Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Associate Engagement. What is it all about?

With the results of the associate engagement survey recently published, many questions come up.  Questions like "why should I care?" and "it doesn't matter what I say, nobody really reads this stuff, do they?". 

Well, we do care about the engagement survey and the feedback that the associates provide.  We care because we want to make this the best place to work.  We care because a highly engaged associate is a highly productive associate.  Did you know that a disengaged associate is only 50% to 75% productive and a fully engaged associate is between 100% and 122% productive?  Changing our level of engagement by just a few percentage points can result in a million dollars in increased productivity.

So, what are we doing with the results?  Spiking the water cooler with energy drinks is not the answer to improve engagement and productivity.  We have been surveying all associates for three years now and have very good trend information.  The divisions and support departments have been reviewing their results and will be working to not only address some of the areas of weakness but also try to not lose ground on the things that are going well.  Too often we just focus on the negative and end up losing what is going well.

Last year, the IT group put together a team of volunteers to make recommendations on two areas of strength and two areas of weakness.  They reached out to their fellow department team members to understand just what was behind the results.  They then made recommendations to the management team on what was working, what wasn't, along with ideas to make them all better.  The result?  A significant improvement in all four focus areas and an overall productivity increase of nearly 10 percentage points!

So, why should you care?  Because your inputs help to fuel change.  That change will result in a more productive work environment. 

Associate engagement is not just a management issue to solve.  All associates play a role in improving our overall engagement and productivity. Working together, we can truly make this the best place to work.

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