Employee Engagement Tips from the Human Capital Leadership Breakfast
At the recent Human Capital Leadership Breakfast hosted by Argyle Executive Forum, an all-star panel of human resources professionals across a variety of industries convened to share their experiences with employee recognition programs. In this excerpt, the four panelists share their advice for companies that are considering deploying an employee engagement strategy.
- Michelle Cosh, Director of Human Resources, The Westin Ottawa Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
We all know about the importance of leadership and how critical they are in our organizations, so I think when we embark on things like recognition programs, it’s our leaders who need to be out there being the champions. I believe in the top-down approach. It’s important to make sure that when they’re hired, they understand how the recognition program works and they know its purpose. I think we assume people know how to recognize, but that’s not always the case. And then on top of that, it’s also important that the employees are recognizing them. Our leaders have a huge job. They’re in the middle of every decision, so I think it’s important to make sure that employees are really focusing on recognizing their leaders consistently.
- Trisha Fox, Senior Vice President, Human Resources Fifth Third Bank
I think one of the things that helped us be successful is we put a communications strategy in place. We defined up front what messages we wanted to communicate, how we were going to communicate them, and the frequency of those messages, and then we just followed our plan. That kept it top-of-mind for everyone. It’s also important to set goals and measure your progress. One of our two areas of focus last year was communication, and since we focused in that manner, our employee communication scores have increased by 50 basis points in just a year. That’s huge.
- Sean Georges, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and In-House Counsel Shoe Carnival, Inc.
What exactly is company culture? In many companies, there are a variety of different cultural groups. We’ve got an operations side which is culturally different from the folks at headquarters, and both groups are different from the employees in the distribution centers. So I’m not sure a one-size-fits-all approach to culture works. Something to keep in mind is to make sure your employee recognition program supports and encourages the behavior you’re trying to encourage in all those different areas. Does it make sense for every culture within your company?
- Ken Julian, Vice President Human Resources Thor Industries, Inc.
Because we have the 10 different companies under the umbrella of Thor (and because of that, 10 varied cultures), making sure that the leadership understood their particular culture was a priority. We found as we engaged our presidents and the senior teams, they thought the culture was one thing, but only after talking to employees they realized, “Oh my gosh, I was completely off-base.” So I strongly recommend setting up a sound set of core values, making sure that the management team is engaged and plugged in to those values, and then measuring it against your workforce.
Looking for more advice on employee recognition? Check out Achievers’ recent e-book, The 2013 guide to recognition for more tips, tricks, and best practices.
Erika Heald is the Director of Content and Communications for Achievers.