The Untapped Value of Employee Engagement (Infographic)

We created this infographic called “The Untapped Value of Employee Engagement” with some of our employee engagement research.

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If you like the infographic, then here are some other download formats that are made for prinintg:

Also, check out our Employee Engagement Resource Page.

The bottom line: Companies need to focus more on employee engagement Read more of this post

Report: Social Employee Engagement

1407_Social Employee Engagement_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Social Employee Engagement. The research shows best practices for infusing social tools into employee engagement efforts. Here’s the executive summary:

Temkin Group research shows that engaged employees are valuable assets. They try harder at work, are less likely to look for a new job, and feel more committed to helping the company succeed. We found that companies with stronger employee engagement competencies are more likely to use social tools as part of their internal efforts than other companies. For best results, companies should introduce these social capabilities into their employee engagement plans to enhance what we call the “Five I’s of Employee Engagement”: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent. We interviewed 17 companies for this report, including EMC, Fidelity Investments, Houlihan’s, Humana, Oracle, SunTrust Bank, TELUS, and USAA, and identified more than 20 best practices enabled by social tools. We also added a checklist to help organizations introduce social tools to employees.

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The report identifies best practices for using social tools across the 5 I’s of Employee Engagement:

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The bottom line: Tap into social tools to engage employees

CX Fallacy #8: Middle Managers Are Obstacles

10CXFallacies4I recently discussed how organizations that want to improve their customer experience will need to evolve from superficial changes (fluff) to operational transformation (tough). As part of making this shift from fluff to tough, companies will need to shed some of popular myths and fallacies about CX. These myths may hold true in early stage of maturity, but they fall flat as organizations expand their CX efforts. To help in the process, I’ve assembled the top 10 CX Fallacies.

CX Fallacy #8: Middle Managers Are Obstacles

When we ask executives about which groups of employees are the toughest to change, they almost always point to middle managers. Front-line employees are willing to shift their activities when they see that it will help customers, and executives are often pretty easy to entice on to the CX bandwagon. So it’s easy to view middle managers as a problem.

But middle managers aren’t obstacles, they’re the the backbone to stability within an organization. If you want to create sustainable change, then they are a critical building block. Rather than viewing this employee group as a problem, treat them as the guardians of your success and activate them as part of your efforts.

Here are some recommendations for shedding this fallacy:

  • View your success through the eyes of middle managers. When you’re rolling out changes, don’t consider these efforts as being successful until your middle managers are fully on board. This may take some extra work, but the initial investment in time and effort will pay dividends in the speed and consistency of the ultimate roll out of the change.
  • Create group of middle manager ambassadors. identify a set of influential middle managers to provide guidance on company efforts and to promote new ideas with their peers. They may recommend slowing down some efforts, but those activities weren’t likely to succeed anyway.
  • Actively gather feedback from middle managers. Look for ways to collect feedback from middle managers, whether its analyzing their responses in employee-wide surveys or by targeting this group directly.
  • Track engagement levels of middle managers. All companies should understand the engagement levels of employees. If you use a measurement such as Temkin Group’s Employee Engagement Index, then segment the results to identify the engagement level of middle managers compared with other groups. This can be a great leading indicator for the company.
  • Train middle managers to support change efforts. Whenever you are driving change in your organization, make sure to put together specific training to help middle managers support the efforts.

The bottom line: Don’t complain about middle managers, activate them.

Report: State of Employee Engagement Activities, 2014

Purchase reportWe just published a Temkin Group report, State of Employee Engagement Activities, 2014. This is the second year that we’ve benchmarked the employee engagement efforts within large organizations. Here’s the executive summary:

Although engaged employees are a vital component of any successful organization, we have found that only 50% of employees at large organizations feel engaged. To understand how companies are working to improve these engagement levels, we surveyed executives from more than 200 large organizations. We found that frontline employees are the most engaged, and that while most firms do measure employee engagement, less than half prioritize taking actions based on the results. The lack of a clear employee engagement strategy contributes to the fact that only 19% of companies earned a strong or very strong score on the Temkin Group Employee Engagement Competency Assessment. Employee engagement leaders enjoy stronger financial results and deliver better customer experience than employee engagement laggards, and they also have more coordinated engagement activities, more empowered CX teams, and more committed executives. Compared to 2013, this year more companies have significant employee engagement activities, but overall these activities are performed less frequently. Use our assessment and data to benchmark your employee engagement competencies and maturity.

