Is Your HR Department Ready to be Reinvented?

 

Chief Employee Experience Officer

Chief People Officer

Chief Engagement Officer

These job titles didn’t exist a few short years ago, but now they are a common occurrence in the workplace. But, why?

It appears that all the buzz surrounding the importance of employee engagement has turned HR departments everywhere upside down. They are going mad trying to capture that “secret sauce”, which motivates employees and makes them more collaborative and productive.

So far, many companies have tried exploring different benefit options and employee perks like free gym memberships, free lunches, flexible work policies, and even bring your dog to work days. But, even with all of these perks, there is still a gap, a silo, that is getting in the way of their employee engagement goals.

Sure, employee recognition programs, fun perks, and flexible policies help employees feel appreciated; but real change begins with meaningful everyday interactions and connection to goals. Sadly, “only 40% of employees are well informed on company goals, strategy, and tactics.” The flow of this information is often stifled from reaching lower level employees and they quickly become disjointed from the rest of the company. Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management, Jim Harter, said that “it comes down to showing people how their work and contributions impact the success of the entire firm. Disengagement starts with having a confusing job.”

To solve this problem, Airbnb has appointed individuals who act as “ground control” to make sure their company’s mission and culture are brought to life everyday. They have dedicated much time and effort into a project called “workplace as an experience”, where their main focus is “tapping into the physical, emotional, intellectual, virtual, and aspirational facets of how an employee is engaged in the workplace.”

 

workplace as an experience

 

Airbnb realized that their employees needed an immersive experience with more touch points and more visibility. The problem was, one siloed department couldn’t possibly ensure that experience was taking place for every employee. So, their Chief Human Resource Officer became their Chief Employee Experience Officer, in order to fulfill the vision of an integrated employee work experience. Their hard work paid off too, because 90% of their employees now recommend them as a great place to work! 

So, if your HR department is ready to be reinvented, take notes from the companies who are doing it right, and learn what works best for your employees along the way.

15 Statistical Benefits to Flexible Work

 

working at coffee shop

 

If you want happy employees, consider this: a recent study revealed that “nearly half of all employees prefer flex work over a pay raise, [and] nearly one-third said they would change employers if offered flexible work elsewhere.”

Avoiding a stressful and time-consuming commute, achieving better work-life balance, being more productive, and finishing work they can’t complete at the office, are just a few of the reasons why workers are now demanding flexible work opportunities.

But, in case you need even more convincing, here are 15 recent stats on remote working:

  1. Telecommuting increased 79.7% from 2005 to 2012
  2. 79% of U.S. workers say they would like to work from home at least part of the time
  3. Among the 15 largest U.S. metro areas, San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos (CA) has the highest concentration of people who consider home their primary place of work (4.2%)
  4. A typical telecommuter is 49 years old, college educated, a salaried non-union employee in a management or professional role, earns $58,000 a year, and works for a company with more than 100 employees.
  5. The federal government has the highest proportion of teleworkers
  6. Approximately 69 percent of the employees surveyed cited higher productivity when working remote, and 75 percent of those surveyed said the timeliness of their work improved.
  7.  According to Cisco’s Internet Business Services Group, the company has generated an estimated annual savings of $277 million in productivity by allowing employees to telecommute and telework
  8. In 2008, Cisco teleworkers prevented approximately 47,320 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the environment due to avoided travel.
  9. Cisco employees report a fuel cost savings of $10.3 million per year due to telecommuting.
  10. More than 91 percent of the Cisco employees surveyed said telecommuting is somewhat or very important to their overall satisfaction.
  11. According to The Anywhere Office, 72% of U.S. employees say that flexible work arrangements would cause them to choose one job over another.
  12. Enabling employees to work remotely makes it possible to reduce the corporate real estate portfolio by as much as 40% – 50% by offering employees an opportunity to work from home full- or part-time
  13. Multiplied out across the U.S. economy (for the 40% of the workforce who could function remotely), “workshifting” (coined by Citrix Online) could save employers over $650 Billion per year.
  14. After 18 months, SCAN Health’s alternative work program received 40% return on investment for program development and deployment
  15. SCAN also reduced the cost of workforce support by 38% as a result of its distributed work program.

