Since great brands are built from the inside out, engaged stakeholders are critical to move the needle for any organization.
This brand equity is accomplished by recruiting and hiring great people, developing them, inspiring them around a shared purpose, recognizing and rewarding them. But how do you apply engagement practices that really work for your organization?
Those who feel stuck between buying something off the shelf (hoping it works for their organization) or developing a highly customizable and robust program (with big, often overwhelming resource requirements) often default to the tired practice of sending an engagement survey, reading out the results and telling Leadership to do a better job of engaging their employees.
It’s starting to feel like we’ve reduced the engagement experience to an exercise of analytics with a foundation of increased productivity as the tell-tale sign that people are engaged.
Meanwhile, how people are feeling at work isn’t shifting all that much. We’re not suggesting we don’t measure our efforts, but it’s not the end game—no more than a fine dining restaurant’s end game is to increase the profit per table.
Start with a Familiar Framework
So, where do you go from here? How do you launch a meaningful engagement focus that is authentic for your brand and doesn’t look like you’re staring at a blank page? Where do you start?
We suggest starting with a built-in framework you’re already familiar with and working under: The Employee Lifecycle
Engagement doesn’t happen because we want it to happen; it happens when people experience enthusiasm for their work throughout their employee journey. CPG helps clients reimagine the employee experience across the employee lifecycle by designing and delivering programs that build “Belief through Experience.”
Let’s look at examples from different walks of the employee experience:
There’s no better time to begin the engagement journey than when recruiting people to join your organization, yet many organizations don’t design their recruitment strategies to showcase their engagement differentiators.
We help clients like Amazon reimagine recruitment by doing pop-up events in their targeted communities that give people a taste of what their organization values. Right off the bat, prospective employees get a feel for whether they like the experience.
To increase the diversity of the talent pool, we design different monthly themed pop-ups at different locations. Those that like the vibe of the events were drawn to keep talking; those that don’t will self-select out. This gives brands a stronger candidate pool from which to select their future employees.
Treat your onboarding program as an immersive experience to showcase your culture. When Panera Bread asked us to move the onboarding experience out of the “boardroom” (a corporate slide-ware intensive classroom) and into the “dining room” (in-market location restaurant hubs).
All PowerPoint slides were banished in favor of interacting directly with the customers as part of the training process with a breaking bread ceremony as a final graduation shared moment.
Devise experiences for employees to learn, stretch and grow in the way they want to learn, stretch, and grow. We helped our local client Caleres reimagine engagement experiences to announce a strategy shift.
To break from their tradition of top-down “trickle-down” messaging, we designed mini town halls with the aim of demystifying the C-suite and bringing fun into the fashion brand.
Messages were carried forward through e-messaging channels, a customized app to share experiences in the “mobile-moment” and face to face laboratory work where cross-functional teams workshopped a specific strategic initiative—giving voice to the front line.
As Albert Einstein famously said, “Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts.” In our work over the past 30+ years, we found that sometimes organizations are not measuring the right things when it comes to assessing engagement.
So we developed the EQ or Engagement Quotient which is used at the start and end of engagement campaigns to assess the value/ROI of the investment. EQ is used by clients like Butler Manufacturing to measure people’s belief shifts as well as what learning supported the shift.
Engagement and Motivation
Intentionally align employees’ work to the company’s vision and strategies to make an emotional connection to organizational purpose. We helped Southwest Airlines reimagine how to take a regular “opt-in” event that had declining participation and transform it into an immersive and fun experience that created lots of FOMO buzz.
We rebranded the event and changed the focus from a rigid cascading meeting to that of a celebration of culture anchored to company initiatives and fun, including an expanded after-party.
Through uniquely designed multi-channel communication campaigns, these events are now very well attended and followed by a more impactful organic post-buzz through shared stories.
People are more (and we would argue MOST) engaged when they feel valued and contributory. Advertising this appreciation often takes the form of recognition. But for it to be engaging for the recipient (and meaningful for future aspiring recipients), keep your recognition crisp, on pace and fun.
We helped Ulta Beauty reimagine their annual recognition program by increasing the pace, shortening the recognition scripts and bringing a high energy celebratory atmosphere through emotive videos to showcase top performers.
At its core, what brings about engagement—at any stage in the lifecycle—is creating experiences that improve or advance belief.
Let your employees have a voice in shaping your organizational strategy and direction. Be intentional in creating experiences where people believe that a shift in behavior is more beneficial than standing still.
Invest in unique experiences that leave employees believing that their engagement matters beyond the numbers. And when all employees are doing what they love in the best way possible, it’s then that you harness the true value of an engaged workforce. And that’s how you move the needle!
So, go ahead… Re-imagine!