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slide1

Identify & Select Employee

Engagement Initiatives

Move beyond measuring employee engagement – start improving it.

introduction
Introduction

Once your employee engagement survey data has been analyzed and shared, the next step is to brainstorm solutions. Identify short-term fixes and long-term strategies that will positively impact your department’s top engagement issues and get the biggest bang for your engagement buck.

Use this research to select, build and get initial buy-in for winning engagement initiatives. Involve employees in all stages of the initiative identification and change process while continuously and effectively communicating with the organization.

This research is designed for:

This research will help you:

  • HR leaders
  • Run effective brainstorming sessions with your department’s staff to conduct a gap analysis between current reality and ideal state.
  • Identify, compare, and select change initiatives with your staff’s help.
  • Learn about impactful change initiatives implemented by other organizations.
  • Senior managers
  • Department managers

Remember this?

The Optimize Employee Engagement Surveysstoryboard walks you through the preparation, development, assessment, and reporting of engagement surveys and their results. This storyboard starts where the last one left off.

Info-Tech Research Group

executive summary
Executive Summary
  • Only 64% of organizations identify change initiatives using employee engagement survey results, and only 49% of organizations actually implement the changes. This results in poor outcomes for key HR performance indicators such as employee productivity, retention, and attendance.
  • A large majority of those organizations that do implement engagement initiatives tend to erroneously implement initiatives that treat the symptoms of disengagement and not the real causes.
  • When selecting which improvement areas to focus on, organizations need to consider each engagement driver’s impact, as well as its score.
  • Some quick fixes signal to employees that “we heard you,” but that is just your starting point.
  • Engagement initiatives are too often generated, selected, and implemented by the executive and management team, resulting in initiatives that have limited impact and poor employee buy-in.
  • Involving staff from the beginning and keeping them in the loop through effective communication are integral to the success of your organization’s engagement program. McLean & Company’s five steps to selecting winning engagement initiatives walks you through this process.
  • Learn from others. Read about how your peers implemented initiatives to improve engagement scores for job and organizational engagement drivers.

Info-Tech Research Group

slide4

Next Section in Brief

Create winning engagement initiatives

1

  • Only 49% of organizations implement change as a result of their employee engagement survey. Actual change is the most important step in the engagement program.
  • Use McLean & Company’s five steps to selecting winning engagement initiatives. Our process treats the causes of disengagement, not the symptoms.
  • Focus on your organization’s priority drivers of engagement, i.e. those that scored low on the survey, but are important to employees.
  • Employ a strong third-party facilitator to run employee brainstorming sessions and aid employees in gap analysis and initiative identification.
  • Communicate continuously. Keep employees in the loop.

Generate and select job engagement driver initiatives

Generate and select organizational engagement driver initiatives

read this storyboard once you have analyzed reported survey results
Read this storyboard once you have analyzed & reportedsurvey results

This storyboard starts where the previous one left off.

In McLean & Company’s Optimize Employee Engagement Surveys, we walked you through:

This solution set is going to drill down further on the first three stages of taking action on results:

Taking Action on Results

  • Identifying sources of low scores.
  • Brainstorming and shortlisting change initiatives.
  • Choosing and reviewing initiatives.
  • Launching and implementing change.
  • Following up on change implementation.

Remember this? Key points from the previous storyboard.

What’s a driver?

Priority Drivers?

  • A driver is an area of need that influences a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
  • In a survey, a driver is measured by asking a series of questions.
  • The responses to these questions determine the state of an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in relation to the driver.

Priority drivers are those drivers that score low and have a high impact on engagement.

Refer to the appendix for McLean & Company’s Engagement Program Methodology, outlining all ten engagement drivers and three retention drivers.

McLean & Company

slide6
The change initiatives, or lack thereof, that result from your engagement survey can make or break the engagement program

1

The more an organization does to act on poor survey results, the more the key HR performance indicators will improve. Key indicators include employee productivity, retention, and attendance.

On average, 31% of employees worldwide are engaged.

Only 26% of employees who saw no follow-up as a result of an engagement survey are engaged.

And even less likely to be engaged are those employees who saw “a lot of talk, no action” after the engagement survey, with 21% of them being engaged.

Improved

Changes in employee metrics

since engagement survey completion

Declined

Source: BlessingWhite

Low

High

  • We measure the success of an engagement survey by determining the extent an organization:
  • Gauges employee satisfaction as a barometer.
  • Gains knowledge of what the organization is doing well.
  • Identifies change initiatives from survey results.
  • Executes on change initiatives.
  • Informs employees on implemented changes since the last survey.

Success of the survey

  • Employee metrics surveyed were:
  • Retention
  • Attendance
  • Productivity

McLean & Company

Source: McLean & Co.N=120

slide7
Of those few initiatives that are implemented, most fail because of a focus on treating symptoms instead of root causes

1

Making change is the key component in successful survey projects. However, as a result of an employee engagement survey, only:

64% of organizations identify change initiatives.

49%of organizations implement changes.

And even those organizations that do implement engagement initiatives don’t necessarily implement initiatives that have a long-term impact.

There are four common pitfalls that result in engagement initiatives treating only symptoms.

Don’t just stop at making change. Make the right change: implement initiatives that treat the root issues.

  • Managers try to improve those drivers that scored the lowest without considering their impact on engagement.
  • Managers jump to quick fixes that end up treating symptoms, not causes.
  • Choosing and implementing change initiatives is done solely by the executive and management team.
  • There is very little communication around the selection and launching of initiatives.
  • Consider each driver’s impact on engagement, as well as its score. You can quantitatively measure impact using your survey.
  • Some quick fixes signal to employees that “we heard you,” but that is just your starting point.
  • Don’t rely on managers and executives to brainstorm and select change initiatives.
  • Communication is just as important as action. Effectively communicate with staff at every step of the process.

Use McLean & Company’s five steps to selecting winning engagement initiatives on the following slides.

McLean & Company

select engagement initiatives that treat causes not symptoms by involving staff from the beginning
Select engagement initiatives that treat causes, not symptoms, by involving staff from the beginning

Use McLean & Company’s five steps to selecting winning initiatives.

Focus your initiatives on what drives engagement the most to make efficient use of resources. A few well chosen and well executed initiatives often do more to improve engagement than multiple initiatives.

Management/HR identify top three priority drivers.

1

Solicit staff input on issues and idea generation.

Solicit employee involvement from the very beginning of the process to pick impactful initiatives and to gain buy-in for the change. Further, this step commits you and the department to take action.

2

Senior managers or managers review, assess, and compare initiatives.

Consider the employee input that you spent time collecting. Compare and assess the issues and initiatives identified using criteria such as alignment with organizational goals, resources, and timelines.

3

Further solicit employee input to make any necessary alterations to chosen initiatives and determine an action plan, which includes assigning accountability.

Choose initiatives and solicit staff review.

4

Keep employees in the loop. In order for initiatives to be successfully implemented and impactful, employees need to buy in to the change from the beginning. Nothing should come as a surprise to them.

Communicate from start to finish.

5

McLean & Company

slide9
1. Priority drivers are those drivers in the “improve” quadrant: those that have a high impact on engagement, but score low

Guidelines for prioritizing drivers

The Driver Prioritization Grid (Example)

Focus on three drivers when implementing engagement initiatives. When identifying which drivers to target:

High

Improve

Leverage

  • Start with the “improve“ quadrant.
  • These drivers scored low, but have a big
  • effect on engagement.
  • Look next at the “leverage” quadrant.
  • Although these drivers are already
  • scoring high, they strongly impact
  • engagement in a positive way. Continue
  • working at these drivers to keep
  • employees happy.

Driver Impact on Engagement

Evaluate

Maintain

  • Look at scores of individual questions, changes since last year’s survey, etc. For more information on how to do this, refer to Optimize Employee Engagement Surveys.

Low

20%

100%

Driver Score

The above graph is taken from McLean & Company’s Engagement Program Methodology.

McLean & Company

slide10
2. Gain employee input through brainstorming sessions, but don’t forget to leverage survey comments & follow-up surveys

Brainstorming sessions are the priority for soliciting input, but start with the comments from the survey and a follow-up survey to narrow down issues.

The best way to know there is a problem in ‘the ditch’ is to listen to the ones ‘digging the ditch’.

- Director, Government

Refer to the comments section of the survey. Employees may express their opinions around root problems as well as propose solutions. Additionally, you should have a solid understanding of what has already been proposed before leading a session.

Organizations leveraging employee involvement:

A department manager in a government unit began to involve everyone in generating change initiatives. Workshops were conducted where department members were given the chance to express opinions about what and how improvements could be made.

  • Conduct follow-up surveys or focus groups that investigate no more than one survey question per priority driver. For example, “From the list of potential causes below, please select the one that is the largest contributor to lack of engagement in this area.”

“This [decision] was premised on the principle that if staff are given sufficient information and involvement to help them understand and commit to an idea they will then be willing to engage with it.” –The Case for Employee Engagement

Hold brainstorming sessions with small groups of people. These sessions are the most effective medium to solicit staff input and are integral to the engagement program. The following slides outline how to effectively conduct these sessions.

Westminster City Council launched a WorkSmart program in 2006 with an Ideas Day, when hundreds of employees attended a day-long conference to re-think the way the council approached services. Out of 50 initiatives eventually selected, 20 came from the Ideas Day.

McLean & Company

Hold brainstorming sessions

slide11

2. Conduct extensive brainstorming with your department’s staff that includes a gap analysis & initiative identification

We recommend three short break-out sessions:

Objectives

  • Who’s invited?
  • The entire department. Divide groups based on the survey data if you have the critical mass to do so. For instance, if certain groups had very different results, separate accordingly. Consider separating juniors and seniors so seniors don’t dominate the conversation.

Break-out #1: Identify the ideal state for each priority driver.

  • Leverage information from your greatest source: your employees.
  • Get employees to define what they actually want.

30 min

Break-out #2: Outline the current reality regarding each priority driver. What’s the gap/issue?

