Guest blog: Engage and stop chasing demographic unicorns

Engage with diverse workforces

Are you stressed about trying to engage your diverse workforce? Going crazy trying to engage millennials in your office?

You’re probably overwhelmed by articles and blog posts telling you how to communicate with your workforce by age, ethnicity and gender. Frankly, it’s unworkable.

The fact is people are complex and the psychological underpinnings that lead employees to engage with a firm morph with both time and situations. Engagement is daunting. That’s why you need a different model – a new way of thinking about engaging your diverse workforce.

Stop chasing demographic unicorns.

The 4 Drive Model

The 4 Drive Model (originally created by Lawrence & Nohria) is a comprehensive framework for understanding employee motivation at its root. The 4-Drive Model satisfies a wide variety of engagement issues with a single approach. This way, you can engage your 26-year-old white female as easily as the 45-year-old Asian male.

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#1: Acquire & Achieve. The first set reflects our drives to acquire things, status, experiences, rewards, etc. and is a common foundation for all engagement plans. Intuitively, you can peg millennials with their drive to acquire and achieve, but hold your horses. They’re not the only ones. We live in a consumer-driven world. Your millennials and your 50-something coworkers received Apple watches for holiday gifts (maybe even from themselves).

Kurt Nelson, PhD, President of The Lantern Group, applies a version of the 4 Drive Model to engagement strategies. He noted recently that “The standard ‘pay them more and get more performance’ mantra doesn’t work anymore. A written letter of appreciation can generate more engagement than a big check.”

#2: Bond & Belong. We have a drive to create positive relationships and engage with others to fit in as social beings. In this way, we are satisfying our desire to bond and belong. This drive transcends age, gender and ethnicity and has more to do with what’s happening in the careers of your employees and changes in their environment. In every new setting, the subconscious mind demands satisfaction to bond and belong, to fit in and for the tribe to recognise achievements.

The modern workforce exists not so much as individual contributors but as dynamic participants in a web of teams. As Nelson noted, “Successful leaders look for opportunities for their people to interact and form social connections.”

#3: Create & Challenge. These drives are about our need to create, improve, master, learn and overcome challenges. People commonly overlook this when considering what engages employees. An assignment with tremendous challenges can contain more motivational power than an average assignment with a big bonus. As historian Jacob Bronowski said, ‘We delight in our own creativity,’ so give an employee something to create and watch them run.

That said, it’s more than just having a challenge in a job. It’s also about expanding the cognitive abilities that allow us to succeed. “To maximize performance,” said Nelson, “make sure that there are regular opportunities or even requirements to engage employees in learning.”

#4: Define & Defend. Defining our purpose and defending our status, ideas and relationships. How we identify ourselves has immense motivational power. While saving-face is one such reactive aspect, the proactive side is staking a claim and enabling employees to raise a flag on their own battlements. These drives serve those who have clear visions of their purpose and goals in the organization.

“Employees will fight long and hard for a company that they believe in and one that has their back,” says Nelson.  This is truly the ultimate gift an employee can give a company when their environment supports it “but the moment they sense deceit or feel belittled, those same employees can turn into your biggest liability.”

Applying The 4 Drive Model

Dr. Nelson recently leveraged the 4 Drive Model with a global pharmaceutical firm in revamping their sales incentive trips. Historically, the firm offered lavish trips for top performing employees to exotic destinations as recognition of their successes. However, the company wanted to dial down the public perception of the trips and at the same time maintain high levels of motivation among the sales reps. The result, after private interviews, team brainstorms and input from senior leaders, a menu of trips was created to allow teams to choose (bond & belong) among learning-centric trips (create & challenge) with senior leaders (acquire & achieve) that were relevant to their team’s success (define & defend).

One Isn’t Enough

Nelson noted that “an improvement in each of these drives impacts organizational performance independently” which is important for any firm. Satisfying all 4 drives simultaneously initiates “an exponential increase in performance”. By comparison, firms see a 3%-6% performance increase for satisfying any individual drive versus a 36% performance increase when all four drives are satisfied.

Chasing demographics is akin to chasing unicorns in a magical forest.  By focusing on the 4 Drives, it allows you to develop programs that address your entire audience looking at where they are at.

Tim Houlihan applies the behavioral sciences to workplace engagement and consumer behavior to corporations around the world.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

Many thanks to Tim, Chief Behavioral Strategist, at BehaviorAlchemy for his time and insight into engaging audiences. At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on engaging with diverse workforces, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)

How change management is essential during an M&A

Managing change during a Merger and Acquisition (M&A) can be incredibly stressful and go catastrophically wrong if senior leaders, or even staff alone, are not ready for the change.

Often, companies treat the change as a separate entity or stand-alone activity. This can have a devastating effect on how the collective workforce approaches, views or deals with a merger.

