How can your company innovate fast enough to surpass the competition? And at the same time, what can you do to maximize the human aspect of the organization and create stability in execution? An agile organization could be the answer. Such structures have a 70 percent chance of being in the top quartile of organizational health, the best indicator of long-term performance. An agile firm uses change as an engagement factor. Such organizations empower employees to create value through autonomous creation and collaboration. And they all share a similar foundation: a culture of change. Below, I share three steps to create a culture of change that truly motivates and inspires.
Step 1: Promote Learning in the Workplace
Small targeted projects call for a learning-based culture. And according to Robert Half, “Businesses with a strong learning culture enjoy employee engagement and retention rates around 30 to 50 percent higher than those that don’t.”
When structured and executed well, learning and development can drive culture and business forward. We need to remember that employees want to learn, with 87 percent of millennials stating development is important in a job. Learning also reduces turnover. For example, did you know that 40 percent of employees who receive poor training and limited opportunities for development will leave their jobs within five years? By focusing on learning in the workplace, you’ll be able to see improve retention and improve culture.
All together, learning and development fuels engagement. And appeals to the C-suite! 68 percent of them believe their employees would be more engaged if they had opportunities to be challenged by working on purpose projects.
Step 2: Focus on Performance Motivation
A millennial workforce is driven by a strong sense of purpose. As a result, they expect transparent performance discussions based on real-time feedback. What happens to that feedback though? How can you take action on feedback and empower the employee? In her book Smart Tribes, Christine Comfort suggests performance motivation. She shares:
“Performance motivation results in intrinsic motivation within a supportive environment, because team members are empowered to understand their role, believe they are making a difference in their company and desire to bring their A-Game.”
The concept of performance motivation supports a culture where employees can create value for both their company as well as themselves. How do you take action?
- Instead of the functional responsibility of the role, connect performance to the value it creates for the organization.
- An agile organization creates value throughout the full breath of the organization. As growth can happen in any direction, individual development needs to align to a 360 degree view.
- Encourage employees to drive their own growth and engagement. They’re fully responsible for their own performance and give them the support and feedback required to succeed.
Step 3: Lead with Emotional Intelligence
According to Brian David Johnson, Futurist in Residence at Arizona State University and ACE speaker, the real opportunity for machines to transform the workforce is in their power to free up more time for us to be more human.
Making sure employees connect the reality of today to a positive version of the future remains a challenge for their leaders. Change is hard, because it’s first an emotional experience. Leading beyond the now means accessing the inner resources required for human-centric leadership.
How do we do this? Mindfulness could be the answer towards creating more meaningful interactions. For instance, the introduction of Search Inside Yourself’s mindfulness program to SAP, a multinational software corporation, gave outstanding results. They reported a 200 percent return on investment through mindfulness in the workplace. Providing employees with tools to reduce stress, improve empathy and communication can increase employee engagement. A statistically significant increase in creativity and collaboration could be correlated directly to business outcomes as profits were boosted by 85 to 95 million euros.
In disruptive environments, it’s easy to sit on the edge of your comfort zone. An emotionally intelligent leader is all it takes to role model constructive change and motivate teams to spread a culture of efficiency and emotional agility.
We know that by 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. This can make the task of increasing employee engagement feel massive. But you can start making a positive difference by putting change in the employees’ hands and creating the culture that goes with it.
I was able to attend ACE 2018, the leading employee engagement and recognition conference, and learn new takeaways and insights, including some of the above. If you are in HR and looking for a fun event that focuses on employee engagement, check out ACE 2019.