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Overcoming the Zombies Among Us. How to Create a Culture That Fosters Employee Engagement eBook


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Employee engagement is important, and disengaged employees cost their employers money. We've known this for quite a while. So why haven't organizations gotten better at engaging their employees? The …

Employee engagement is important, and disengaged employees cost their employers money. We've known this for quite a while. So why haven't organizations gotten better at engaging their employees? The reasons appear to range from a foundational misunderstanding of the concept of engagement to a lack of actionable advicea bout exactly what organizations can do.
This ebook focuses on creating a culture that fosters employee engagement. You'll learn ways to improve employee engagement, such as working with data, selecting the right managers, connecting to employees, and much more.
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  • 1. 7 How to Create a Culture That Fosters Employee Engagement. Created by: Chris Osborn, VP of Marketing, BizLibrary and Jessica Batz, Marketing Specialist, BizLibrary Brought to you by: Elements of Next Generation LEARNING STRATEGIES BROUGHT TO YOU BY: CHRIS OSBORN, VP OF MARKETING, BIZLIBRARY and JESSICA BATZ, MARKETING SPECIALIST, BIZLIBRARY
  • 2. In this eBook, we are going to provide some data that will not be a surprise to most HR and learning and development professionals. Employee engagement is important and disengaged employees cost their employers money. We’ve known this for quite a while. So why haven’t organizations gotten better at engaging their employees? The reasons appear to range from a foundational misunderstanding of the concept of engagement to a lack of actionable advice about exactly what organizations can do. In the pages that follow, we plan to clarify some of the misconceptions and myths about employee engagement, and provide some actionable tips your organization can begin using right away to improve the engagement level of your employees. When leaders in the United States of America — or any country for that matter — wake up one morning and say collectively, “Let’s get rid of managers from hell, double the number of great managers and engaged employees, and have those managers lead based on what actually matters,” everything will change. The country’s employees will be twice as effective, they’ll create far more customers, companies will grow, spiraling healthcare costs will decrease, and desperately needed GDP will boom like never before. Jim Clifton CEO Gallup Forward to, State of the American Work Place, Gallup, 2013. BIZLIBRARY.COM
  • 3. EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Employee engagement seems to be on everyone’s mind lately and for good reason. Disengaged employees are like the walking dead in our workplaces. The actively “Engaged workers stand disengaged – the zombie-like employees – spread a malaise that is contagious and apart from their not poses a risk to everyone around them. Lastly, these disengaged employees cost engaged and actively employers a lot of money. disengaged counterparts In one of the most comprehensive reports ever published on the subject, Gallup because of the estimates that active employee disengagement costs the U.S. economy $450 billion to discretionary effort they $550 billion per year. State of the American Workplace, Gallup, 2013. Gallup’s datadriven report identified three different levels of engagement: ENGAGED employees exhibit a “profound connection” to their employer. Some commentators view engagement as the level of discretionary effort these employees exert. Gallup goes on the note that these employees “drive innovation and move the organization forward.” consistently bring to their roles day after day.” To read more about how Gallup defines these categories, see, State of NOT ENGAGED are those employees who are emotionally “checked out.” These are the “zombies” who sleepwalk through their day and simply go through the motions. ACTIVELY DISENGAGED are those employees who aren’t just unhappy at work. These are employees who are actually undermining the efforts of those around them. These are the “zombies” whose attitudes are contagious and pose real risks to organizations. the American Workplace, Gallup, 2013, p. 21
  • 4. WHAT EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IS NOT… Some of the confusion stems from the use of “employee satisfaction” and “employee engagement” interchangeably. The terms are not synonymous. Employee satisfaction is the degree to which employees have their basic needs met by their employer. They are “satisfied” with their jobs and exert an appropriate amount of effort to perform at an adequate level. Engagement is not driven by extrinsic things like monetary rewards. In fact, there is some interesting writing about how monetary rewards can have a ENGAGING MANAGERS IN TRAINING negative effect on engagement. See, Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink, Chapter 2. Engagement is a complex topic, and there is no simple answer. In a quote from The Manager’s Guide to Employee Engagement by Scott Carbonara, a VP of HR said: Most HR professionals understand the business benefit of