The Changing Face of Employee Engagement


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Eric Michrowski is a globally recognized leader in combining Human Performance, Operational Excellence and Process Improvement to drive Business Transformations that achieve substantial shifts in Customer Experience, Operational Reliability, Employee Engagement and Financial Performance.   Combining elements of Organizational Development and Change Management, his approach is anchored in over 15 years of hands-on experience in a blend of Operations Management and Management Consulting roles across Financial Services, Telecommunications/IT, Airlines and Logistics.

Eric is my guest on next week’s Business Podcast. this is an excerpt from the podcast.

JD:  Okay, I buy into that. Tell me, what obstacles am I going to have? Is it going to be in people? Is it going to be in structure? What’s down there that I don’t see thirty days down the road?Eric Michrowski

EM:  If you have a switched-on workforce, that is really firing all cylinders, a lot of things should be working a lot better. Some of the obstacles that I’ve typically seen are at a middle-management level; it’s the fundamental big shift. In a call center environment as an example, people are very tight in terms of reporting metrics, which in most case makes sense, and so forth. I see that’s where you typically get a lot of the barriers because the leader now becomes less of the manager of the metric, but now becomes much more of a leader. I would say a coach that’s developing the team member, giving them better solutioning skills, challenging them or questioning in terms of the decisions that they’ve made; how could they have made better decisions in terms of dealing with the customer issue. So most of the issues is we promoted people who are really good at their old job, and who are used to being the super user that are very good at “Here’s my problem and here’s a solution” and now we’re asking them “When there’s a problem, don’t solution it, involve your team members in that solutioning process”.

JD:  I would expect that our training and our development should be looking at that middle-manager if we’re going to take this process on?

EM:  I would say the bulk of the change is going to be at the leadership level, particularly at the middle-management level. Because it is really about involving the team member in a very different way as opposed to managing them saying, “Why did you spend 325 seconds on this last call? You need to get it to 315 seconds.” Now, we’re removing a lot of those indicators and really challenging say, “Okay, I saw you make these decisions.” Not questioning why you did it but helping them through the solutioning process, so you’re becoming a teacher potentially improvement type skills.

JD:  This sounds more of an appreciative-leadership type style that you need to move into and draw that out of the people of what they’re doing well for the other team members to see. Is there some of that in all this?

EM:  Absolutely, a huge part – this is where the psychology comes into is, the attitudes and their beliefs of the team member drive the behaviors, and the behaviors drive the results. You can’t hammer in behaviors, you got to start zeroing in on the attitudes and beliefs, and that’s really also linked to employee engagement so that’s where all the elements around “How do I lead, how do I go about telling it” and appreciate the team members that I have start really shifting which is also why at every intervention or activity that we do, the first metric to dramatically shift is around employee engagement. The others are either side effects of employee engagement or direct contribution of what you’re doing. I mean it’s well-documented from research boiling down to that if you start impacting engagement, you’d get some whopping impact on absenteeism, on turnover, on things such as safety incidents, in terms quality outcomes, but also productivity, profitability and customer experience.

More about Eric: In addition to leading operational portfolios, transformational programs and consulting teams, his experience ranges from leading a highly successful business turnaround in Investment Banking, leading a large safety portfolio through a material reduction in injury rates and key post-merger integration functions.  He has led professional services teams of nearly 100 and operational teams of over 600 while consistently achieving top employee engagement scores.  He is a highly sought after public speaker, conference chair and Executive speaker on the global scene and has received several international awards both personally and for the teams he has led including Top Global Deployment Leader in Process Excellence (2012), Top 10 Best Places to Work in Process Excellence (2010), Honourable Mention for Best Process Excellence Deployment (2013). Eric can be found at

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


  1. ….does engagement, with its focus on employee alignment and productivity, drive a more valuable, even optimal, customer experience? We’ve extended engagement to include commitment to the customer as well as commitment to the value proposition of products and services and commitment to the enterprise – which we’ve defined as ambassadorship:

  2. Nice work done. Agreed with Eric’s thoughts. You should be self-aware of things happening around. Be mindful of the present. What makes you feel vulnerable? Is this something that you don't accept about yourself? If so, this is something that could be interfering with your role as a leader.

  3. Sean,

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Hope you had a chance to listen to the entire podcast. Eric gave a mini-case study on a project that this thinking was applied.


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