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Engaging employees is not enough anymore

When I was studying KungFu, my teacher repeatedly told us that we should always aim three inches behind the point of impact and hit through the object. That way, the energy can flow and maximum impact achieved. The same principal applies to life: to make an impact aim way past your actual target, just let it flow and swing all the way through. This requires two things: commitment and relaxation. There’s no point stopping half way.

Simon Sinek quote

That’s why I am advocating that engaging employees isn’t enough anymore. The engagement is ultimately designed to extract discretionary effort from the individual. So more commitment, more productivity, more engagement – for what? The main benefactor is the company. But this one-sided equation is not working anymore.

If we want more commitment, more productivity, more engagement, we need to turn the company into an asset for the people that work there and turn engagement into participation. It is the same in nation states, people participate, people care when they can affect change. It empowers, emboldens, creates ownership. If they don’t participate they become consumers that vote but otherwise don’t care.

To feel ownership, we need to give them ownership and we need to let them participate. That will create a completely different level of output and of care.

There are many different ways of creating this participation. But first of all, we need to change our mindset from consumer-centricity (Customer Solution, Convenience, Cost, Communication) to people perspective (Performance, Personalisation, Package, Participation). This is fundamental and important.

Have a look at the table below. The first column shows you the term marketing uses with a customer centricity mindset; the next column along shows their translation into “People Perspective”. The third and fourth columns show what they mean for employees and consumers (in the age of conversational commerce it is important that we take this step).

People Perspective table

How to implement a People Perspective

There are several ways you can implement a people perspective into your organization. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. Your job description, utilize performance, personalisation, package and participation (4Ps) to describe the role.
  2. Your performance review process, utilize these 4Ps to structure it.
  3. Your culture and values, how do they translate into those 4Ps?

 

These are easy yet important steps. The key question you want to ask yourself is, how can push participation beyond the point of impact:

  • How about voting for managers?
  • How about options for everybody?
  • How about shared bonuses instead of individual ones?
  • How about giving people a choice of the hardware they want to use?
  • How about implementing collaborative software such as Slack and Google Docs?

 

You see there are many ways to increase participation, the key thing is to take the people perspective.

For more information on this topic, download our white paper ‘The unity of HR and Marketing”. If you have specific questions, get in touch