Backcountry Trail Signs

One more poster in the lobby isn’t going to change employee engagment

I was thinking about a couple of my favorite quotes and how they might apply to employee engagement and productivity.

“The main difference between an average adult and a high-level athlete isn’t a lack of talent or willpower but rather a lack of a system.”

“Nothing will change unless you make a daily ritual that reinforces your goal.”

20 years of productivity tools, technology and promises, yet a recent Gallup Poll says employee engagement has been flat since the year 2000.  The same poll says that only 32% of employees are engaged, 50% not engaged and the rest actively disengaged.  We are paying 70% of our workforce who don’t care about the mission and goals of the company.

We don’t need another mission poster posted, tool, technology or ROI study, we need change.  Change that can happen with daily rituals and systems.

Systems

  • Give employees access to the scorecards, dashboard and metrics that matter to the company. Post these on the fridge in the break room or create a website but make them dynamic, accurate and available not some slogan with a pretty picture.
  • Match the technology system to the team. We need people’s attention to what matters most. It’s not email vs messaging, there will be 132 billion emails sent and received per day by the end of 2017, we don’t succeed by replacing them with 132 billion chat messages.  Email, Team Tools, Social Collaboration, they each have their place.
  • What gets measured, gets done. Put some measurements/analytics in place to gauge the effectiveness of our tools and teams… if something not’s working, change.  Even if it’s one person at a time, we must focus on how to engage each employee, but so often we don’t have metrics to measure this engagement.

Daily Rituals

  • Review company metrics daily, reinforce how each person’s work influences these metrics.
  • Create a sense of comradery by daily connection – employees see themselves as part of a team that works to achieve common goals. They feel that their efforts provide real value to their organization’s overall mission.
  • Review effectiveness of communication and collaboration systems daily and course correct as necessary.

Finally,

We sometimes think a poster in the lobby about the company mission or values will drive culture change and engagement. Yet, this is the same approach that I see the mountain bike trail I ride the most, over time sign after sign has gone up.  The signs haven’t resulted in change as much as how the community has come together both online and in person to care about the trails.  The system is now to post the status and updates to the trails in a common place online and the daily ritual is people to people discussing trail topics like if they are too muddy in person and make each other aware of the online systems.
More signs won’t change our behavior, either on the trail, in the lobby but systems and rituals will.

Backcountry Trail Signs

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