  • Conduct a thorough gap analysis to get employees to drill down to the causes.
  • Skipping right to brainstorming initiatives will result in most ideas treating symptoms instead of root causes.
  • Who facilitates?
  • A third party: either an external individual or human resources.

30 min

  • When should the sessions take place?
  • The sessions can be all done in one day, or split over multiple days.

Break-out #3: Brainstorm initiatives that address the key issues identified. Evaluate each initiative’s effort and impact.

  • Identify creative initiatives.
  • Gain employee buy-in from the get-go.
  • Help employees recognize the restrictions management faces when prioritizing and ranking initiatives.
  • Give managers insight into what is and isn’t important to employees.
  • Position the session appropriately
  • Communicate that not all suggestions will be implemented. Stay focused on the positive: the objective is to talk about improvement, not to host a complaint session.
  • Make it clear that although employee input is valued, executives/managers will make the ultimate decision.

45 min

These are just guidelines. Depending on your department’s circumstances, alter this process to make it fit for you and your staff.

McLean & Company

slide12

2. The first two break-outs involve identifying the gap between ideal and reality: the issues

C

D

B

A

Before break-out sessions.

Break-out #1: Identify ideal state.

Break-out #2:Do a gap analysis.

Rank the issues.

  • Task groups with outlining the ideal state for each driver.
  • Post survey questions and respective scores for each priority driver.
  • Divide staff into 5–10 employees per break-out group. Ensure group is big enough to generate energy and build ideas from one another, but small enough that everyone has a voice.
  • Task groups to first identify what the current state is.
  • Bring groups together and ask one person per group to present the group’s gap analysis.
  • Consolidate findings and record all issues on the board.

Ask:

Ask:

“What is the reality of this driver today?”

“If this driver was doing well, what would it look like?”

  • Ask employees, while sitting in the large group, to rank the top three issues.
  • There are a variety of ways to do this (ballot system, employees walk up and place post-its with 1, 2 or 3 on the board, etc).
  • Bring groups together and ask one person per group to present group’s ideal state.
  • Consolidate all the group findings and post them on a whiteboard.
  • After 15–20 minutes, give groups the next task: comparison.

Ask:

  • Clearly communicate:
  • The agenda and end goal of the session.
  • Objective of each break-out session.
  • The rules of engagement.
  • How the information from these sessions will be used.

“Compare components of ideal and reality. What are the gaps?”

McLean & Company’s Issue and Initiative Team Brainstorming Template can be passed around to break-out groups.

  • These gaps are the issues that initiatives need to address.

Senior manager and manager involvement:

Where and when management gets involved is dependent on the department and organization. However, if their attendance maintains a safe environment where employees can be honest, their attendance for the gap analysis presentation may help them make initiative decisions later. Front-line managers should be invited to separate break-out sessions for organization-wide initiatives.

For a sample agenda and the rules of engagement, refer to the appendix.

McLean & Company

slide13

2. The third and final break-out session is the fun one: brainstorm & shortlist change initiatives to close the gaps

A

B

C

D

Break-out #3: Identify initiatives.

Conduct a feasibility

Assessment.

Present initiatives.

Rank initiatives.

  • Brainstorm initiatives that address the top issues identified in the previous two break-outs.
  • Bring groups together and ask one person per group to present group’s initiatives.
  • Consolidate the initiatives from all groups and post them on a whiteboard for everyone to see.
  • With all staff, conduct a high-level feasibility assessment on each initiative that considers both effort and impact of implementation.
  • Have the group rank their top five initiatives following a similar process as the one used after break-out #2.

Ask:

  • Pass rankings on to management to consider when assessing and selecting which initiatives to implement.

“How do we get from point A (the reality) to point B (the ideal) to close the gap?”

Ask:

“Is this initiative something you feel will make an impact?

  • Post guidelines:
  • If the majority think not, ditch it. Place the remaining initiatives on a matrix, such as:

High

Note on timing:

If time is tight, give groups an hour to complete all 3 break-out sessions and then rank them all at once.

Break-out #3: THE GROUND RULES

Unusual ideas welcome

Answer what, not how

No need for justification of idea

Keep it constructive, not judgmental

Combine and improve on each other’s ideas

Talk briefly, one sentence per idea

Focus on quantity: Attempt to get 20+ ideas

No restrictions: Ignore cost and time frames

Impact

Low

Low

Effort

High

McLean & Company

For a printable copy of these ground rules to display, refer to the appendix.

the success of the brainstorming session relies heavily on the strength of the facilitator
The success of the brainstorming session relies heavily on the strength of the facilitator
  • Good facilitation in this context will result in a list of initiatives that will make a significant impact on engagement and will have employee buy-in from the get-go.
  • Poor facilitation in this context will result in feelings that the sessions are a waste of time, a poor list of initiatives generated, and employee disengagement in the entire process going forward.

The facilitator’s role is to:

The facilitator’s objective is to:

  • Establish clear ground rules.
  • Remain neutral and objective.
  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Avoid playing the expert – let the group answer any questions that come up.
  • Summarize ideas.
  • Check for clarity.
  • Provide feedback.
  • Not allow him/herself to lead the group to a preconceived outcome.
  • Ensure that everyone has a voice.
  • Provide structure, process, and guidance to ensure effective discussions.
  • Help the group stay focused on the objective.
  • Help unearth assumptions and point out unspoken problems.
  • Assist the group in making decisions.
  • Manage conflict and help maintain a positive environment.

If there are multiple departments running brainstorming sessions, hire the facilitator for a full day to get as many done as possible.

Ideally, an external, third-party individual or an HR representative should be the facilitator. If this isn’t possible, there are some scenarios in which a manager or individual from a different department can successfully facilitate these sessions. However, there are caveats to doing so. The individual must be far removed from the department that is brainstorming, trained in proper facilitation techniques, and be a trustworthy individual in the eyes of those employees involved.

McLean & Company

slide15
3. It’s now time to get managers involved; hold a management meeting to review, assess, and compare initiatives

Once employee brainstorming is completed, senior managers and managers must meet. Distribute the list of initiatives generated from the employee brainstorming to all attending. Review and assess each initiative based on the criteria specified below. A chart outlining key criteria to consider will be helpful.

Descriptions

Criteria

Fill in the chart:

Initiative

Shortlisted initiatives that address the priority issues (take from employee brainstorming).

List initiatives as headings of each column.

Employee weighting

How did employees rank this initiative after their brainstorming sessions?

High (top third of initiative list), medium, or low (bottom third of list)?

Use a point system: two points for each priority driver impacted, one for other non-priority drivers impacted.

Number of drivers impacted

Does this initiative impact more than one driver?

High: Many groups impacted, long-term.

Low: Few groups impacted, short-term.

Impact on employees

How many employee groups are impacted? Is this one time/rare or ongoing/frequent?

Ready: Everything is in place.

Medium readiness: Some prep is needed.

Low readiness: Many changes required.

Organization's readiness for change

Is the organization’s resources, budget, and culture ready for this initiative?

Low: A quick-fix initiative.

High: Much time and coordination of people and resources required.

Effort

How much time and coordination, and how many resources will this initiative take?

Alignment with organization strategy

How much or how little does this initiative align with the organization’s goals and vision?

High: Initiative aligned well with company’s goals beyond engagement.

Cost

How much will this initiative cost?

Use a $ - $$ - $$$ system to keep it simple.

McLean & Company

Refer to the appendix for a sample chart to use while comparing initiatives.

slide16
4. Rank your initiatives, then provide opportunities for staff to provide feedback & agreement on the chosen initiatives

Before returning to staff to get their review and agreement, consider:

  • Get staff back together to review initiatives, make revisions, and get employee agreement.
  • There are multiple reasons to do this.
  • The objectives are to ensure employees feel involved from start to finish, to solicit feedback that will refine initiatives, and to get agreement from employees to help with the implementation.
  • It doesn’t have to be complicated.
  • Discussing this at a department meeting is suitable.
  • Announce top-ranked initiatives and open it up for discussion.
  • Confront those initiatives that were identified and prioritized by employees, but not addressed or chosen by management. Explain the “why not.”
  • Implementation starts here.
  • Encourage and assign employees (who volunteer) with aspects of the implementation. This involvement gives them a sense of ownership over the initiative and staff will feel less like management is imposing something on them.
  • Assign accountability and expectations for staff involvement.
  • Priority criterion: Employee ranking
  • Consider employees’ rankings first and foremost. Employees have the greatest insight into what will impact their engagement.
  • Be courageous.
  • Be sure not to whittle the list down to easy, less impactful initiatives.
  • But don’t avoid quick fixes altogether.
  • Consider the “low hanging fruit” changes concurrently and communicate them immediately.
  • Push forward visible changes without delay to increase the perception that action is being taken.
  • Don’t forget about existing initiatives.
  • List those initiatives that are already implemented, but of which employees aren’t aware.
  • Communicate existing solutions more effectively. This gives the perception of a new initiative with little immediate work on your part.

McLean & Company

Refer to the appendix for a list of potential initiatives for each driver. This is to be

used as a supplement to employee-generated initiatives, not as a starting point.

every organization will add its own flavor to the five steps outlined
Every organization will add its own flavorto the five steps outlined

A township library successfully followed the five step process to winning initiatives, with some tweaks and adjustments to adapt it to the organization.

The Scenario

A township library conducted an engagement survey for the sixth year in a row, but made a drastic change that had a lasting impact: the executives made the decision to start focusing on the core problems instead of jumping immediately to the solutions.

Results

The Story

  • The executive team used the survey results to identify the top three areas to improve by considering:
    • Low scores.
    • Importance to employees (using survey results).
    • If there could be anything done about the issues.
    • How many other areas, if any, would be impacted.
  • Priority areas identified:
    • Job control
    • Employee involvement in decision-making
    • Recognition and reward

Identified priority areas.

  • Employees were invited to town halls. Three different town halls were held to accommodate employee schedules.
  • Survey asked employees to identify the largest contributor to the poor score of each priority area.
  • Survey results were used later when managers were ranking issues.

