Category Archives: employee engagement

A Glimpse of Data from Orlando Engagement World Conference

EngagementWorldAs you may know,  Engagement World is a conference and expo taking place this week in Orlando, Florida.

The event is “dedicated to highlighting the world of Enterprise Engagement in business and its many strategies and tactics.”

During a few of today’s presentations some simple yet important messages were shared and reinforced:

  • More of the nation’s top organizations are documenting increases in financial performance as a result of increasing employee, partner and customer engagement.
  • Employee engagement begins at the recruiting step – a great case study was presented by Northwell Health (61,000 employees) outlining how they revamped their recruiting and on-boarding practices. To truly engage customers the workforce must be engaged first.
  • Among the key drivers of employee engagement:
    1. Clarity in roles and regular feedback
    2. Two-way communication with leadership
    3. Ability to impact the work environment
    4. Ongoing professional development and training
    5. Sense of connection with the organization’s culture and values

What Makes Your Organization Different?

custom_crayon_box_standout_16486What is the one thing your business or organization has that none of your competitors have?

Over the past five years we have asked a great many people in all types of organizations this simple question; and while the answers initially vary, they all ultimately agree that there is only one true and sustainable differentiator…

It isn’t a product or a unique feature of a product, or even a type of service, because these can be too easily emulated. So while a one-of-a-kind product or service might serve as a short-term differentiator, neither represents the best answer.

The simple answer is: YOU!

An organization’s one true and sustainable differentiator is the people within. Collectively the people make-up an enterprise’s personality; they represent the core values, and they represent not “what” an organization does but rather “how” it is done, which ultimately makes all the difference.

Given these realities, making enterprise engagement a cultural choice within your organization is the ideal way of achieving long-term success.

Customer Engagement?

engagement1Customer engagement has become a key objective for many companies and organizations.

The primary goal, according Jon Nace of Rosetta, a global marketing agency, is to not only satisfy clients, but to also “gain a commitment from clients to interact with your brand… make a transaction and, ultimately, to choose your brand repeatedly.

Yet data shows that many B2B companies offer a generic customer experience with few, if any, targeted follow-up actions.

The three recurring challenges to engaging customers are:

  1. Lack of corporate alignment, as departments operate in silos, which leads to an inconsistent user experience and to one department not knowing what customers have done or experienced.
  2. Marketing focus and budget is allocated more to advertising and promotion rather than direct or online customer engagement.
  3. Passive lead management, often involving automated responses rather than customized, value-
    added follow-up.

The 5 “I’s” in Team?

The business world has begun to see the deep connection between employee engagement and customer experience, productivity and profit.

Simply stated, highly-engaged employees try harder, make a stronger discretionary effort, and tend to drive business results!

They are twice as likely to work after their shift ends, twice as likely to do something good for the company that is unexpected of them, and three times as likely to make recommendations for company improvements, according to an Employee Engagement Benchmark Study by Temkin Group.

But despite the benefits of an engaged workforce, far too many organizations struggle to engage their employees, as evidenced by the fact that only thirty-percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged.

The 5 I’s
We’re all familiar with the quote, “There’s no “I” in team.”

Playing off of this adage, Temkin Group suggests there are actually 5 “I’s” in team…  and five key ways to engage your team.

Read the full article…

The Engagement Surprise!

engagementroiOver the past several years much has been written about the emerging field of enterprise engagement, which is a framework for achieving goals through people in a measurable way.

Organizations that have embraced this approach have found it is not only possible to achieve almost any goal that involves people—customers, distribution partners, employees, suppliers, and even communities – but also, to the surprise of many, to realize a return-on-investment in the process!

As a good example, possibly you are familiar with The Engaged Company Stock Index (ECSI)?

Read the full article…

Avoid Two Levels of Miscommunication & the FUD Factor

fudWhether you are a sales manager, sales professional. business executive, or business owner, miscommunication can be a costly occurrence.

While the Merriam Webster dictionary defines the term as a “failure to communicate clearly,”  the causes of miscommunication can vary significantly:

  • Lack of forethought or preparation
  • Poor verbal skills or word choice
  • Misaligned voice tone
  • Poor body language
  • Intentional deceit on the part of the sender
  • Lack of comprehension, poor listening skills or distraction on the part of the receiver

Experts and behaviorists have also suggested that miscommunication is also the primary contributing factor to conflict, as when unsure about the actual meaning of inbound communication, people tend to fear the worst outcome.

