In a world where competitiveness is multiplying, the human factor is now the main differentiating factor. The performance of employees cannot be separated from the company’s.
Otherwise, different factors could turn employees into sources of loss if they are not as involved and especially engaged in their work.
According to the Steel Case and Ipsos study on employee engagement:
“Of the 17 countries studied and the 12,480 participants, 1/3 of the employees are disengaged.”
Germany, UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and France scored below the world average in terms of the rate of employees being engaged and satisfied with their working environment. Employee disengagement is not limited to a particular industry but affects all businesses. Some companies place more emphasis on employee engagement because they successfully established the link between commitment and performance. This is why they have put in place mechanisms to measure the degree of commitment of employees and try to establish programs enabling the optimization of well-being at work, through various actions targeting motivation, the quality of the working environment, managerial leadership and others, in order to build a culture of sustainable engagement.
There are no sectors that are eradicated or less affected by this scourge. As long as companies work in an environment that is changing constantly, there will always be sources and factors optimizing disengagement. As a result, it will always be necessary to increase the level of vigilance in order to limit the risks of disengagement.
Companies are interested in knowing more about:
How to improve the employer branding and communicate about the company’s values to the employees
How can we put the company’s culture at the service of employee engagement?
The role of leadership in managing employee engagement
How to create a sense of belonging among the employees?
How to use predictive analytics to improve employee engagement?
How to maintain employee engagement after a M&A or a strategic transformation?
Consequently, executives involved in HR, Talent Management, Engagement and Retention, Internal Communication and so on should definitely not miss out on this opportunity to attend the marcus evans‘ Employee Engagement conference taking place on the 27th-29th of September in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Conventional wisdom holds that Millennials are entitled, easily distracted, impatient, self-absorbed, lazy, and unlikely to stay in any job for long. Furthermore, they want free food; they want unlimited vacation; they want to run the company two days after they arrive. But, on the positive side, they’re also looking for purpose, feedback, and personal life balance in their work. Companies of all kinds are obsessed with understanding them better. Let’s talk, for once, about the positive attitudes:
Millennials will sacrifice salary for a better work environment: 25- to 35-year-olds said they’d be willing to give up an average of $7,600 in pay for a better situation at the office, such as more career development and a healthier work/life balance.
Millennials want to work for the greater good: 73% of Millennials seek meaningful work at an organization with a mission they support. In fact, a remarkable 90% say they want to use their skills for good, suggesting that Millennials seek workplaces with a culture of altruism that enables them to give back. Millennials also care about workplace culture, with 77% noting it is just as or more important than salary and benefits.
Millennials want to be entrepreneurial: giving your employees the flexibility and freedom, where possible, to be their own boss with a focus exclusively on results, produces greater employee engagement, loyalty and ultimately better business results.
Millennials want to be coached: they crave and respond to a good, positive coach. Overall, Millennials want feedback 50% more often than other employees. Their number one source of development is their manager, but only 46% thinks that their manager delivered on their expectations for feedback.
Millennials want to design their own career paths: an essential component of Millennial employee engagement is letting them have a voice in how their careers are structured. The one-size-fits-all approach to building careers simply doesn’t work for Millennials’ ambitions. They desire amazing, personalized experiences and the chance to prove their abilities and quickly rise through the ranks. Unlike the traditional career paths, which tended to be more linear, Millennials are forging nonlinear and unique career paths that are aligned with a personal sense of purpose.
Leaders are increasingly turning their attention to the millennial generation, whose attitudes and preferences may profoundly reshape workplaces and society. Like those in every generation before them, millennials strive for a life well-lived. They want good jobs and they also want to be engaged in those jobs. In addition to finding engaging jobs, millennials want to have high levels of well-being. They also want a purposeful life and active community and social ties. Are millennials getting what they want out of work and life? Not so much. Gallup’s latest report, finds that millennials struggle to find good jobs that engage them. Millennials have the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment and only 29% of employed millennials are engaged at work.
Their overall well-being nearly matches that of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, meaning millennials have not been able to forge better paths for themselves, and that’s because of the corporate environment that is not ready to deal with this generation. They need to teach them the social skills that they are missing because of the digital and hyperconnected world they live in. Relationships are built on little things and, since trust doesn’t build in one big event, they have to create mechanism where they allow for the little interactions to happen. To achieve this, you can’t rely on the current social tools or add a new one because, as a matter of fact, too much connectivity kills connectivity.