Town hall preparation.

“In the past, the administration would skip right to getting our input on solutions. They identified the core problems on their own, and they normally got

them wrong. It felt like executives were completely running the show.”

McLean & Company

slide18
Leadership shouldn’t stick around for the brainstorming, but they should show up briefly to signify, “this is important”

The Story Continued…

  • To start off the town halls, the CEO made two things very clear:
  • “Staff engagement is extremely important to me right now. I am stepping back from a lot of my current initiatives to make this my number one priority.”
  • “Staff input will be used and appreciated, but the executive team will make final decisions.”
  • All executives and managers attended to show face and demonstrate the importance of engagement, but left the room before any discussion started.
    • Groups of ten broke out to “brain dump,” listing everything that came to mind regarding the three priority areas. For 30 minutes, they had to:
    • “Focus on issues, problems, and gaps between what you want and what you have.”

Town hall: Break-out.

Results

    • One individual per team presented and listed the team’s conclusions to the group.
    • The facilitator opened the floor for discussion to rank the listed issues.
  • Managers meet individually with employees who were not able to attend the Town Hall to get input.
  • Everyone’s input was solicited and valued.
  • All issues identified during the Town Halls were consolidated, ranked, and passed on to the executive team.

Town hall:

Consolidate.

McLean & Company

slide19
Involving employees in brainstorming initiatives is imperative – it just has to come after the root problems are identified

The Story Continued…

Results

  • Groups of six (divided up based on departments and levels) were given top issues ranked by the executive team.
    • Each group was led by an employee-elected peer.
    • Employees were tasked with brainstorming solutions to the issues presented.
    • Within each group, individuals would take turns giving a statement regarding a solution.
    • Each group decided on one solution that was addressed or highlighted in multiple statements, and then presented to all groups.
    • Solutions were ranked through open votes and the rankings were passed on to executives to make final decisions.
  • Staff are still awaiting final decisions, but are more hopeful than ever that the changes are going to make a significant impact.

Follow-up session (on a later date).

  • “This is the first time that I feel that the administration is taking this seriously. I don’t feel like the clowns are running the circus, like I have in the past. It is no longer them and us – we are all working towards this together, and I am extremely excited about it.”
  • -Library employee

Lessons Learned

  • Demonstrate to employees the importance you place on engagement.
  • Stay away from the solutions until you have a clear idea what issues need to be fixed. You must read into the past (and get employees to help you do so) before you can fix the present and future.
  • Be honest with your employees: let them know how you will use their feedback.
  • The process isn’t cut and dry. The sessions can be relaxed and run in a way that suits employees.

McLean & Company

5 communicating what s going on is an ongoing activity communication is part of taking action
5. Communicating what’s going on is an ongoing activity: communication is part of taking action

How

When

What

Use the sample communications deliverables in the project and communications plan to create your own.

To significantly improve the employment experience, we understand we cannot do that within a year. It’s important to communicate that to the employees to set expectations. - Director, Manufacturing

Refer to Storyboard: Optimize Employee Engagement Surveys for the when, what, and how of communications before and during the engagement survey.

Data should always be presented first to the executives, who should present it to the managers, who then should present it to their staff. When asked about communicating survey results, those organizations that used at least two mediums to communicate results rated survey usefulness the highest in all cases. In particular, the combination of communicating results in group meetings and one-on-one conversations with staff members had the greatest effect.

Share survey results with executives first, managers second, and then staff.

Post-survey actions: Further interaction with employees through focus groups and brainstorming sessions.

E-mail invitations must position these forums appropriately and clearly state why they are being conducted. For example, “We are looking for ideas that will be used for future consideration.” State your appreciation for their participation.

  • Once initiatives are chosen, communicate:
  • Intended initiatives that will be implemented in the near future, as well as timelines.
  • Status updates once initiatives have taken shape and changes have been made.
  • What was agreed upon and who is accountable.
  • Successful initiatives.

Post-survey initiatives: Intentions and implementations.

McLean & Company

slide21
To get started, use the next two sections to better understand what makes for a solid engagement initiative

“The accepted wisdom is that if we can identify the best solutions and practices out there, we can learn more quickly than if we had invented them ourselves.”

-The CEO, Chief Engagement Officer

For each driver, the following is provided:

We agree. Use the rest of this slide deck to give you some ideas and guidelines.

The following sections walk you through two types of engagement drivers:

Section 3: Organizational Engagement Drivers

Culture

Customer Focus

Company Potential

Department Relationships

Senior Management Relationship

Section 2: Job Engagement Drivers

Employee Empowerment

Development

Rewards & Recognition

Co-worker Relationships

Manager Relationship

Potential gaps between the ideal state and the current reality.

An explanation of how the gap impacts employee engagement.

A proposed initiative that would help to close the gap between the ideal state and the current reality **

An explanation of how each of the gaps are remedied by the proposed initiative.

A mini-case study providing an example of how a similar initiative worked for an organization.

** IMPORTANT NOTE: The suggested initiatives are not meant to be prescriptions to solve engagement issues for your organization. The following sections demonstrate how the specific gaps identified could be used to create an initiative that will result in increased employee engagement.

McLean & Company

slide22

Next Section in Brief

Create winning engagement initiatives

  • The gaps identified by employees are going to vary, but they can be boiled down and ranked as areas to target.
  • There are a variety of considerations when selecting initiatives. A winning initiative attempts to close all gaps ranked as priorities for each driver.
  • To get started, learn about some common gaps and read sample initiatives used by peer organizations to close these gaps.
  • The job engagement drivers are:
      • Employee Empowerment
      • Development
      • Rewards & Recognition
      • Co-worker Relationships
      • Manager Relationships

Generate and select job engagement driver initiatives

2

Generate and select organizational engagement driver initiatives

employee empowerment driver empower encourage employees to get involved where they can offer value
Employee Empowerment Driver: Empower & encourage employees to get involved where they can offer value

How does this impact engagement?

Potential gaps:

1

Engaged employees stay at the organization for what they give, whereas disengaged employees stay for what they get from the organization. Thus, you must provide an environment whereby employees are able to give as much as they can rather than create barriers to involvement.

Employees want more decision-making opportunities and responsibilities.

Even if an employee doesn’t achieve strong results, encourage the effort because it is the precursor to accomplishment. Reward leadership and innovation where empowerment manifests. Ensure visibility so that employees see successes in action and can emulate them.

2

Employees don’t feel that they are recognized for their efforts when they get involved.

3

Employees aren’t involved in projects and decisions where they could offer value by leveraging their skills and experience.

Employees feel proud when they contribute valuable ideas. Valuable ideas will come if they are participating in projects and activities that they enjoy and for which they are qualified. It builds professional self-esteem.

McLean & Company

slide24

Employee empowerment highlighted initiative:

Innodaytion: Test your ideas for a day

Empower your employees and provide the autonomy to develop and test an idea for a day.

Set a day aside for employees to work on ideas to make a change in their department or organization. The idea must be creative and unconventional for the organization. The employees research, propose, and present their idea by the end of the day.

Description of a suitable initiative.

An innodaytion runs off a “my day, my way” mentality: there are no restrictions or constraints. It empowers the employee to be creative, but to also take full responsibility for the project’s success.

Employees want more decision-making opportunities and responsibilities.

Gap 1.

An innodaytionis essentially recognizing the employee for their hard work and passion, and then awarding them in two ways: by granting the opportunity, and then by celebrating the day’s success.

Employees don’t feel that they are recognized for their efforts when they get involved.

Gap 2.

Employees aren’t involved in projects where they could offer value by leveraging their skills and experience.

An innodaytionis a chance for the employee to use and leverage their skills and their creativity. At the same time, they are experimenting with ideas that may create a valuable change for the company.

Gap 3.

Empowering employees to get involved has benefits for the organization as well.

first direct, a UK telephone and Internet-based retail bank (a division of HSBC), launched a

“Tell Colin” program (Colin being the firm’s CFO). This resulted in employees identifying hundreds

of cost-saving ideas during a substantial downturn.

McLean & Company

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Highlighted initiative: Innodaytion - Test your ideas for a day

  • HR: The administrator of the program.
  • Set the quota: How many
  • days per year and how many
  • employees can participate?
  • Set the ground rules around
  • who qualifies and how the
  • day is run.
  • Managers: The leader of the program.
  • Spot the passion, grant the
  • day, and celebrate what is
  • accomplished.
  • Stay out of it on the actual
  • day: it has to be completely
  • employee-driven.
  • Staff member: The participant.
  • Employees must communicate
  • when they are passionate
  • about an idea to make the
  • organization better.
  • They must take advantage of
  • the opportunity and use the
  • day to show their strengths.

Roles

Is one day and one person enough? A deadline of a day is best. The idea doesn’t need to be ready to implement, just ready to present and pass on to the next stage if it’s approved. If the idea is posed from more than one person, and you can handle the resourcing, don’t be afraid to put a team on the idea – it will improve development and co-worker relationships.

Tricks to Implement

Involve those who deserve and want to participate: Ensure the employee is passionate about the idea – this should be perceived as an opportunity, not an additional task. Make sure everything else is taken off the employee’s plate (resource elsewhere) during the innodaytion.

This is very similar to Google’s widely publicized 20% playtime for all engineers, who spend 80% on their core-projects and have the rest of their time to “run wild.” The hope is that this running wild may lead to insightful and exciting new ideas.

Atlassian, an Australian software company, holds one day quarterly where software developers have to deliver something overnight and present what they’ve developed to the entire company in 24 hours. They have the autonomy to work on whatever they want, with whomever they want. A variety of software fixes, new products, and upgrades have been developed as a result.

It works.

Ideas are traded, tested and put into practice with an enthusiasm that can make you dizzy…The ethos at Google is, give the proper tools to a group of people who like to make a difference, and they will.

Source: Engaging for success: Enhancing performance through employee engagement

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Development Driver: Communicate what’s available to employees & make training frequent, tailored, and memorable

How does this impact engagement?

