Disengaged Employees cost you US$2246 per employee every year

Profitability drives the actions of all organisation, even not for profits as they at least need to break even, as such senior leadership teams are constantly reviewing regular reports on the health of their organisation through financial, operational and people metrics. Unfortunately a majority of these metrics are looking backward at what took place during the last month, quarter or year.

Especially when you start looking at metrics such as Employee Engagement/Satisfaction which usually result out of an annual survey. Following the actual survey period is at least a month of analysis after which the result are usually distributed back to managers over a period of weeks if not months. Afterwards the long drawn out process of implementing the recommendations takes place. This can actually disengage employees as they do not see positive outcomes from the survey for many months.

At best organisations will have engagement figures that are only 90 days old, at worse over 12 months, resulting in executives using a historical view on the “health” of their largest expense for decision making.

Over the last few years serious financially based research has been taking place around how employee engagement impacts organisational financial performance. Alex Edmans’ most recent findings are:

Companies listed on the “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” generated 2.3% to 3.8% higher stock returns per year than their peers from 1984 through 2011.

Leading expert on employee engagement David Zinger provided an interesting fact; a disengaged employee is actually costing you US$2,246 per year. David’s source as a lovely infograph created by ADP in the US based several different bodies of research. Some other facts from the infograph include:

  • 67% of employees are not engaged, this is less than Australian estimates of around 80% not engaged
  • 49% of employees feel their executive do not create an environment that drive engagement
  • Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave
  • Removing roadblocks and access to resources can improve employee performance by 25%

It is research like Alex Edmans and figures like the type from the ADP infograph that make it not surprise that switched on organisations take this seriously and are finding year old data on engagement just not “cutting the mustard”. Really switch on ones are doing something about it like Atlassian’s Mood App.

4 years on some thoughts

I was have a chat with an old colleague this afternoon and we were discussing where social media has gone in the last few years, specifically around recruitment.

Which got me thinking. You know where has social media gone? This then took me back in time to some of the crazy ideas I had about what one could achieve with social media, specifically inside the enterprise.

About 4 years ago I published a list of 52 Social Media ideas for HR, at the time I had not seen a single consolidated list of ideas documenting the various ways these tools could help transform an organisation and its business practices. Now some of the ideas (and sites mentioned) are not relevant or the benefit just not lived up to the hype. However other ideas, actually more the philosophy of the idea, I firmly believe are still important to engagement of your current and future employees.

For example allowing your employees to engage in frank, open, constructive discussions internally, leveraging your workforce for referrals, focusing on “headcontent” not headcount, are all still as relevant as they were 4 years ago and I suspect will be relevant in 5-10 more years.

I am interested and if I find the time I might start a research project to find examples of all 52 ideas to see if anyone actually implemented any of these “crazy” ideas! I  know some organisations have implemented similar concepts as I discussed which is not surprising as most people floating around the social media circles at the time would have come to the same conclusions.

But these are just my thoughts, you might disagree, let me know especially if your organisation has implemented a similar idea.

ATC Social Media Presentation

Here is my presentation from the ATC Social Media event. My main messages that I hope people took away were:

  • Using social media for marketing is ok, but engagement and community is better
  • Engagement and community is harder than just a Twitter account or Facebook
  • Social Media is not easy, nor is it free
  • True engagement with social media is about people conversing with people, not brands servicing people
  • CFO’s like to talk about dollars

Employee Engagement and Social Media

Over the last 2 weeks I have been giving a series of presentations looking at how social media (and Enterprise 2.0) can drive employee engagement. While the slides are available on slideshare for download I wanted to give a bit of context.

As part of preparing the presentation I came across a presentation by Susan Scrupski from Soco Partners (I also lifted several other ideas from one of her presentations to the 2.0 Adoption Council, thanks Susan!), where Susan introduced the concept of 2.0 Zen:

  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Authenticity
  • Transparency

This struck a chord with me. If someone had asked me to describe good social media these are the words I would have used. But I started looking at this a little further, from an HR point of view, and from my research on engagement. I have found five general attributes that enable employees to feel valued and therefore engaged:

  • Involvement in decision making
  • Feel they are able to voice their ideas, & managers listen to these views
  • Have line of sight between employee performance & company performance
  • They have career development
  • When the organisation is concerned for employees’ health & wellbeing

While looking at this it occurred to me that an organisation that had a highly engaged workforce exhibited the same attributes as Susan’s 2.0 Zen:

  • Collaboration
  • Trust
  • Authenticity
  • Transparency

From this I built the rest of the presentation, which you can find below.

