Gallup’s chief scientist on the forefront of employee engagement research said. “Some (companies) have moved as high as 70% (of employees are engaged). They didn’t start there, of course. They worked on it and got there in time.” Are we delighted with a 70% success rate? In many grading programs that’s just at the edge of failing. Can you imagine setting a sales goal for the year, and several years later being delighted you got to 70%. You'd have fired your sale manager years ago.
The two things employees can give you are:
- the routine work you ask them to do. (The stuff in their job description)
- the changes they bring to the table (The stuff that comes from thinking)
When most experts talk about the value of a fully engaged employee as compared to an employee who is not fully engaged they talk about discretionary effort. That's because they are thinking about the routine work as the employee’s primary mission. It is important, but does not rocket the company to the top of the industry no matter how good they are at the routine work.
It is in the changes employees bring to the table where you find the real value. We have example after example of companies in all sorts of mature and very competitive industries where they enable workers to deliver change that causes the company’s margins and top-line growth to leap ahead of the competition and stay there.
When you enjoy better margins than your competition, you are in the driver's seat. You only get there through your people’s thinking.
You can tell an HR group that is focussed on the routine work. Those people are implementing ‘employee engagement’ programs that are comprised of these sorts of things:
- Articulate and Share Our Intrinsically Good Vision
- Define Core Values – Hire, Fire, Promote based on These Values
- Communicate Like Crazy.
- Reward & Recognize
- Give employees the tools and training they need.
- Set clear SMART Goals
- Foster Trust – Up, Down, Sideways in the Company
- Provide Career Direction
- Sponsor Well-being Programs
These are all good things to be doing, however they don’t get you beyond a lift in productivity. They don’t go after the key obstacles to motivation and thinking. These activities allow those obstacles to persist. Unless you remove the obstacles, people will not give you the thinking that leads to those most valuable changes. (Perhaps the real problem is they haven’t thought through what those obstacles are. It is a phenomenon of human psychology that when we take action that feels right, and we repeat that action, it takes on the cloak of being the right action even when the data shows it isn’t.)
The Behavioral Advantage program removes the obstacles and goes after all that valuable thinking which will enable the company to rocket to the top of the industry. We are happy to talk about the program and the tried and true tools we use.