Potential Gaps:

1

Many forms of training are not obvious to staff, such as job shadowing, buddy programs, and weekly 1-on-1’s with managers. All training must be communicated to reduce the perception of a lack of training initiatives.

There is limited awareness of training options.

Training that is ad-hoc or only a couple of times per year does not leave a lasting impression. Infrequent or untimely training is often irrelevant or not applied, since too much time passes between instruction and actual application.

2

Training sessions are infrequent.

3

When staff are involved in tailoring their development program to their needs, the training will typically be more relevant and they will gain more value from it. Staff can draw a clear line between the training and its purpose and value within the context of their job.

Employees aren’t empowered to take ownership of their own development.

You are looking to make a big impression so that staff recall the training easily. A good place to start is training run by an external individual, which is much more memorable than training run by an internal manager. Some training should be unique events that involve a little novelty.

4

Training isn’t memorable.

McLean & Company

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Development highlighted initiative:

A buddy program for new hires

A buddy program trains and develops new employees, while exercising an existing employee’s leadership skills. A new hire is assigned a buddy who is a peer within the same department. The buddy serves to answer any questions – in particular, those questions that the new employee feels uncomfortable asking her manager. The buddy shares his own experiences and provides the new hire with an instant friend within the company. This relationship could continue informally indefinitely, and formally through weekly meetings until the employee feels she doesn’t need it anymore. Meetings will mostly involve the buddy walking the employee through how-to sessions, at the request of the new employee. As the employee understands her job better, more questions will arise.

Description of a suitable initiative.

Often employees don’t recognize when they are being trained. Position the buddy program as not just a person to answer new employees’ questions, but a constant trainer who provides one-on-one support.

There is limited awareness of training options.

Gap 1.

The new employee should meet with the buddy once a week for a minimum of three months. Ad-hoc questions and concerns are also strongly encouraged as the intention is for the training to be of an informal nature.

Training sessions are infrequent.

Gap 2.

Employees aren’t empowered to take ownership of their own development.

The buddy program is the epitome of new employees taking ownership of their own development – it is tailored to whatever specific problems/questions they have.

Gap 3.

The way the buddy program is structured lends itself to the buddy and new hire getting to know each other on a personal level. This type of interaction, combined with formal training, will make the overall training more memorable.

Gap 4.

Training isn’t memorable.

slide28

Highlighted initiative: A buddy program for new hires

  • Department Manager: The developer of the program.
  • Choose the right buddy.
  • Put together six weeks worth
  • of topics to cover in weekly
  • meetings to get the buddy
  • started (employee should request topics after this).
  • The buddy: The leader of the program.
  • Make the new hire feel
  • welcome and comfortable.
  • Answer any questions they
  • have without judgment.
  • Provide personal
  • experiences and advice.
  • New employee: The participant.
  • Ask any questions they have to gain a better understanding of the company, culture, etc.
  • Learn from buddy and tailor get-togethers to provide the most benefit to themselves.

Roles

Choose the right buddy: The buddy should be an established employee (i.e. employed for at least one year), a high performer, and have the maturity to mentor a new employee.

Provide some structure: While the intention of the training is to be informal, new employees will not be aware of what they don’t know when first hired. Each department should have training topics allocated to each weekly meeting to provide the buddy with initial material.

Tricks to Implement

Other applications of the rotational program? This initiative could easily be adapted to an employee/senior manager buddy program. The principles of informality and acting as a forum for all questions should still apply.

A marketing communication firm was building a new employee orientation program. The firm didn’t have enough new hires to have formal orientation training, so it needed to find a way to bring new employees up to speed and share company culture at the same time.

A buddy program was implemented for two reasons: 1) employees wanted to be involved in helping new employees get up to speed, and 2) new employees felt more comfortable discussing their “silly” questions with peers rather than interrupt their new manager. Feedback from new employees and buddies highlighted that this was a positive experience. New employees felt integrated more quickly, and buddies felt valued, increasing their own engagement as a result.

Mini Case Study

McLean & Company

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Rewards & Recognition Driver: Initiatives should be spontaneous and tailored to the accomplishment

Potential gaps:

How does this impact engagement?

1

Praising success can discourage those that put in the effort, but fail due to impossible circumstances. You can’t succeed unless you try, so encouraging staff to try is imperative. Recognize effort and personal bests and reward the accomplishment.

Employees don’t feel that they are being recognized for their efforts.

2

Uninformed praise and rewards can be perceived as insincere. Ensure the employee knows you understand the impact of their effort and accomplishment. The reward should be something the employee actually wants, not just what the company wants to give them.

Rewards and recognition are not meaningful and tailored to the employee. Too much “good job” without the why.

3

The surprise element is key, otherwise people don’t actually feel valued and will start to question the validity of the reward. Well-timed praise/rewards have a larger emotional impact and will inspire staff to continue in their efforts.

Praise is not timely.

Why recognition? I think it is that people want to be validated in their own perceptions of their performance.

– Director, Professional Services Firm

McLean & Company

slide30

Rewards & Recognition highlighted initiative:

Peer recognition

Providing meaningful, detailed, and immediate recognition that comes from peers has a big impact. Employees nominate an individual when they go the extra mile or go out of their way to help someone. The manager receives the nomination and forwards it onto the employee, highlighting the reason why the employee was nominated. This can take the form of a shout-out or applause. It is important that the manager lets the employee know that what they’ve done is appreciated. If possible, the manager should share the shout-out immediately or at the next team meeting.

Description of a suitable initiative.

Managers should consider whether or not each nomination deserves a shout-out before giving one. However, the idea is that the criteria for nominations is general (as long as the nominator proves that a peer went above and beyond), and recognize effort as much as success.

Employees don’t feel that they are being recognized for their efforts.

Gap 1.

By allowing the nominations to be employee-led for the most part, managers are gaining insight into what their employees are actually doing. The nominations require detail, allowing the managers to tailor the recognition and demonstrate they are informed about the employee’s effort.

Rewards and recognition are not meaningful and tailored to the employee. Too much “good job” without the why.

Gap 2.

The premise of the shout-outs is that they are on-the-spot and recognize the employee immediately after the noteworthy performance.

Gap 3.

Praise is not timely.

McLean & Company

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Highlighted initiative: Peer recognition

  • Human Resources: The facilitator of the program.
  • Provide the selection criteria.
  • Inform the managers of the
  • importance and impact of
  • the initiative.
  • Provide any prizes.
  • The Manager: The shouter-outer.
  • Encourage employees to
  • nominate peers.
  • Take the time: Prepare what
  • to say, be excited about it,
  • place precedence on timing.
  • The Peer
  • Nominate when it’s deserved.
  • Make the nomination
  • memorable and detailed.

Roles

Get it started: It may take a while before employees start to nominate one another. As a manager or an HR representative, take the initiative to start nominating people to lead the way.

Don’t let shout-outs become over used: If it gets to the point where there are multiple shout-outs a day, the shout-outs are no longer going to be desirable. Require that some work is put into nominations so that employees really have to appreciate someone to put a nomination together.

Tricks to Implement

Small gifts may get old: As an organization, add an exciting prize for those that get a certain number of nominations. For example, three nominations a year places your name in a draw for a trip.

A financial services company surveyed employees and identified that they felt they weren’t thanked enough. Focus groups were held to get feedback and it became clear that big recognition wasn’t needed (i.e. big awards given in front of the company). Instead, employees wanted to be recognized often and peers wanted to be able to recognize each other. A “Cause for Applause” program was implemented. Peers would nominate each other, with three levels of prizes, all small (i.e. gift card at a coffee shop.) Managers would “applaud” employees if they were nominated, highlighting what they had done. The result was employees feeling appreciated, and empowered to say thank you. Engagement results for reward and recognition got a big boost. It created a culture within each department of saying thank you.

Mini Case Study

slide32
Co-worker Relationships Driver: Ensure employees have a chance to interact as a team outside of a work context

Potential Gaps:

How does this impact engagement?

1

Bonding occurs on a more emotional/personal level, which is easier to achieve outside of a work context. People who form such personal bonds will naturally form better work relationships.

Employees don’t feel they know each other in a non-work-related context.

2

Stronger relationships are formed when people help each other in meaningful ways. Succeeding together in a stressful situation, with a common purpose, creates team bonding. Also, employees have a shared experience to talk about.

Collaboration and teamwork isn’t encouraged enough.

3

When people trust those they work with, they are more likely to open up and take risks. The support and safety net created also takes some pressure off the manager to fulfill that role all the time. Teams become more self-sufficient.

Co-workers don’t trust each other.

McLean & Company

slide33

Co-worker relationships highlighted initiative:

Semi-annual day out of the office

Give employees the opportunity to get to know their co-workers in a non-work setting, while having a bit of fun. Twice a year, all employees in the department are invited to a day outside of the office. Whether it is a friendly competition or giving back to the community, the important thing is that everyone does it together - same location, same activity. Tailor the day to the department and organization. Spending time together outside encourages bonds to form in a more relaxed atmosphere, and shared experiences are developed.

Description of a suitable initiative.

The idea for this out-of-office “fun day” stems from this gap. The goal is for employees to form bonds while interacting in a non-work-related environment. They work in teams or compete against other teams on something very different than their daily tasks.

Employees don’t feel they know each other in a non-work-related context.

Gap 1.

The most important aspect of this out-of-office day is that everyone is still working together (a mere day off for everyone would not have the same effect). Friendly (and fun) competition is a great way to improve team spirit.

Collaboration and teamwork isn’t encouraged enough.

Gap 2.

Trust is a tough thing to accomplish. Getting to know individuals on a more personal basis through out-of-office activities is a start.

Co-workers don’t trust each other.

Gap 3.

