Bridging the Engagement Gap: an ebook

by guest blogger Bev Attfield

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At Jostle we know that employee engagement is one of the key factors involved in creating happy, healthy workplaces. We also know that there are many questions surrounding the topic of employee engagement. What instigates it? What impacts it? What can we do in the workplace to promote, achieve, and celebrate it?

To answer some of these questions, we worked with Brian Solis, a known author and analyst in the field. We got more than 300 executives and employees to tell us about their employee engagement experiences. Our investigation uncovered some really interesting findings that we published in a white paper.

Turns out, employee engagement is something that can be quantified and measured. It also turns out there’s a pretty huge gap, an Engagement Gap, in many workplaces. The Engagement Gap is the massive discrepancy between how executives feel about employee engagement and how employees feel about it.

Our research also uncovered four key factors highly correlated with employee engagement:

  • Respect for leadership
  • Pride in working for your company
  • A positive company culture
  • Belief that your work matters

In order to make these findings as useful to you as possible, we’ve consolidated the material into a handy ebook called Bridging the Engagement Gap. Here we take a closer look at these four factors, and offer practical advice on how to close the gap. The ebook has simple, actionable strategies to build engagement and take the right actions to create a healthy and happy workplace culture. We hope this resource will help you think about the issue of employee engagement more clearly, and make your workplace better today.

Close the Engagement Gap today! Download The ebook

Breaking Through Barriers to Great Leadership: A KLCM Five Year Worldview

by guest blogger 

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Five years ago, we set out–through our annual Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor (KLCM) Study–to answer two simple questions: “What does the world think of its leaders?” and “What can those leaders, and the organizations they steer, do to restore confidence? (click to tweet)” Issues that lie at the heart of what we do to help organizations, and those at their helm, establish and maintain leadership advantage.

Fast-forward to today as we unveil the fifth edition of KLCM–less than a week after last Thursday’s UK’s Brexit vote sent shock waves around the world’s financial markets and corridors of power. We could not have imagined that our exploration of this critical area could be quite so relevant.

As political leaders across Europe strive to convey a sense of stability, and British politics comes to terms with a short-term leadership vacuum, conversations with more than 25,000 members of the public over those five years have revealed a detailed picture of people’s views of leaders around the world–across five continents and 22 industries. Revealing a low-trust, high-expectation gap as the new normal for leaders, with deep-seated leadership concerns having a direct, sizeable impact on bottom-line outcomes and political systems.

Looking at this year’s findings, while also standing back and surveying the five-year vista, a single, striking theme shines through–the critical importance of breaking through persistent barriers to great leadership.

  • In 2013, we found an inbuilt tendency of people to believe that leaders aged 35 to 49 and at the height of their powers are the most effective source of leadership.
  • In 2014, our exploration of gender and leadership revealed that while the world still looks most to male leaders, people are markedly more impressed with female leaders than their male counterparts. Suggesting that the future of leadership communication will be more “feminine” – with practical lessons for leaders of both genders
  • Last year in 2015, we highlighted the rise of the title-less leader, with respondents favoring by far leadership provided by the entire organization and everyone within it, rather than just from the CEO or senior management
  • This year, our exploration of leadership issues such as religion, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation has revealed a leadership glass ceiling stretches way beyond gender. Shockingly, for all of the social progress of recent decades, a majority of respondents globally view four of those five issues as standing in the way of equality of leadership opportunity – with almost half feeling the same for religion.

Crucially, with political leaders, laws and legislation seen as much a part of the problem as the solution, there is an unprecedented opportunity for the corporate sector to lead the way in shattering the leadership glass ceiling. With huge reputational and commercial dividends for those willing to do so in their words and actions in an environment that has seen the right of traditional politicians to lead fundamentally questioned across the globe.

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For business leaders to enjoy the full benefits of grasping this particular bull by the horns, the key will be starting with a simple, honest question, “How ready are we? Here are our best practices summed up into five areas:

1.       What measures do you have in place to ensure reasonable expectation-setting and to avoid “say-do” gaps between what you do and the expectations you set through what you say (especially in a crisis)?
2.       How open are those in your organization – individually and collectively – to genuinely listening to understand your audiences’ definition of transparency?
3.       Does your approach to leadership balance a clear vision with a willingness to admit mistakes and make continuous improvements?
4.       How committed are you and your organization to enabling leadership at every level?
5.       Beyond legal and legislative requirements, how are your leaders breaking down barriers to equal leadership opportunity in areas such as gender, age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, class and disability?

