Monday, April 6, 2009

Improving employee engagement? Ask 3 questions

Over the weekend, Tammy Erickson shared an insightful story at Harvard Business about how any business can find low cost ways to improve engagement. She believes it all starts with creating goose-bump moments for employees.

She explained how years ago AARP asked her to audit their employment policies. AARP, an association dedicated to serving retirees and older Americans, also touts its commitment to being an employer of choice and strives to follow only the best human resource practices.

So, when company representatives began their presentation for Erickson and she became extremely bored, she interrupted and asked the presenters a few questions, including these three:

  1. Why do you work here?
  2. How often do you feel passionate about your work?
  3. How often do you get to have experiences that make you feel passionate about your work?

One of the presenters explained how passionate she was for improving the lives of older Americans. She described a goose-bump moment she had with the company on Capitol Hill when a piece of legislation AARP worked to support became law.

“I strongly believe that the essence of a great employee experience — one that deepens our commitment and heightens our engagement — are those moments that give us goose bumps — the moments that remind us why we chose to work for this particular organization in the first place.”

With the recession taking a serious toll on morale, improving employee engagement is a top goal for many organizations. As Erickson explained in her article, sometimes all it takes is reminding people of the reasons why they wanted to work for the company in the first place.

Though the reasons for wanting to work for a company will vary from employee to employee, the desire to be happy and feel passionate about what they do is a shared feeling among many. Creating opportunities for employees to have goose-bump moments will remind employees of that passion and encourage them to go above and beyond in their work.

“In this difficult year, it's important to understand why people joined your organization and reinforce those values. In most cases, these steps don't cost a lot of money, but they can have a huge impact on employee engagement and commitment.”

Reminding employees of the reasons why they chose to work at an organization can be as simple as talking to customers or as involved as a trip to Capitol Hill. It’s all about creating experiences for employees that bolster the passion they have for the work they do.

“Find the authentic core of work at your organization and create ways to amplify and extend the experience to all employees. Give 'em goose bumps.”

How do you remind employees about what it means to be a part of your organization? How do you “give ‘em goose bumps”?

1 comment:

Mary Lorenz said...

A corporate philanthropy program can be a great way to engage workers. It gives them a sense that they are giving back to the community through their efforts and reminds them that their work is meaningful.

I recently wrote a post on the benefits of corporate philanthropy programs on employee engagement over at The Hiring Site that might offer some additional insight. Here's the link:

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