Employee Engagement, Part 2- Written by Senior Customer Service Consultant Dave Murray
If you recall, in Employee Engagement Part 1, we focused on a Harvard Business Review post written by Rob Markey. In the post, “The Four Secrets to Employee Engagement,” Markey focuses on some recent findings from a Bain and Company study conducted across the globe. The purpose of today’s article is to focus on one of the solutions the Bain and Co. study identified, and to discuss a little further.
Supervisors are the key – One of the big takeaways from the study was that supervisors lead the engagement charge, not the human resources department. When reading this result, I immediately thought of a great piece of data that we at The DiJulius Group use when working on Commandment II, World Class Internal Culture, with our clients. This data was uncovered by The Hay Group and Gallup, and reported by The Blanchard Companies in The Retention Challenge…
“The single most important determinant of an individual’s
performance and commitment to stay with the organization is the
relationship with his or her immediate manager. People leave their
manager far more often than they leave the organization.”
I think this is such important information that is too often overlooked. Think about your own organization for a moment. How often do employees get promoted to a supervisory role simply because they performed the job function well? All of the time, right? Well, I agree that performing the job well is an important piece of the puzzle. All too often, that is the only determining factor considered. Does the candidate relate well with others? Do they know how to build and cultivate relationships? Are they able to hold candid conversations with people that may have once been peers? Do they know the importance of leading by example?
Typically, the answer is no. Instead, the newly promoted supervisors often resorts to making their presence felt by finding as many flaws and mistakes as possible. In order to demonstrate their newly found power, write-ups and negative reinforcement abound. The initial, short-term results can be seen as a tightening-up of what had become a loosely run operation. Sometimes this may be true, but all too often, this behavior is causing severe long-term damage to a department.
While discipline and accountability are vital to the success of any organization, they must co-exist with relationship building and positive reinforcement. A great exercise we utilize with Clients at The DiJulius Group is the F.O.R.D. challenge. FORD is an acronym that stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams. I suggest you try this with you supervisory team to get a baseline of where you stand.
The exercise is simple: Have your supervisors write down the names of five employees that report to them. Then, ask them to write down five pieces of FORD on each. This information is key to gather and utilize when building a relationship with anyone… Customers, employees, etc. One slight change occurs when gathering FORD on employees. We obviously already know where they work and what they do, but do we know where they want to go? Do we know what position or department they are working toward joining? As a supervisor or manager, this information is vital to the relationship.
Back to the exercise. Have each supervisor write down five pieces of FORD on the five employees they have selected. If they nail it on all five, that is great news. Typically, the first one or two employees can be somewhat easy, but this exercise can become very difficult very quickly. It can open the eyes of managers and supervisors to the fact that they know very little about the people they rely on daily. It creates an opportunity for growth and development that will not only help your employees, but ultimately your Customers as well!
I encourage you to try this exercise and determine your internal FORD baseline, and I would love to hear your results!