McLean & Company

slide34

Highlighted initiative: Semi-annual day out of the office

  • Senior management : The sponsors.
  • Support: a fun day (which
  • costs money and a day of
  • work) won’t be successful
  • without senior management
  • buy-in and support.
  • Manager: The organizer and participant.
  • Organizer: plan the day or
  • delegate to a few employees.
  • Attend the event.
  • Resource effectively: ensure
  • employees have the time.
  • Employees: The participants and enthusiasts.
  • Take advantage of the day and
  • show excitement.
  • Mix and mingle: Socialize and
  • get to know co-workers.

Roles

Involve employees in organizing: Empower employees to take part in the organization of the event. Chances are, managers are going to run out of ideas quickly, and employees are much more likely to enjoy the day if they have ownership in the planning.

Tricks to Implement

Consider limitations of all employees to ensure everyone can participate in some way: If it isn’t possible to get some employees out of the office, host in-office activities where they have the opportunity to interact. Making small changes to the environment, such as a pool table in the common room or lunch time yoga, gives employees the chance to interact outside of work.

A department of 40 people in a medium-sized professional services firm holds “fun days” once every three months. The entire department (from two different locations) meets for one full day somewhere in between the two offices. Each fun day involves two activities, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Activities include skiing, dodge ball, paintball, wall climbing, and laser tag. Normally at least one of the activities is a team event where the department is divided up into two teams that compete against one another.

These fun days work particularly well given that the department is dispersed over two locations. Co-workers, who otherwise would never see each other in person, are able to interact and get to know each other on a more personal level.

Mini Case Study

Fun day gives me a chance to laugh and talk about topics other than work with my peers, and reminds me

that they are great people. The relationships advance from civility to genuine friendship, and this makes

working with them ten times easier.

McLean & Company

slide35
Manager Relationship Driver: Managers and employees need to get to know each other on a professional and personal level

How does this impact engagement?

Potential Gaps:

1

Opportunities are limited for managers and employees to get to know each other on a professional level.

Managers need to work with employees: understand what they do on a day-to-day basis and their competencies to gain the material and insight required to add value to employees and their work.

Staff want to be informed, understand the bigger picture, and have insight into why things are changing. Managers have much greater access to this information than employees. Information is power – it is all about having insight into things that affect their jobs.

2

Staff feel that they don’t know what’s happening with their department and division.

3

Employees want to build a rapport with their manager and trust that their best interests are in mind. Personal knowledge helps the manager assist the employee with career development and anticipate any distractions or absences, giving the benefit of the doubt when it’s needed.

Employees feel their managers don’t really understand who they are.

People don’t leave organizations – they leave managers.

“An engaging manager is at the heart of success in engaging the workforce. Accenture’s internal research shows that 80% of the variation in engagement levels was down to the line manager.” Source: Engaging for Success: Enhancing Performance Through Employee Engagement.

McLean & Company

slide36

Manager relationship highlighted initiative:

Case competition

Flip the hierarchy upside down: Empower employees to lead their managers through an annual case competition. These competitions can be run on a department or organization-wide basis. Employees join teams of 4–6 individuals (inter-departmental teams encouraged) and they are presented with a case outlining a strategic decision the department (or organization) is currently facing. They are given two or three days to analyze the information and present a recommendation. Employees conduct interviews with senior managers to collect information. Each manager should be put on a team, as a member – not a leader. Each team should have a leader and/or project manager, and the manager should take direction from him/her. The managers must be given clear direction to take the back seat during the competition, but play an active role as a team member.

Description of a suitable initiative.

Opportunities are limited for managers and employees to get to know each other on a professional level.

Although the case competition is not a typical project, it is still within a work context, and it allows managers to see first hand how their employees work (and vice versa).

Gap 1.

The case should be regarding a significant strategic decision, and reading the case itself gives staff details around the future of the company. Managers will provide their own teams with any information or insight that they might not otherwise have the chance to give.

Staff feel that they don’t know what’s happening with their department and division.

Gap 2.

Employees feel managers don’t really understand who they are.

Case competitions involve working with one team continuously for two to three days. Personal relationships are formed naturally when spending such a great length of time together, working towards a common purpose.

Gap 3.

McLean & Company

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Highlighted initiative: Case competition

  • Senior management: The facilitator.
  • Organize and promote the
  • competition.
  • Write the case.
  • Give interviews during the
  • competition.
  • Managers: Team members.
  • Actively participate, but do
  • not lead the team.
  • Use and share expertise and
  • experience.
  • Get to know team members.
  • Employees: Team members.
  • Take advantage of the
  • opportunity to make an impact.
  • Take advantage of the
  • manager’s expertise and
  • experience.

Roles

Some workplaces do not have the ability to stop shop for three days: Refer to innodaytions (highlighted under employee empowerment). A mini-case competition can be held involving part of a department and last only one day.

Writing the case: If no one in senior management is comfortable writing a case, present the details of the decision to be made in a slide deck, brief note, or presentation. As long as the employees get all the information, it doesn’t matter how they get it.

Tricks to Implement

Too many teams, not enough managers: Most likely the numbers aren’t going to work out. However, this is one of many initiatives that can be implemented to improve manager relationships. Even if a manager improves the relationship only with those individuals on his/her team, the case competition was a success. Ensure managers are placed on teams with some of their direct reports.

A medium-sized organization hosts an annual case competition that lasts three days, run by senior management. Employees receive a case outlining a strategic issue that the organization is currently facing. The competition is not mandatory, but highly encouraged and prizes are monetary. Employees are required to form teams of 4 to 5 employees from at least two different departments and with one manager. On the final day, each team presents their decisions and action plans to a group of senior managers. The top four teams are asked to present to the entire company. Employees have the opportunity to work closely with managers on a project other than their daily tasks, forming personal and professional relationships. The case competition also impacts co-workers, departmental and senior manager relationships, as well employee empowerment and company potential.

Mini Case Study

McLean & Company

slide38

Next Section in Brief

Create winning engagement initiatives

  • The gaps identified by employees are going to vary, but they can be boiled down and ranked as areas to target.
  • There are a variety of considerations when selecting initiatives. A winning initiative attempts to close all gaps ranked as priorities for each driver.
  • To get started, learn about some common gaps and read sample initiatives used by peer organizations to close these gaps.
  • The job engagement drivers are:
    • Culture
    • Customer Focus
    • Company Potential
    • Department Relationships
    • Senior Manager Relationships

Generate and select job engagement driver initiatives

Generate and select organizational engagement driver initiatives

3

culture driver put organizational values in place and communicate them
Culture Driver: Put organizational values in place and communicate them

Potential Gaps:

How does this impact engagement?

1

Employees are very focused on the large volumes of work that must be accomplished every day and social interaction is not promoted.

Employees aren’t connected to the organization through personal relationships they have there, which results in lower loyalty and higher turnover.

2

If employees don’t identify with the organization’s values, they won’t be onboard with them. Values must make sense for the organization and they should be positioned as the backbone of the organization’s culture.

Employees feel that the company is not really committed to its stated values.

3

Employee roles don’t overlap, so they feel like they are isolated and there is no spirit of collaboration.

Employees want to know that they aren’t going it alone, that they can ask for help, and will receive it if they ask.

4

Company pride, and therefore engagement and loyalty, could be enhanced if employees knew that their employer was contributing to their community.

Employees aren’t aware of the organization’s contributions to the community.

McLean & Company

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Customer focus highlighted initiative:

Community Involvement Day

Description of a suitable initiative.

Once a quarter, each department spends a half-day on business-related topics (the morning) and a half-day on community involvement (the afternoon). A different employee plans the community involvement each quarter and all employees participate.

Employees are very focused on the large volumes of work that must be accomplished every day and social interaction is not promoted.

The community involvement portion of the day is inherently socially friendly as employees are helping the community, and they are doing this together in a non-work setting (they are given the time away from work activities).

Gap 1.

The organizational values are clear and reinforced to employees when they are taking time out of their work to participate. Furthermore, no one can argue with the validity of community involvement as an important value.

Employees feel that the company is not really committed to its stated values.

Gap 2.

Employee roles don’t overlap, so they feel like they are isolated and there is no spirit of collaboration.

This activity is collaborative by nature. The department is working together towards a greater good.

Gap 3.

Employees aren’t aware of the organization’s contributions to the community.

This initiative raises awareness significantly. Employees can share what they did with other departments to raise broader awareness and promote the idea.

Gap 4.

McLean & Company

slide41

Highlighted initiative: Community Involvement Day

  • Senior management: The advocate.
  • Promote the importance of
  • community involvement day
  • through managers.
  • Provide time away from work.
  • Managers: The facilitators.
  • Assist employees with choosing an appropriate
  • community involvement
  • activity.
  • Actively participate with
  • the team.
  • Employees: The participants/organizers.
  • Participate in community
  • involvement day.
  • Organize a community
  • involvement day based on a
  • rotation with colleagues.

Roles

Ensure it’s inclusive: There should be few limits to the type of community involvement you participate in. It should fit with your organization’s values, be easy for your employees to travel there, and cost nothing (or very little) for the employee.

  • Management participation: To promote this as a company value, managers should participate alongside the team. Role modeling the behavior reinforces that the company is fully committed to the value.

Tricks to Implement

  • Manage time effectively: It’s better do a shorter volunteer activity than have employees working overtime to compensate for time out of the office. Employees should not be penalized for participating in a company-supported activity.

A large financial firm includes “Make a positive contribution to our communities” as part of its guiding principles. While many organizations make this type of statement, this organization actively promotes employee participation in community activities by providing time off for volunteering, and in some areas volunteering has become part of quarterly departmental update meetings. The company goes as far as to include Community Involvement on all employees’ annual performance appraisals. As a result, employees understand the commitment to community involvement as a deep rooted organizational value, and not just a statement that makes the organization seem socially responsible.

Mini Case Study

McLean & Company

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Customer Focus Driver: Ask for feedback from customers and then communicate to employees how it’s being used

Potential Gaps:

How does this impact engagement?

1

Not having channels for feedback can cause frustration for staff who then get hit by disgruntled customers. Furthermore, customer feedback can improve the product/service and address problems, offsetting conflicts.

Lack of effective channels for feedback from customers.

