By Chad T. Ahern
Vermont's unemployment numbers indicate that the state's workforce is at full employment.
But are we really?
Data from Gallup's 2017 State of the American Workplace report notes that a little more than 33% of Vermont workers are actively engaged in their work. These are people who not only show up to work but who are also expending discretionary effort to improve their organizations and companies.
This means that more than 66% of Vermont workers are disengaged (~53%, zombie-walking through their days and weeks) OR actively disengaged (~14%, people working to subvert the efforts of actively engaged workers. With so many Vermonters not fully engaged in their work, are we really experiencing the best of everyone having a job?
To improve employee engagement, Gallup notes that it is key for employees to positively answer the question, "Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?" To help employees answer this question, they and their managers & leaders need to understand what each person does well. This is where Strengths-based coaching can play a role.
As a Strengths Coach, I work with individuals and teams to help identify their innate, talents -- naturally recurring patterns in the way we each think, feel, and act. In working with individuals there is also significant time spent identifying what current skills and knowledge are already being used in conjunction with one's talents, and what skills and/or knowledge should be learned to take best advantage of one's talents. Similar activities are undertaken at the team level to identify where productive partnerships could or should be established to make best use of everyone's time.
It's a good thing when I can help one team accomplish this level of engagement because it means they are much more likely to enjoy a truer state of "full employment."
What would happen if every individual, team, and organization here in Vermont enjoyed this level of engagement and partnership?
Would that not mean "full employment" for Vermont?
How many of you can find significant differences in the employee benefits posted in a newspaper job ad? How about online? How about in employee handbooks?
Okay, maybe you don't have access to multiple employee handbooks; but when was the last time you reconsidered enhancing your company's offerings? When was the last time you asked for employee input on what's best for them?
A few weeks ago, Lauren Bell of KSV posted this great piece on exceeding expectations. A lot of what she states about customers also applies to any company or organization when it comes to their employees' expectations.
Lauren first posed these very similar questions "what do you do for your employees?" and, "what do you provide?" In the context of her post, I think she meant them as different phrasings of the same question - "how are you helping your customer?"
For employers, these must be two very different questions.
You likely provide for time-off, health/dental/vision coverage, and maybe a retirement contribution or savings plan I'd like to assume these are on top of reasonable pay and a safe working environment. Good start, but these are pieces of the employment that people already expect. It's the bare minimum.
Employees likely don't value these benefits in and of themselves. They value what those benefits allow them to do --- feed/cloth/house themselves, take a vacation, spend time with family, and stay healthy. To paraphrase Laura again..."If we work for it, it’s an expectation."
The rub comes when you start considering, "what are you doing for your employees?"
How are you...
Your employees will value things that exceed their expectations.
In a world of overwhelming choice, and a workforce keenly aware that companies like Google are re-writing the book on hiring, motivating, and developing talent, how can you exceed the expectations of your employees?
How are you exceeding your employees' expectations?
Help us all learn what we can do better by posting a comment below.
So far we've covered acknowledgment, reporting impact, and recognition. The fourth a final pillar from donor relations that can help transform human resources is engagement.
For donor relations professionals, the goal is to bring donors as close to the institution as possible so they A) feel good about their philanthropy and B) consider making additional future gifts. It is for this reason that donor relations professionals focus on three activities - information, access, and experiences. In donor relations these activities might look like:
Often these three types of activities can be combined. You might offer a special experience led by a organizational leader (access + experience). Or an "insiders" newsletter (access + information).
So what does this mean for transforming human resources?
If you're looking to further engage your employees (or future employees) with the organization consider how your human resources staff could facilitate some of the following:
Thank you to those of you who patiently waited since April for me to post this final installment of the human resources -to- talent management series.
How have you used information, access, and special experiences to keep and engage your company's talent?
How will you use the combination of acknowledgment, impact reporting, recognition, and engagement to transform human resources into a full-fledged, human-focused, talent management operation?
Gallup®, CliftonStrengths®, and the 34 theme names of CliftonStrengths® are
trademarks of Gallup, Inc. All rights reserved.