training, but many managers don't. This video will help you engage your managers in your training program. “I am concerned the popularity of employee engagement may result in reducing a complex topic to slogans and easy-to-implement lists without ensuring managers, leaders, and human resource professionals have the necessary context for understanding them. If employee engagement were simple to understand, define measure, implement, change, and sustain, everyone would have achieved high engagement and we would all be challenged with how to distribute the significant profits it generated. My goal is to continue to learn more about (and continue to question) employee engagement — what creates it, what sustains it, what destroys it, and how can I impact those elements. “ A side note on engaging managers… Nikki Baker, VP Human Resources BIZLIBRARY.COM • Understand what motivates • Explain the business benefits from the employee’s perspective • Manage expectations
  • 5. BACK TO ZOMBIES… Our zombie employees are a lot like the protagonist in this Let’s go back to our zombies for a moment, because in movie. Many of them can be brought back. They just need a spite of everything negative about the impact of spark, and we have to provide it. The question is, “How?” disengaged employees, there is still reason to hope. There was a fun zombie romantic comedy released in early 2013 called, “Warm Bodies.” I know, fun zombie romantic comedy seems like an oxymoron, but trust me on this one. In the film, some zombies, including the protagonist retained just a glimmer of a human heart How can we overcome the walking dead and create a culture that fosters engagement? The cure? Your managers. The answer is right in front of us, but executing and delivering is a different matter. Scott Carbonara summarizes it perfectly: beat – not much to be sure. But the hero is brought back to life – reengaged, so to speak – by his interest in a Why do employees quit? What disengages them? While young woman. employees may learn more about the company’s operations—including details they dislike—these factors don’t usually send them fleeing. Brick-and-mortar companies can’t love or hate people; so at the core, employees rarely have feelings of love or hate for corporate entities. No, employees reserve that level of emotion for individuals—like their supervisors or managers. Disengaged employees act like they’ve been hurt—as if something has been done to them personally. In fact, the leading cause of attrition and disengagement SOURCE: Google images is poor leadership.
  • 6. WHAT CAN ORGANIZATIONS DO TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT? FOCUS ON ENGAGEMENT AT MULTIPLE LEVELS 1. Work with data. One of the most fascinating aspects of improving 2. Focus on engagement at multiple levels – senior leadership employee engagement is the way senior leadership and grass roots. involvement tends to start cultural shifts, however in 3. Select the right managers. the end employee involvement is where the action is. 4. Train and coach managers on key skills and strategies that You must make employee engagement a part of the lead to employee engagement. routine job expectations of all of your managers, and 5. Define engagement in realistic and everyday terms. that requires senior leadership support, involvement 6. Find ways to connect to every employee. and buy-in. Once that occurs, you’ll start to see the grassroots transformation you seek. WORK WITH DATA SELECT THE RIGHT MANAGERS Organizations need to use good engagement survey tools so they Employee engagement centers on managers, are measuring the right indicators of engagement. This is crucial so manager performance, manager skill and manager organizations can work with information that allows for corrective capability, so it is entirely logical that getting the right action when engagement levels are low and need improvement. managers in place to begin with is important. In many The problem organizations face is the sheer volume of employee cases top performers get rewarded with promotions engagement survey tools that are available. Gallup uses its Q12 tool but very few top performers are adequately prepared and SHRM has an engagement survey service, too. The tool you to be managers. You must promote people to select is less important than the fact that you must develop data manager roles based upon the skills, competencies that illustrates at what level your employees are willing to exert and traits necessary for success as managers, and the discretionary effort to perform their jobs. Once you have data, you success profile for a manager is different than the can develop plans to make improvements. success profile of individual contributors. BIZLIBRARY.COM
