How are today’s executives actively engaging with their workforce? On Wednesday, October 24, 2018, Webolutions invited local executives for networking and to explore how local business are increasing profits through a more engaged workforce.

To kick off the conversation, Webolutions presented attendees with these compelling work-engagement stats:

  1. 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work
  2. 89% of employers think their people leave for more money
  3. 12% of employees actually leave for more money
  4. 40% of the workforce knows about their company’s goals, strategies and tactics
  5. Organizations with highly engaged employees had an average 3-year revenue growth 2.3 times greater than companies whose employees were only engaged at an average level.

Increasing Employee Engagement

An engaged workforce is a profitable workforce. Nearly all attendees agreed with that statement and offered suggestions on boosting engagement at company-wide events and meetings. Many executives agreed that having a staff of colleagues — not co-workers — benefits the organization by having their engagement tie to the company vision, purpose and mission. Leaders offered suggestions for keeping an engaged workforce with consistent events, including monthly birthday parties, step-tracking challenges and Thursday afternoon happy hours.

One executive, who runs a non-profit in Denver, highlighted the organization’s daily meeting where at 9 a.m. each weekday, colleagues gather in a circle and present their:

  • Ripples: A concern or problem that’s on one’s mind that they can freely present to all gathered in the circle.
  • Joys: What they’re looking forward to that day
  • Appreciations: An expression of gratitude.

In addition to planned office outings and employee/team bonding, leaders offered suggestions for increasing engagement in day-to-day business meetings. Hint: It all starts with communication, and then more communication! “Over-communicate with clarity in a company meeting,” said one executive. For example, one executive said he and his team aim to be transparent with his staff on company feedback and financials. Another attendee recommended that all present in the meetings freely present ideas without any judgement or hesitation. Many agreed that when employees communicate and engaged in either meetings or outings, they play an active part in benefiting the company.

Setting the Tone

Many executives agree that when it comes to finding the right employee fit for company culture and morale, it begins in the interview process. One executive has mandated that staff ask at least one or two questions about he employee’s personality during an interview, including passions, interests and needs. The key question to ask yourself before considering a candidate during the interview process, an attendee said, is “Are you hiring for the job or are you hiring for the mission?” When an employee or candidate matches the vision and mission of the company, the more inherent it is for a person to be engaged and productive.

Productivity and engagement are so interconnected that one executive mentioned a study where the most engaged employee is 3 times to 5 times more likely to be productive than the most non-engaged employee. Regarding company-wide studies of productivity, an attendee mentioned a bell-curve report that 12% of employees are highly engaged, 12% are minimially engaged and 76% range from slightly engaged to highly engaged.

While it’s important to track employees’ willingness to engage in company values and productivity, it’s equally important to purge those from the workforce who are uninterested and lack intrinsic motivation. For example, executives mentioned that Amazon and Zappos will pay up to $5,000 for an employee to resign if he or she is “actively disengaged,” as one executive mentioned.

Diversity and Inclusion

These two terms are more than buzzwords in the workplace; it is the foundation of how employees become engaged in the workplace culture. “Culture is lowest level you are willing to tolerate,” said one executive, mentioning that if an employee does not fit into the company vision, the employee could hinder productivity, feel disconnected from their roles and responsibilities and lose interest in the company. How do you avoid that feeling of employee disconnection? One executive said there are five components to engage employees:

  1. Know them
  2. Grow them
  3. Inspire them
  4. Involve them
  5. Reward them

In addition to fitting in with the company culture, many employees noticed that the lower tenure equals lower engagement. Today, workplaces can have up to four generations of employees in the company, and it’s vital to keep them engaged in their work. “We all aspire to have a connection to something greater than us,” said one executive. “Sometimes you have to buy in and make them feel a part of something bigger.” As executives discussed what makes a profitable workplace, many were wrestling with the concept of which is more important: diversity or inclusion. “Diversity is the ingredients, and inclusion is the recipe,” said one executive, mentioning that having employees be part of something bigger than they are in the company will inspire a unique culture for the organization.One attendee echoed the importance of inclusion and how being included in the workforce inspired him to be “fiercely loyal” to his colleagues and work.

The Next Steps with Engagement

The discussion closed with the fact that there is no “magic formula” to keep employees engaged. Each company has its own sets of values, and when executives see their staff as colleagues vs. co-workers, engagement is alive in the organization. “It’s not about the bricks but about the mortar,” said one executive, highlighting that when a company hires based on skillset and people skills, the more that employee will be the right fit.

Do you have tips on keeping your employees engaged? We’d love to hear them. Send them to [email protected] or call us at 303-300-2640.

Do you know executives who would be a positive addition to our Executive Roundtables? Please refer them to Mike Hanbery, Webolutions, at 303-300-2640 or [email protected].