you can do about it • Update your IT policies – employee experience is #1 • Include teams in setting requirements, software selection and piloting new tools • Allow people to use hardware and software that they like, if and when it’s feasible
  14. 14. Common root causes: People can’t see the finish line 5) People are operating without a plan • Not everyone is clear on the objective • There are no (or too many) priorities • People aren’t being measured on what matters What you can do about it • Adopt an objective setting process: Google uses OKRs • Ensure everyone has priorities and can say “no” • Setup simple metrics so that everyone can reach for excellence and feel good about achieving it
  15. 15. Common root causes: Progress is left to chance 6) Decision making is unclear, too slow, or is ineffective • The same agenda items are discussed ad-nauseum • Solutions are agreed upon but not implemented • Two departments decide on the same thing - differently What you can do about it • Adopt a decision making framework such as RAPID • Recommend, Approve, Perform, Input, Decide • Document when decisions are made, make it public
  16. 16. Common root causes: Not respecting everyone’s time 7) Everyone’s too busy to focus on quality work • Meetings are common, random and unproductive • Emails are out of control and undisciplined • The office is distracting and noisy What you can do about it • Setup meeting guidelines: • Defined objective, clear agenda, adequate notice, approved timeslot and documented next steps • Setup email rules: Not for IM! CC only when necessary • Make sure people have a quiet area to focus
  17. 17. A quick video to reinforce the importance of that point
  18. 18. Common root causes: Fear of failure, or worse, belittlement 8) Team members regularly undermine each other • Yelling, berating and bullying are commonplace • It’s safest to go unnoticed and do what’s required of you • Ideas are criticized or discredited instead of evaluated What you can do about it • Lead by example – treat everyone with respect • Correct those that don’t. Fire repeat offenders • Value ideas, even the bad ones • Allow anonymous feedback
  19. 19. Common root causes: Command and control leadership 9) The management culture is militaristic • Marching orders flow downhill • Decisions happen at the top-levels only • Your importance correlates to your spot on the org chart What you can do about it • Enable bottom-up & lateral communication • Provide autonomy and empower teams to make decisions • Act like a flatter organization – value input from all levels of the org – recognize and rewards all superstars
  20. 20. Common root causes: Lack of employee focus 10) Customers, products or revenue are the #1 priority • No measures for employee happiness • Poor reviews on Glassdoor • Declining revenues, stale products What you can do about it • Clearly define employees as the first priority • Even above customers, products and revenue! • Regularly survey the team • What’s making them “mad, sad or glad?”
  21. 21. Common root causes: The company culture grew on its own 11) There are no real values, which means • Hiring is random (lack of focus on personality fit) • Toxic people and bad attitudes are ignored • People are unsure which behavior is encouraged – they just do what works (or what others do) What you can do about it • Define the behaviors and attitudes you value • Set rigorous hiring standards (again, Google) • How much of your day is spent on people? • Give people time to adjust
  22. 22. “The most successful companies of the 21st century will succeed by how well they engage their teams to make the best products and happiest customers”
  23. 23. Thank you! Ray Gillenwater CEO, SpeakUp getspeakup.com @raygwater info@getspeakup.com Feel free to contact me with questions

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