Judy McLeish, from McDaniel Partners writes a very helpful employee engagement blog: The Employee Factor. She recently posted 10 rules of engagement and this interview is based on those rules and extends her rules to number 11.
Judy, could you give a quick overview of the 10 rules.
David, we understand the importance of engaging employees. It’s our passion and it is the first step to creating loyal customers. So based on our experiences we asked ourselves, how does a company become nurturing and fully engaging internally? To answer this question, we developed the “Ten Rules of Employee Engagement”.
The Rules of Engagement
Rule #1 – Employee Engagement is NOT an Initiative – It’s a Way of Life
Rule #2 – Leaders/Managers Must Show Goodwill Toward Others
Rule #3 – Direct Managers Must Know Their Employees
Rule #4 – Leaders/Managers Must Have the Tools to Foster Engagement
Rule #5 – The Employee and Customer Experiences Must Be Mirror Images
Rule #6 – Companies Must Market to Employees to Engage Them
Rule #7 – Communication Builds Engagement
Rule #8 – Deal with Any “Bad Apples”
Rule #9 – Engagement is More Than a “Pat on the Back”
Rule #10 – Measure the Right Things and Then Act
Judy, how do you distinguish between an initiative and a way of life?
In our view, an initiative is something that has a limited budget, a defined beginning and end date and clear deliver-ables. When something becomes a “way of life” it becomes a course of conduct or the “way things are done around here”. When we are talking about something as important as creating engaged employees this will only happen, if the organization is committed to fostering an environment that will truly make valuing employees the “way things are done around here”. This in turn will lead to an environment where employees will want to say positive things about an organization, stay at the organization and strive to go the extra mile in everything that they do.
What are the key tools leaders need to have to foster engagement?
In our view, it is critical that leaders have the right tools to help them foster engagement. Here is a list of tools that we believe every leader should have:
- The rationale for why employee engagement is critical for their business.
- Information on best practices and trends on employee engagement within their industry, across industries and globally.
- A coaching tool kit on how to handle highly engaged; somewhat engaged; and highly disengaged individuals.
- Personal improvement tools to help the Leader improve their capabilities, communication, listening and other relevant skills.
- Quality tracking and measurement tools identifying levels of employee engagement within their teams, and within the company as a whole.
- Performance Management standards, objectives and tools.
- An expert to call on, if they are having difficulty fostering engagement in an individual or within a Department or group.
How do you see communication building engagement?
Communication is absolutely critical to building employee engagement. However, the traditional top-down, one-way communication method will no longer be enough. Rather, companies must not only promote two-way communication but they must show that they are listening and acting on what they are hearing. The ability to communicate, listen and act will build trust which is a key component in driving employee engagement.
How did you determine the 10 rules?
We developed the 10 rules of engagement based on research and our hands-on experience at the companies who have engaged us. What we found is that the list of 10 rules are a great starting point to helping companies determine how they can develop an environment in which their employees will want to “say, stay, and strive”.
If you were now to add an 11th rule, what would it be?
If we were to add an 11th rule, we would focus on the fact that the quality of the work environment has a direct impact on employee engagement. So the rule would be: Rule #11 – Build a Work Environment That Fosters Flexibility and Freedom.