The key it’s to bring back real human contact but, for large organisations, the only available solution is organising big corporate events which unfortunately aren’t effective. That’s because when you put 100 people in the same room, and hope they will talk, they tend instead to stay with people who already know. A better solution would be organising 25 small events of 4 people each: that’s how you create new links between people. Unfortunately, finding the right person at the right time for these events is a nightmare without the right tool.
Woobe solves this problem with an innovative approach: managing profiles (age, seniority, departments, etc.) instead of individuals and adopting push communication instead of pull communication. In few clicks, and in less than 5 minutes, you can create a campaign of hundred micro-events! Watch how simple it is in this video:
By now, you’re probably familiar with the term 360-degree feedback (If not, check out our handy guide here for an outline and some perks of introducing it into your workplace.)
If you want a feedback process that gets the best from your team and allows them to grow, 360-feedback is the way forward. It’s a collaborative process which eliminates issues that arise when only managers provide insight, instead allowing people to gain a more well-rounded view of their strengths, weaknesses and how they are able to develop within their team.
Self-Awareness & Accountability
Feedback culture can also lead to higher levels of self-awareness. In reviewing their colleagues, people will have an increased awareness of how they perceive others’ workplace behaviours and performance, likely making them more self-aware and therefore better at evaluating and improving their own performance.
People’s motivation comes from knowing that their work is being acknowledged. If there is a consistent culture of constant real-time feedback in place, employees are likely to up their game at work in order to be viewed favorably, making them both more self-aware and more accountable for their performance.
Although as a manager you have a valuable insight into your employees’ work, their peers will undoubtedly offer a different perspective.
Peer reviews are effective in the sense that people’s colleagues hold a different awareness of their colleagues working styles, interactions and how they’re using their time. This is why 360-degree feedback works. It allows for input to come from a perspective that managers alone may be unable to provide. Gaining performance feedback from someone in another department that you’re currently working closely on a project with is actually likely to be more beneficial than that of your manager who may know little to nothing about the project and the work involved.
When peer evaluation is used alongside managerial feedback, an all-round view can be established; something which is highly useful for team members as they look to improve their performance.
A recent study from Globoforce found that 85% of those who already have peer feedback implemented as part of their performance review feel that they are more appreciated, with 88% also expressing more job satisfaction than those only reviewed by a single supervisor. Feeling such levels of satisfaction can lead to those who are happy and feel appreciated: these are the people that have more reason to exert themselves at work than those who feel undervalued regardless of their efforts.
Research has also found that peer relationships have a huge impact on people’s work lives. Peer camaraderie is the number one reason that people go the extra mile at work: people are more likely to exert themselves if there is a sense that it also benefits their colleagues. Employees that have good relationships with their co-workers, and value them as part of a team, are also likely to value their input and want to improve their performance based on their colleagues’ feedback in order to achieve a better working environment for everyone.
Managers and 360-feedback
It’s also important to acknowledge the ways in which 360- feedback can assist managerial performance. Receiving both positive and constructive feedback from your team members can have hugely beneficial impacts. 360-feedback encourages employees to provide upward feedback on areas that they perhaps wouldn’t have felt able to express without such practices set in place. It’s a unique opportunity to gain new insight into your working style, skill-set, and the way you interact with your team.
Research has found 360-feedback to be incredibly beneficial for managers. Those who were originally rated low or moderately during upward feedback reviews showed improvements over time. In order for it to actually improve performance, however, 360-degree feedback must be met with follow-ups: the same research also established that managers who followed up and discussed their feedback improved more than those who did not.
Alongside 1-on-1 meetings to discuss manager-employee feedback for example, such follow ups could be implemented in the form of quarterly company-wide reviews to establish whether issues that arose have been resolved. This article from APA highlights the importance of following up feedback and the difference it can make.
Real-time, 360-degree feedback is a sure-fire way to improve performance in the workplace. It’s beneficial, whether from having the process implemented to improve people’s work ethic and sense of recognition or the specific feedback received providing people with insights and all-important goals to work towards. The argument for ditching the old-school process of simple manager to employee feedback in favor of the 360 is indisputable.
Using Impraise, you can ensure that feedback is shared amongst all team members, ensuring an open and ongoing conversation about progress and development, all without interrupting your daily work-flow. This is not, of course, to say that performance reviews and digital feedback should replace face-to-face interaction and conversations about progress. Instead, using tools like Impraise to support your current system with real-time, 360-degree feedback helps to create a more communicative, constantly developing and high-achieving team.