  • 7. DEFINE ENGAGEMENT IN REALISTIC AND EVERYDAY TERMS BALANCING THE NEED FOR SPEED WITH COMPETENCIES Employees must work towards realistic goals on a day-to-day basis led by managers using effective A side note on how to balance the need for speed with the need managerial skills. Gallup’s report describes four for competence… stages of employee engagement, and the stages are not too dissimilar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Essentially, once we have some basic workplace • Have employees own their learning and development • Provide information that needs met, we move to more complex needs, and employees can use in their eventually we rise to the level of looking for own way improvements and opportunities for professional • Hold them accountable growth and fulfillment. Managers must express these needs in easy to understand ways for employees. MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS SELF ACTUALIZATION FIND WAYS TO CONNECT TO EVERY EMPLOYEE This is a critical piece of the puzzle to employee engagement, and it’s one of the reasons manager performance is so closely linked to engagement. Each person must feel valued, and that sense of value SELF-ESTEEM must come from his or her manager. We have to rely upon our managers to make these connections. SENSE OF BELONGING SAFETY PSYCHOLOGICAL BIZLIBRARY.COM
  • 8. MANAGERIAL COMPENTECIES AND CHALLENGES EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE Every organization will need to evaluate the unique Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to perceive, requirements for their managers and supervisors. For instance, control and evaluate emotions. It’s not intelligence per se, EI managers in certain industries may require a unique set of is a complex competency that involves our ability to competencies such as regulatory requirements in healthcare, understand and monitor not only our own feelings and financial services or transportation organizations. Regardless emotions, but also the feelings and emotions of those around of the industry, organizations will likely have some unique us. Then EI allows us to use this information to guide our requirements based upon culture and specific organizational actions and thinking. For a much more complete explanation goals or objectives. of the concept, refer to a scholarly article by Peter Salovey and John D. called "Emotional Intelligence” written in 1990. However, there are some foundational managerial competencies and behaviors that appear to directly affect Another leading authority on the subject, Daniel Goleman employee engagement. We recommend that you develop wrote in his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, these core competencies in your managers: “Emotional Intelligence is the largest single predictor of success in the workplace.” Goleman describes Emotional Emotional Intelligence Coaching Intelligence as “managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively enabling people to work together smoothly towards their common goals.” Communication Delegation The value of EI for our managers can best be illustrated by referring to the immense changes we are witnessing to the demographics in our workplaces, and the challenges in Each of these competencies and the skills needed to execute working with employees with widely varying motivations, can impact the areas and factors that the data and research needs and perspectives. indicates affects employee engagement. BIZLIBRARY.COM
  • 9. COACHING Some specific examples of coaching behaviors are: This is a critical competency for managers that few organizations take the time to adequately develop. Taking an “Ask vs. Tell” approach. Coaches ask their Coaching is crucial to developing the skills and abilities of employees questions and help employees solve problems. each manager’s team, so this begs the question. Why isn’t They don’t tell employees what to do. coaching a core competency for managers in every organization? There is a focus on the employee and not on tasks. So the focus is on the development of employees. Coaching doesn’t have to be a complex process for any manager. In fact, it’s not complicated at all. At its core, There is a structure for accountability, action and coaching is primarily about a perspective where the outcomes. The manager and employee stay tightly manager focuses on the actual needs of his or her employees focused on achieving goals using this structure. and puts those needs first. Coaching is an everyday, consistent part of every A study conducted by Bersin by Deloitte showed that manager/employee relationship. The best way for employees organizations with senior leaders who coach effectively and to learn is for a trained manager to coach and teach the frequently, improve their business results by 21 percent as employee as things occur. Additionally, this type of day-in- compared to those who never coach. day-out interaction and adjustment helps the employee, manager, and team and by extension, the organization DEVELOPMENT OF MENTORS actually attain goals. A side note on developing the skills of mentors… To put the idea of coaching into an equation it would read: Target three areas: Coaching = Effective Conversations. Effective conversations Coaching are a dialogue where the manager asks open-ended Emotional Intelligence questions and stays focused on positive and useful results. Communication BIZLIBRARY.COM
