Why Prideful Employees Are Your Company’s Best Asset
Unfortunately, loving your job isn’t a feeling that everyone gets to experience – even though it should be.
In 2014, Career Builder reported that 59% of workers surveyed were generally dissatisfied in their job.
It’s a disappointing statistic, but one that many companies are working hard to change. Although some companies are offering game-changing incentives such as schedule and dress code flexibility, benefits and salary, it comes down to employees wanting to feel valued in their workplace.
Sounds about right.
I’ve felt undervalued before in previous jobs and it’s anything but pleasant. But as companies shift their focus and recognize the importance of building their employer brand, we see them seeking a deeper understanding of what makes their employees tick.
Think about it. What makes (or would make) you feel more connected to the company or organization you work for?
When companies ask these sorts of questions, they evoke meaningful answers. Why? Because it shows they care to ask employees what THEY want out of their work experience. This goes a long way.
And the cost of not asking these questions?
On average, a disengaged employee costs a company $10,000 in revenue annually, according to consulting firm Aon Hewitt who surveyed more than 7,000 enterprises.
There are, however, some enterprises who have taken action to engage employees.
The proof is all around us. Canadian Tire and Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) are two case studies that show how pride, purpose, and engagement go hand-in-hand to develop an exceptional employer brand.
Inventory at Canadian Tire: More Than Just Sandpaper and Duct Tape
Growing up, my family frequented our local Canadian Tire for toboggans, power tools, and fishing knives. I love that store, but not just for their top-notch inventory. Canadian Tire has become a leader on the employee engagement front. Their aptly named program “Life in Canada depends on us”, which rolled out in 2013, is a prime example of this.
The program is designed to unite Canadian Tire employees around a common goal: to have a positive impact on the lives of Canadians.
Just a few months after launching the program, droves of employees expressed interest in participating. Nominations came pouring in for brand ambassadors. At the headquarters, employees are featured on posters, celebrating their role in the company.
Canadian Tire employees started considering how their contributions at work improves the lives of Canadians. In contributing to a larger goal, employees see more clearly the purpose of their role, instilling a strong sense of pride across the workforce.
As the depth of engagement grows among employees, so does their commitment to the company’s success. In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Doug Nathanson, Canadian Tire’s SVP and CHRO revealed that employee engagement is critical to remain competitive in the current retail climate – a committed workforce breeds hard workers.
At the core of their engagement strategy lies the bond of national pride, which is a unique competitive advantage that many global enterprises don’t have. Canadian Tire has leverage and they know it – they’ve grown their employer brand into one that inspires employees to work efficiently with a strong customer focus.
Hats off to you, Canadian Tire!
Toronto-Dominion Canada Trust: Trusted For A Reason
Employee engagement has been – and continues to be – on the rise. In 2015, the global rate of employee engagement was measured at 62% (up 1 point from 2014) in Aon Hewitt’s annual assessment of global employee engagement trends.
Yet the findings also indicate that globally, overall work experience has been on the downward slope (-26% between 2013 and 2014) as companies struggle to provide growth opportunities for employees.
Why is that?
The same study notes that engagement alone is not enough.
Top companies create cultures of engagement marked by strong leadership, performance orientation, and brands. They also empower leaders and individuals to develop themselves and other and believe this to be a critical part of sustainable value create for the business.
Team lunches and axe throwing are terrific ways to bring everyone together, but they don’t necessarily create opportunities for employees to grow with the brand in a professional capacity.
Toronto-Dominion Bank is a well-established leader in the employee engagement space. The company implemented an internal social networking program that gives employees the opportunity to post stories about ‘wins’ or best practices based on personal experience, as well as praise and celebrate peers for a job well done.
The platform is used across the board, including managers and top executives who can publicly acknowledge the efforts of their staff. Testimonial-style engagement is one great way for employees to showcase their value AND for a company to declare transparency.
When Aon Hewitt talks about ‘performance orientation’ as one of the key driving factors behind a culture of engagement – this is exactly what they mean. As Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner tell us in Think Like A Freak, we know one thing for sure: people respond to incentives. If employees are given an open forum to prove their worth and validate the worth of their peers while receiving recognition for their contributions, chances are they’ll make good use of it. Wouldn’t you?
TD’s internal networking platform is a perfect example of how an enhanced communications strategy can work to boost engagement and benefit the company as a whole.
Employee Advocacy Is The Key To Engagement
I took a deeper look at the findings from Aon Hewitt’s annual report and discovered something quite interesting: despite the downward trend in work experience globally, the North American work experience actually improved between 2013 and 2014. Taking into account 27 different indicators, net employee work experience jumped 21%, mostly fueled by increases in Canadian ratings.
What’s even more interesting is the top two drivers behind the increase: communication up by 8% and customer focus by 7%. This means that employees’ work experience improved as a result of a stronger customer focus and enhanced communication within the company.
Canadian Tire and TD are powerful examples of how these ‘key indicators’ can be leveraged to offer employees an exceptional work experience and grow the employer brand. TD launched an internal communications platform to encourage company-wide engagement and recognition of employees, and Canadian Tire has a dedicated and united force of employees with a strong focus on customer success.
Since the beginning of 2013, investors in Canadian Tire Corporation Limited have seen an 87% increase in share price. While this increase can’t be entirely attributed to their employee engagement program, I can’t help but wonder if there’s deeper lesson here. Could there be a positive correlation between an engaged workforce and share price? I think we’re on to something.
But that’s not to say that our work stops there. What about the other 25 indicators, what role do they play?
I started thinking about how we, at PostBeyond, help enterprises use these factors to build their brand as an employer and optimize employees’ work experience.
I went through all of the indicators and put a checkmark beside each one that I believe PostBeyond helps leverage. I was careful with my selection, and I think fourteen out of twenty-seven is pretty darn good. The areas that we target, we target well. I could (and want to) go into detail about why and how for each and every one, but I’ll save that for another post.
Don’t Get Left Behind In The Dust
The point is, this list of indicators made me think critically about all of the different factors that contribute to an employee’s work experience. If you want an engaged workforce, you’ll have to pay attention to more than just salary, benefits and manager training.
If you haven’t invested (or thought about investing) in a system that helps your employees communicate internally and externally, then you have some catching up to do. You’re at a disadvantage otherwise, and it won’t be long before your competitors start implementing employee engagement programs.
Answer this: Wouldn’t you rather be taking the lead, rather than playing catchup?
If you don’t know where to start, take a look at the list yourself and highlight the top areas for improvement – we’ve identified a few ourselves. And take notes from leaders like Canadian Tire and TD, but don’t be a copycat, and remember to keep your company’s needs front row and centre. Remember: prideful and engaged employees are homegrown and can’t be imported. Your employees are worth investing in.
Do you know of any companies who have taken strides to engage their workforce? If so, do tell!