M&A’s need collaboration from all sides

Although change management has a hierarchical directive, collaboration and communication with senior leaders is key in its creation and implementation. By providing opportunity to feedback and contribute to change because of a recent M&A can create a more unified and embracing culture which will entice rather than scare employees through the overwhelming, often, daunting process.

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Communicate from the onset through all M&As

Change management only works effectively when processes and communication are enforced at the start of a significant change. During M&As, leaders face many challenges including cultural and stress management, redundancies, HR restructuring, resistance to change and job insecurities. As a result, change management implications need to be considered from the onset before negotiations are finalised.

Below is a collection of articles which focus on the good, the bad and the ugly of M&A’s; looking at what went wrong and what key leaders did, to successfully merge two iconic brands.  From the phenomenally successful merger of Disney and Pixar to the almost, disastrous merger of Yahoo and Facebook; check our favourite accounts of some well-known brands:

Offering a great synopsis; this site gives a collection of mergers which have succeeded or failed miserably when embarking on a company merger:

http://www.rasmussen.edu/degrees/business/blog/best-and-worst-corporate-mergers/

A great article listing some of the worst mergers that have happened in the last couple of years; including legendary Apple and LaLa, Facebook and Instagram:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/worst-tech-mergers-acquisitions-cisco-linksys-apple/

The following website provides thought-provoking video snippets of corporate mergers that have gone wrong:

https://www.phactual.com/9-corporate-mergers-gone-wrong/

An M&A is one of the largest changes companies can undergo and often, staff are susceptible to the greatest of disruptions. The key to success? Communication and collaboration from day one: giving you the power to excel through even the most trying times!

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how we can help with change management when going through an M&A, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

Digital evolution: how to stay current

What digital evolution means for companies today

Technology has dramatically changed how people communicate, connect and perform personally as well as professionally.

From the introduction and evolution of social media channels, mobile apps, real-time platforms and intranet systems; companies are rapidly changing how they use, perform and operate in the digital hemisphere.

With an influx of real-time technology, customer and employee behaviour and expectations are becoming more demanding. Subsequently, resulting in bigger and bolder investments from companies into resources which can keep up with the increasing demands.

Industry experts believe this is an era ‘where technology and society are evolving faster than businesses can naturally adapt’. They advise that these changes are setting ‘the stage for a new era of leadership’; charging behind a mantra of ‘adapt or die.’

A digital maturity…

According to Capgemini’s 2012 report, companies who are steaming ahead of the digital evolution, have developed a digital maturity – a combination of digital investment and leadership capabilities to drive digital transformation in the workplace.

But how is this digital transformation affecting employee engagement and is there benefit to the change?

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The change in digital expectations has led to a more collaborative and open working environment. This affects how and what employees look for in a company.  As well as job stability and career prospects; employees are now searching for companies they feel comfortable, sharing information and ideas with. They want open and honest communication from senior leaders.

According to the Employee Confidence Index, companies who are using internal social media tools have effectively engaged 83.6% of their staff.  Social media platforms not only communicate an open and collaborative culture externally but have developed into ‘relationship networks’; helping companies to connect online to share information and ideas internally and externally.  Thus resulting in more engaged audiences!

Travelex, is one company who has embraced the digital transformation and has successfully transformed itself into a digital organisation. With over 8000 employees, the world’s largest specialist provider of foreign exchange wanted to migrate the company’s communication platforms into the social realms of technology.

Invest and thrive through digital evolution

Recognising the shift in behavioural demands, Travelex introduced a social media strategy which would meet and exceed expectations.  Equally important as the objectives was the investment needed to successfully execute and deliver the strategy internally and externally. Sabrina Rodriguez, Global Head of Social Media for Travelex advised:

Social is not free, this is a myth. It is absolutely a paid channel and needs investment, a robust strategy, management, infrastructure and a sufficient operating model.

Without investment from the business, and by relying purely on organic growth, communities can take years, not months, to grow. That’s an expectation that we absolutely need to set.

Digital transformation has radically changed how we communicate, listen and respond to internal and external audiences. When done effectively and collaboratively it improves, strengthens and empowers overall engagement.  A communication transformation!  What does digital evolution mean for you, your employees and your customers?

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on developing digital and social strategies, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

 

Creating a successful employee value proposition (EVP)

What is an Employee Value Proposition?

An Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is an employment proposal which outlines what an employer expects from its employees and what it provides its employees in return.  Generally, it is the key tool to engage, attract and retain quality talent.

Similarly, to a Customer Value Proposition (CVP) which focuses on why customers should buy into a product or service, an EVP concentrates on why a candidate should choose to work, stay and engage within a company.

It is the unique value which a company can bring not only to its future but also its existing employees.

According to Richard Veal, Head of Towers Watson’s Reward, Talent and Communication Consulting, UK practice:

“Unfortunately, to many organisations the EVP remains a hidden gem that is unshaped, overlooked or not utilised to its fullest extent. Our latest research provides important insights into what makes the best companies – those with highly effective EVPs – different.”