2

If you don’t enable staff to react to feedback, negative comments could have a serious effect on their morale. This may directly affect only the customer-facing staff, but they may talk about their frustrations to others.

Staff do not know how to appropriately react to feedback from customers.

3

Customer focus initiatives will not improve employee engagement unless employees know they exist and see that they're working. Celebrating effective customer service helps the whole organization align itself with the customer service value.

Lack of awareness of customer service action that the organization is taking.

Since 1994, Microsoft has been carrying out employee surveys, which have demonstrated that a correlation exists between strong customer service scores and higher employee engagement results.

McLean & Company

slide43

Customer focus highlighted initiative:

Customer Service Panel

Improve customer focus and build awareness that it’s a priority by creating an employee-led panel that fixes customer issues. A team of employees is assigned to be part of a customer service panel, with the mandate to do two things: 1) Identify common customer problems/complaints and brainstorm solutions, and 2) Hold the authority to quickly and effectively solve customer problems where possible (for example, authorize refunds with no questions asked). The latter is difficult, but has a big impact.

Description of a suitable initiative.

To successfully carry out the panel’s first responsibility – recommend how to improve common and systematic customer issues – the panel must collect and address customer feedback.

Lack of effective channels for feedback from customers.

Gap 1.

Staff do not know how to appropriately react to feedback from customers.

Some of the panel’s recommendations will cover how to react to customer complaints and feedback.

Gap 2.

The panel needs to be known as “who to call” when others have an issue that needs a quick solution. This high visibility is imperative in order for employees to know that the company is taking action to improve customer service.

Lack of awareness of customer service action that the organization is taking.

Gap 3.

A lot of customer service is about how well you fix problems.

McLean & Company

slide44

Highlighted initiative: Customer service panel

  • Senior management: The sponsor.
  • Sanction the authority that is
  • required.
  • Take a turn on the panel.
  • Managers: The panel selectors.
  • Choose who is on the panel.
  • Take a turn on the panel.
  • Position participation as a
  • chance to make a difference.
  • Employees: The information providers.
  • Ask for frequent employee
  • feedback and pass it along to
  • the panel.
  • Call the panel – don’t try to
  • deal with issues alone.

Roles

Who is on the panel? The management team should decide who sits on the panel. Ideally, rotate one or two people in and out of the panel every 3–4 months. At all times, at least one manager and one senior manager should sit on the panel as members, not leaders. One individual should always hold the role of ombudsman – the ultimate decision maker.

Authority is scary: Providing the authority to make customer decisions can be risky. The only rule: the priority is to fix the customer problem, but keep the company’s best interests in mind. There needs to be acceptance of the fact that this could cost the company money in the short-term, but the long-term benefits are happy customers and improved engagement.

Tricks to Implement

The logistics: The priority is that decisions are made quickly. Meetings are not held every time a customer is dissatisfied. The panel should become efficient enough that any issue is briefly discussed (in person, through e-mail, etc.), and then the ombudsman makes the decision.

In 2000, a British construction firm, EBC, was running at a loss of 2 million € a year. The company had run on a “command and control” basis, particularly between the managerial staff and the front line trades people. With a new CEO joining in 2000, the company underwent a transformation to become a customer centered organization and was renamed Rok. The CEO began asking client-facing employees to provide input and insight into how things could be done better to service their customers. This change, along with others, resulted in Rokseeing exceptional growth and a committed and loyal staff.

Mini Case Study

“I knew that without getting the workforce fully engaged and committed the company would die. Instead of which, it was reborn.” – Garvis Snook, CEO

McLean & Company

company potential driver keep employees informed about the company s past and future
Company Potential Driver: Keep employees informed about the company’s past and future

Potential Gaps:

How does this impact engagement?

It is important for employees to understand the organization’s placement amongst competitors. It builds an awareness of how their employer is viewed in the marketplace, and a sense of pride and loyalty when the organization is performing well.

1

Employees don’t have a sense of how well the company is doing relative to competitors.

2

People like to feel like they are making a difference and that their contributions are known. Reminding employees how each role is integral to the organization’s success is key to employee engagement.

Employees are not clear on how their contribution fits with overall organizational success.

3

Senior managers rarely communicate organizational successes, and when they do it lacks excitement.

Employees are much more likely to be excited and passionate about the company’s future and potential if those that are setting the strategy (and have the inside scoop) are excited and passionate too.

It is vital that you are open and honest with staff about the organization and how it fits into the bigger market picture. If you want your people to work with you and really buy in to what you are trying to achieve, you need to treat them like adults – give them the information and trust them to help you develop and implement the solutions.

- Chris Pilling, Head of Direct Banking, HSBC

McLean & Company

slide46

Company potential highlighted initiative:

Company-wide meeting

An in-person, company-wide meeting may not seem like a groundbreaking initiative, but due to the changing nature of organizations (remote workers, wide-spread geographical locations), they are happening less frequently. Hold company-wide meetings quarterly that last for no longer than an hour. Use this opportunity to update employees on the organization’s financial performance, upcoming initiatives, and success of executed projects. Answer employee questions that are e-mailed in advance, allow time for employees to ask questions at the meeting, and set up a twitter feed for remote employees to send their questions in real time.

Description of a suitable initiative.

Use the company meeting to communicate the organization’s position in the marketplace. Show graphs to provide a visual of where the company stands compared to competitors in areas such as market share, revenue growth, satisfaction ratings, etc.

Employees don’t have a sense of how well the company is doing relative to competitors.

Gap 1.

Employees are not clear on how their contribution fits with overall organizational success.

Highlight department-specific initiatives/successes in each meeting and provide details about how this positively affects the organization as a whole.

Gap 2.

A company-wide meeting provides an opportunity for senior managers to display their excitement about the organization. Employees like to see this enthusiasm because it solidifies their own passion and reminds them they are an important part of the success of the organization.

Senior managers rarely communicate organizational successes, and when they do it lacks excitement.

Gap 3.

Other mediums to inform: An engineering firm with a staff of over 1,000 employees needed to increase engagement levels. To do so, a narrative graphic outlining the company’s journey, vision, mission, and future goals was developed. It not only informed the workforce, but it also helped staff to feel ownership over the company’s strategy and future. A business plan was created that allowed each employee to understand exactly where they contributed value.

McLean & Company

slide47

Highlighted initiative: Company-wide meeting

  • Executives: The presenters at the meeting.
  • Be transparent. Communicate
  • the highs and the lows with
  • opportunities to improve.
  • Thank and recognize staff.
  • Managers: The encouragers.
  • Encourage employees to
  • attend.
  • Present on department’s
  • behalf or delegate to an
  • employee.
  • Staff member: The participant.
  • Attend the meeting and ask
  • questions.
  • Volunteer to present the
  • department update.

Roles

Make it accessible: If you have remote workers or employees at different locations, encourage everyone to attend in person. If this is not possible, provide both telephone access and videoconferencing, if possible.

Tricks to Implement

Make it fun!: Have some trivia questions at the beginning, including organization-specific trivia. Don’t be scared to joke around and keep it informal. Have snacks and drinks, introduce new employees and celebrate successes.

To increase employee engagement, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a law firm, launched a program called The London Festival, which included a number of different engagement initiatives. One of then was to invite all employees to a series of presentations from across the organization on all different parts of the business. The point was to convey the latest developments in each department’s area. The firm’s profitability reached a new high in the years following the implementation of the festival despite the uncertain market. They attributed these results, in part, to their new engagement strategy.

Microsoft holds a company meeting at the beginning of each year, which is available by webcast for those who cannot attend, to outline recent successes, potential opportunities, and challenges to come. Also available to download is the CFO’s “street talk” on the company’s financial situation, and quarterly “wireside chats” on performance from the COO.

It works!

McLean & Company

slide48
Departmental Relationships Driver: Create opportunities for employees from different departments to interact

Potential Gaps:

How does this impact engagement?

1

Employees aren’t provided opportunities to appreciate other departments’ processes and how they work.

When employees don’t know how other departments work, they may put unrealistic expectations on them (deadlines for example), which strains the relationship.

2

A rift between departments hurts team morale at the organization. Departments get into an “us versus them” mentality and no longer work towards a common goal.

Departments blame each other when things don’t go as planned.

3

When employees don’t understand what others do, they aren’t able to leverage the other group for assistance. Employees from different departments have different skill sets, and working together can add value to each other’s work.

Employees don’t get the chance to work with other departments, and don’t understand what they do.

All in all, improved interdepartmental relationships make the entire organization run

more smoothly – less waste, less reinvention of the wheel, less frustration.

McLean & Company

slide49

Department relationships highlighted initiative:

Rotational program

Employees rotate through other departments for 1–2 weeks. They are assigned a buddy within the new department and they work in the other department as if they are a new employee. They spend their time learning as much as they can about the organization from the perspective of the new department. For example, a salesperson would work in the marketing department to get an even better understanding of the product. Each employee should be rotated into a different department once per year.

Description of a suitable initiative.

Employees aren’t provided opportunities to appreciate other departments’ processes and how they work.

Working directly in the new department, the employee is learning first hand what it is like to work there, including any processes that may cause delays. This might change their perspective on previous issues that they have had with that team.

Gap 1.

Departments blame each other when things don’t go as planned.

Similar to the above, when employees understand what the other department does, and how it works, they’ll be less likely to complain, and more likely to help to find a solution.

Gap 2.

A salesperson working with the marketing department may gain a better understanding of what marketing needs from sales and vice versa. This will improve communication between departments and may even help to improve efficiencies.

Employees don’t get the chance to work with other departments, and don’t understand what they do.

Gap 3.

For those departments that require a certain amount of training before putting someone on the job, job shadowing instead of a complete rotation will offer some of the same benefits.

