We are now going to talk about the Engagement Process, exploring each step in more depth.
1. Ask, Listen & Engage
Avoid the dynamic of sending down the solution from on high. We have all been there when the “grown-ups” (aka, senior management) come back from a retreat and then spread the gospel to the “kids,” aka, the employees. The message is that management is telling employees what to do instead of involving employees in the process.
When you ask and listen, you understand the current status, and then you can engage your employees in the process for improvement. How do you ask and listen?
Here are just a few ways to get the dialogue started:
- In-depth employee observation, not unlike traditional anthropological research.
- Employee focus groups.
- One-on-one employee interviews.
- Company task force.
- Companywide survey.
- Interviews with outside stakeholders and industry observers.
What to ask? Here are six key questions I think every company should ask its employees:
2. What are the top three strengths of the organization?
3. What are the top three areas needing improvement within the organization?
4. What do you personally need to better contribute to the overall growth, profitability and customer satisfaction levels of the organization?
5. If you could give one message to senior management, what would it be?
6. What one thing would you recommend we should stop doing as a company?
Questions are the secret weapon. With this process, people feel listened to, they feel their input is valued, most importantly, it creates momentum for improvement. You will be amazed at the suggestions you receive, especially from the front line.
Out next installement on the Engagement Process will be Step 2. Develop the Focus and Strategy for Improvement.