How to Move Beyond The Rhetoric on Employee Engagement
The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.
This week, John and Rachel discuss a People Management article, “How to move beyond the rhetoric on employee engagement” by Georgi Gyton.
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John: Happy Monday. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices. And I’m so excited to have back on the show — she’s been on every show but I’m always surprised when she picks up the phone — it’s Rachel Fisch.
Rachel: Hello, John. How are you?
John: Doing great. Doing great. The Accountants Group Leader for Canada with Sage. I get your name right every time. Bonus for that. Yes. And it’s a Monday, and I’m actually on my way to San Jose to record some live episodes that will come out Wednesday, Thursday, Friday at QuickBooks Connect, which is where we met.
Rachel: It is.
John: So that will be pretty fun.
Rachel: Just a year ago. So I can’t wait to hear those. I am in Toronto, so I’m staying around home base, but today I’m at a Collins Barrow event, which is really cool.
John: Oh, nice.
John: Very cool. Very cool. Well, every Monday, everybody knows, we always grab an article and talk through it. This one was an article that I found in the CIPD blog on people management. It was an article written by Georgi Gyton. It was after being at the CIPD employee engagement conference where there were a lot of HR professionals sharing experiences and what have you. One in particular was Catherine Allen. I love her job title — is the Head of Keeping People Happy. If you have any salespeople at that company, then that job is impossible to do.
John: Yeah, but I thought it was really great — three top tips. Anything more than that, people are going to forget.
Rachel: But she kind of prefaces it like the whole thing and kind of introduces the concept in these three different ways to improve engagement by saying you have to do things that appeal to your people. It needs to be personal. We’ve joked before about the ping pong table. I think we even talked about it last week, making sure that there is a ping pong table. So if you have a ping pong table, you must have great culture. And yet what if none of your staff like ping pong? So it’s like, okay, great effort there but you’re not actually listening to your staff and giving them what they would value.
John: Right, yeah, yeah, absolutely. There were three points. The first one was “Give your team clear reasons to feel engaged and proud.”
Rachel: So again, she’s talking it about making it about your staff and not making it just about what management wants from the staff. And one of the things that she talks about is actually organizing volunteering opportunities for staff as a way to engage them. Of course, this is something that I’m really proud of for Sage doing with Sage Foundation and all of the different ways that they encourage us to go out into our own local communities to make a difference right where we live. And you do really get way more than you give for sure.
John: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s a really great thing where people don’t have to necessarily have athletic skills, to be on a sports team or things like that, but volunteering, everyone can do that. It gets everyone out of the office, and it creates a bond amongst all the team members that you couldn’t get by doing work in the office. Plus, you’re helping out the community.
Rachel: Yeah. So a couple of the points that I really like in this one is when she talks about it’s getting to know how people tick. We’ve talked about what people’s currency is, so what do they value and helping to frame a culture around things that they value. So again, you need to know what they value. You need to know how they tick in order to be able to do that. And then another down a little further, she talks about 80% of the reasons for being engaged really to the managers, and we’ve mentioned before, people don’t quit jobs for the job; they quit because of the managers. So that relationship between manager-employee is so crucial.
John: Yeah absolutely. And you’re helping out your community, so that’s even better. The second point was “Understand your team as individuals.” And this is I think where it’s really hard for managers and executives and especially partners, you have a group of individuals. A lot of people, they want to hammer them flat and make them a commodity because then it’s easier to manage that way.
Rachel: Right, yeah.
John: But people aren’t going to be happy. That’s for sure.
Rachel: For sure. So what are the different programs that you have in the organization? You mentioned professional development. Do you have mentoring programs? Do you have a succession plan? Like what does that leadership structure look like in your organization? And are you actively seeking out those that you really want to put in those leadership positions that’s going to continue that employee engagement and culture that you’ve established in the organization?
John: Right, absolutely, absolutely. And then the third pint was “Have great leaders and managers or just create them.” You really have to have strong leadership and especially managers because they’re being pulled in both directions. A lot of people aren’t trained to managers very well because you’re doers at first.
John: So it all comes down to just achieving the employees’ trust. And you can’t have trust without being authentic.
John: So there we go, everybody. There’s your Green Apple Slices for this week. Be sure to go to greenapplepodcast.com. And also hit Subscribe on whatever you’re listening to, so you can hear all the episodes. And check us out on Twitter @GreenApplePod or @FischBooks or @RecoveringCPA. Yeah, everybody, have a great week.
Rachel, have fun at your Collins Barrow event.
Rachel: Thanks. Have a great week.