How to Motivate Employees to Succeed

This guest post is contributed by Melissa Tamura.

Every employer wants to get the most productivity from their employees. If you push too hard, though, you risk making employees unhappy, causing unwelcome turnover and costing you money. So the question remains, how do you motivate your employees to work their best?

Praise

Employers are often amazed how well this one little trick, which costs nothing, can so strongly motivate employee behavior. Bosses often think that their employees are only motivated by money, but the truth is, employees want to like their jobs. They want to like their bosses and the companies for whom they work. This can be a huge leverage for employers, especially in tough economic times when money just isn’t there for performance bonuses.

Every employee performance review should highlight two or three positive aspects of the person’s performance for every negative aspect. Show appreciation for the work the person does for you every day while asking for better performance in certain areas. Don’t make performance review time something to be dreaded, but rather something the employee looks forward to.

Make the employee newsletter a chance to praise and highlight high performing, rank and file employees. Institute “Employee of the Month” or even week programs. Rewards can be as simple as a preferred parking spot, but it’s the recognition that will gain you loyal employees.

Talk to Your Employees

Something as small as time spent with company management can help motivate employees. Have a weekly brown bag session with randomly selected employees. Allow them to give feedback and feel like their voices are heard. Let them ask questions, and answer those questions seriously.

Take time to walk through your production areas, greeting employees and chatting for a moment. If your production is industrial, then do this in the lunchroom. Better yet, eat in the lunch room once or twice a week. Be present to your employees. The more you show that you care for your employees, the more your employees will care about you and your bottom line.

Invest Employees in the Bottom Line

Many companies have a performance bonus plan, but it’s often limited to management. Why not provide performance bonuses to all employees, at least at some level. Employees will be more conscious of the bottom line if they have some stake in the company’s quarterly and annual outcome. Watching waste in the little things can add up to big numbers at the end of the year. Finding ways to streamline production, save steps, or use less can have a big impact. If every employee is invested in finding ways to make the company more profitable, instead of just management, your company can make a big turnaround.

Provide Careers, Not Just a Job

Providing opportunities to grow in their career is a great motivation for many employees. Have plans in place for a career path for your employees. Talk to them about what is required to grow from one level to the next. Help provide training for those who with to move up in the company. Whether it’s sending your assistant to a yearly professional conference or having a tuition reimbursement plan, helping your employees’ careers helps you in the long run.

Remember, employees are not just motivated by money. They spend almost half of their waking time working for you. They want to feel like that time is an investment, not just a necessary evil needed to pay the rent. Employees want to enjoy their work and their work environment. They want to feel good about their work and the company they work for. Filling these needs can go a long way to motivating long term, loyal, and productive employees.

How engaged are your employees??

Last night I had the privilege  to see François-Frédéric Guy perform in his Sydney debut as part of the Sydney Symphony’s International Pianists in Recital Series. François-Frédéric performed three Chopin and three Beethoven pieces to a packed crowd of piano lovers. In particular he performed:

CHOPIN 
Nocturne in C minor, Op.48 No.1 
Nocturne in E, Op.62 No.2 
Polonaise-fantaisie, Op.61 
BEETHOVEN 
Sonata No.31 in A flat, Op.110 
‘Tempest’ Sonata, Op.31 No.2 
‘Moonlight’ Sonata, Op.27 No.2

I was lucky enough to be in the front row, just out of hand sight but still awesome seats, essentially I was able to get up close and personal with François-Frédéric during his performance. I could see the emotion in his body, the sweat dripping from his face, the frantic movement of the pedals and hammers in the amazing Steinway concert grand. The music was awe inspiring.FRANCOIS-FREDERIC GUY

In recognition of how much he had put into his performance the audience responded with round after round of applause, resulting in 2 encore performances.

I could not help but reflect on how engaged François-Frédéric was; the emotion, the love, the sweat he poured into his work, and how if organisation could replicate this then they would succeed beyond the expectations of any board directors or group of shareholders.

Each note he played must of been practiced thousands and thousands of times. But every note he played had passion and feeling to ensure that his customers had the best possible experience he could deliver.

Now he was not perfect, he made several errors most undetectable to to the average listener but they were there. However none of the experts (my mother is a piano teacher and musical educator) in the auditorium said anything, they all came back from the interval and continued to enjoy the performance.

So let’s contrast this with the average companies talent management practices. How many organisation’s employees are so engaged that they would give everything into every single transaction they perform? How many managers would still provide a stand ovation to their employees for a fantastic job, even if there were a few hiccups along the way? How many organisations would give prizes (François-Frédéric received flowers) every time an employee completes their daily job?

