EP 39: How to Boost Employee Engagement with Traci Scherck

How to Boost Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to their organization, and are willing to go the extra mile within their positions. But how do we ensure individuals are engaged? In this episode, I will be diving into this topic, focusing on how engagement impacts performance and how to identify whether our teams are as engaged as possible.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode

  • How to identify where the problem is within an organization.  (2:30)
  • The right questions to ask when diagnosing organizational change. (6:35)
  • How to ensure you are aligning your staff with what matters inside of your organization. (9:15)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals

  • Listen to your employees and analyze the evidence. (17:13)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives

  • Conduct surveys so you can diagnose any issues. (18:27)

Ideas Worth Sharing

“Every business problem is a people problem.” - Traci Scherck Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Engagement what exactly is employee engagement and when we look at engagement engagement is essentially.

Traci Scherck: An agreement to do something or go somewhere out of fixed time right, that is the definition of engagement and when we look at employee engagement.

Traci Scherck: Employee engagement is about our employees agreeing to be involved in and I like to say woven into the tapestry of the organization right.

Traci Scherck: And so welcome to talent optimization my name is Tracy Scherck and I am the chief talent officer here at elevated talent consulting.

Traci Scherck: And today we’re going to be talking about employee engagement, how do we know if individuals are engaged.

Traci Scherck: And when we look at engagement we’re also going to take a strong look at performance and what How does performance impact.

Traci Scherck: The level of engagement and how does performance impact individuals thoughts about what they’re doing inside of an organization.

Traci Scherck: And that really brings us to what tools do we have to take a look at what’s going well what’s not going well.

Traci Scherck: In many organizations, we have key metrics that we’re looking at the biggest metric that we have is what are those.

Traci Scherck: organizational results that we’re looking to hit by the end of the year or the end of the quarter right.

Traci Scherck: These are typically revenue numbers, these are typically sales numbers, the you know there’s a number of key items here, these could be.

Traci Scherck: Production numbers these could be development numbers developing programs, etc, so when we look at what are those organizational goals.

Traci Scherck: In are we meeting them or not there’s a lot of factors that go into that some are processes some our employee focused right but guess what.

Traci Scherck: Every business problem is a people problem and we like to diagnose what specifically happening in our organization and how that leads back to how engaged are employees are and we’re specifically those key potential issues and.

Traci Scherck: Right spots are so often, when we think of diagnosing we’re just thinking of the negative, but so often, when we diagnose we’re also finding all the things that are right.

Traci Scherck: In good and guess what we want to celebrate those amazing things that are going well, so what’s the definition of diagnose according to Meriam right.

Traci Scherck: And it is identify the nature by examining the symptoms, so when we conduct pulse checks inside of our organization or when we conduct specifically.

Traci Scherck: Employee engagement surveys really what we’re doing is we’re figuring out, what are the symptoms that are happening based on individuals feelings.

Traci Scherck: Based on their perception of what specifically going on, and I want to start today talking about.

Traci Scherck: A story, and this actually comes from a Harvard Business Review article called employee surveys are still one of the best ways to measure engagement right.

Traci Scherck: And what this is specifically looking at is what happened at Facebook.

Traci Scherck: And what we know is that surveys, are an amazing predictor of behavior because by simply asking the question it tells individuals that you’re curious.

Traci Scherck: And that you’re listening, or at least we hope you are right, we don’t want to ever do a survey, with no intention of follow up because that can do more harm than good.

Traci Scherck: But what surveys do is they give employees a chance to feel heard.

Traci Scherck: And it allows us to know what specifically going on and here’s what Facebook found they found that people who don’t fill out.

Traci Scherck: Either of their to annual surveys are 2.6 times more likely to leave the organization in six months.

Traci Scherck: that’s pretty telling just knowing who’s taking the survey tells us their engagement.

Traci Scherck: that’s all you know that right there tells you so much are they engaged or not, because they’re taking the survey or not now granted.