McLean & Company

slide50

Highlighted initiative: Rotational program

  • HR: The Facilitators.
  • Keep track of which
  • employees have been
  • rotated, and when.
  • Coordinate with department
  • managers as to when
  • employees are coming and
  • going, where they’ll sit, who
  • their buddy is, etc.
  • Department Managers: The Overseers.
  • Choose the buddy and determine where they’ll sit.
  • Welcome the rotated employee and introduce them to his/her buddy.
  • Staff member: The participant.
  • Staff should soak in as much
  • information as they can about
  • the new department.
  • They should ask questions and
  • think about ways that this new
  • knowledge can help them to be
  • better at their jobs, or help
  • others to be better at theirs.

Roles

Skills gap limits productivity: It may not make sense for a HR employee to work in Finance as they would not be equipped with the basic knowledge to be productive. Pick rotations accordingly. For example, creative and energetic sales people would be an asset to marketing.

Tricks to Implement

Hold the employee accountable: Set an expectation for employees as they embark on their rotation. For example, during the rotation they should be taking note of the other department’s processes. Upon their return, they will revise their own department’s processes so that they align. If you are losing an employee for 1–2 weeks, it had better be worthwhile.

lululemonathletica, an athletic clothing company located in Vancouver, implements a rotational program for all employees hired into their head office. As an example, employees hired to work in Marketing will spend their first 4 weeks working in a store. This hands-on experience allows the employee to learn the product, understand the customer, and appreciate how their role will affect the sales associates. Later, once new employees are more settled into their role, they will do a stint in Strategic Sales. These rotations provide employees with a more well-rounded understanding of the organization; such knowledge will be very helpful as the employee begins to make decisions that affect the organization as a whole.

Mini Case Study

McLean & Company

slide51
Senior Manager Relationships Driver: Provide opportunities for employees and senior managers to get to know each other

Potential Gaps

How does this affect engagement?

1

Good relationships are formed when people can identify with each other on many different levels. When staff know how a senior manager thinks, they are much more likely to trust their decisions.

Employees don’t understand how senior managers work and think.

2

Employees aren’t given enough opportunities for 1-on-1 interaction with senior management.

When senior managers interact with a large group, they are much more polished. One-on-one interactions allow this formality to fall away and provide opportunities for the staff member to really get to know the senior manager.

3

Senior managers are unreachable and employees aren’t able to provide their input on decisions that impact them.

Employees want to have the ability to influence their own future and feel that their opinions are valued. Employees want to know that decision-making is fair, balanced, and informed; this is key to getting buy-in for change.

It is also beneficial for the senior managers to walk in their staff’s shoes.

A large government department, with a majority of employees being front-line staff, implemented a “Back to the Floor” initiative. This program involved senior managers taking on a client-facing role for up to one week. They had the opportunity to work with the front-line employees to see first-hand the problems they faced when serving customers.

McLean & Company

slide52

Senior manager relationships highlighted initiative:

Secondment to an executive project

A brief stint as part of an executive project will give employees understanding of, and 1-on-1 interaction with, a senior manager. A staff member (e.g. an analyst) will participate in an executive project (e.g. developing a marketing strategy for a new product launch) for a specified period of time (e.g. one month). The position is advertised internally and staff are invited to apply. Alternatively, managers discuss amongst themselves which employee would be a good fit for each project. The staff member’s responsibilities are outlined and agreed upon prior to him/her joining the project team.

Description of a suitable initiative.

The employee gets first-hand knowledge of the logic behind each decision made by the senior managers involved. They get to know the senior managers on a personal and professional basis.

Employees lack an understanding of how senior managers think.

Gap 1.

Employees aren’t given enough opportunities for 1-on-1 interaction with senior management.

The employee will have the chance to work with senior managers, gaining insight into how they make decisions. The senior manager is on a level playing field with the team.

Gap 2.

Senior managers are unreachable and employees aren’t able to provide their input on decisions that impact them.

The employee’s opinions and ideas are not only heard, but also requested and used to improve the quality of the project.

Gap 3.

McLean & Company

slide53

Highlighted initiative: Secondment to an executive project

  • HR: The administrator of the program.
  • Control the application
  • process.
  • Ensure employee
  • responsibilities are clear and
  • agreed upon.
  • Senior managers: The leader of the program.
  • Must involve the employee,
  • and leverage their talents.
  • Use the opportunity to get
  • to know the employee.
  • Value employee
  • contributions.
  • Staff member: The participant.
  • Staff should their talents and
  • interests apparent so they are
  • leveraged.
  • They must learn from the
  • senior managers: ask
  • questions, ask for feedback.

Roles

Be fair: Ensure that the employees that take part in this program are fairly rotated. Match employee skills, experiences, and current role to each position on the executive team.

Tricks to Implement

Resource effectively. This should not be a “side project” where employees have other responsibilities to worry about. Make sure employees’ daily activities are covered so that they can focus 100% on the executive project.

Two executives at a mid-sized professional services company were presenting to managers in order to train them on effectively onboarding employees. A newly hired employee was invited to be part of the team for two weeks to give input on what content should be covered, as well as helping to put the slide deck together.

Results: Engagement of the particular employee was increased because he developed a new respect for, and a more personal rapport with, the two executives. Other engagement drivers were also impacted: this project empowered the employee to involve himself in projects outside of his daily role and resulted in the employee being recognized and appreciated by executives.

Mini Case Study

In addition to getting the chance to learn from a group of highly experienced individuals, I also received recognition from people who otherwise didn’t know my name. I felt that I

was making an impact that I normally didn’t have a chance to make.

McLean & Company

summary
Summary
  • The objective of an engagement survey is to assess employee engagement in order to identify and implement necessary change to better the organization.
  • However, only 49% of organizations implement change as a result of engagement surveys. This results in serious consequences for key HR performance indicators such as employee productivity, retention, and attendance.
  • A large majority of those organizations that do implement engagement initiatives implement initiatives that treat symptoms and not causes.
  • Initiatives are typically generated, selected, and implemented by the executive and management team, resulting in chosen initiatives making limited impact and having poor employee buy-in.
  • Involving staff from the beginning and keeping them in the loop through effective communication are integral to the success of your organization’s engagement program. McLean & Company’s five steps to selecting winning engagement initiatives walks you through the process.
  • Involve your employees in identifying the current reality versus the ideal state for each of your organization’s priority engagement drivers.
  • Learn from others. Read about how your peers implemented initiatives to close the gaps to improve engagement scores for job and organizational engagement drivers.

Info-Tech Research Group

mclean company s engagement program methodology
McLean & Company’s Engagement Program Methodology

Next in the engagement model are the Employment Needs. A company cannot get to engagement without satisfying a minimum requirement with these 3 areas of Compensation, Benefits, and Working Conditions.

Job engagement and organizational engagement make up an employee’s total engagement and are built once the basic needs have been met.

Overall

Engagement

Job

Engagement

Organizational

Engagement

Each of them have distinct levers that drive the engagement score.

Engagement Drivers

Employee Empowerment

Development

Rewards & Recognition

Co-worker Relationships

Manager Relationship

Culture

Customer Focus

Company Potential

Department Relationships

Senior Mgmt Relationship

Retention Drivers

Compensation

Benefits

Working Conditions

Personal Disposition

Emotional Outlook

State of Mind

Natural Tendencies

Personal disposition is at the base of the model because it impacts overall engagement. McLean & Company defines personal disposition as the lens by which a person views his or her surroundings. What it means is that all things being equal, an employee may generally have a more positive outlook and therefore be more likely to become an engaged employee.

McLean & Company

slide57

Note: this is just a sample agenda. Some organizations may need to break these brainstorming sessions up over multiple days.

Today’s Agenda

9:00am – 9:15 am:

Introduction and ground rules

9:15am – 9:45am

Break-out session #1

Group discussion and consolidation

9:45am – 10:15am

Break-out session #2

10:15am – 10:45am

10:45am – 11:15am

Group discussion and consolidation

11:15am – 12:00pm

Break/Lunch

12:00pm – 12:45pm

Break-out session #3

Group discussion: Consolidate initiatives and rank effort and impact

12:45pm – 1:45pm

Wrap up

1:45pm – 2:00pm

McLean & Company

brainstorming session rules of engagement
Brainstorming Session Rules of Engagement

Confidentiality will be maintained – only consolidated views will be shared (no names attached).

Do not personalize disagreements. Criticizing the ideas of others is not permitted.

Be respectful. While shouting out ideas is acceptable, drowning out the ideas of others is not. If too many participants are speaking at once or an individual is not being effectively heard, then the Facilitator will intervene to re-focus the discussion.

One member of the session will act as scribe for each sub-topic discussion. This duty should rotate through different individuals to allow fair participation in the discussions taking place.

Once all ideas have been tabled, a voting process will take place to determine which ideas require deeper discussion.

The Facilitator will summarize and distribute all documented ideas to the management team after the session.

break out 3 the ground rules
Break-out #3: THE GROUND RULES

Unusual ideas are welcome 

Answer what, not how

 No need for justification of idea

Keep it constructive, not judgmental

Combine and improve on each other’s ideas

Talk briefly, one sentence per idea

Focus on quantity: Attempt to get 20+ ideas

No restrictions: Ignore cost and time frames

the following slides include lists of potential initiatives aimed to impact each engagement driver
The following slides include lists of potential initiatives aimed to impact each engagement driver.

CAUTION: Use these lists very carefully.

These are meant to be used as idea generators only. In order for an initiative to be successful, you must involve employees in the brainstorming. Picking initiatives off a list such as the ones that follow will lead to treating the symptoms: a very short-term fix.

