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i4cp Research Isolates Six Key Employee Engagement Factors

Great employee engagement cures the inner circle problems in Prof. Croom's vicious cycle.

Great employee engagement cures the inner circle problems in Prof. Croom’s vicious cycle.

A recent study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) examined 26 (!) practices in the areas of staffing, learning/development and rewards and found that six rose to the top as areas of focus that can “stoke both higher levels of engagement and higher market performance.”*

A summary was shared through their e-newsletter, which we all get to read and about which we can comment. Let’s explore the top three on their list of six:

  • Use onboarding to assimilate new employees into the culture.
    Focus on engagement from day one. Practices include beginning engagement efforts in recruitment practices, assigning mentors to new-hires, and including family members in familiarization efforts.

We share this emphasis and embed it in our own work, so this makes complete sense to us, especially including family members. A job is the main time and energy “taker” in most of our lives, and our families get along better with its demands if they understand the source of those demands.

  • Conduct “stay interviews” as an alternative to exit interviews.
    Demonstrate to employees that they are valued now; exit interviews are too late. Discover what makes employees happy, productive and loyal through these discussions. Stay interviews also afford managers opportunities to open up dialogues to resolve minor issues so that they don’t become deal-breakers that lead to unwanted turnover.

If you want to call regular check-ins “stay interviews,” that’s fine. The point is, as a transformational leader your primary responsibility is raising the productivity of employees, and a key engagement building block is the regular meeting  with each employee to discuss how they are faring both professionally and personally, in their role. The critical success factor, however, is to develop a plan from those discussions to cure issues, and put that plan into action! Which leads us to the next i4cp success factor:

  • Personalize employee development through individual development plans.
    Keep employees growing with individual development plans that reflect their personal and professional goals. Leverage performance discussions with employees to encourage the furthering of learning and career interests.

We had a client just this month share their commitment to embedding forward-looking assessment tools to their manager’s tool kits: They are working to give each manager the flexibility to choose from a set of assessment methodologies to create a development action plan for each employee. Their mantra is that 70% of learning is on-the-job, 20% is through interaction with peers, executives and people working in other areas of the company. The final 10% is formal coursework. You can see that the plan put together by the boss and the employee is critical, because part of the 70% and much of the 20% must be orchestrated by the boss to give the employee access to those informal external experiences. Here’s another key: The boss must be trained to do this properly. This full engagement mindset does not appear magically the moment a person is promoted into a leadership role.

These top three stood out from the six for us, but stick around. Later in March we will explore the other three in greater depth.

What do you think? Is your organization making it easier to plan your own career/professional development within the organization? Are they giving bosses the opportunity to make employee development their primary goal, and the foundation of their own performance metrics? How has that been progressing? What areas of development remain unproductive?

*Members of i4cp can get the report here:  Six Talent Practices that Boost Engagement and Market Performance.

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