About the Author:
Steffen Maier is co-founder of Impraise a web-based and mobile solution for actionable, timely feedback at work. Based in New York and Amsterdam, Impraise turns tedious annual performance reviews into an easy process by enabling users to give and receive valuable feedback in real-time and when it’s most helpful. The tool includes an extensive analytics platform to analyze key strengths and predict talent gaps and coaching needs.
There is a lot of truth in the saying that great companies are built upon great people. However, the reality is, of course, more complicated than that. The world’s leading companies are a powerful blend of people, vision, capability and culture. These things work together like the mechanics of a rocket, generating and maintaining irresistible momentum.
But how do you ignite the rocket?
It starts with the fuel, exceptional people. Without exceptional people, you will struggle to build departments that smash through goals or spark entrepreneurial commitment.
Yet how is it possible to attract top people to an environment that has not already been built into the kind of engaging, highly professional workplace that world class candidates come from and demand?
This chicken and egg scenario ranks as one of the most difficult strategic challenges in HR, and it is especially pertinent to the fast-moving world of HR in the tech industry, where workplace expectations are always growing.
The first thing to understand is that top performers do not avoid challenges. In fact, they seek them, and being open about the challenges that await them is something that will help attract the very best.
Finstar Financial Group is a private equity firm focused on the future of financial services, founded by Oleg Boyko. We believe in our businesses and that we are building the foundational elements of a modern, digitally adept, high-speed world. We have lofty ambitions, and we make these ambitions clear to the people we hope to attract. In fact, our ambitions do not end with revenue and profit targets: they are driven by a vision for the future of financial services.
We aim high when targeting the people we want to join our team, casting our net worldwide in our search for the best possible candidates. This sense of purpose and ambition has allowed us to attract first-rate minds from top tier companies.
We have now built a virtuous circle: by attracting top managerial talent, then constantly challenging them – insisting on the highest standards when doing so – and freeing them to achieve their goals in their own way, we have stoked their entrepreneurial spirit, and they tend to energetically and rigorously attack their targets. This has created a positive, exciting and goal–focused environment for all employees. It also, of course, makes Finstar Financial Group and its portfolio companies evermore attractive places to work, helping us draw in more great talent from around the world.
“The greatest adrenaline hit for any Marketeer is to make a difference through their contribution. Bringing together knowledge from a past life’s conquest to unifying and motivating the wonderful and enthusiastic minds of a new organization is all part and parcel of that contribution. However, the contribution itself has to have a focus from which it draws its energy. In this case, we look to the Brand in question Finstar. A global titan within its own right, but with the prowess and agility of any new start up. With the help, assistance and guidance from the HR team you begin to understand the organization better, its ambitions and the almost blank canvass with which to mark out your approach. Most well-seasoned individuals and newcomers alike begin scanning the paperwork to find out where they sign! Though only at the initial stage of my journey with the organisation, I foresee it being a long and fruitful one, as well as becoming a key contributor to the well-oiled machine that is Finstar.” – Arun Varma, Chief Marketing Officer.
“I found a unique multi-cultural combination of talents in Finstar Financial Group. The company offers you a challenge of combining the skills and disciplines learned in large international corporations with the high flexibility and agility needed to adapt to rapidly changing technologies and customer expectations, so as to keep our competitive edge.” – Gauthier Van Weddingen, VP, Deputy CEO Operations.
“Creativity and ingenuity in all the aspects aligned with robust and conservative corporate standards and best practices, the possibility to combine the non-combinable while exploring the most elegant and very often, unique recipes in this “fusion cuisine” of innovative IT developments, financial retail services and business effectiveness, all these multiplied by the global scale and multicultural nature of our company – this impresses indeed. The kaleidoscope of different jurisdictions, approaches and mentalities, the possibility to work with extremely qualified professionals from all over the world create the unique experience and knowledge base, together with a desire to use it for the company’s growth and to confirm again and again that we all are real FinSTARs!” – Dmitry Kobzar, Head of Legal Department DFI.