Traci Scherck: There are, at times, other things that go into a survey, I will say with my clients i’ve had organizations, where there’s a lack of trust and leadership and a fear of retaliation from taking the survey.

Traci Scherck: So as elevated talent consulting we went in and as a third party we were the ones who conducted those surveys and then shared information back with those organizations anonymously right.

Traci Scherck: So again, you need to understand what’s the context but that specific number of those who did not take the survey were 2.6 times more likely to leave the organization and six months it’s pretty significant.

Traci Scherck: And here’s The other thing i’m you know, knowing that an organization’s not going to duck every idea and employee comes up with on the survey.

Traci Scherck: But when we do do surveys, we want to be able to communicate afterwards here’s what we heard.

Traci Scherck: You know what we may need to do a little bit more and let’s do some staff chats let’s do some fireside chats let’s do some things to really gain some more information and determine what’s really happening with us.

Traci Scherck: And then from there, we can start to make some of those key decisions now again surveys, are an amazing vehicle for changing behavior.

Traci Scherck: And when we ask individuals what their input or insights are just that question of hey what’s going on what’s an insight that you have.

Traci Scherck: That increases their likelihood that they’re going to do that thing so, for example, this is another example from Facebook.

Traci Scherck: And they asked individuals if they would like to volunteer three hours for the American cancer society.

Traci Scherck: Volunteering rates spiked from 4% to 31% so for my nonprofit organizations listening in note that hey if we ask our folks would you like to volunteer for the American Red Cross or American cancer society or a local, you know nonprofit organization.

Traci Scherck: Like it can do industries which serves individuals with developmental disabilities adjust by asking those questions, it puts it on their radar right, so we want to make sure that we’re really being careful.

Traci Scherck: and insightful about those questions that we’re asking, because when we’re diagnosing organizational change the way we ask those questions.

Traci Scherck: will impact the thoughts about that, on the back end of that, and then the other thing that I think is really important.

Traci Scherck: um you know, and this is one other example from Facebook, I promised my last one today um you know what they did in their survey is they asked 30% of employees, whether or not they were personally committed to improving their experience working here guess what just by asking that question.

Traci Scherck: They ended up being 12% more likely than their peers, to request a curated list of additional resources and tools to help them become more engaged in the work environment.

Traci Scherck: And that was true whether the answer was yes or no, so when we’re looking at the kind of engagement, we have inside of our organizations, how are we finding out if they’re engaged or not surveys, are a great tool for that.

Traci Scherck: And we can do surveys in several different ways we can do pulse check surveys there’s some great ones out there, like tiny pulse.

Traci Scherck: That will allow you to do quick pulse checks have two or three questions and guess what you can create these yourself, by using systems like tape forum, or even the polls inside of your outlook.

Traci Scherck: Right to track these and when we engage with our employees, we tell them that we’re listening.

Traci Scherck: And right now, as of this reporting we’re in the middle of the great resignation right, where we have so many staff inside of our organizations really looking to leave the organization.

Traci Scherck: Because they haven’t been happy with how things have gone over the last 18 months through coven so with that we really need to pay attention to.

Traci Scherck: What to our employees need and want and are we asking the questions to garner and gain that feedback.

Traci Scherck: And so, as we look at this there’s a couple things that we really want to pay attention to

Traci Scherck: So how do you know what is going well and what is not going well, as you align your business strategy to your business results so again, what is the purpose of your surveys.

Traci Scherck: And does that purpose, lead to meeting the business results for your organization and so there’s three really activities that go into this, and so what we look at as we look at hey are we measuring what matters.

Traci Scherck: And then are we analyzing the evidence and then are where are we prescribing improvement actions.

Traci Scherck: And so, as we just talked about, and our opening story with Facebook is they’re measuring What matters, based on the questions that they’re asking.