Sources: Image from Flickr, “People At Work” by Jay“; Telecommuting Statistics”, Global Workplace Analytics; Cisco Newsroom; “Work Unchained the Competitive Edge of the Anywhere Office”, Workshifting

 

An Easy Way to Gain Employee Buy-In

improve_employee_satisfaction

 

Many successful companies have learned how to nurture potential buyers throughout the sales cycle, but few have mastered how to nurture new employee so they buy-in to their company. And, isn’t that what leaders really want, employees who have “bought-in” to the company and are invested in making it better?

The truth is: engagement begins from the very first time a person reaches out to your company, whether it is for a sales opportunity or a job opportunity.

Many companies use content marketing to attract and engage with potential buyers. They realize how important it is to share your company’s voice and establish some level of rapport with your audience before expecting them to really listen to you, especially in an online environment. So, these companies share interesting and relevant information with their potential customers with the goal to establish rapport, thought leadership, and brand awareness. But beyond these goals, offering a free service like content sharing will demonstrate a company’s desire to help others. So, you are not just helping people grasp what your company stands for, you are also proving authentic goodwill, which drives buyer engagement.

Like your potential customers, employees can also decide whether or not they will actively engage with your company, and some of their engagement needs are very similar.

Employees also need to grasp what your company stands for and why. They look for acts of goodwill and other proof that their company’s main goal is to help people, including employees. For total buy-in, however, they need to be more than just recipients of company information; they need to be active participates who are invited to provide feedback, aid in decision making, and influence meaningful change.

Employees need both understanding and participation in order to identify their purpose and connect with the big picture. Any exclusion from company news, activity, or progress, will keep employees from participating in any meaningful way, because they don’t really know how to help.

By sharing more information, ideas, and knowledge internally, companies can shift their culture to one that is supportive and inclusive. It is a culture strategy which promotes open, effective communication and provides clear channels for feedback. The numerous benefits of which include: increased employee engagement and employee advocacy, discovery of SMEs(subject matter experts), and higher overall performance.

*Image sourced from: lineshapespace.com

Advice for Leaders: How Jimmy Fallon Engages His Followers

 

Are your followers satisfied, or engaged?

There are so many innovative leaders raising the bar so that feeling satisfied is no longer enough to keep an audience. People are searching for and following the leaders that excite them and encourage them to take action.

When your followers are more than just satisfied, they are engaged and driven to act. And, that’s where the real power lies!

Leaders can learn a few things from Jimmy Fallon, because you need followers to lead and Fallon has plenty of those! And surprisingly, it took much more than a primetime show to get all of them.

So, how does Jimmy Fallon get and keep so many followers?

Here are a few pieces of advice we can learn from him:

 

Jimmy Fallon with Audience

Know your audience.

Fallon really understands his audience of mostly Millennials. More specifically, he knows where they spend their time and understands how to effectively engage with them.

Millennials love finding and sharing authentic, fun, interesting content. They love voicing their opinions and becoming a part of the conversation or experience. And, Fallon gives them the whole package. He captivates his audience by emotionally connecting with them. He makes them laugh, cry, and reminisce. Then, he goes a step further, and invites them to act upon that emotion by commenting or sharing on social media.

“We’re not trying to ignore the fact that people are in front of a computer at work and surf the Web all day long, or that kids check the Internet when they get home from school. We want to exploit that, and have fun with it. I’m on Facebook and I’ve been on Twitter just talking to my fans. It’s amazing!”

—Jimmy Fallon, prior to the show premiering in 2009

By leveraging his social media presence, Fallon continually engages with Millennials to keep them interested in what he is doing.  “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” YouTube channel has nearly 7 million subscribers, and the @jimmyfallon Twitter page has an astonishing 24 million followers!

Take Away: Who is your audience? Most likely they are your customers, potential customers, and even your employees. Where do they spend their time? What are they interested in hearing from you? All of these groups are vital to you or your company’s success, and all of them are looking for a reason to follow you.

 

Jimmy Fallon with muppets

Keep it fresh and get creative.

Beyond knowing his audience, Fallon is always doing something new and creative. Yes, it helps that he has plenty of resources to work with, including: an in-studio band, producers, writers, celebrities, politicians, and musicians. But, resources aren’t everything. Talk show hosts from the past had all of these resources too; they just didn’t get very creative with them. Their guests and topics changed, but the format stayed the same.