Let’s be clear–there is a big job to do here and the events of the past week have highlighted that fact in dramatic fashion. At no point in five years have more than 25 percent of respondents said leaders are leading well, with under one in five expecting an improvement in leadership next year. So as we continue to work with our clients in navigating a course to more effective leadership communication, we hope others will join a conversation that has never felt more relevant and critical to our collective future.

Ketchum Change, part of Ketchum, is a boutique change management and communications consultancy. We help organisations through complex and continuous change by driving growth, transformation and communication, and create breakthrough engagement strategies that inspire human behaviour change and deliver results.

Keeping up with the financial wellbeing hype

by Guest blogger Saurav Chopra CEO & Co-Founder at Perkbox & Huddlebuy,

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What’s happening?

New platforms are quickly invading the employee benefits and perks marketplace, changing the way employers are helping their team to manage financial wellbeing.

But what’s all the fuss about?

Physical and mental health have long been top of the agenda when it comes to employee wellbeing. For years, employers have invested big wonga in providing their team with everything from gym discounts to employee assistance programs in a bid to keep members of their team from falling by the wayside.

However, more and more employers are now searching for that secret formula to improve what has previously been dubbed the ‘last taboo’ of the workplace: financial wellbeing.

So what is ‘financial wellbeing’?

Basically, financial wellbeing is the state of mind you’re in when you feel in control of your financial life. It coincides with financial resilience and the ability to comfortably manage your finances. More specifically, if you are able to manage your finances, you are likely to be satisfied with your ability to save, manage your cost of living, and make your salary last until the end of the month. As we all know, that’s easier said than done!

How can a lack of financial wellbeing influence employee life?

When employees devote mental resources to worrying about money, productivity at work is compromised, absenteeism (and, more worryingly, presenteeism) increase and their own personal relationships are put under strain.

The constant strain of money worries affects an employees’ mental health, impacting both their personal life and their work-life. In extreme cases, it can even affect their IQ! Barclays research shows that if employees have less than three months’ salary savings as a buffer, then they are vulnerable to financial distress.

Why should employers care about improving their employees’ financial wellbeing?

The financial wellbeing of the team is something a responsible employer should incorporate into daily engagement plans. Not only does the man in charge have a certain level of responsibility to care for the wellbeing of the team, empower employees to handle life’s financial ups and downs and to provide them with a better chance of becoming financially resilient, but it also makes business sense.

Internally, by taking that extra step to increase engagement with employees, an employer will bolster relationships with the team and foster an increased sense of loyalty. But it works externally too: a financial wellbeing solution helps to brand a business as more attractive, and can even bring down talent acquisition costs!

And it doesn’t stop there. Financial distress equates to 4% of a company’s bottom line. This is tied to: higher absenteeism, lower productivity, higher potential for fraud and theft, and associated higher staff turnover. As a by-product of ticking that corporate social responsibility box for which employers are already setting aside a budget, they are also addressing the tangible costs of financial distress.

… it really is the golden snitch for employers looking to stand apart from the pack within a given industry.

What can employers actually do to help?

Employers should first get to know what’s already out there. There are many providers trying to address financial wellbeing in different ways whether that’s with simple financial education packages or souped-up solutions that truly drive change by helping employees to tighten their grip on their money.

Employers should stay attentive to their employees needs and look out for the tell-tale signs of financial distress whether it manifests in higher staff turnover, lower productivity or higher absenteeism. Shying away from the problem is not a solution!

Factor in a financial wellbeing element to your focus groups and surveys. Financial wellbeing should not be treated as a taboo, and addressing this head-on is going to be key for any employer looking to make a difference while boosting employee engagement and brand loyalty.

Finally, employers should be progressive in the types of tools they bring in, even from a testing standpoint, to see if they can address the gaps in their workforce’s financial wellbeing needs. They need to set success criteria; ask for a trial as well as a testimonial or two. Solutions that are available should not be treated as ‘one size fits all.’

Employers are looking for tangible results and need to be able to answer questions like ‘how can you prove that my employees will become more financially resilient, and ‘is this just a one-time benefit or is this a long-term solution that really addresses my employees financial wellbeing needs?’