Click on the driver to see the list of initiatives:

Employee Empowerment

Development

Rewards & Recognition

Co-worker Relationships

Manager Relationship

Culture

Customer Focus

Company Potential

Department Relationships

Senior Management Relationship

McLean & Company

employee empowerment list of initiatives
Employee Empowerment: List of initiatives

Employee Empowerment Initiatives:

  • Set expectations and clearly define objectives for the upcoming year so that employees understand against what they are being measured: review progress regularly.
  • Ensure job descriptions are up to date.
  • Invite high-potential employees to have breakfast/coffee with executives to talk about decisions and ask questions. 
  • Create venue for feedback/ideas with a clear, transparent, and formal follow-up process.
  • No consequences Q&A forum for each department, led by a senior manager.
  • Daily/weekly 15 minute team scrums/huddles.
  • Set aside one day twice a year where employees get into small groups to deliver a self-guided project in one day. Present it to senior management by the end of the day.
  • Senior managers book office hours at least once a quarter to encourage staff to present an idea in 15 minutes; manager’s offer advice and encouragement to polish ideas.
  • Provide a formal and transparent selection process where top five ideas are selected as pilot projects.
  • Develop an employees-training-employees program: job enrichment, ownership, etc.
  • Managers invite a direct report to attend an external meeting with them.
  • Post employee bios on the website.

McLean & Company

development list of initiatives
Development: List of initiatives

Development Initiatives:

  • Build and commit to development plans for every employee.
  • Implement a job shadowing program/rotational program for employees to experience what it is like to work in another department, and work with another manager.
  • Identify and implement mentors for high potential and new employees.
  • Post training opportunities on the intranet, including access to books online, online training programs, and formal training opportunities.
  • Second level managers have annual discussions with employees to discuss career aspirations.
  • Train managers on coaching techniques to support the development of staff.
  • Implement Tuition Reimbursement Policy and/or provide employees time off to study, for courses that are required for their continued progression within the organization.
  • Offer a variety of development options, including online training, formal classroom training, informal training, etc.
  • Use third person teaching principles.
  • Informal buddy program for new employees.
  • Invite guest speakers to departmental meetings.
  • Department Lunch & Learns

McLean & Company

rewards and recognition list of initiatives
Rewards and Recognition: List of initiatives

Rewards & Recognition Initiatives:

  • Give appreciation cards or e-mails when an employee goes above and beyond. Be specific in your praise.
  • Understand how your employee wants to be recognized and acknowledge them in a way that is meaningful to them.
  • Formal recognition program with different levels of recognition and point awards; employees can redeem points through an online catalog.
  • On-the-spot awards: Awarded by managers; nominations can come from peers, management, or customers.
  • Employee appreciation day: day off, group lunch, or shortened day.
  • Tenure of service recognition (extra week off in 5th year, 10th year, etc.). Announce at company meetings.
  • Accomplishments (with projects, clients, etc.) announced at company/department meetings.
  • Share positive feedback from others in regular 1-on-1 meetings.
  • Invite team to a celebratory lunch or dinner for a job well done or for achieving a major milestone.
  • Invite staff to attend a meeting with your manager.
  • Implement a “Champions Club.” Qualifying top performing employees are sent on an annual celebratory trip with Executives and other winners.
  • Provide important introductions – introduce your top performing staff to other executives, key suppliers, or customers to help them connect.
  • Post employee bios on the website or intranet.

McLean & Company

co worker and manager relationships list of initiatives
Co-worker and Manager Relationships: List of initiatives

Co-worker Initiatives:

  • Schedule in-office get-togethers.
  • Physical layout of desks/offices should advocate for interaction.
  • Solicit peer feedback for projects and initiatives.
  • Implement a formal recognition program which includes peer nominations.
  • Offer job switching/shadowing to help employees understand what co-workers do.
  • Create team project structures to involve different levels of employees.
  • Encourage co-workers to take part in the hiring/interview process for new employees.
  • Implement an informal buddy program for new employees.

Manager Initiatives:

  • Develop manager training which is appropriate for different stages of management development.
  • Develop a staff and management charter stating expectations of both.
  • Train managers on coaching techniques to support the development of staff.
  • Create employee-led teams where managers are team members.
  • Solicit employee feedback before making decision.
  • Host bi-annual half-day team building session focused on improving team dynamics.
  • Host organization-wide case competition involving interdepartmental teams.

McLean & Company

culture list of initiatives
Culture: List of initiatives

Culture Initiatives:

  • Communicate company values in different ways throughout the organization.
  • Ensure your value statements are aligned with the culture of your organization.
  • Value statements that are short, simple, and give a memorable, distinctive, and embraceable message that invites discussion.
  • Assess new hires for cultural fit during interviews and throughout recruiting process.
  • Send introduction e-mails for new employees.
  • Host offsite team building activities.
  • Initiate Community Involvement Day where teams volunteer together in the community.
  • Prove quarterly updates on organizational accomplishments and initiatives through e-newsletter.
  • Implement organization-wide green initiatives with employee involvement.

McLean & Company

customer focus list of initiatives
Customer Focus: List of initiatives

Customer Focus Initiatives:

  • Invite a customer to offsite meetings to have them explain what you’re doing well, what you could be doing better, etc.
  • Ensure that all employees understand the customer’s perspective (spending time at customer site, job shadow opportunities for non-customer-facing roles to shadow customer-facing roles), i.e. calling customers that cancelled their account to find out why.
  • Educate employees on a different competitor’s product/service at department meetings so that they are informed of the pros/cons in comparison.
  • Share client testimonials at company meetings.
  • Don’t just present good news at company meetings. Communicate bad news regarding customers while outlining opportunities for improvement.
  • Share third-party reports highlighting your organization at meetings.
  • Implement a Customer Advisory Group: A group of representative customers who are consulted on major product decisions through focus groups, interviews, etc.
  • Implement a Customer Engagement Metric. A published index of the extent to which customers are satisfied, engaged, using your product, recommending your product, complaining about your product, etc.
  • Recognize employees through a monthly Customer Award for the employee who goes above & beyond the call of duty to fulfill a customer need.
  • Introduce a Customer Satisfaction Budget which provides a small discretionary budget to each Customer Service Rep to allow them to address a client need without requiring special authorization.
  • Measure/report on customer metrics: compliment to complaint ratio, time to respond, etc. to help employees understand the impact they can have on customer interactions.
  • Introduce a Customer Service Panel made up of staff to make recommendations on how to improve systemic customer service issues.

McLean & Company

company potential and department relationships list of initiatives
Company Potential and Department Relationships: List of initiatives

Company Potential Initiatives:

  • Be transparent about company financials.
  • Update/success stories from departments at company meetings.
  • Implement a profit-sharing program or bonus program based on company performance.
  • Publicly present new products/services and indicators of innovation.
  • Highlight media engagements via links on intranet site or in company e-mails.
  • Provide a quarterly update on organizational accomplishments and initiatives through e-newsletter.
  • Publicize internal job postings.
  • Celebrate internal promotions via a congratulatory department-wide e-mail.
  • Apply to workplace competitions (i.e. Best Workplaces).

Department Relationships Initiatives:

  • Provide interdepartmental secondment opportunities for employees to learn about other departments.
  • Quarterly informal interdepartmental mixers (drinks, or dodge ball, scavenger hunt)
  • Host organization-wide case competition involving interdepartmental teams.
  • Invite a representative from another department to present its strategy and priorities, and discuss how your department can help.
  • Request to do a presentation for their department.
  • Develop a database with employee profiles and photos. Have employees buddy up with individuals from other departments and write each other’s bios.

McLean & Company

senior manager relationships list of initiatives
Senior Manager Relationships: List of initiatives

Senior Management initiatives:

  • Host monthly/quarterly town halls so staff and Senior Managers can talk about issues.
  • Provide employees with the opportunity to win a lunch with a Senior Manager for a job well done.
  • Invite Senior Managers to hold an informal career path discussion with employees where they talk about their own career path and employees can ask questions.
  • Provide secondments for employees to participate on an executive sponsored project.
  • Host organization-wide case competitions with senior management participation.
  • Encourage participation of Senior Managers in all “off the clock” activities.
  • Encourage senior management participation in social media, including a blog which is held on the intranet.
  • Once a quarter, a panel of Senior Managers book office hours where any staff member can come and present an idea in 15 minutes; managers offer advice and encouragement to polish ideas.
  • Provide a formal and transparent selection process where top five ideas are selected as pilot projects.
  • Increase informal chats with staff about non-work related topics.
  • Host “Meet and Greets” with Senior Managers for new hires.
  • Develop a group mentoring initiative where Senior Managers mentor a group of high potential employees.

McLean & Company

list of resources
List of Resources

The following resources were used to compile the information contained in this research report. Many sources were used for information gathering purposes only.

Buckingham, Marcus, and Curt Coffman. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Clarke, Nita, and David MacLeod. Engaging for Success: Enhancing performance through employee engagement. UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 2009.

Endres, M. Grace, and Mancheno-Smoak, Lolita. The Human Resource Craze: Human Performance Improvement and Employee Engagement. Organization Development Journal; Spring 2008; 26, 1; pg. 69; ABI/INFORM Global.

Gable, A. Shelley, SeungYounChyung, Anthony Marker, and Donald Winiecki. How Should Organizational Leaders Use Employee Engagement Survey Data? Performance Improvement, vol. 49, International Society for Performance Improvement; 2010; pg. 17 - pg. 24; www.ispi.org.

Lockwood, R. Nancy. Leveraging Employee Engagement for Competitive Advantage: HR’s Strategic Role. SHRM® Research Quarterly, 2007.

Macy, H. William, and Schneider, Benjamin. The Meaning of Employee Engagement. Industrial and Organizational Psychology; 1 (2008), 3–30; Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Smyth, John. The CEO Chief Engagement Officer. Gower Publishing Limited, 2007.

McLean & Company

primary sources methodology
Primary Sources Methodology
  • In 2010, McLean & Company engaged in three primary research activities to discover the successes and challenges of the employee engagement survey process as well as to solicit experiences on engagement initiatives implemented as a result of the survey.
    • In June, July, November, and December we conducted in-depth interviews with HR professionals, business leaders in chief executive roles, managers, and employees to learn about employee engagement surveys and initiatives.
    • In June and July, we fielded surveys to better understand the factors that influenced the successful outcome of an employee engagement survey in various organizations. The survey attracted over 140 respondents.
    • In November and December, we conducted 10 brainstorming sessions with staff from three organizations to test brainstorming processes and solicit initiative ideas. Over 100 employees took part in these brainstorming sessions.

McLean & Company