How do you make people thrive in organizations?

When employees are given the opportunity to learn and grow, both people and organizations benefit. Fortunately, it’s now easier than it’s ever been. Companies have access to a wide range of tools to assist them in teaching new skills to their employees.

However, training courses and learning technology are insufficient. Employees must have enough freedom in their roles to experiment, try new things, and fail periodically in order to learn and improve. On The Engagement Bridge, this is why Learning is so close to Job Design. Employees are considerably more likely to learn and develop when those ideals are ingrained in the company’s DNA.

Creating a learning culture also requires a forward-thinking attitude. That involves concentrating on training your employees to handle future problems. Take, for example, the KFC establishment in Australia. They recently launched a program aimed at its youthful employees, who are on average 17 years old. #myplan is a program that helps these employees describe their life objectives and ambitions outside of KFC. Despite the fact that the company does not officially train employees for restaurant work, it has managed to establish a learning culture. Around 4,000 employees participated in the first year alone!

Fostering that sort of working environment takes thought. You need to assess your current programs and understand why you want to implement learning strategies. Once you’re clear about your goal, you can start designing your programs.

Glenn Elliott devised a technique to increase his team’s ability to manage administrative responsibilities while working as a doctoral student in the early 1990s. His supervisor personally praised him for being nominated for an innovation award. He was elated and honored that his efforts had been noticed. A year later, from a faceless, centralised HR department, he received a gift card and an indifferent letter of recognition. That left a bad taste in my mouth. The tardiness showed apathy. It would have been lot better if his bosses had just said thank you and left it at that.

Cases like Elliott’s demonstrate how ineffective official “recognition” tactics can be. Every year, vast sums of money are squandered on award schemes that do little to motivate staff.

Around 2% of total compensation in the United States is spent on recognition. Every year, this amounts to a stunning $46 billion. So, what do you receive for your money? Surprisingly little, in fact. According to the authors’ findings, 80% of senior managers believe their employees are sufficiently recognized each month. However, when you question the employees themselves, only 17% believe their company significantly encourages recognition!

The issue isn’t so much the amount of money being spent as it is what it is being spent on. According to Bersin & Associates, tenure benefits for long service account for 87 percent of all this money. When the writers polled employees, they discovered that 72 percent of them would be pleased and appreciated if they received a simple thank you for their hard work. As author Corey points out, she isn’t surprised by the findings. She knows she wouldn’t be pleased if her husband just stated he loved her every 5, 10, or 15 years. In reality, she’d most likely quit him, as will your staff if all you do is praise long service.

Employees desire consistent and timely acknowledgment that encourages them to keep putting in the hours. It is critical to receive feedback. It is, in reality, the engagement’s eighth ray of light. Homeserve, a DIY firm, is a fantastic example of a company that has put this into effect. They have a four-tiered recognition program that includes everything from annual and quarterly prizes to thank-you e-cards for going above and beyond. The program’s multi-tiered structure is what makes it so effective. Gratitude is expressed at all levels of the organization, as well as by coworkers on the shop floor. It’s also well-liked. In the first year, over 22,000 e-cards were issued and 5,000 rewards were exchanged between just 3,000 employees!

Isn’t that good? The takeaway point, on the other hand, is crucial. Make your personnel visible not only to their supervisors but also to their peers if you want to increase recognition. Peer-to-peer nomination programs, such as Homeserve’s, are a good example.

Now it’s time to focus on the pillars of support. Let’s begin with compensation and benefits. Throwing money at disengagement isn’t going to address the problem. However, it is an effective method for keeping your personnel interested. However, the amount of the salary isn’t the only factor to consider. People might get disengaged regardless of their position on the salary scale. Fairness is the most important factor.

Consider the results of a 2003 study. Two capuchin monkeys were trained to collect pebbles and were then rewarded with cucumber slices. Both monkeys were content with this exchange until the researchers switched things up and gave one of them a far more tasty grape instead of a cucumber slice. The other monkey screamed angrily. To express its disgust, it threw its cucumber away and agitated its cage.

People aren’t that dissimilar. We don’t like it when others get more for the same product as we do. In fact, according to a 2017 study of HR professionals, income disparity is the leading cause of stress, accounting for 25% more than the second-leading cause. The best compensation and benefit plans take advantage of this knowledge. They place a premium on pay equity and use benefits as a cultural difference.

Basecamp, a software company, has a rigorous policy of paying everyone on the same pay scale the same amount of money. They also incorporate bonuses into base compensation, investing a quarter of their annual revenues in salaries instead of one-time “extras.” This is beneficial to employee morale and retention.

When it comes to adopting new programs, the best place to start is by soliciting feedback from your staff. What is important to them, and what would they like to see changed? It’s a good idea to find out what their specific demands are if you wish to cater to them!

There’s a big distinction between place and space when it comes to where we work. The Engagement Bridge’s second anchoring rock is all about the latter. In other words, it’s not just about how an office appears; it’s also about how people engage with their virtual and physical environments.