All of these things took place last night during François-Frédéric’s performance.

So I ask what are you doing to make your employees want to work as tirelessly to succeed as François-Frédéric did? What are you doing to have policies and procedures to enable such a performer? How can your performance review processes be enhanced so that a meaningful standing ovation can be provided for outstanding work?

Finally how are you providing a meaningful and supportive environment?

What do executives in Australia want?

On Monday my colleague Philip Tusing, co-author of the Sources of Talent Report, released his latest report, Executive Monitor. An eye opening look at what 1,332 executives are thinking in Australia about all sorts of different topics from compensation, education, recruiters and personal branding.

Philip gives a great run down on the key findings on his site, so go read them there as I do not plan to reproduce them here. Instead I wanted to look at what the results mean to me.

I see the key issues from the report being how do employers keep their senior employees both engaged, motivated and working towards the goals of the organisation, instead of just their own personal goals.

Another message from the report I found was that Australian executives are motivated primarily by money and their own success. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, and nor is it limited just to the executive ranks, I think some of the key findings show us a fairly dangerous future.

The number one trigger for a change in job is not growth, development, experience, cultural fit or anything that a majority of HR interventions focus on it is money at 30%. With almost 80% of these employees expecting yearly pay rises between 6 – 10%, way above inflation, and almost 70% see salary as the primary reason to do a good job.

Further concerns are found in the expectations and intentions of these executives. Work life balance while a stated value by the survey respondents was not a primary driving factor when undertaking a job search, money was still number one. All is not good on the branding side either with 90% of executives felt that personal branding was more important than developing that of their employers.

So where do I think this leaves HR? With massive opportunity.

What are your thoughts?

Australian Vendor PeopleStreme – 30% increase in Revenue

Many companies during the last 12 months have experienced either a reduction or at best no growth in revenue, not local vendor PeopleStreme . PeopleStreme, who sell talent management solutions recorded a 30% increase in revenue.

According to Lyle Potgieter CEO of PeopleStreme:

“Organisations have got two problems, the first being getting their people productive, the second looking after their top talent. Both needs require systems and know how and industrial age paper shuffling systems don’t cut it anymore.”

These challenges have fueling their growth over the last 12 months and I would suspect this growth will continue into the next year or so.

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours with Lyle and his Principal Software Architect Dale Smalley to review their product line. Overall PeopleStreme provide a comprehensive, fully integrated, toolset for the management of people within your organisation. Their product line covers:

  • Talent Management
  • Performance Management
  • Recruitment Software and Applicant Tracking
  • Employee Engagement Survey
  • Workforce Planning
  • Employee Recognition
  • Exit Survey
  • eLearning Management
  • Succession Planning
  • Organisation Charting
  • Position Description Software
  • Human Resources Metrics

They also happen to have based a vast majority of the product features on their research work that they undertake jointly with the Performance Management Institute, RMIT and La Trobe University.

PeopleStreme also happen to be the producers of some of the recent videos over on Inspecht TV.

Leaders are temporary

WOWA couple of years ago the Collab@Work blog wrote a very interesting article on how leadership in MMORPG’s, such as World of Warcraft is temporary. They provided reasons why in these MMORPG’s it makes sense to have temporary leaders:

In those games, leadership is a temporary position. At one point in time, you’re leading, the week after you’re following another leader. Reasons vary: too much pressure, less availability, someone else better suited for the job at hand, …

Unfortunately they highlighted that in traditional business leadership is virtually never temporary. Over the last couple of years the growth in this idea around temporary leadership in the way many small business collaboratively work together, especially when it comes to businesses based around the web. I would say that this is in part due to the fact that people in small business are very engaged in what they do, otherwise they would go out of business. Engagement is a key attribute required for temporary leadership to work.

Temporary leadership has many benefits again to quote Collab@Work:

  • having been a leader makes you a better follower. You understand better what the leader is trying to achieve
  • being a follower makes you a better leader. Your experience as a follower is still recent
  • from an organizational perspective, you can “test” more leaders including the ones that wouldn’t have been considered. That can dramatically increase your leadership bench, and see who are the best leaders rather than the best leader potentials.

The post was based on a HBR article from May 2008 which pointed out that  in today’s business:

A lot of work will be done by global teams—partly composed of people from outside the institution, over whom a leader has no formal authority—that are assembled for a single project and then disbanded. Collaboration within these geographically diverse groups will, by necessity, occur mainly through digital rather than face-to-face interaction.

