The Problem

$500 Billion Lost – Engagement  (Gallup)

Doug Conant, Former CEO of Campbell’s Soup – Asked employees what motivated them, wrote  10-20 personal notes six days a week (30,000+), and took engagement from 12% in 2002 to 68%  by 2009.

Check out the transcript from Doug Conant interviewed on Take the Lead with Dr. Diane Hamilton here.

Simon Brown, CLO of Novartis – “Learning hours were  correlated to engagement.”

Engagement is a huge issue for all organizations right now.  Developing engagement is not just about being more profitable, even though we know engaged teams show 21% greater profitability.  We know employees who feel their voice is heard feel more empowered and are more likely to recommend their workplace as somewhere others might want to work.  We hear so much about it because it is costing companies so much money.  If we are losing $500 billion a year, it is important to explore what others have done to improve engagement.  Again, we can gain a lot of ground by being curious and asking questions.

Consider how Disney overcame their problem with low engagement in their laundry division.  Not all that you see at Disneyland is glamorous. Just ask the people who work in the laundry.  Cleaning linens and ironing is not as exciting as it sounds. They found that they were losing a lot of people. In fact, the turnover was so high that they decided to send out a questionnaire to determine what kinds of things they could do to improve the job for their workers.

They expected to receive comments that were above and beyond what they had the desire and finances to accommodate, but in fact, they learned some small things were all that employees needed to become more engaged.  They asked them “what can we do to make your job better” and they received practical answers like ‘put an air vent over my workspace’ and ‘make my folding table adjustable for my height.’  They thought, yeah … we can do that.  So, they did and it dramatically improved engagement and turnover.  Just asking a simple question opened up a very important dialogue and led to effective solutions.

The Solution

  • Pepperdine research found curiosity can serve as a motivational engine for individuals to better understand, utilize, and build their competencies to more successfully navigate their work environment and contribute in meaningful ways to both the workplace and their communities beyond themselves.
  • Communicate, Listen, and Accept Feedback
  • Create Challenges, Demonstrate Trust, and Consider Emotions
  • Treat Employees Like Customers