On Squirrel.me, a calculator will give you a quick estimate of how much financial distress is really costing your bottom line.

This piece was brought to you by Perkbox – the UK’s fastest growing employee engagement platform. Perkbox helps businesses of all sizes to boost the financial, emotional and physical wellbeing of their team by providing employees with on-the-go access to a range of perks, an online reward and recognition system and a wellness hub. Click here to find out more.

How Goosey are you and your team?

Enhancing brands through people engagement, hidden assets and business development strategies
By guest blogger Damian McAlonan

I  was invited the other week to an exciting tech start-up in the UK to discuss how they could define and improve their culture. Without going into the details they wanted to increase both trust and collaboration within their 14 teams of 8-12 individuals.

I couldn’t help but start with sharing Angeles Arrien speech on the five lessons from Geese – It’s an oldie but a goodie and still relevant for setting a behavioural framework of how an effective team should act.

Here it is.

1. As each goose flap its wings it creates an“uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater range than if each bird flew alone.

Lesson: People who share a common sense of direction and community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.

2. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

3. When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership, as with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skill, capabilities and unique arrangement of gifts, talents or resources.

4. The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the productivity is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

5. When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay until it dies or can fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.

Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

So, tell me how Goosey are you or your team and are you really getting and giving enough honking?

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3 Reasons for Management Participation on Your Company’s Social Media

by guest blogger emplo

Social media platforms and internal communication investments aren’t, by themselves, a guarantee of improved employee engagement.  To foster engagement, you must involve all the employees in the community, including the company’s management.

Having an internal communication platform is just the beginning for many organizations. While the engagement of the organization’s entire team, from top to bottom, is required, ultimately, the CEO should be the driving force of the whole organization. For example, the attitudes and communications adopted by executives such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos directly drive the culture of corporate giants such as Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.

However, engaging management in internal communications is often not an easy task. They complain about the following:

  • Lack of time
  • Lack of employee interest
  • Risks associated with shortening the safe distance between management and the rest of the team.

These are only excuses.

CEO = Chief Engagement Officer

The involvement of management is crucial for building an engaged community within an organization. Richard Edelman uses an atypical definition of the abbreviation CEO – “Chief Engagement Officer”. In an interview with McKinsey & Company, he states that engagement of teams is in the hands of their bosses.

He emphasizes that, in most cases, both management and the rest of the company mainly focus on operations. After all, it is day-to-day operations that make money for the company and bring management respect.  However, the truth is today engagement and integrity have become the new gold standard for firms.

Edelman uses the examples of PepsiCo and its chief executive Indra Nooyi. Every year Nooyi (as reported by Economic Times) asks for advice and suggestions from the company’s 150,000 employees, knowing that their engagement is the key to the company’s success. Rebecca Ray also emphasizes management’s important role in internal communications and building team engagement in her report “2015 Conference Board CEO study.”

How to engage company management?

Company managers are role models. They are closely monitored by every employee.

If my boss isn’t using the tool, then why should I?”

Many team members will wonder. On the other hand, engaged managers increase the credibility of internal communications and foster a “human” image of themselves.

Engaging company management does not have to involve time-consuming activities. It is small, and often spontaneous, communications, as well as selected regular activities that bring real value to an organization. It is best to engage the CEO, board members or other senior managers using internal social media platforms.  By doing so, all employees will see the direct engagement and initiative of the management team.

Here are three key benefits of company management leveraging internal social media platforms:

1.Learning the organization’s moods

Those in charge of the organization should be aware of the problems and challenges faced daily by their teams. Scott Scherr, CEO of Ultimate Software believes that how a company treats its rank-and-file, and least remunerated, workers determine its value. Internal social networks can help leadership listen to employee voices and monitor bottom-up discussions. As a result, management can learn the moods of employees and identify internal opinion leaders.

2.Shortening the distance

Rosemary Turner, president of the courier company UPS in North California, tweets the UPS couriers regularly. What does she tweet? One thing she does is send current traffic alerts. Why? Facilitating day-to-day work is just one benefit. There are other benefits including showing the “human” side of the boss, building a partnership approach and shortening the distance between employees and the management.