  • 10. COMMUNICATION Even if organizations do not have remote employees, how This key competency flows very naturally from coaching. well prepared are managers to communicate using current However, communication in today’s complex workplace also technology tools? The communication challenges for requires the application of EI (emotional intelligence) so the managers with remote employees are radically different. For communication message AND method are appropriate to instance, how do managers provide: the situation and desired results. Feedback Another critical aspect of communication skills and Coaching competencies many organizations tend to overlook in their Keep employees connected managerial employees is virtual communication skills. Many Maintain relationships organizations now have remote employees or multiple locations. We are more reliant than ever before on All of these things are possible, but these require a new and technology tools to effectively communicate and in many emerging set of communications skills that require a high instances we are forced to rely upon these tools to supervise degree of comfort with technology. and manage these remote employees and locations. RECOMMENDED BIZLIBRARY RESOURCES Telecommuting Basics: Communication Strategies for the Remote Employee (60 minute, eLearning Course) Business Etiquette: Written Communications (7 minute, Video Course) Global Scenarios Series: Building the Virtual Team (18 minute, Video Course) For a free 30-day trial of these courses and more, click here. BIZLIBRARY.COM According to the 2013 Regus Global Economic Indicator – research that includes over 26,000 business managers across 90 countries: 48% work remotely for at least half of their work week. 55% say that seamless remote management is an achievable goal, but only if managers undergo special training. 54% consider trust an important issue. 43% use video communication between managers and employees. 39% believe remote management helps maintain a more professional relationship.
  • 11. DELEGATION One of the hardest transitions for new mangers to make is to learn to delegate tasks as opposed to simply doing them. For many managers, there is a feeling that they are “dumping work” on their employees when they ask employees to do things. This mind set must be shifted, and managers must master the competency of delegating to their teams. Employees actually NEED to feel connected to their work, and they NEED their managers to demonstrate confidence in them. So rather than “dumping” on employees, delegating to RECOMMENDED BIZLIBRARY RESOURCES Delegating - Strengthen your leadership capabilities through delegation (2 minute, Video Course and Competency Toolkit) Developing Employees through Delegation (15 minute, Scenario-Based eLearning Course) Q&A: Delegating and Empowering (13 minute, Video Course) A Leader’s Guide to Delegating (23 minute, Video Course) For a free 30-day trial of these courses and more, click here. them is not only appropriate, it’s necessary. The trick is in delegating the right tasks to the right people. Gallup has found that managers who focus on their employees’ strengths can practically eliminate active disengagement and double the average of U.S. workers who are engaged nationwide. Managers have unique opportunities in their daily interactions with employees to empower them to discover and develop their strengths, and they have the ability to position employees in roles where they can do what they do best every day. When managers succeed in these endeavors, their teams become more engaged. And Gallup has found that employees who feel engaged at work and who are able to use their strengths in their jobs are more productive and profitable and have higher quality work. SOURCE: Gallup Study, 2013 State of the American Workplace BIZLIBRARY.COM
  • 12. DIFFFERENT TYPES OF EMPLOYEES NEED DIFFERENT ENGAGEMENT STRATEGIES One size does not fit all. That’s why the four foundational manager competencies we identified are so vital. Each competency revolves around building managers’ ability to deal with employees as individuals on different levels. This is crucial when we begin to look at the data about the levels of engagement among different employee demographics. For instance, generational differences matter. Research tells us that RECOMMENDED BIZLIBRARY RESOURCES employees at the beginning (Millennials) and near the end (Traditionals) of their careers tend to be the most engaged. Women tend to be slightly more Employee Engagement Video Series. In this series engaged than men, and people with college degrees tend to be slightly less we answer the questions, 'How important is this engaged. Surprisingly, remote employees log more work hours AND tend to and what do we do about it?' Is this one of those be slightly more engaged. teddy bear and fluffy bunny topics that organizations get hooked on? Is this a ridiculous Organizational size can impact engagement, too. Generally speaking, subject? NO! Watch this series to learn more about engagement across larger organization mirrors the engagement figures for employee engagement! the broad population. But there is an interesting exception uncovered in Gallup’s research. Organizations with fewer than 10 employees see much higher levels of engagement, and employees working on TEAMS of fewer than 10 members likewise see much higher levels of engagement. Ridiculous or Strategic? The Business Case for Engagement Measuring Employee Engagement Managing for Engagement Creating an Engaged Organization Engagement tends to be lower for teams of more than 10, suggesting managers with larger teams have a bigger challenge when it comes to engaging their employees. BIZLIBRARY.COM For a free 30-day trial of these courses and more, click here.
