Mar 07 Boost Employee Engagement & Productivity
Senior leadership may believe they have communicated the company vision, mission statement, and values to the entire organization because they have spoken about those things many times. But telling is one thing. Inspiring and involving is an altogether different task. To develop healthy, strong strands of DNA everyone in your workforce needs to be actively engaged with strategic vision and personally invested in the mission. If you really want to have great DNA running through the lifeblood of your organization, everyone must have a keen understanding of their particular role in pushing forward your vision of success. They need to feel professionally responsible and accountable as part of that team effort. They have to know how important they are – and how vital what they do hour by hour is to the sustainable success of the entire organization.
According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report only 13% of employees are engaged at work. That means that more than 87 out of 100 employees are not focused as they should be…and this disturbing phenomenon is undercutting your productivity, revenues, and ability to compete and innovate. The good news is that I have three game-changing principles I’ve helped companies implement that can reverse that pattern and invigorate your corporate DNA.
Principle #1: Filter for Passionate Talent
Be highly selective and raise the bar with your leadership team when it comes to bringing aboard new talent. You can train someone who is passionate about their role and committed to your vision. But if someone lacks that passion no amount of prior experience, technical know-how, or training will ensure that they are engaged and giving you 100%. As much as you think you can change someone’s attitude or help them find passion within – you are going down a dead-end road.
Principle #2: Challenge Your Troops to the Next Level
When I interview key talent who may be looking to leave an organization, one of the insights I hear is that they aren’t challenged at work. Their boss may be overworked and doesn’t have time to develop them by offering them more responsibility. But the result is they lose interest and look for a different company that will appreciate their potential and make it blossom. What I’ve found is that organizations who have leaders who really set the bar high – and then support employees to fully develop – have lower attrition rates, higher morale, and more valuable DNA in the human resource pipeline.
Principle #3: Embrace Strategic Risk to Foster Innovation
Many companies claim they are innovative and their people are highly engaged. But when I’m working inside organizations I often discover that although they want innovation, the leaders are not bold enough to invite it. Underneath their fired-up exterior they are fearful of failure, and that fear permeates the corporate DNA. Employees are afraid to go to senior management with an innovative solution because they believe if it fails it may cost them their job. What leaders need to do is allow your engaged employees to take calculated risks and stop rewarding only victories, because most groundbreaking innovation does not happen on the first attempt. Reward smart, strategic risk-takers, because they can stimulate real innovation.
The bottom line is this. There are myriad ways to create and nurture successful corporate DNA that enhances employee engagement. But you have to start from the ground-up, hiring the cream of the crop and then supporting and engaging them while challenging them to new heights. That will make your entire culture performance-oriented and rich with in-house assets.
What strategy is your organization deploying to ensure you have higher productivity and greater employee engagement? Do your teams feel safe and supported when they present innovation ideas? Are you questioning your status quo to uncover hidden ways to build more robust DNA?
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Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Deloitte, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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