3.Encouraging dialogue and transformation in organizations

David Thodey, CEO of Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company, has taken using social networks in daily business operations very seriously. Through an internal service, he asked his employees which processes and technologies should be eliminated from the company. Within an hour he received more than 700 bottom-up responses helping him see the what wasn’t functioning in the organization.  He used this information to implement business changes swiftly.

Have you invested in a social collaboration platform yet? Check out emplo

Making praise and recognition actually work

by Guest blogger  CEO & Co-Founder at Perkbox & Huddlebuy,

It’s no secret that both giving and receiving praise makes us feel good: we’re psychologically wired to function in a receive-give and give-receive kind of environment. When we feel a sense of pride and satisfaction in what we’ve achieved, our brain releases the hormone dopamine, immediately awakening the reward and pleasure areas of our brain.

Receiving credit where credit is due is the simplest form of recognising one’s existence. A cultural analysis by Alversson & Willmott says that:

“A sense of internal coherence and high self-esteem facilitate a positive process of organisational control…”

…So what on earth does that mean? Basically, that you are more likely to produce higher quality work in less time when you feel needed and positively regarded. When you are praised for enriching and supporting your office’s mission, or when you are recognised for contributing to your culture (co-workers, tasks, team goals), you’ll feel that you are a valuable cog in the business machine. You’ll feelengaged.

On the flip side, the ability to recognise the importance of an individual’s particular talent in a team and exactly how that can be supercharged is at the root of a good employer, and, in turn, a successful business.

What’s not to love?

Unfortunately, when it comes to work, some employers will simply throw money at their team in an attempt to provoke these feelings of worth and to motivate their staff to work hard, year upon year. And it’s true, providing a short-lived, release-action financial reward can cause a spike in employee motivation. Temporarily, at least.

This is all very well in the short-term, but everyone knows that with the highs come the lows. Although management may not realise it, financial rewards can often contribute to a rollercoaster ride of emotions amongst their workforce: employees receive a boost when they are rewarded, but tend to return quickly to ‘normality’, feeling more deflated than they did beforehand. What’s more, being locked into an expectation that bonuses will increase year on year is a one-way track to disappointed employees, across the board.

We are increasingly exposed to research backing the importance of non-financial praise and recognition as a way of motivating teams for longer, sustained periods of time, whether that is peer-to-peer, employer to employee or familial relationships.

Why is this?

It’s science: frequent feedback and recognition for completed projects or tasks results in small boosts of dopamine, the‘happy hormone’, rather than the bonus cycle, which is extreme highs followed by lows. The nature of peer-to-peer recognition means that employees are not only praised when they are expecting it, but also when they are not, whether it is from colleagues in their team, or from other staff members across department. It’s a no-brainer: there’s less expectation and therefore less disappointment, in addition to a greater appreciation for the recognition they do receive.

According to McKinsey & Company:

“Non-financial motivators are more effective than extra cash in building long-term employee engagement in most sectors, job functions, and business contexts”. 

The graph* below is very interesting. It highlights the lack of correlation between the frequency at which employers use non-financial incentives and their effectiveness. In other words, despite the fact that a large percentage of people believe non-financial incentives to be ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ effective, they are deployed with a lot less frequency than financial.

So, how can you praise and recognise at work to ensure that you don’t tip the scale in the wrong direction? A rewards system is something that needs to be worked on systematically.

Here are a few simple suggestions to get you started:

  1. Be specific in your praise – recognise individual achievements. Whether that is a well-written report, a creative idea or a perfect cup of tea, shout about it!

  2. Show appreciation – Both employees and employers can recognise hard work and achievement. Give your teammate a simple, verbal ‘well done’ or a quick pat on the back or, if you’re an employer with a little cash to spare, you can go all out and reward a star team member with an experience, like a skydive or a hot air balloon ride.

  3. Be individual – This one’s for the employers: you need to understand your team and personalise your praise. Not everyone will want to be praised publicly – some value a simple thank you gift over long public speeches of adornment. Understand the “language” someone speaks and recognise them in a way they will appreciate most. It’s this that will differentiate you from other employers.

This piece was brought to you by Perkbox – the UK’s fastest growing employee engagement platform. Perkbox helps businesses of all sizes to boost the financial, emotional and physical wellbeing of their team by providing employees with on-the-go access to a range of perks, an online reward and recognition system and a wellness hub. Click here to find out more.