Even though many organizations continue to demonstrate clearly that they regard their people as disposable, I still buy into the saying that "people are an organization's most important asset." Why? Look at the research emerging over the past decades 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 leaders 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.
Start by asking, What are the reasons why CEOs don't seem to care about employee engagement?
One of the blockages that some CEOs have is that "they are funny that way." Meaning, they are wired to focus on things like profit, loss, and stock price.
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 speak to them via their interests.
So how do you "speak their language" and get through to them? Here are four suggestions:
C = Customer: Can you connect the dots between employee engagement and customer engagement? Since "customers make paydays possible," articulating the connection will make a strong impact.
O = Opportunity: Can you identify the opportunity that employee engagement presents to the organization? Certain opportunities, such as innovative new ideas or cost-saving ideas, arise from engaged employees and are not to be missed.
S = Strategy: Can you link employee engagement to the strategy of the business? The strategy of any business captures How we are going to get to and achieve our goals. People are key to the How. People get you to the goals.
T = Timing: Can you convey the urgency? Clearly connecting employee engagement to winning in a competitive space is one way to get the leader's attention.
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 the COST is clear, will you step up and make the case for employee engagement?
"If not now, when?"
Terrence Seamon teaches his clients about the power of employee engagement. Follow him on twitter @tseamon, and on facebook Facilitation Solutions.