Is Employee Engagement Enough?
There's a lot of talk these days about employee engagement. And for good reason. When you look at the statistics showing the percentage of American workers who are either not fully engaged or are actively disengaged, it's pretty startling.
But here's an even bigger question: Is getting your employees engaged enough? I'm often asked about this, and more specifically, how the Fundamentals system relates to employee engagement. Let me try to answer those questions here.
Unlocking Discretionary Effort
Employee engagement is about capturing the hearts and minds of your people. It's about having them fully apply themselves by going well beyond the minimum necessary to get the job done. We often refer to this as discretionary effort. The impact on your bottom line of capturing this discretionary effort can be huge. And while we certainly want everyone to give their best, if we never describe with clarity what we want them to do with this extra effort, we're going to be less effective than we could be.
How Do We Want That Effort Focused?
The Fundamentals system provides a framework for defining and practicing the specific behaviors that most drive success in your organization. Beyond simply defining those behaviors though, it provides a systematic and sustainable method for teaching, practicing, reinforcing, and even measuring these behaviors so that they become truly institutionalized in your culture. If we can get our people to more consistently behave in these ways, we'll undoubtedly be far more successful.
Here's a simple example of the difference. Many of our clients have a Fundamental called "Honor commitments." We know that when everyone does exactly what he or she say they're going to do, when they say they're going to do it, organizational effectiveness skyrockets. If our focus was purely on employee engagement, we could have people who really care, who put in lots of extra effort, but who frequently still fall short of honoring their commitments.
Let's look at another example. Your company may place a high priority on teamwork as a part of your culture. However, an employee could be totally engaged, giving their best effort, and yet be more of a lone wolf who doesn't work well in teams.
Creating Cultural Alignment
There's no doubt that having people be fully engaged is clearly better than not; but engagement doesn't guarantee cultural alignment. Cultural alignment is focused on getting everyone consistently doing the most important behaviors as you've defined them. And that's what's most required to be world-class.
The Fundamentals system is the simplest, most practical, and most effective program to help you reap the benefits of building a truly high performing culture by focusing on the behaviors that drive success.