A lot of people are talking about employee engagement these days, which is great. But every week, I encounter heads of HR or Communication at large companies that are super anxious about this topic.
This is new.
A mere year ago, when I went to pitch a prospect, I would have to spend a long time convincing them of things. That they are in fact losing money on disengagement and growing turnover;that unlocking a budget to track and improve employee engagement was not crazy.
Today, the people I meet are already sold on the need to improve their employees’ work experience.
We don’t spend much time on the WHY — they’re nervous and just want to get to the HOW.
Here’s how I understand it: their CEOs are putting a lot of pressure on them. Employee turnover is increasing ; they have fewer candidates and people don’t seem as eager to work here as they used to be.
How come some large companies seem to be thriving and attracting all the best talents, and other large companies are struggling?
Then one day a consultant warns them, or a friend shares an article. They need to work on employee engagement.
So the first thing the CEO does is go and see the head of HR, Communication (or whatever they call it) and tell them one of their top missions now is to improve employee engagement.
That’s why the employee engagement market is booming: leaders realize it’s not just about communicating a people-centered message anymore — it’s about competitiveness. It’s about survival.
And that’s why my prospects are freaking out. Can you blame them ?
Improving coworkers’ retention and engagement is not a one-person job
I’ll give you our secret sauce right away:
if you want to engage, you need to engage at a local level. Employee engagement isn’t HR’s responsibility.
Middle management is the key.
The best answer we’ve had at Jubiwee is when we went from an “engagement tracking tool”, to a “personnal analyst” to help managers make the right decisions that have the most impact.
As a company, you’re going to have a lot more momentum with lots of quick wins throughout the year rather than aiming heavy machinery at a once-per-year effort.
The job of HR and top management is to make sure managers have the resources to act on their teams and learn lessons about what works and for whom.
It’s okay if everything isn’t completely controlled by the top management.
This is why most large companies are struggling with the evolution of employee’ aspirations: they want to change, but they stick to a top-down, traditional model. That’s not what employees want, so that’s not what companies need (more about this).
Do you want engaged employees ? Then train and empower managers to implement change. Leverage collective intelligence rather than imposing the views of the few upon everyone and just hoping for the best.
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Thibaud is obsessed with data and people. He’s co-founder and CEO at Jubiwee, your managers’ personal analyst on people decisions.