Even though many organizations demonstrated clearly by their recent decisions (i.e., downsizing) that they see people as costs, I still buy into the saying that "people are an organization's most important asset." Why? Look at the research emerging in the past twenty years or so around the Employee Engagement Equation:
~ the more engaged your workforce = the more productive and profitable your company
What many had believed for so long is now evidence based. Trouble is, do business heads know it? Do they get it?
The challenge before HR and OD practitioners is to do a good job of convincing our clients in the C-suites that investments in people will grow the business.
Recently fellow blogger Lance Haun posted his thoughts on the reasons why CEOs don't care about employee engagement. I added this thought:
"Good post, Lance. If I may add my two cents, one of the blockages that some CEOs have is that "they are funny that way." Meaning, they are wired to focus on things like data, profits, costs, and stuff like that. The human stuff does not compute for these CEOs. It's not that they are bad. It's how they are made. The way to "get through to" these CEOs is to go via their interests."
So how do you "speak their language" and get through to them? Remembering the Employee Engagement Equation above, here are four thoughts:
C = Customer: Can you connect the dots between employee engagement and customer engagement?
O = Opportunity: Can you identify the opportunity that employee engagement presents to the organization?
S = Strategy: Can you link employee engagement to the strategy of the business?
T = Timing: Can you convey the urgency?
One employee engagement expert who works with CEOs is Dr. Judith Bardwick. In her incomparable style, Judy makes the point very clearly:
"The facts are very powerful: when employees are very enthusiastic and involved, the organization succeeds in terms of financial outcomes. When people are committed, they are proud of their organization and when they are engaged, they see their work as contributing to the organization’s mission, which they strongly believe is important."
So, HR and OD leaders, now that we are emerging from the Great Recession, will you step up and make the case for employee engagement?
"If not now, when?"
Posted by Terrence Seamon on Monday December 20, 2010. For more ideas on employee engagement, contact Terry and invite him into your organization.