Traci Scherck: And inside of your organization you do want to measure what matters now there’s several surveys out there that have dug in to figure out what does matter inside organizations as far as engagement.

Traci Scherck: You know there’s significant numbers of benchmarks assigned to that so that we can see what those key things are.

Traci Scherck: And that’s always a positive to know hey how are we benchmarking against other organizations right.

Traci Scherck: And whenever we’re diagnosing what’s going on inside the organization, we want to celebrate our wins.

Traci Scherck: And we also want to see where are the biggest low hanging fruit that we can address right away to start to gain momentum and guess what that helps us gain trust.

Traci Scherck: That helps us to see where specific items are missing or gaining inside of the organization so measuring what matters also includes that we have the right variables that we’re looking at.

Traci Scherck: When we’re looking at employee engagement, one of the key things that we always want to look at.

Traci Scherck: is performance what is an employee’s performance and how does that impact their survey results right, because what this tells us is if they are great performers are they also engaged in the work.

Traci Scherck: Or are they engaged in the work but they’re not great performers right so when you’re doing employee engagement surveys, you know a great tip that we have is do include.

Traci Scherck: In those data points, what type of performer they are you can pull that from their previous performance reviews, for in order to do that.

Traci Scherck: And when you’re looking at that you really want to pay attention, and let me give you an example of why so we at elevated talent consulting are.

Traci Scherck: A certified partner predictive index and predictive index did survey is of their employees and one of the surveys that they do is they, they you know do.

Traci Scherck: These employee engagement survey is they do exit surveys, but they also look at things like on glassdoor and whatnot.

Traci Scherck: And one of the things that they found in their employee engagement survey is his employees were stating hey.

Traci Scherck: You move way too fast, you know the organization moves way too fast it’s way too quick and it’s something that we don’t like.

Traci Scherck: And what they did is they dug into those numbers to say Okay, so if we believe that we’re moving too fast.

Traci Scherck: right who’s saying that are those are high performers saying that we’re moving too fast, or are those are low performers stating that we’re moving too fast.

Traci Scherck: Because when they could dig into that what they found is that it was the low performers stating that they move too fast and the further they dug into that data they found that their high performers were actually stating that they weren’t moving fast enough.

Traci Scherck: And if you want to hear the story from Microsoft at the CEO the predictive index go back a couple podcasts and you can actually hear his story in his insights about how you create great dream teams inside of organizations.

Traci Scherck: So with that as we’re diagnosing those organizational changes, we want to pay attention to what are those other factors that are impacting these insights.

Traci Scherck: Because again when we measure what matters and we analyze the evidence and the evidence can mean several different things, based on the context of what we’re looking through so we want to make sure we’re looking through the right contacts.

Traci Scherck: And then we want to prescribe improvement actions so when we look at prescribing improvement actions.

Traci Scherck: were essentially looking at that and saying hey what can we do to make these things better, and when we do make these things better How does that impact the rest of the organization.

Traci Scherck: And so there is, you know McKinsey and company comes out with some amazing case studies and they have a case study about linking employee engagement to customer satisfaction at starwood.

Traci Scherck: So starwood is a hotel and resort, which is worldwide, and what they have found is.

Traci Scherck: You know, a new CEO went into starwood and they were looking at you know what was happening, and they wanted to find that link between the HR function inside of the organization and a terrific customer experience.

Traci Scherck: And what they found was include was increased collaboration between departments in the hotel self reported by employees.

Traci Scherck: was very predictive of reduction and customer complaints and associated increase in occupancy rates so essentially they intuitively knew that employees attitudes had a massive impact on client satisfaction.

Traci Scherck: And in what they went out to do was to find the real data on that, so what they did is they started to help people work together.

Traci Scherck: To make people’s jobs easier and with that they came up with new communication devices, so that they could communicate in real time.

Traci Scherck: They encourage people to take on appropriate level of autonomy and their jobs to diversify the skills they used to do their jobs and to make it more engaging.