  • 13. THE DIFFERENCE MAKER – PLAYING TO EMPLOYEE STRENGTHS Gallup’s research revealed a stunning piece of data. Managers who focused on their employees’ weakness cut active disengagement roughly in half, to 22%, proving that even negative attention is better than no attention at all in employees’ eyes. By contrast, for the 37% who agreed that their supervisor focused on their strengths, active disengagement fell dramatically to 1%. What’s more, nearly two-thirds (61%) of these employees were engaged, twice the average (30%) of U.S. workers who are engaged nationwide. This suggests that if every organization in America trained their managers to focus on employees’ strengths, the U.S. could easily double the number of engaged employees in the workplace with this one simple shift in approach. This simple shift in focus by the manager – from weaknesses to strengths had the remarkable effect of virtually eliminating disengagement. It’s so stunning and simple that it’s a wonder every organization doesn’t do this already. And what’s even more stunning is that the finding is even a surprise at all. Everyone performs better when we play to our strengths. There are no exceptions. Think of great athletes in this context. Would a great basketball star achieve the same level of greatness if he or she attempted baseball? Do you remember Michael Jordan’s failed attempt to play professional baseball? That’s because his strengths were on the basketball court. Our employees are no different. They will excel when they play to their strengths.
  • 14. 10 REASONS TO INVEST IN MANAGER TRAINING Victor Lipman, wrote a great article for the Leadership section of Forbes Online Magazine in Sept 2012, titled 10 Reasons to Invest in Manager Training. We’ll paraphrase his top 10 as follows: 1. The employee/manager relationship is the most important single factor in driving employee engagement. 2. Employee engagement leads directly to higher productivity and profitability, and disengaged employees are disruptive. 3. Managers don’t become managers and automatically “know” how to manage. They have to learn. 4. Sound management practices are not complicated and can be taught. 5. It’s important to develop the next generation of leaders from within. 6. Investments in front-line manager training are likely to yield a better return on investment and be more needed than any other type of leadership development and training. 7. Good management training can help develop a better level of consistent manager performance throughout your organization. 8. Respected, high-performing managers boost engagement, productivity and retention – all of which improve the bottom-line. 9. Well-trained managers help mitigate risk and avoid litigation – which is expensive and disruptive. 10. Repeat #1 – it’s just that important! We know employee engagement is important and employee engagement has a direct impact on the bottom line. We also know that our managers are the critical element in our organizations that can either engage OR disengage our employees. The research proves that by employing some simple, common sense management best practices, we can radically shift the playing field so that our employees are far more likely to be engaged. How do we do that? We train our managers, and we teach them to play to the strengths of their employees. It really can be that simple. So – what do you plan to do about it?
  • 15. Whatever training your employees need, you’ll find it with BizLibrary. Content and Learning Technology all in one place. The industry’s largest and fastest-growing collection of high-quality training videos and eLearning courses covers every topic area imaginable. For a free 30-day trial of BizLibrary, click here. BIZLIBRARY.COM