Recently, I spent some time conducting Engagement Bridge™ workshops with a dozen of our clients. We openly discussed the employee engagement challenges they’re facing, and brought in my research and insight from co-authoring “Build it: The Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement.”
The topics discussed were as broad as the Engagement Bridge™ model itself, which shows that each company is facing different challenges. However, there were five key themes coming out of these workshops that I wanted to share to assist you with your engagement journeys as we approach the new year.
To further help you drive change and be an engagement rebel, at the end of each topic I’ve proposed a “rebel action” that could be part of your “rebel resolutions” in 2019 (and beyond!). Here are the five most common topics that were shared:
1. Invest the time
At the end of each session, the same thing was said, which is that people were so grateful for having the time to discuss challenges and come up with solutions. I wish I was surprised at this, but it hones in on what we know already.
We’ll never overcome our challenges if we don’t step away and take the time they require and deserve to be addressed.
Rebel action: Carve out time in your calendar throughout the year for “rebel sessions,” giving yourself time and space to sort out your challenges.
2. Shake things up
One of my roles in the workshops was to challenge the direction the group was heading in respect to coming up with solutions. I didn’t do this to be difficult or annoying (although I have to admit it was a bit of fun) but more to make sure that the groups weren’t basing solutions on the comfortable, familiar or “normal” ways of doing things.
We talk about this in our book and so does Francesca Gino in her book “Rebel Talent,” where she says that in order to innovate you need to “learn everything and then forget everything.”
Rebel action: Shake things up by challenging the status quo when you develop your engagement solutions. This can and should be done in your "rebel sessions” or anytime you are discussing solutions. You could even rotate who gets to wear the rebel "cape" in discussions, playing this important role.
3. Stay focussed on strategy
Another role I had during the workshops was to keep the focus, meaning to focus only on those engagement solutions that were truly aligned with the business and HR strategies. At times the groups wanted to stray into areas or solutions that didn’t align with strategy, but I returned the focus back to where it needed to be.
Rebel action: Keep your strategy top of mind whenever you develop your engagement solutions, pushing back on anything and everything that takes you away from it.
4. Involve your workforce
During the workshops I’d ask the question, “what do your employees want and need?,” trying to understand the company’s workforce better. Often I’d receive blank stares or an admission that the team were not sure what their workforce wanted or needed.
If you are going to create solutions that will truly drive engagement, this needs to change. Companies need to continually ask and check in with their workforce to better understand them. Yes, this may take time, but in the long-run it will be worth it, I promise!
Rebel action: Build into your processes informal or formal ways to get employee input and feedback.
5. Bring in diverse thoughts
And finally, the overwhelming feedback from the workshops was that they appreciated the diverse thoughts and ideas presented not only by me, but by others who attended the workshop. In fact, in some workshops they admitted that they hadn’t brought together people from other teams into such meetings before, and were kicking themselves for not thinking of doing this sooner.
Rebel action: Look at diversity of thought as a positive, and invite it into your meetings and your solutions.
|As a recap, here are the five rebel actions to take to overcome challenges in the new year:|
|1. Invest the time|
|2. Shake things up|
|3. Stay focused on strategy|
|4. Involve your workforce|
|5. Bring in diverse thoughts|
So next year, today, or tomorrow — when will you put on your “rebel cape”? I’d love to hear more about your discussions in the comments or on LinkedIn, where I’m always sharing the latest on overcoming engagement challenges.