Employee engagement is one of those things that lots of business leaders talk about, but don’t seem to deliver. The research consistently shows that it doesn’t happen in lots of businesses! For example, a recent report suggests that only 36% of UK employees are highly engaged! So, what can you do about it?
I love finding examples of real businesses who are making it happen and in my travels in the last week I’ve come across 3 relatively simple and replicable things other businesses could copy or develop…
1. Donate Your (Our) Time And Money!
Simon Biltcliffe, the CEO of Webmart is passionate about engaging and empowering his people! CEO stands for ‘Chief Empowerment Officer’ by the way, and he leads his incredibly successful print brokerage business on Capitalist Marxist principles. That means there’s a strong commercial profit focus, but those profits are shared by his team of 43 people. Among the many innovative and forward thinking ideas he has, is that every employee gets £250 and one day of their time to spend on a charity of their choice. It’s a simple idea that gives people the chance to make a difference in an area that means something to them! That’s ’empowerment’!
2. Read A Book!
B Braun is a real forward thinking global healthcare manufacturing business with it’s UK Head office here in Sheffield. At a great event we did with them and Santander Bank last week, their Chief Executive Hans Hux and his team demonstrated that they clearly believe that it’s their people that make the difference. Among the many innovative and forward thinking approaches they take in engaging and developing their people is the launch of a ‘book club’! Each month, they choose (and buy) every member of the club a specific book, and ask them to read it. They then invite comments, discussions and ideas from the 100 members of the club to build on the lessons learnt from the book and explore what they mean for everyone at BBraun. (We are of course, hoping that our book ‘Think in 3D! The 7 Characteristics Of Dramatically Different Businesses’ is on their reading list soon!)
3. Free Books!
The fast growing US software developer Hubspot builds on this by allowing any of its employees to get books for free from Amazon! Their 800 employees can access the company account and download any book to their Kindle at on charge whatsoever! They believe it’s all part of their drive to encourage and enable their people to develop and grow!
All 3 of these ideas have a number of things in common…..
- They are relatively low cost
- They are linked to the overall company vision and goals of the businesses
- They reinforce their values and the culture they want
- They encourage the behaviours they want from their people
- They develop, empower and engage their people
OK, so maybe you can’t afford unlimited free books, or £25o per person for charity, but what could you do?
Be imaginative, involve your people… Do something (Dramatically Different!)