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Here are results from companies that completed Temkin Group’s Employee Engagement Competency and Maturity Assessment::

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The bottom line: Companies need to pay more attention to employee engagement

Nadella Pushes Microsoft to Rediscover Its Soul

In a letter to all Microsoft employees called Starting FY15 – Bold Ambition & Our Core, CEO Satya Nadella established a mandate and vision for significant change across the technology behemoth.

Microsoft has great assets, but it has not kept up with changes in how people use technology. The Redmond giant was becoming increasingly less relevant in a world where digital technology is becoming more relevant.

Microsoft has needed to change for a while. There’s a saying that the best time to plant a tree is ten years ago and the second best time is right now. Nadella has made it clear that Microsoft’s time for change is right now.

My take: First of all, it’s hard to talk about any large-scale culture change without recommending that people review our model called Employee-Engaging Transformation, which is built on five practices: Vision Translation, Persistent LeadershipActivated Middle ManagementGrassroots Mobilization and Captivating Communications.

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We work with many of the world’s leading technology companies, so I could go on and on about what changes are necessary at Microsoft. But I’d rather examine broader lessons from Nadella’s letter. Here are some excerpts that I thought were particularly valuable to discuss:

“...in order to accelerate our innovation, we must rediscover our soul – our unique core

Successful companies almost always start with a strong raison d’être, but it can get lost as the company grows and the world changes (see my post on Starbucks). Without a “soul,” companies drift along as employees across the organization start operating in a disconnected way. This is where the brand comes in. Companies need to constantly refresh their brands and make sure that the brand drives decisions across the organization (see my post on Walmart).

More recently, we have described ourselves as a “devices and services” company. .. At our core, Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more.”

Our research shows that employees are more productive and engaged when they are inspired by their organization’s mission. Which one of these statements do you think is more inspiring: “We are the devices and service company” or “We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organization on the planet to do more and achieve more.”

“We will create more natural human-computing interfaces that empower all individuals.”

This is a comment about technology, but its also points to a broader commentary about making things easy to use. We have entered into a world where people have more options, more distraction, and less patience. Every organization needs to relentlessly focus on making their products, services, and processes easier for customers to use.

Obsessing over our customers is everybody’s job. I’m looking to the engineering teams to build the experiences our customers love.

What’s not to love about this excerpt. My customer experience manifesto (and Temkin Group, for that matter) is built on a fundamental belief that sustaining great customer experience is not about applying a veneer, but about building competencies across the entire organization that create great experiences for customers (see our four CX core competencies). Also, it’s interesting that Nadella used the word “love.” Experiences are made up of three component (functional, accessible, and emotional) and our Temkin Experience Ratings show that companies are weakest at driving the emotional component. To get people to “love” your company, I suggest applying what we call People-Centric Experience Design.

“I am committed to making Microsoft the best place for smart, curious, ambitious people to do their best work.”

One of the Six Laws of Customer Experience is that unengaged employees can’t create engaged customers. Any company looking to improve how it interacts with customers almost certainly needs to focus on its employees.

“We will be more effective in predicting and understanding what our customers need and more nimble in adjusting to information we get from the market.”

How companies use customer insights is changing rapidly. Technologies such as text analytics and predictive analytics are helping companies tap into more comprehensive and ongoing insights, rather than relying on periodic customer surveys. Ultimately, companies will need to reinvent their operating frameworks so that they can adjust more frequently to take advantage of these rapidly-flowing insights.

Nothing is off the table in how we think about shifting our culture to deliver on this core strategy.”