Sounds like an MMORPG to me.  For example it makes sense that people who can successfully execute a 6 hour raid with 50 guild members based in 10 countries is developing the right skills needed for business in the future. They are also learning how to effectively leverage all of the social technologies we have available.

So as both articles say do not necessarily dismiss the hours spent by your children or friends on these games, they may in fact be learning the critical skills to be the next world leaders.

Using Video within your HR Processes

video_icon_full

Yesterday afternoon I sat in to listen Bill Boorman‘s Downunder Recruiting show where the discussion was on video, an interesting topic. I am very interested in video within a talent acquisition strategy as this has been a topic for many many years and I am glad to see people are starting to move away from the “Video Resume” as quite frankly that is probably the worse use case for video.

Before we go too much further we need to see video as just another form of content, it just happens to have audio and moving images. This is the key as I see people get stuck with video as just a method for having a talking head, video today can be far more than that.

However for all it’s benefits there is still a low take up of video, especially in Australia. One reason I believe we have not seen a broader take up of video is it is still a fairly hard technology to master both functionally and technically.

Another barrier I see is performance. This is a big issue in Australia, where we are ranked about 42nd on performance for brandband downloads and 72nd for uploads. This can mean it will take hours to upload a large video to your hosting provider and when people are watching your carefully crafted message it keeps stopping due to caching issues.

Technical Mastery

The first challenge is you need to produce good quality audio and images. Many people are uncomfortable with having their voice recorded, let alone appearing on video. Once these hurdles are overcome, a good quality script and plan needs to be prepared.  One aspect often over looked is the location needs to be right, lighting, background images and noise are all aspects to consider.

Then there are the technical aspects, starting with video capture, while webcams are very popular they generally do not produce good quality video, and they are also difficult to move around. But webcams are a great tools for interactive video, such as Skype. Don’t forget you still need to think about composition aspects, what will the other person see in the background of your image?

If you are producing a video for others to watch at a later time your jobs just got a lot harder.

After the captured of the video editing can be a challenge. You need software, which under Windows is a problem (yes Mac OS X users have a much better time here), yes there are open source products but to get that truely polished look you need to purchase software. Then actually rendering of any video beyond 3 – 5 minutes takes a lot of CPU processing power. A high quality video also takes up disk space, think 100MB per minute at standard definition with even more when you go high definition.

Once you have produced your video where do you host it? There are many public services for example is YouTube right you can only host 10 minutes and you have limited controls over security. Vimeo is another service that allows hosting, and for a fee you can control exactly who has access to the video, however the terms of service limit commercial usage. If you want your video to be viewable on mobile phones then things become even more complex as flash, the typical delivery method, has limited penetration on mobile devices.

Internal communications also need an environment to deliver the video, do not underestimate this otherwise your IT team will not be happy with you.  These tools need to be set up before you can begin to use video.

Ok with the negative aspects is video still worth getting involved in? Yes!

Potential Video Usage

Below is a short listing of where you can use video within your HR processes.

  1. Employer branding
  2. Attraction
  3. Training
  4. Employee communications
  5. Job advertisement
  6. Job interviews, with Skype or similar
  7. Candidate videos
  8. Anywhere where audio and images would enhance the message

Video Examples

Job Advertising

A recent job advert video from Australian company Noble Samurai looking for a new Agile Development Lead. During this 4 minute 40 seconds production you get to understand what the roles is about, who you would be working with, the working environment and culture.

The video starts with an interview with the CEO covering some of the things they are looking for. Followed by quick review of the office and some introduction to some of the team. While there are a couple of composition issues but generally the quality is very good.

Branding/Attraction/Employee Communications

Another good example is actually a excellent example on the use of social media in general, ASDA’s The Green Room. The site integrates all sorts of content, but the item I want to highlight is a recent message from the CEO to their employees.

Good practices in using video

Like all of this social media “stuff” quality content is critical. You need to add value to viewers otherwise they will turn off. If you are using video as part of your attraction process, make it real, keep things honest but professional. Keep the video focused, engaging and overall fun. Here are my top 10 production tips:

  1. Spend time planning up front
  2. Tell a story
  3. Have a good microphone
  4. Think about lighting and background composition
  5. Plan your delivery methods
  6. When capturing the video try not to pan too much or too fast
  7. Also limit you use of the zoom
  8. Use a tripod when shooting (whenever practical)
  9. Shoot from different angles, use multiple cameras
  10. Include lots of wide angle shots

Also have a look at Justin Hillier’s views on video.