Ultimately, this process of embracing lofty goals, setting our talented hires exacting challenges and stoking their entrepreneurial instincts has allowed Finstar to solve the HR conundrum of attracting the type of executives who create the attractive working environment which such exceptional people are attracted to. We now have a virtuous circle in place that has sparked the stellar growth that sets Finstar Financial Group apart as a high-flyer in the FinTech world, delivers value to our stakeholders, and makes each of our offices a cutting edge, innovative and challenging place to work.
How do you get your company culture across to prospective applicants and give them a great hiring experience? As you can see from the image below it’s definitely worth it
i) Encourage your team to share
Share insights into what it’s really like to work at your company on social media. This could be anything from pictures of team events, to blog posts written by members of your team
ii) Engage potential applicants
Recruiting is a team sport. Encourage your whole company to engage with interested candidates online
iii) Provide an excellent candidate experience
Treat your candidates like customers! Keep them updated at every stage of their application and try and provide as a personalized an experience as possible. Source: Getting The Candidate Experience Right
2. Create a motivational work environment
Is it the responsibility of management to motivate the troops?
High performance is often attributed to leadership. Most companies look for top managers who can squeeze extra effort from their team, and inspire them to new heights.
I’m going to go against the grain here and be a little controversial:
I don’t think we can depend on management for stimulus. Your team has to want to work, motivation is highly personal.
The best way to encourage personal motivation that I’ve come across is working culture. Fostering a supportive environment where employees feel valued and happy can pay huge dividends.
Here are few considerations that should help you build this kind of culture:
i) Being approachable
If an employee has a problem make it easy for them to come and speak to you.
ii) Being flexible
If someone needs to work from home every Wednesday to pick up their children from school, don’t stand in their way. They will be grateful and may work harder as a result.
iii) Being a team
This can be as simple as having lunch together every day. Work on fostering bonds between your employees and you should see an increase in happiness and productivity.
3. You need a unique company mission
People like to work towards something.
I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s always much easier to encourage people to work late when they’re engaged in an interesting project.
In the same way, if your company has a purpose, it’s far easier to keep your employees invested, and potential applicants interested.
Case Study: Salesforce
Salesforce have managed to retain this sense of purpose despite their size.
A great example of this is their 1:1:1 model, since adopted by the likes of Google, Dropbox and GoPro.
Since the company’s conception, founder Marc Benioff has advocated the use to Salesforce people, technology and resources for charitable means. It’s something he refers to as ‘integrated philanthropy’, and it’s built directly into the Salesforce business model.
Everyone at the company knows that they’re not only producing and selling a product that makes it easier for sales teams to manage their workflow and close leads, but that they’re employed by an organisation that genuinely cares about doing good.
This helps Salesforce attract and retain a talented workforce, (now numbering 13,000), and has led to them being named one of Fortune’s ‘Best Companies to Work For’ six years running.
This model isn’t designed for everyone – you need to sit down with your team today and pinpoint exactly what your own company mission is.
It’s the recruiting team’s responsibility to ‘sell’ this purpose to candidates interested in applying – it’s what makes your company unique and should be what gets someone to choose you over a competitor!
Ultimately, the company vision has to come from on high.
It’s important that your management team has a clear idea of what he wants your company culture to look like, but it’s even more important that they communicate that idea to the rest of the organisation.
This is the only way a company can unite around a singular purpose – Benioff was instrumental in driving the Salesforce vision forward, your leaders need to do the same for your company.
If communicated effectively, culture should form an important part of everyone’s workday.
Here’s a quick example:
To form a collaborative culture, organisations need to make working together a key part of every employee’s workflow.
There are a few ways to do this:
i) Use collaboration software like Asana or Trello to make sure everyone is on the same page
ii) Hold frequent brainstorming meetings to make sure everyone feels like their ideas are heard
iii) Try an open plan format to your office instead of hiding everyone away in separate offices
Some companies are prepared to take an unconventional approach to achieve an awesome level of collaboration.
Software developer Valve actually gives each employee a desk with wheels and encourages them to ‘roll around the office’ and get involved in projects that they can add value to. This whole process is documented in their employee handbook – well worth a read!
You may want to keep your desks firmly anchored in place, but ensuring effective communication flow from the C-Suite down will make your culture far more likely to stick.
At the end of the day it all depends on priorities. Creating an awesome company culture does require a certain investment, some companies go as far as appointing a ‘Chief Cultural Officer‘ to manage the process.
Providing your team with a great working environment is the best way I know of to get them to go consistently above and beyond the line of duty – it’s also the one of the best ways to attract top talent.