This type of statement only works if it’s backed up by clear actions that employees can observe. These “symbols” of change need to be clear departures from how the company operated in the past, and can include reorganizations, firings/hirings/promotions/demotions, killing projects, accelerating projects, etc.). Don’t just say change is coming, demonstrate it (see the 3 characteristics of transformational leaders).

“We must each have the courage to transform as individuals. We must ask ourselves, what idea can I bring to life? What insight can I illuminate? What individual life could I change? What customer can I delight? What new skill could I learn? What team could I help build? What orthodoxy should I question?”

The notion of a personal challenge is a great way to help employees think about how they can be (and must be) a part of the change. But the questions won’t be too powerful if they are just statements in a letter from the CEO. Use these questions as part of discussions across the organization and embed them into leadership training and competency models.

 The bottom line: Change isn’t easy, but Microsoft seems ready to give it a try.

CX Transformation Lacks Middle Manager Activation

In the Temkin Group report Introducing Employee-Engaging Transformation (EET), we defined five EET practices that companies must master if they want to successfully drive CX change across their organization::

  • Vision TranslationConnect Employees with the Vision. The organization clearly defines and conveys not only what the future state is, but why moving away from the current state is imperative for the organization, its employees, and its customers.
  • Persistent LeadershipAttack Ongoing Obstacles. Leaders realize that change is a long-term journey and commit to working together until the organization has fully embedded the transformation into its systems and processes.
  • Activated Middle Management: Enlist Key Influencers. Middle managers are invested in the transformation and understand their unique role in supporting their employees’ change journeys.
  • Grassroots MobilizationEmpower Employees to Change. Frontline employees operate in an environment where they help to shape and are enabled to deliver the change.
  • Captivating CommunicationsShare Impactful, Informative Messages. The organization shares information about the change through a variety of means that balance both the practical and the inspirational elements for each target audience.

The report includes an EET assessment, so we asked nearly 200 professionals from large organizations to answer the specific questions about Middle Management Activation. As you can see below, only about a third of companies effectively employe this practice when driving change.

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The bottom line: Don’t forget to activate your middle managers!

 

5 Rules To Stop Employees From Gaming Your Feedback System

When an employee asks a customer to “give me a 10 on a survey or I’ll get fired,” can you really count on the accuracy of that customer’s rating? This may be an extreme example of “gaming feedback,” but many versions of this behavior occur all the time.

To keep gaming feedback in check, it’s important to be explicit with employees about what the company considers to be unacceptable behaviors. Here are five rules that you should strictly enforce with employees:

  1. Don’t mention or refer to a score. You can not ask a customer to give you a score or mention any possible option on the survey.
    • Example of bad behavior: “Let me know if you can’t give me an excellent on any of the questions.”
  2. Don’t mention specific survey questions. You can not tell a customer about a specific question that they will be asked as part of the survey.
    • Example of bad behavior: “You will be asked to rate me on my knowledge.”
  3. Don’t mention any consequences. You can’t tell a customer about the positive or negative consequences that you or the organization will have based on the feedback that the customer gives.
    • Example of bad behavior: “If you give us a low score, then we will not make our bonus.”
  4. Don’t say or imply that you will see their responses. You can’t let the customer know that you will see the specific information that they put in their feedback.
    • Example of bad behavior: “I look forward to reading your responses.”
  5. Don’t intimidate customers in any way. Any attempt to affect how customers will respond in their feedback, or keep them from completing the survey, whether implicitly or explicitly, is not allowed.
    • Example of bad behavior: “Let’s grab a Cubs game after you fill out the survey.”
    • Example of bad behavior: “Don’t bother filling out the survey, the company doesn’t look at them.”

Of course, keeping this bad behavior in check also requires the company to behave appropriately. The biggest mistake I see is tying too much compensation to a score. When you heavily incent a specific metric, employees will do whatever it takes to improve that metric,  including “gaming” the system. Think about it, the heavier the compensation, the more you are implicitly asking the employee to improve the score at any cost (see why Staples employees stopped selling computers).

So make sure that your incentives are focused on driving the behaviors that you want from employees, not specific outcomes like scores.

The bottom line: Use feedback primarily to improve, not to keep score.

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