A new talk show format required a shift in focus from “What should I share with my audience?” to “What does my audience want me to share, and how?”.

Fallon was chosen to host because of his diverse abilities in acting, performing, and comedy. He was the guy who could keep viewers interested with variety and enthusiasm.

Take Away: If you want to inspire others into action, you have to present them with something new to keep them curious and interested. Mix up your approach. Try to avoid referencing and sharing the same types of content. And most importantly, ask your followers what they want and need from you.

 

Jimmy Fallon Christmas Sweater

Don’t do all the talking. Seek active participation.

Fallon doesn’t just talk at his audience, he interacts with them, in studio, on screen, and online.  He engages people in the most simplistic and powerful way, through constant interaction. By definition, an interaction is a reciprocal action or influence. It requires participation from two sides.

Take Away: When you ask people to interact with you or to get involved in what you are doing, they have to pay attention. They become engaged by their responsibility to listen and respond. So, don’t do all the talking and be authentic and inviting.      

 

Jimmy Fallon and Justin T

Know what you do best.

Fallon has changed the status quo in talk show entertainment (and a changing demographic deserves something new). He showcases his improv and impersonation skills, and by playing off of these strengths, his show created an authentic way to connect with people. People enjoy watching him because he is a performer in his element.

Take Away: It is so important to understand what you do best. Bring your experience and excitement to the table, and people will want to follow you.

 

What Really Drives Employee Engagement?

 

An employee’s level of engagement will determine the amount of time and effort they exert at work, and it also influences how long they will stay with a company. According to Harvard Business Review, “research has clearly and consistently proved the direct link between employee engagement, customer satisfaction and revenue growth”. So, there is definitely a reason for companies to address this issue, because it directly correlates with overall performance.

The problem with solving the engagement issue is leaders struggle to read through all the noise to come up with a solution because there are too many conflicting explanations for what causes it.  There are a lot of opinions out there, but what about the data?

What does research tell us drives employee engagement?

A Gallup survey called Q12 was formulated to measure actionable workplace elements affecting employee engagement and performance. After several years of interviewing organizations around the world and gathering research, the survey was finalized in the late 1990’s and was comprised of twelve questions. It is no coincidence that out of these twelve carefully selected questions to determine which factors influence employee engagement, at least four of them address whether or not employees feel appreciated, recognized, or at least acknowledged by others at work. That’s one-third of the overall survey!

7K0A0032

Whether or not an employee feels recognized will determine their confidence level in a company. Employees need human interaction to feel included, respected, and secure. In order to establish an authentic sense of belonging with their team, they need confirmation from others . Confirmation that their job matters. Confirmation that someone will notice their performance or care about their opinions.

Confirmative communication from a team leader can be the most impactful. As influencers, leaders directly connect employees with company goals, so their reassurance is especially meaningful and powerful. Receiving feedback from a team leader gives employees instant reassurance that their work is creating a noticeable impact on the company. Leaders need to realize that addressing an individual’s work gives them direct proof that their job really matters, and this sense of purpose drives engagement.

Even though leaders can provide meaningful feedback to influence engagement, top down communication should not dominate how an employee interacts with their company.

It is very important to also encourage and facilitate multi-directional communication between coworkers. This is because coworkers have a more personal knowledge of what their team members work on and accomplish day-to-day, so their feedback happens in real time and is more specific. Peer recognition is very useful because it will confirm and clarify each member’s role and responsibility.

Leaders can enable teams to communicate more effectively by providing them with the tools and resources they need to quickly share information, ideas, news, and feedback. Every team needs an outlet for members to express their opinions and give feedback to others without hesitation or delay. Creating an environment which promotes peer-to-peer interaction and captures positive recognition, will help make a lasting impact on employee engagement.

Authentic and consistent communication, from both leadership and peers, will drive employee engagement because it gives people the affirmations they need to feel confident, acknowledged, and valued at work.

 

Successful Communication is Engaging Communication

 

Employees are frustrated. Everyday, they are overwhelmed and inundated with a surplus of email correspondence. According to a McKinsey report on “The Social Economy”, employees have to spend one-fourth of their work day reading, answering, and sending email communication.These time-consuming tasks have become such a large portion of their job responsibility that they struggle to get actual work done.

