“I want my employees engaged and as committed to the vision as I am. Do they really understand our mission and feel part of it? I have worked hard to rebuild this business, and I care deeply about my employees and developing them. I want them to think bigger than their individual jobs, and be aware of how their choices affect coworkers, clients and the bottom line. I also think we can work much better as a team – we either avoid issues or it gets confrontational. Neither is healthy. I want this to be a great place to work but I don’t know how to get there.”
Our first step was to define “great place to work” and clarify the CEO’s intended outcomes for the business and expectations around the process. The CEO’s desire was to understand the issues impacting employee engagement and identify potential actions. We then worked with the leadership team to gain buy-in and seek their input for the assessment process. It is important to go directly to the employees to understand the issues, and do so in a way that sets appropriate expectations for the process and outcomes.
We conducted interviews with leaders and organized focus groups with employees at the main office and at remote locations. We were able to identify organizational strengths, as well as critical issues impacting performance and satisfaction across the organization and within departments. The employees identified many solutions, including some bold suggestions that pleasantly surprised leadership. Employees themselves wanted to be more engaged and heard, and this process got that ball rolling.
We continued to work with the leadership team and coached individuals as they shifted their management style from “telling” to “engaging” and began addressing critical issues previously allowed to fester. The leaders implemented many of the employee suggestions. We also facilitated an employee team to develop a full set of new expected behaviors that employees needed to demonstrate to support the business. Once the document was approved, this team presented the new expectations to their peers as the “new way of life” for the company.
The CEO commented multiple times that this change was harder than she thought it would be. She also said it was very much worth it. She was courageous, willing to get out of her comfort zone and make tough choices because she strongly believed in the end goal and the process.
An important point of this solution is most of the employees did not have post-high school education. This demonstrates that engagement works in every environment, because when people feel listened to and part of something bigger than themselves, they want to contribute more. We were overjoyed to be a part of this process because it improved performance, and the employees and leaders saw themselves and each other as having more potential and opportunity than ever before.
READ BELOW WHAT THE OWNER OF THIS BUSINESS HAS TO SAY…
CEO, Hillsboro Title