“In miscommunication the mind will fill in missing information with its own creative insight,” said author and conflict resolution consultant Tristan Loo.

Loo goes on to explain that these reactions tend to be fear-based, and that we satisfy our need for answers with that of assumption. Once we lock-into our assumptions the tendency is to believe them as truth, thus resulting in conflict.

The Solutions – Trial Closing & Thought Leadership
In the selling world, a great deal is lost to misunderstanding, predisposition (many decision-makers are predisposed to mistrust sales people), and conflict. While buyers tend to buy from people they like and trust, miscommunication, as noted above, breeds uncertainty, conflict and distrust.

Sales professionals can bridge this gap through the increased use of clarifying or “trial closing” questions, which by design are tests of accurate understanding and receptivity.   These simple questions, such as, “How does that sound so far?” can be used effectively during need assessments, business meetings, sales calls and presentations. Unlike “closing” questions which are designed to gain commitments, “trial closing” questions are simply designed to seek opinions.

For managers and leaders, a good way to avoid miscommunication and the “FUD” factor (fear, uncertainty and doubt) that frequently accompanies misunderstandings and misconceptions is to proactively engage in “thought leadership.”

In other words, as a standard component of team meetings, performance reviews, coaching sessions, and all forms of workforce-directed communication, leaders can eliminate miscommunication by consistently making an effort to keep people thinking about and focused on the right things.

This might involve the following steps:

  1. Anticipate potential areas of misunderstanding, especially when communicating about potentially-delicate issues such as policy changes, compensation, strategic plans, etc.
  2. Proactively confirm the team’s interpretation and level of buy-in by using the same “trial closing” questions as tests of understanding and receptivity, as noted above
  3. Regularly reinforce important messages through repetition, providing examples, and positively recognizing the right behaviors

 

 

Team & Customer Engagement: The ROI?

engagementroiWould you like to increase sales revenue, customer loyalty, and referrals?

How about motivating your channel partners so that they place added focus on your organization?

Would you like to implement and sustain a culture of continuous improvement? Or possibly increase the team’s focus on quality or safety, enhance overall wellness, or help them to work more productively?

All of the above-listed objectives are among the reasons organizations have chosen to proactively focus on engaging people; and all of the above-listed objectives can generate a measureable return on investment!

In fact, research from the Enterprise Engagement Alliance indicates that organizations will get the best results when they systematically:

  •  Develop realistic, achievable, and measurable goals and objectives
  • Create a formal Engagement business plan outlining the desired outcomes, behaviors that lead to outcomes, key program components, roles and responsibilities, timeline, and return on investment.
  • Effectively assess the people and the playing field to identify opportunities and obstacles to success
  • Make sure people have the knowledge or skills needed to succeed
  • Implement an integrated communication plan
  • Foster an atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, and fun
  • Reward and recognize so that people feel supported in their efforts
  • Measure return on investment

Read more… | Comment…

Are You More Interesting… or Interested?

interested2Do you strive to be interesting?

Many say they do… but whether you are a sales manager, business executive or business owner, consider that becoming more “interested” could be an important component of driving your organization’s sales growth and business development effort.

While great amounts of emphasis are more commonly placed on striving to become “interesting” in our interaction with others, consider how the alternative of becoming more “interested” might influence the various people involved.

As a sales manager or business executive, our ongoing responsibilities doubtlessly include driving growth and motivating the team. This typically involves helping sales people or team members to maintain a positive attitude as well as a belief in their ability to get the job done; it also involves managing processes so people stay focused on and work on the right things, and leading people toward mutual goal achievement.

It is not easy work.

It can become easier, however, when we find ways to consistently exhibit an honest interest in the work being done . And please note, this means becoming “interested” not only after the work has been done, but also while the work is being done! An after-the-fact or “rear-view mirror” approach to management can only yield judgment about past performance; but our “interest” while work is in progress enables us to influence results – hopefully for the better!

“Interested” people also tend to ask questions. So, this genuine interest can best be expressed by asking questions about day-to-day efforts, successes and challenges; we can then analyze the information gathered (by listening carefully to people’s answers to our questions) and proactively find ways to become involved. A steady diet of this type of interaction will quickly lead to a better understanding of the team’s attitude and aptitude.

But most of all, if consistently implemented this interactive and collegial management style has a tendency to send a strong implied message – a message that says we care! A message that says each team member is important and their work is important. We might be surprised at how much more effectively people perform their jobs when they realize how important their success really is from our perspective.