Employee attitude is an intrinsic and direct human reaction resulting from the work environment any management establishes in its enterprise. Attitude (good or bad) and its attached emotions significantly shape the “work ethic” barometer any employee will display before, during or after work hours. It is the hidden and powerful emotional drive, or lack thereof, which determines the level of “engagement” a co-worker will display. Employee engagement will never be an action verb with an expected code of co-worker behavior automatically triggered by company compensation and perks.
Enterprises in possession of well defined mission, vision and values are in a much better position to transport their philosophy and credo to employees, suppliers, partners and customers alike. Company culture (mission + vision + values) is the fundamental prerequisite if a workforce is to positively engage with both customers and prospects. A company workforce cannot and will not confidently connect with its customers if an enterprise has failed to establish first a clear code of ethics, business principles and policies.
1. Workforce should fulfill job requirements with limited hierarchical where and when
I remember a € 80 million (US$100 M) manufacturing company led by a Managing Director who micro-managed. Every morning he would pick up the mail from the local post office himself, open up every single piece of correspondence and distribute it to the appropriate company employees. His reasons? “I want to know what is happening”, he once told me! We are living in the broadband communication era where consumers decide the way they wish to communicate with their brand. Thanks to hyper-connected mobile devices we are now en route to a people-centric, convenience marketing superhighway, where consumers exclusively select when, where and what sort of information they wish to obtain. Cell phone subscriptions have overtaken landlines. People in the UK are now more likely to text than to make a phone call according to a recent research from Ofcom. “In the past, cooperation was a kind of dream, an ideal. Today it is a requirement for survival” says Nicholas Roberts.
A European company, I was once associated with, gave its employees only 15 minutes of “flexi-time” for arriving at work in the morning, all the while knowing that some would actually be more productive after sleeping an extra hour or two than arriving on time and lingering around the coffee machine and shooting the breeze. Employees should be compensated for results rather than the numbers of hours they have worked. Results Only Work Environment (ROWE) could easily be promoted thanks to mobile technology Studies made by ROWE with renowned clients such as GAP and BEST BUY have shown significant savings and increased productivity were registered. BEST BUY applied the following formula: “Retention + Intrinsic Motivation + Productivity = Increased Capacity” which meant a saving of $2.2 million for their team over the course of two years, an average of 41% increase in productivity on ROWE teams.
2. Management should take control of work, and not of its employees
Looking for an alternative to work? Organize a meeting! Wasted time in meetings costs Business £26 billion (US$ 41.6 B) per annum reported Techradar some months ago. Marcus Austin went on to say: “The average employee wastes two hours and 39 minutes in meetings every week… this would equate to 13 million more productive hours per week and an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of approximately 1.7 percent…” Wouldn’t it be better to let these employees decide for themselves if their participation in a meeting is mandatory or not? It is now the time for company leaders to start learning to trust their employees and respect their right to exercise sound judgment. Managers also need to delegate. This should be the first step toward transcending the average employee output into something more significant. Extrinsic motivation needs to make room for the intrinsic if companies earnestly want to crowd-source more of their own talent and increase employee engagement. Around 50% of Google’s products and innovations were found during the 20% period of time where employees are encouraged to work on personal Google projects and not on their core responsibilities. It is evident that a hierarchical boss cannot control how everything is being done so would it not be better if management could find ways and tools for their teams to get the job done themselves?
3. Employees look beyond payment to non-monetary factors such as advancement and recognition
What are the values of intangible company assets; the ones that cannot be quantified… the ones that are dormant in remote parts of a company because of disuse… the raw diamonds waiting to be polished in order to shine? In her article “A Zappos Lesson in Customer Service Metrics”, Ashley Furness relates her conversation with Joseph Michelli the author of The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and WOW:
“Take a look at your performance metrics. Is time-to-resolution an important indicator? What about call time? While popular, these KPIs are indicative of a very un-Zappos experience. They don’t ‘drive service into your culture,’ as the author of The Zappos Experience, Joseph Michelli, explained to me. Zappos invests in the call center not as cost, but the opportunity to market. Their whole strategy is to create loyalty through ‘wow’ moments and emotional connections.”
4. Leaders should be able to step back and promote others
Put your ego away because it could be one of your biggest obstacles towards team effectiveness! Pride destroys communication, builds silos, isolates and pushes people away! In an employee-centric led environment, it is imperative not to give pride, arrogance, ego and selfish immaturity any room for business. Get rid of it, and get rid of the workers/people who are rowing in the opposite direction, regardless of how high in the hierarchy they are positioned, or how skillful they are. Are you placing self-interest ahead of your enterprise’s interests? Are you concerned about piling up more for yourself while neglecting customers, employees and maybe even board members? Place the interests of your immediate co-workers and middle management before your own; trust your workforce and give them space to grow. Treasure confrontation, hire employees first for their passion and then for their skills, regardless of the fact that you might not feel personally attracted to them. Are they a cultural enrichment to your company, department or team? Would your company consider an international hiree if your most valuable customer is international? Does your team fully understand how different the international community is? Do you give them the chance to learn and grow?
What are you doing to inspire your workforce? What initiatives are you sponsoring in order to foster creativity and leadership? What are the difficulties you are confronted with?3 Ways to Promote Your Employee Engagement and Increase Your Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Productivity –Why Are People, Processes and Platforms the Three Fundamental P’s of Any Social Business Enterprise 2.0 transformation? –Why Company Culture is The Foundation to Any Social Business Enterperise 2.0 –Understanding the 4 Fundamentals of a Social Business Enterprise 2.0 –Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 1) –Humility, a Core Ingredient For Moving From Hierachy to Social Business Enterprise 2.0 Leadership (Part 2)