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Companies are more interested in engagement studies nowadays than they were a decade ago - actively investigating ways to create engagement amongst all stakeholders in their businesses. Why this sudden turnaround?
The latest Gallup State of the American Workplace report (registration required) found that companies receiving the Gallup Great Workplace Award averaged earnings per share growth of 115 percent, compared with 27 percent for competitors not on the list. Even more interesting is how Gallup translates this directly into customer outcomes. The research firm determined that, compared with companies that have less engaged workers, companies with highly engaged employees (e.g., those having great workplace experiences) have 10 percent higher customer metrics and 20 percent higher sales.
Still many organizations struggle to realize an effective engagement strategy failing to combine “brain and heart”. Working with my clients to improve operational and commercial excellence I see two main tendencies: One is to focus on making all processes as LEAN as possible and work with stretched targets - Second is to strive to create ownership and proactive behaviour across all levels of the organization.
Unfortunately these streams tend to work counterproductive when not supported by leadership and engagement programs as a strong focus on LEAN causes stress through extra workload and uncertainty about job retention and “when will it end” with employees and their leaders. The high stress levels do not generate an appetite for taking on more responsibility or entrepreneurship in the company - quite contrarily they rather lead to sick leave, conflicts and burn out.
Effective Engagement Strategies activate People and Business simultaneously. Everybody recognizes the importance of working across silo’s in order to achieve effective and fluent business practices - this also reflects in the way consultants, trainers, managers and programs impact each other’s efforts - and is evenly applicable in this arena.
Effective Engagement Strategies are easy to implement and easy to access - they glue heart and brain processes together by activating people to connect on a human level in order to get the work done in a pleasant, responsible and motivational way. Effective Engagement Strategies establish outcomes that matter and can be measured. A clear connection to business practices and performance indicators creates buy in with both employees and their leaders. Effective Engagement Strategies create a different culture when implemented cooperatively. All forces need to be aligned and supportive to a common goal.
About the Author
Marja van Soest has been working as a director, trainer, consultant and coach in international Sales, Service and Leadership for over 25 years for a diversity of companies and audiences. Parallel to her business career Marja is a sports trainer specializing in In and Outdoor Cycling. Combining her passion for sports, groups, individual and organizational performance Marja developed a highly effective model on Motivation and Engagement underlying coaching, training and leadership interventions in organizational and personal change and development initiatives: Engage, Empower, Perform, Enjoy. Using this model to empower leaders to build a culture of trust is her inspiration for both business and sports practices.