More success stories from the employee engagement archives.
More success stories from the employee engagement archives.
Its not difficult to make the case that the ongoing financial
mess on Wall Street and TARP payments to some of the
country's biggest banks have victimized smaller firms. One
victim is the investment management industry. A big
challenge becomes being able to assure clients they can
continue to trust them with their money.
As we have emphasized in previous blogs, having a workplace
that engenders a culture of respect, engagement, trust and
fairness will aid in empowering your organization to keep
By inspiring your most valuable asset, your employees, in this direction, your customers will respond
positively. When individual employees feel a part of the whole, they will invest more of their efforts on
your customer's behalf. Often a customer's only perception of your business comes from their interaction
with your employees. That presents a wonderful opportunity for you to become remembered as the
deliverer of a great brand experience. The perception of being a caring organization will resonate well
within the marketplace.
The employee factor is a powerful asset you already have that can offset market conditions. Ask yourself.
What is your client's perception of your company? Is their interaction with your organization conducive to
them staying? Is your customer’s recollection of their entire experience with you, from start to finish, at all
touch points, a good one?
Is your organization still cautious about implementing an employee recognition and rewards program? Do
these programs really work?
Here are some successes guaranteed to reassure you of the value of employee interaction.
Started by three graduates of Stanford University Tom Bailard, Larry Biehl and Ron Kaiser, Bailard Inc a
financial advisory firm, is an example of overcoming the battle scars of economic crisis. Bailard began back
in 1969 and built their employee base to 49 employees.
Due to tough economic times, they recently had to institute across the board pay cuts. However they never
lost sight of the most valuable asset, their employees. By recognizing their people and emphasizing
collaboration they achieved 97% retention and was named Top Small Workplace in 2009. At Bailard a
strong workplace culture is put top on the list.
"As we do our jobs with our clients, we wear this openness and trust on our sleeves in all of our daily
actions," says Burnie Sparks, who has been with the firm for 27 years and is currently their President.
In 2001 Douglas Conant was brought in from Nabisco to be chief executive officer of the Campbell Soup Co.
One magazine called Campbell “a beleaguered old brand.” Sales for its largest product line were way
Eight years later, Conant is well on his way to fulfilling the mission he set. He took what others called a
“bad” company and lifted its performance to incredible heights. Among other changes made by Conant
were his efforts on behalf of workforce engagement and recognition.
According to Conant “To win in the marketplace we believe you must first win in the workplace. I’m
obsessed with keeping employee engagement front and center and keeping up energy around it.”
Campbell's success story is also described in a book by Julie Gebauer, Don Lowman.
The research firm Gallup found in 2002 that 62% of Campbell's managers considered themselves not
actively engaged in their jobs, a full 12% felt they were actively disengaged. Conant notes: "Those numbers
were the worst for any Fortune 500 firm ever polled." Today, Campbell's story has changed 180 degrees.
68% of all Campbell employees say they are actively engaged, and just 3% say they are actively disengaged.
That’s an engagement ratio of 23-to-1, and Gallup considers 12 to one to be world-class.
This turnaround has benefited employees, stock holders and customer loyalty.
Case study in rewarding learning.
At Johnsonville Foods in Sheboygan, WI the annual across the board raise has been replaced with a pay-
for-responsibility system. As people take on new duties such as training they are recognized and rewarded.
This encourages their people to seek additional responsibilities and job related knowledge. Today more
that 65% of Johnsonville employees are involved in some type of formal education.
"Helping human beings fulfill their potential is a moral responsibility, but its also good business. Life is
aspiration. Learning, striving people are happy people and good workers. They have initiative and
imagination, and the companies they work for are rarely caught napping." notes CEO Ralph Stayer.
Engagement encourages employees to contribute ideas and participate in learning all about your
organization. Using today's tools to train, engage and inspire provides additional support.
Colin Service Systems, recently acquired by ABM industries, recognizes and rewards employees with an
exciting three day seminar experience at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida.
Valvoline Oil Company rewards their top employees from around the country with a racing school
experience. A day of fun and participation at Road Atlanta to learn race car handling techniques such as
handling, braking, skid padding and heel toe downshifting.
Mike Jay of Leadership Synergy, a medical billing company in Scottsbluff, NE described a sales program that
strove to break past sales records. When certain fiscal goals were met, the entire staff was sent to Las
Vegas for 4 days and three nights all expenses paid. The result included a unifying experience for all, a
great time and increased overall performance.
Consulting firm Coopers & Lybrand rewards its top professional and administration employees with travel
to cities like New York and overseas.
Tandem Computers, Inc. now a part of Hewlett Packard, was the dominant manufacturer of fault-tolerant
computer systems for ATM networks, banks, stock exchanges, telephone switching centers, and other
similar commercial transaction processing applications. Using a peer to peer recognition program,
employees would nominate coworkers for outstanding performance achievement. The awards included
events such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans, special seating at a rodeo in Calgary and numerous other free
Karen Nouchi a director of personnel at American Academy of Opthalmology in San Franciso recognizes
and rewards offers exceptional employees with personal travel overseas with friends and family.
Key steps to take.
Maximize the ROI on your incentive plan with tools to measure the level of engagement and then go
forward to equip and train employees.
Know your strategic metrics scores.
For example turnover and quality of hire are two of the most common strategic metrics. They list on the
top as factors impacting your organization's health. It can not be over-mentioned that engagement will
assure you of an incentive program with the full potential for stimulating improvement in all areas. Use an
employee survey and institute the latest reporting and management tools to scorecard and track progress.
Identify your performance drivers along with the critical attitudes, behaviors, skills, and understanding an
employee needs in order to think and act like a collaborator in your business.
Does your recognition and rewards program encourage a team mentality, learning, problem solving, open
and accessible communications, respect all around, trust, creativity?
The present economic landscape most often raises the question. "Employee engagement, can we really
afford spending time on this right now?"
The fact is and will continue to be that it is more important today to engage the hearts, minds and efforts
of your workforce.