A Guide to the Best People Practices to Drive and Sustain Employees Happily

A Guide to the Best People Practices to Drive and Sustain Employees Happily

Finally, leaders are now convinced one of their last remaining competitive advantages lies with their people. Businesses have begun to signal to workers that their needs will now be honored on a scale only previously reserved for customers and shareholders.

Raising employee engagement has become one of the highest priorities for organizations all around the globe.
While leaders have come to appreciate the importance of having a fully engaged workforce, they also have a very limited understanding of what practices truly drive and sustain it.

Researchers from Deloitte Consulting, Sirota, and the Conference Board combined efforts in October 2014, and performed a deep dive into 12 companies consistently recognized for having high-performing, employee-centric cultures. The end product of their study defined the common-denominator characteristics, or the DNA, of highly engaged organizations.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT CAN NEVER BE BOUGHT; IT MUST BE EARNED.

The study yielded uncommon and useful insights:

1. ENGAGEMENT IS STILL A NEW CONCEPT

In the 1990s, William Kahn, professor of organizational behaviour at Boston University, introduced the term engagement based on his observation that people have a choice as to how much of themselves they’re willing to invest in their jobs.

Kahn conducted in-depth interviews with employees at two organizations. He discovered they were far more emotionally and physically engaged when they experienced a sense of:

Psychological meaningfulness: a feeling that their work was worthwhile and created a difference.

Psychological safety: a feeling they were valued, accepted, and respected—and able to perform in a positive work environment.

Availability: routinely feeling secure and self-confident while possessing the emotional and psychological energies to perform their job.

Nearly 25 years later, these three elements remain at the core of most theories of employee engagement. It’s also important to note that pay isn’t even on the list.

While fair compensation will always be a key component of job satisfaction, it’s not a factor as a day-to-day motivator of engagement. Neither is whether a company can attract and retain talented people. The conclusion for organizations everywhere is this: Employee engagement can never be bought; it must be earned.

2. EVERYONE MEASURES ENGAGEMENT DIFFERENTLY, BUT THE FINDINGS ARE THE SAME

Gallup reported in January 2015 that 30% of the working population in the United States is willing to do anything and everything they can to help their boss and organization succeed.
Many business leaders remain unpersuaded that engagement is anywhere near that dire in their respective organizations, often because they create their own surveys and don’t use the same tools as Gallup.

3. LOW ENGAGEMENT CAN’T BE ENTIRELY PINNED ON BAD MANAGERS

Many companies removed multiple levels of management as cost-cutting and preservation-motivated measures. Consequently, many people who were individual contributors were additionally tasked with managing teams on top of their original roles.

The culture you create or the culture you destroy will determine the success of your business. 

When one puts pressure on people to perform in that kind of environment—and they themselves are scrambling to learn how to be a good manager—their go-to impulse is to just get the work done in any way they can.
Some people feel there’s too little reward for their discretionary efforts while most workers today have seen co-workers or family members get laid off, and also have had their benefits cut and bonuses frozen. All this just makes people focus on their survival.

4. HELPING PEOPLE GAIN BACK TIME IS ONE POWERFUL WAY OF DRIVING ENGAGEMENT

With people spending most of their waking days at work, many have the additional stresses of raising children, caring for elderly parents, and dealing with long and tedious commutes.
Companies have no direct responsibility for supporting employees with these challenges but Smart employers are figuring out that helping people gain back time back in their day is an extremely powerful way of demonstrating how highly they are regarded.
Allowing people flexibility with work hours, where they work, and being willing to accommodate individual needs all have proved to have very positive impacts on performance and job satisfaction, the Conference Board study shows.
Everyone cannot work flexibly because of the nature of some roles, but more and more, people are looking for that flexibility because it gives them the ability to exhale, and come at work very differently.

5. QUICKEN LOANS: AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT FULL ENGAGEMENT LOOKS LIKE

Few companies have committed themselves more to creating a positive and enabling workplace, which they fully leverage to drive high performance. In fact, Fortune magazine has ranked them as one of the Top 30 Best Places to Work in America for 11 consecutive years.
At Quicken Loans, employee engagement is not a process, a department, or a survey, states the DNA report. Engagement is part of the business strategy and culture. Much of this is owed to the vision and leadership of the company’s founder and chairman, Dan Gilbert.

Quicken Loans is headquartered in Detroit. As part of its mission, the company has made a deep commitment to helping that community recover from the devastating effects of the economic downturn.

Employees themselves frequently have written heartfelt letters to express how much a job at Quicken Loans has helped them turn their own lives around.

If you can get a caring manager who makes you feel valued and respected, people are hesitant to go someplace where they might not be as lucky as with the manager they have now.

6. A CARING BOSS MAY STILL BE THE GREATEST DRIVER OF ENGAGEMENT

Many recruiters try to tell people how it’s going to be much better down the street, but if one can get a caring manager who makes you feel valued and respected, people are hesitant to go someplace where they might not be as lucky as with the manager they have now. If you have a boss who cares about you, is interested in your development . . . if you find someone who has your back and has your best interests at heart, and wants to see you become better and more down the road, that’s one very powerful cocktail.

With unemployment back to pre-recession levels and the job market heating up, people now have choices about where they work. All things equal, people will stay at a company where they feel loved, respected, and where they can do work they enjoy and believe in matters.

 

Read more here