It can take employees “around 16 minutes to refocus on their tasks” after each time they manage emails, making it nearly impossible to stay focused at work.

Email Do Not Disturb

Although email is a great for external point-to-point business communication, it is being overused internally. Coworkers are using email to share documents, invite people to events, share meeting notes, and to discuss important topics. It has become overwhelming to manage team communication and all other business correspondence in the same inbox.

There are more effective ways to communicate and collaborate within a team!

Incorporating the use of more social communication technologies can significantly reduce time spent handling email communication. IBM was able to reduce email traffic by 98 percent after utilizing a social site to post email responses. They claimed the social site helped with information redundancy, “thereby eliminating all the follow-up questions, copying, and forwarding that multiplies e-mail traffic.” Reducing email traffic and incorporating a social and collaborative, communication platform is critical to not only to improve productivity, but also to increase employee engagement.

Social sites automatically create user engagement because they directly ask for our input. When you login to Facebook the first thing you see is a status box where you are asked: “What’s on your mind?”.  Suddenly, we are prompted to voice our thoughts and we are given the expectation that what we say really matters. People can use technology to announce their ideas, opinions, and life updates so they will be heard by others, and this expectation is being brought into the workplace.

If people can quickly reference social technologies to get up to speed and communicate with friends and family, why does communicating at work have to be so frustrating and time consuming?

Facebook and Twitter are engaging communication tools because they give people a voice and create an equal opportunity environment for people to receive social recognition. So, it is only fair to assume that the most effective way to engage an employee is to continually ask them a simple question: “What do you think?”

By providing an online environment where anyone’s ideas are welcomed and recognized, people participate because they are encouraged to and they have something valuable to contribute. This naturally makes the information that is shared more meaningful and engaging for people to discuss.

The communication methods employees use internally should align with their workflow and enable teams to collaborate around valuable information. Unfortunately, email creates disjointed conversations, which make it difficult to maintain transparency and keep everyone informed.

It is time to reconsider how we use email, so we can find a better way to work together virtually!

 

 

Engage People with Meaningful Connections

 

Employee engagement begins with a web of meaningful connections. Connections to people. Connections to information. Connections to goals and results. Connections lead to openness and transparency in workplace operations. Connections increase responsibility and make people more accountable for their actions. Connections provide a support system for employees and make them feel valued.

Connections are the necessary links which define each person’s role and bring clarity to their purpose within a team.

Understanding their role and purpose is what makes people self-responsible and enables them to carry out what is expected of them. Without a clear understanding of their role within a team, people fail to perform effectively because they lack direction and confidence.

Professionals, especially top talent, desire to take pride in their work and strive to be a valued contributor of a team, but they can be left helpless and frustrated when they are alienated from internal communication, goals, and vital resources. These connections, specifically, are so critical to employee engagement because they directly link an individual to their company’s purpose.

Relationships are also extremely important links which help support people and connect them to their company in a more personal way. Relationships create a sense of camaraderie and make teams more confident and committed to being successful.

According to a Gallup study, having a best friend at work is one of the “12 traits of highly productive workgroups.” This finding is significant because it reveals that loyalty between coworkers can be the strongest connection people rely on within a company.  Having a friend as a teammate can give a stronger sense of security because this relationship offers positivity and support. But, if people belong to a well-connected workplace environment, they won’t need the extra security of a best friend at work.

The Great Place to Work Institute (GPTWI) explains that:

A great workplace is measured by the quality of three, interconnected relationships that exist there:

  • The relationship between employees and management.
  • The relationship between employees and their jobs/company.
  • The relationship between employees and other employees.

In order for these interconnected relationships to occur, leaders must facilitate a supportive and communicative workplace environment. This environment should be a place where people can find common ground and feel equal to one another. The right environment will allow people to connect with what or who they need in a natural way, which is enabled by leadership, not initiated by them. The goal of this environment should be to allow people within the organization to experience their job with more control and confidence, so they are ultimately more engaged.

Caboh is a connection tool for companies, organizations, or teams to provide a better support system for their members. At Caboh, we value effective communication and strive to provide an engaging environment which promotes collaboration and productivity. Our main focus is to connect people to each other and their work in the most exciting and creative ways possible!