So, what factors contribute to a positive working environment? Let’s start with technology and agile working. There are far too many workplaces that impose restrictions on employees. For the entire day, people are expected to sit still in their chairs and complete their tasks. Fortunately, attitudes are shifting. Employers have begun to recognize the value of mobility in increasing productivity.

This is referred to as agile working. Essentially, it entails performing various jobs in various areas of the office, such as reading in one area, accepting calls in another, and writing in yet another. This is beneficial to the working environment. Colleagues are more likely to run into each other, boosting the possibility of fortuitous cooperation.

Then there’s the issue of technology. If you want your employees to be more productive, you need to get the technical setup right. When forced to rely on outmoded technologies, 72 percent of workers indicate they struggle to get the information they need. Keeping your technology up to date is essential for keeping things moving.

Big changes aren’t easy to implement, so expect some pushback if you’re planning on making significant adjustments. Remember that the most successful workplaces are frequently the consequence of reformers who stick to their guns and see things through. Employees, on the other hand, grew to appreciate their more fluid and dynamic work environment over time. The employees’ lockers are the only permanent elements now. Everything else is in perpetual motion.

So, if you want to revamp your office, where do you begin? It’s a good idea to start by assessing what you require and what you already possess. Is there a sufficient number of quiet spaces, for example? Do you require additional meeting rooms? Or perhaps you simply need to improve the comfort of your workplace?

After you’ve given it some thought, present your ideas to your coworkers and get their feedback. They might notice something you’ve overlooked! According to a 2016 survey, the average worker only takes four days of sick leave each year. Isn’t it pretty good? There is, however, a snag. For an additional 57 days every year, most employees reported they were too worried or weary to focus fully on their work!

As a result, happiness is critical to productivity. The Engagement Bridge comes to a close with this section. Many businesses are already concerned about their employees’ well-being. Healthy eating habits and gym memberships are becoming increasingly popular. However, there are two other components of well-being to consider: mental and financial health.

Because of societal taboos, these are frequently overlooked. We simply dislike discussing mental health and financial concerns. That’s a blunder. Anxiety, in any form, reduces productivity. Taking a totally comprehensive approach to health, on the other hand, has a positive impact on business performance and creativity.

So, what’s the best way to go about doing that? There are two things that are crucial. To begin, you must choose a personalized strategy. Second, that flexibility must be ingrained in the culture of the firm. Take, for example, Travis Perkins PLC, a British building materials provider. The corporation began offering a financial wellness program that was tailored to the needs of its employees. Rather than merely handing out money to its employees, it charted out key financial milestones in their lives, such as purchasing a home or starting a family. As a result, the organization was able to create unique programs and give employees with relevant and helpful information, allowing them to make informed decisions.

You might be wondering how to start putting all of this knowledge into action now that you’ve seen the basic building pieces of the Engagement Bridge. Let’s begin with some fundamental concepts. You may have noticed that the preceding blinks have a number of rather general themes. Inquiring about your employees’ opinions is quite beneficial. The heart and soul of engagement is open and honest communication, which builds trust in other areas of the bridge.

You might not realize that we teach all of these principles to young toddlers! We attempt to instill in our children principles such as honesty, kindness, and fair play. One of the issues plaguing today’s workplaces is that these basic and fundamental concepts do not appear to have made the transition from the playground to the workplace. It’s a shame. You may create a more productive working atmosphere by treating employees properly and trusting them.

Some aspects of the bridge, on the other hand, will be more relevant to you than others. Organizations differ greatly. Each has its own set of requirements. That means defining what you want your firm to be before making changes is critical. It will be lot easier to engage your staff and get them on board for the journey ahead once you know where you’re going.

Mission objectives come in a variety of shapes and sizes. “A fantastic place to work is awesome coworkers,” according to Netflix, for example. “An concentrated focus on the consumer via courageous leadership,” Amazon states as its mission. Once you’ve defined your objective, you’ll be able to see how and when each element of the bridge should be built.

Employee engagement is critical for a modern business to succeed. By boosting productivity and innovation, it keeps the organization relevant. You, too, can create an organization that benefits its employees as much as it benefits the organization by looking at each of the ten elements – open and honest communication; purpose, mission, and values; leadership; management; job design; learning; recognition; pay and benefits; workspace and well-being.

Assess your organization if you want to make a difference. Rather than attempting to construct the full Engagement Bridge at once, examine your organization in terms of each of the aspects and consider where the most urgent improvements may be made — inertia is the enemy of engagement. Take note of where you are or aren’t missing, as well as what you’d like to improve, and get started right now!

Consider whether or not you could apply these examples to your organization and why they might or might not work. You don’t have to exactly follow the examples, but if you tackle these critical areas in the right way, you’ll enjoy the rewards.

Check out my related post: How do you welcome staff returning to office?

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