EMC Members from Brockville to Hamilton gathered at Blommer Chocolate Canada in Campbellford, Ontario to participate in an interactive workshop with Doug Harper, General Manager, on “Developing Employee Engagement and Accountability”!
Over the course of the last decade, culture change and employee engagement have been subjects of considerable interest and commonly tabled in SIG networking discussion in EMC Consortia across Ontario and the East Coast.
Engagement is one of those seemingly illusive goals that most organizations today are beginning to realize is key to establishing a competitive advantage that other companies find very difficult to reproduce. If you have ever been fortunate enough to work in an engaged organization, you know that an engaged team can do almost anything it sets its mind to do.
Doug started this workshop by noting that "a CEO once asked how many people worked in his company and he responded by saying about half of them". This is an amusing antidote on the surface, but unfortunately all too truthful in reality. Doug's presentation included a series of discussion and exercises designed to encourage participants to get to know one another and learn about each other's organization by working on teams that consistently changed with each break out session. A copy of the Power Point Presentation can be located at the following link: http://www.emccanada.org/membersonl/ontario/belleville/2011~2/purposeful-engagement-doug-harperpptx
Why do you need an engaged workforce? Doug cited a number of studies (details of which can be found within this presentation) that back up the fact that companies that have developed engaged workforces outperform those with lower engagement in operating income, net income and EPS growth rates. It was also noted that engaged workforces have much higher odds of high performance in customer loyalty, profitability, productivity, turnover, safety, absenteeism, shrinkage, and quality. Data was also provided on the cost of disengagement. One stat noted that according to a Gallup survey, disengaged workers cost US businesses as much as $350 billion per year. Doug noted that this can be viewed as discouraging OR, conversely, a very big opportunity!
Group Exercise: What does an Engaged worker look like?
- Looks for solutions
- Open to change
- Comes to work early and happily with a "plan".
- Demonstrates leadership abilities
- Takes ownership
- Take appropriate risks for the business
- Drives company goals forward
Group Exercise: How to Recognize a Disengaged Employee?
- Not a team player
- Conducts the minimal required work
- Injures easily
- Not involved outside direct areas
- No eye contact with management
- Shuffle - no enthusiasm in step
- Displays quiet disagreement
- Resistant to change
- Does not participate in continuous improvement initiatives
- Lots of excuses - no solutions
- Sits at the back of the room
As Doug noted, a disengaged employee has "checked out", they put in their time, but with no energy or passion. How many of you have these kinds of employees?
"An engaged employee understands what he or she needs to do to add Value to the company, has a sense of pride, feels connected to the company mission, and is willing to put those thoughts and feelings - discretionary effort - into action." (David Zinger, Employee Engagement Network Canada).
Group Exercise: What ENGAGES Employees? Employee Engagement levers according to participants:
- Seeing positive results
- Asking opinions
- Authority to make decisions
- Sharing knowledge
- Understanding contribution to the big picture
- OK to make mistakes
- Celebrating successes
- Reducing "them" / "us" stigma
- Knowing the vision
- Being consistent - all levels top down
- Addressing poor performance
- Not ignoring/stealing suggestions
- Developing mutual trust
- Keeping informed
- Saying thank you
Engagement is only of true value if employees are actively engaged in purposeful activities that help their companies to support strategies to reach stated goals. Therefore engagement is not the goal - it is the cultural lever that drives strategic accomplishment. Companies need to identify their mission, vision, strategies and goals and then link each strategic focus with the engagement levers (as above or the list found in the presentation) that will help drive accomplishment of those goals.
Performance is the successful execution of business strategy.
Accountability creates Ownership - Ownership drives Engagement - Engagement = Performance
As Doug noted, DON'T focus on engagement activities. Focus efforts on how to develop accountability. A company that can develop accountability at every level and can implement strategic engagement levers is a company that has a far greater chance of achieving its business goals. Without accountability there is only "complacency".
How to build accountability?
- Build a tool kit for employees - that includes the skills and traits that the employees need to do an effective job of what they are asked to do.
- Employees need to have the tools to do the things that they are being held accountable for
- Lack of these tools is a huge motivator and will lead to disengagement
- Know what you are asking employees to accomplish - be specific and clear
- Understand what they need to get the job done
- Develop and agree on measurements for results
- Provide consistent feedback
- Listen to the feedback and adjust tools
- Evaluate performance and HOLD people accountable
Doug summarized his presentation by keying in on four critical factors that he notes are the secrets of success:
- Every organization needs their employees to be engaged.
- Engage employees in meaningful pursuits
- Align those pursuits with key business strategies
- Be committed to achieving excellence in the art and skill of accountability!
IT ALL STARTS WITH ACOUNTABILTY!
A Roundtable discussion centred on this topic continued regarding the following questions and topics:
- Developing accountability with the Blommer Supervisory team.
- Holding monthly consistency meetings to ensure that tools being used are consistent with all supervisors especially concerning performance evaluations.
- How can you start if senior management is not "bought in"?
- How do you balance training/coaching time with day to day production challenges?
- How do you celebrate successes?
- Pay for performance examples
Thank you so much to Doug, Kelly and Nancy for being so open regarding their strategies at Blommer - barriers and successes. A special thank you goes to Doug for spending his time to develop and perfect this workshop. We are so very lucky to have such devoted and "engaged" members in our EMC Consortia!
All the best from both of us!
Bren de Leeuw, Sr. Community Development & Food and Beverage Program Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gay Henniger, Eastern Ontario Field Service Advisor (email@example.com)