According to the Gallup Organization there are three types of employees: engaged, not engaged, actively disengaged (you can click here for a great background article at employee engagement). They define those categories in the following ways:
- Engaged—employees who work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company; they drive innovation and move an organization forward.
- Not engaged—employees who are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time—but not energy or passion—into their work.
- Actively disengaged—employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness.
But let’s not look at the engagement index from the employee’s perspective. Let’s look at it from the boss’ perspective. If you manage people, how engaged are you with them? Here are a few questions to help you explore your engagement index as a boss:
(1) How well do you know your employees’ family?
Nothing shows you care about your employees more than showing you also care about their family. Or anything else that is important in their personal lives. Remember, your employees are first and foremost people. If you are connecting with them as individuals and people they are much more likely to connect with you and your organization. For example, a friend of mine (Kenny Kent) has his own advertising agency (Kent Design) in Austin, T X. When he hired a designer he told him, “If you come to work for me, I’ll be there for you. I’ll be at your wedding and I’ll be at the hospital when you have kids.” Kenny lets his people know they aren’t just working together—they are doing life together.
(2) How well do your employees see the connection between your vision and their job?
Your effectiveness as a leader is only as strong as your ability to get others to execute your vision. You can have all the vision in the world, but if people don’t follow you it doesn’t matter. If your employees don’t see your vision clearly, then they won’t be engaged with you. In Five Ways to Make Change Easier, Chip and Dan Heath note, “One of the main mistakes leaders make is that they articulate a new vision but don't translate it into terms that people on the frontlines can execute.”
(3) How well do you care for your staff as people and not just employees?
Okay, care and love don’t seem to equate to the bottom line of making money (which is the goal for most businesses). But loving and caring for your employees can directly and positively impact the bottom line. Why? Because the more you care and love them, the more likely they are to be engaged with your organization. And the more engaged your employees are the more productive they are. Do you communicate to them that they are more important than a project?
(4) How do you develop your employees?
Career development is extremely important to most employees, especially younger ones. You are not just a manager—you are a teacher. Are your employees better today than they were when you hired them? Do they know more? Is there skill stronger? The answers to those questions are your responsibility. Ways to develop your people include having them read business books, listen to audio learning, sending them to conferences, etc. You can also spend time in your full staff meetings giving your employees training.
(5) How do you spend time with your employees?
Is all your employee face time spent at the office? Those are all formal, but it’s just as important to have informal times with your people as well. For example, get a cup of coffee at Starbucks with them. Take them to lunch. There is something magical about having conversations with people—even those that work for you—over a meal. Some of your best developing time doesn’t have to be a formal job review.
So do you want your employees to be more engaged with your organization? Then try engaging them first with you.
For years, marketers have spent millions to establish brand loyalty by connecting to consumers on an emotional level. Companies are realizing the value of connecting to consumers by providing them with meaningful experiences.
Experience marketing, a.k.a. XM, is valuable because it brings to life and animates the brand promise with sensory experiences. Take Charmin toilet paper for example. Charmin has introduced Potty Palooza, a 27-stall bathroom facility with flushing porcelain toilets, hardwood floors, air conditioning, aromatherapy and Charmin toilet paper, of course. This traveling facility delights consumers at events around the country by providing them with luxury bathroom facilities. Neither a print ad nor a television commercial can extol the virtues of toilet paper the way Potty Palooza can.
Experts predict that experience marketing will make or break brands in the future. In his boo Experience the Message, Max Lenderman writes, “All marketing in the future will be based on some form of consumer experience.” Lenderman believes XM is an antidote for dispassionate consumers. You can keep with Lenderman’s latest thoughts on his blog.
What does experience marketing mean for credit unions? It is critical now more than ever, to “wow” the members—connect with them through experiences that are personally relevant, memorable, interactive and emotional. Make branches more than just a place to do business. Make them meaningful with offerings that are out-of-the-box like: Starbucks coffee, an Internet café, a play area for kids, climbing wall for teens or meeting rooms for senior adults. Engage non-members at community events—don’t just pass out brochures from a booth.
And as long as we are talking about Potty Palooza, keep in mind that everyhing affects your brand–including how your bathrooms smell.
Credit unions are competing as retailers. We can either live by the experiences we offer, or die by the attributes we promise but don’t necessarily deliver.
(Notes from Sean McDonald’s Presentation)
I’m attending CU Conferences Business Development and Marketing Conference this week (both speaking and attending). One of the most interesting sessions was “Dynamic Trends in Credit Union Marketing” by Sean McDonald. He is the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Liberty Savings FCU in New Jersey. He is also the author of Stop Complaining! Start Growing.
Some of his keen insights included the following:
- Word of mouth and family referrals continue to be the most influential methods used by new credit union members.
- In 1980 the percent of potential membership that joined credit unions was 47%. By 2008 that number had dropped to 8%.
- Google is one of the best (and worst) things that has happened to business. For example, if your member has one bad member service experience they will google your competitors and go someplace else.
- Top reasons for not joining a credit union: too few ATMs, not enough branch locations and a it takes too long to get things done (loans approved, etc).
- Earning loyalty is tricky but it can be done if approached in a deliberate and conscientious manner.
- It is very disheartening that, when times get tight, the two budgets that are cut first are the most important: training and marketing.
- How can you expect your business (in this case your credit unions) to prosper if you are not training your people to become better and are not marketing your services to existing and potential members?
- You must be relevant to your audience.
I couldn’t agree more with Sean’s points. He provided a ton of great information and some thought-provoking ideas.
What is the secret to success? In Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell explores that question, offering tantalizing research and interesting conclusions.
Gladwell defines an outlier as, “something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body; and a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.” In other words, an outlier is someone who has experienced phenomenal success.
One of Gladwell’s greatest strengths is his story telling. He illustrates his key points with some people you know (the Beatles, Bill Gates) and some you don’t (lawyers Joe Flom and Mort Janklow).
Some of the traits he notes that all outliers have are:
· Have “practiced” their skills for at least 10,000 hours
· Had the right opportunity
· Had help along the way
One of the best quotes from the book that spoke to me was, “..no one—not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses—ever make it alone.”
Since opportunity is so important, I want to give those around me opportunities for them to succeed. That was one of my main takeaways: giving others the chance to succeed.
I certainly didn’t agree with every point Gladwell made. For example, success is fairly subjective. You don’t have to make a ton of money or be number one in your profession to be considered successful.
Outliers is such a popular book, we had our credit union book club read it recently. So don’t just take my opinion. Here’s what some of our front-line employees had to say:
“This book was kind of hard for me to finish, because I felt like it dragged on. I agree with the principles of this book, but there’s a lot I feel could be stretched a little bit.
The major thing I took away from this book is that success is something you as an individual need to define. The ten thousand hour rule really spoke to me as well, and I will strive to apply that to my academic life this semester. I do think that this book has opened my eyes and given me a lot to think about!”
“I truly enjoyed this book and the interesting way it had at looking at the origins of success. My two takeaways from this book are:
1) True success doesn't come easy.
2) You are whatever you make yourself become… The kids in the elementary school in the Bronx have none of the advantages I have had in life, but an astounding number of them graduate college because they work hard at it. Christopher Langan had tools that most of us can't even comprehend, yet he works on a horse farm in Podunk City, USA.”
If you do want to learn more about success, a motivational book may not be the best option. Instead you might learn a great deal by reading Outliers.