Last week, I offered the current five-day forecast for Employee Engagement. It was bleak. But, that’s the reality of employee engagement when you get past the party balloons and favors, donuts and slogans, that maquerade as strategy and tactics.
This week will be marked by long gray days of boredom and repitition interrupted with acts of sabotage and a few brief shining moments. Most of this will go unrecognized, the good and the bad. It's just easier to digest canned dog food in the corporate lunchroom and blame the server.
But what if ... there's that question ... what if we addressed some of those contributing elements, the core drivers of employee disengagement, the ones that can’t be resolved with corporate spin or distractions. Employee engagement or disengagement is a symptom of decisions which are in our control. Like all decisions, they reflect priorities, right or wrong depends on the employee or the officer.
With that, here’s an alternative forecast:
Monday - Your CEO announces he's cutting his own pay. She makes this announcement in the employee cafeteria, unannounced and unattended by handlers or the corporate communication office or the pr firm.
Being paid 331 times the average employee’s salary is being just plain greedy. I'll reduce my pay, salary-benefits-options, to twenty times (20X) the average employee's pay. 91% of the savings will be invested in training programs, upgrading equipment, salary increases and better healthcare programs. The remaining 9% will add to our cash reserves.
This ratio, 91:9 or 10:1, is significant. Our company’s leadership, with me as CEO, had taken the same ratio to reward the shareholders, only. Those critical stakeholders, who invest their time and strengths, in building this company were largely ignored. So, I want to better align our incentives, starting with mine.
Then your CEO sat with employees, moving from table to table answering their questions.
Tuesday - Record cash reserves reported with what was retained with 311 times the average employee's salary.
Traders punish the stock.
Wednesday - Shareholders include employees, customers and their community.
Inspired by the CEO's leadership, the Board of Directors voted to reapportion the shareholder's equity on a pro-rated basis among all the shareholders. 40% - employees, 25% - customers, 20% - shareholders, 5% - communities. The remaining 10% will be added to the cash reserves.
Planned stock buybacks will not be implemented.
Dividends will be re-invested in future technologies.
Employees cheer, stock markets sell off.
Thursday - New job training programs are announced. The pending, secret, plan to replace the employees who delivered the record cash reserves and the record stock price and the record revenues ... is shelved.
The CEO announces:
We plan to reinvest in our most important asset, the employees whose achievements have built this company. We'll be upgrading their equipment to the latest, most advanced models. Employees whose jobs have been eliminated by changing products or markets will be retrained with the latest technologies. During that training period they will continue to receive their full salaries and benefits. We consider this an investment in our future.
The small thunderstorms, outbursts of sabotage, are no longer seen. Grumbles and rumbles of angry thunderstorms are a thing of the past.
Employees are seen staying late, coming in early. The disengaged, the 19% of employees who actively work to sabotage their work or yours, are either outed by employees or their disengagement is transformed into engagement.
- Quality control reports fewer defects.
- HR reports fewer employee writeups.
- Finance reports lower Cost of Goods Sold.
- Sales reports more testimonials, ore referrals and higher sales conversion rates. Upsells are on the upswing.
- Customer service reports fewer complaints and fewer cancels.
Sunshine and gentle breezes are forecast with the occasional outburst of creativity and smiles.
Friday - Donuts aren't seen in the cafeteria. There's no reminders of Casual Fridays.
Your HR Director announced:
Moving forward, we're working with adults. Adults are paid for performance. Children receive a trophy for attendance. Adults know what needs to be done and if children can organize pickup baseball team then adults can organize their work, schedule and tasks and priorities.
Sunshine and smiles overrun the cubicles and hallways.
The stock markets yawn for another 1-3 quarters. Then they applaud the company and its far-sighted leaders for creating the new business model: the engaged model, the adult model.
Press coverage is constant and constantly positive. Marketing is able to reduce its advertising expense, further increasing the company's cash balances.
Hiring costs are reduced as the best of the best want to work at the company.
While we can't have an immediate impact on the weather, we can have an immediate impact on employee engagement. Granted, some of these changes will happen when rainbows land in the bucket of gold at the far end of your company's parking lots. Maybe, then again, Chuck Blakeman describes how Participation Age Leaders will Beat Old-School Managers Every Time.
The Participation Age leader he profiles is Ricardo Semler; his company is Semco.
Semler trained others to make decisions. There are now six co-CEOs who rotate leadership every six months, allowing Semler to function at the highest levels of leadership and not make decisions. As with any great leader, he has worked hard to get out of the way.
Semco gets hundreds of unsolicited resumes every month, and no one leaves. In the worst 10-year recession in Brazil’s history, revenues grew 600%, profits were up 500%, and productivity rose 700%. Innovative Stakeholders have taken them into profitable industries they could have never dreamed of entering, and they continue to grow exponentially. And unlike Yahoo, Semco hasn’t told people how or where to work for over three decades.
There's no mention of rainbows in the company's parking lot. But no clouds are forecast in their future. No thunderstorms of employment discontent are heard either. The pot of gold is found in their employees and their company's stock performance.