When it comes to running a business, an entrepreneur has a lot on their plate. You might become so preoccupied with the technical details that you overlook the most crucial aspect of your company: its people. Employees need a supportive environment to deliver high-quality outputs; otherwise, productivity and quality may suffer, and you may end up with additional unnecessary costs than you can bear.
Etienne Morris is a co-founder and partner of The Engagement Collective, which assists companies in cultivating a fully engaged workforce. Based on Etienne's CEO journey, here are some of her insights on improving employee performance and increasing revenue by making a lasting impact on their happiness and fulfillment.
Employee engagement refers to the discretionary effort people put into their work. The following are necessary elements for people to be engaged in their work:
Values and skills alignment
Opportunity for growth
Leaders should focus on ability, aspiration, and engagement to create strong employee engagement. You can address it either from a top-down approach to get company leaders to create an environment conducive to employee engagement or from a bottom-up approach by working with each employee.
As Etienne observed, "I think most companies, if they are tackling engagement, they are tackling it on one front at a time—one little piece or component at a time. The problem is it's multifaceted and it's an interweb of causes and effects, so the structure that I came up with addresses it holistically."
Outsourcing and Recruiting
When outsourcing, business owners must ensure value alignment with the vendors they vet. There are two things to consider to guarantee that leadership is onboard even if you outsource hiring:
Foster a patient, trusting, curious, and caring relationship between the hiring manager and the HR professional in charge of recruitment.
Encourage everyone to participate in solving the problem to arrive at a better outcome.
A company benefits from the top-down approach because it saves the CFO a percentage of employee salary that would otherwise be spent on workforce disengagement.
As Etienne puts it, "When you increase engagement, people are happier and the company makes and saves a huge amount of money."
If you opt for the bottom-up approach, each employee has a coach. Essentially, a coach must be able to guide the employees in:
Recognizing their strengths
Learning about their flow state and how to get there
Reflecting on their personal and team relationships.
Understanding their values and how it aligns with their work
Reconnecting with their skills and experiences
Leveraging any of the six programs within The Engagement Collective
Coaching helps employees better understand themselves and align with your company's mission. With the bottom-up approach, you can make employees feel seen and heard. Keep in mind that companies need to treat their employees as humans, not just resources or costs. Show that you care for them.
Etienne believes that actual change comes from within and that strengths-based coaching can help people achieve it.
"The inside out work is what that employee does with the coach and the learnings that the employee discovers about themselves—the opportunities that they get to discover about themselves. That happens through the guided introspection with a coach, and it also happens as they live and experience the various programming. That's going to change people, like, that's going to intrinsically change people's outlook. "
Reach, Spark, and Ally
Reach, Spark, and Ally are three of the six core programs within The Engagement Collective. When taken together, you can address all the components affecting engagement.
This program involves creating space for employees to explore other skills and roles within the company's context.
For example, with the leader's permission, a customer service representative interested in AutoCAD can work on an engineering project as a junior designer in a solar company.
This program supports employees in pursuing other activities that might strengthen their skills, fulfillment, or engagement.
For instance, a shy sales coordinator is given a couple of hours per week to take singing lessons, which she is excited to do. Although it may appear unrelated to the business, the outcome is a happier employee who is more confident in their job responsibilities.
This program is regarding mentorship, where leadership is interested in employees' careers and lives. It's called "Ally" because it applies across the organization, even to CEOs and C-suite executives.
"If you've got somebody that's above you in position, whether it's inside your department or outside of your department, who is taking an interest in your career and your life, it is proven time and time and time again that when somebody in your job is taking an interest in what you do, that it greatly increases your engagement with with your work."
Metrics in Employee Engagement
As a business owner, you may be wondering how to measure engagement, which is not the same as profit in terms of numbers.The two metrics you can track to give you an idea of your employee engagement are:
1. What You Can Observe, such as:
Lack of participation
2. Key Business Indicators:
You can tell how engaged your employees are by watching these key indicators move up and down. Surveying is also a great tool to use to track employee engagement. But keep Etienne's words in mind when you are surveying:
“You can’t get too survey crazy and, also, you don’t want to do surveys if you’re not going to do anything about it. By conducting surveys and not doing anything about them, it actually reduces engagement, so you’re making the problem worse.”
Building a Happy, Engaged Team
The success of a company is determined by the people who work there. To build a happy, engaged team, a business owner must have the following three things:
Communication and supporting managers to communicate properly
Connection or values and skills alignment, and treating employees as humans
Opportunities to grow, such as providing skills development and career pathing
If you’re not happy at work, figure out what you love doing, the kind that makes time feel like it’s flying by. Then, try to create a job where you’re doing that specific thing at least 20% of the time. Etienne says:
“Studies indicate that just at 20% You can be happy and engaged at work.”
Learn more about Etienne and The Engagement Collective. Get to know why they are doing what they are doing on LinkedIn.
If you want to grow your team to take your business to the next level, a CFO can help you figure out your next best move. Learn how to price fairly yet competitively and maximize your profits while also keeping employees satisfied. Schedule a discovery call with Profit Reimagined™ to help you cover your foundations and deepen your understanding of these concepts.