Traci Scherck: In the aim to offer an immediate feedback loop to show the efforts were producing results.

Traci Scherck: And again, these feedback loops are so incredibly important if you listen back for episodes where we talk about leadership.

Traci Scherck: and accountability guess what feedback that happens in the moment will foster change of changes needed.

Traci Scherck: And it’s also going to say guess what you’re doing a good job, keep doing it because, when we go to make change if we aren’t given some sort of reinforcement.

Traci Scherck: we’re going to fall back into those old ways so so often, what we see with our clients and our diagnostic surveys or employee engagement surveys.

Traci Scherck: Is here’s the things going well, keep doing it that’s amazing, and you know what are some things that money and just some really small tweaks.

Traci Scherck: And you know so when we look at what those success factors are here’s what they found at starwood they found that there was very strong alignment with the support of the CEO.

Traci Scherck: Second, is a robust partnership between HR and guest intelligent and marketing teams created a commitment to continuously show the value that the customer centric.

Traci Scherck: approach creates third they align the incentives of their general managers and their leadership team.

Traci Scherck: Because what that did is they gave them the information the data data is really important, care for them to be able to create a reward structure and finally.

Traci Scherck: The data was able to show measurable results along the way, that helped to change the culture, so when we look at these items, you know and really look at hey as we’re looking at our.

Traci Scherck: Our employee engagement surveys and diagnosing again, we want to measure what matters and what matters is what are those business results that we’re looking to get for our organization.

Traci Scherck: We want to analyze the evidence and ensure that we’re looking at the key pieces, what are the drivers that go into that.

Traci Scherck: Evidence and we want to prescribe improvement actions and transparency is key in these conversations.

Traci Scherck: We want to use data so that it’s not individuals opinions but it’s true data of hey this led to this, which led to this, which led to this.

Traci Scherck: And that is going to allow us to get our key business results inside of our organizations so with that Thank you so much for joining us on our talent optimization.

Traci Scherck: podcast and before we go again we always have one key takeaway for hr.

Traci Scherck: And our key takeaway for HR is when you’re diagnosing your teams, make sure you understand what your Executive leadership team is really looking for.

Traci Scherck: so that you can really align yourself with what’s important to the executive leadership team and.

Traci Scherck: You really need to listen in to what are your employees saying, because so often, you are, that person inside of your organization that is analyzing the evidence.

Traci Scherck: So when you’re analyzing the evidence get really curious what am I missing here that’s a beautiful question.

Traci Scherck: And if predictive index hadn’t asked that question, they would have thought we move too fast, as an organization what am I missing here, let them to say hmm.

Traci Scherck: I wonder, the differentiation that individuals performance has on how they.

Traci Scherck: answered this question right, so we want to make sure that we’re paying close attention to that again, the key question is what am I missing here.

Traci Scherck: What else is here that I can’t see from where I sit, this is going to open up an amazing world for you to grab insights into truly collaborate with your leadership team.

Traci Scherck: Now what’s one key takeaway for executives guess what what you measure gets done and are you measuring the right things with data to get your business results, if not, you need to take another closer look.

Traci Scherck: At the diagnostic surveys that you’re doing whether that’s a pulse survey or an exit survey or employee engagement survey, or even your customer engagement survey.

Traci Scherck: so that you can tie these dots together and really get to how do we prescribe the actions that need to happen in order to get the key things done inside of our organization.

Traci Scherck: So with that Thank you so much for joining us, and if you are looking for more and really you know digging into additional.

Traci Scherck: tips and tricks and actual kind of layout of how you do this inside your organization join our talent optimization foundation membership Program.

Traci Scherck: Where every Monday at one o’clock central, we will either do an office hours or bring on a guest to talk about a key.

Traci Scherck: issue and how you can implement that inside your organization Oh, and if you are SHRM certified guess what we have PDC is for those as well, thank you so much, and I hope that you have an amazing rest of your day.