The impact of an effective employee value proposition

Effective EVP’s encompass strategy, communication and engagement.  This can help attract new employees and align personal goals and values with the company’s goals and values (aiding in employee retention).

To develop a strong EVP that is effective and communicates the overall strategy of the company it is imperative to collate and digest current feedback.  Fundamentally, this should focus on how internal and external audiences perceive the company’s brand and culture.

Find out why employees were attracted to your company, why they have stayed and the unique offerings that competitors have failed to offer. It is also important to assess why employees have left or why candidates have turned down a role. A company can achieve a 360° review of its proposition in a variety of ways. These can include employee surveys, focus groups and external surveys targeted at former employees and job applicants; providing more qualitative and quantitative data.

By establishing current and previous feedback, this will help create a more effective and targeted EVP; strengthening the overall company brand and solidifying industry positions.

Strengthen your company with a purpose-led EVP today!

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on creating a more wholesome and strategically focused EVP, call or email us today.  Let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.

How to recruit a Millennial

What is a Millennial?

The term ‘Millennial’ has taken over our social media channels, websites, intranet systems, even favoured online publications; but what are they and how can you get one?

Firstly, Millennials are people not a product!  The term ‘Millennial’ represents those born in the late 1970’s to the mid 1990’s.  Also coined as ‘Generation Y’ or the ‘Echo Boomers’ (offspring of the 50’s baby boomers); Millennials are employees who were ‘coming of age’ at the start of the new millennium.

Millennials are representing a generation which is incredibly sophisticated, technology savvy and often ‘immune’ to traditional sales and marketing pitches. They’ve seen it and been exposed to it all since early childhood.

Love it or hate it?

However, the term is slowly becoming intolerable, if not over used and has unfortunately, affected how companies recruit and expand. Suddenly, we are hearing that companies are reluctant to hire this generation; even if they have over 10 years of experience to bring to the table.

And the reason? The term has become Marmite: love it or hate it and no in-between!

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The term ‘Millennials’ has shifted from representing an age category; instead becoming a favoured term for debate; with audiences wanting to understand, analyse and dissect the term as if they are a separate species! If you are looking to recruit a millennial then your objective is off-centre.  Instead, assess what kind of candidate you need; the role you are advertising and the team you are trying to develop.  Use the recruitment process to improve your overall employer brand and not to compartmentalise an age group.

Millennials are people too: recruit as an individual and not as a term!

Quick guide to Millennial recruitment

With the right attitude and key objectives, we have developed a quick guide on what to do when recruiting a candidate:

Avoid assumptions and stereotypes: Often, Millennials are perceived to populate a small proportion of workforces when the reality is the opposite. It is projected to make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 and numbers will peak in 2036 at 81.1 million. Having a collective age range in the workplace encourages a more collaborative environment. Understand their skill sets and critical approach to brand loyalty, embrace their racial and ethnic diversity and evaluate how this can contribute to the company in its entirety.

Update, train and guide your managers: Whether it is for Generation X, Y or Z effective management will result in a more productive and receptive team. Provide regular training and continuous support to managers in helping them lead and manage teams which are diverse. Offer them guidance in acknowledging and utilising an individual’s strengths and motivations no matter what their age range.

Research and behavioural analysis: Unfortunately, a multitude of tools have emerged helping applicants to develop their CV’s which increase online visibility. Often these CV’s are a by-product of these tools rather than a true reflection of the candidate.

Use pre-employment interviews to encourage a more accurate overview of your applicant, helping to identify key motivators and strengths, customer service orientation and skill sets. This will also help develop your recruitment and selection process as well as any subsequent training packages.

Communicate your company’s culture: When developing your employer brand think about the environment your candidates will be working in. Your company culture should accommodate a multitude of ages and not be aimed at one selective group. A shift in engagement has encouraged companies to embrace a more collaborative and open environment. The recruitment process can help you assess how people view your company externally and how you are positioned against your competitors.

An attractive company makes for a more appealing employer

Millennial facts

And just for fun…here is a collection of ‘Millennial facts’ showing how age can be immersive instead of a hindrance:

  • 45 percent believe a decent paying job is a “privilege”, not a “right.”
  • 64 percent of Millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.
  • 88 percent prefer a collaborative work culture rather than a competitive one.
  • 74 percent want flexible work schedules.
  • 80 percent of Gen-Y say they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews; they feel that this is imperative for their growth and understanding of a job.
  • 70 percent have “Friended” their managers and/or colleagues on Facebook.
  • 71 percent don’t always obey social-media policies at work.
  • Millennials are connected to an average of 16 co-workers on Facebook.
  • 69 percent believe office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis.
  • 35 percent of employed Millennials have started their own business on the side to supplement their income.
  • 84 percent say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition.
  • 41 percent of Millennials have no landline at home and rely on their mobile phones for communication.
  • Millennials value community, family, and creativity in their work.

Have your say and tweet us @ClearVoiceComms

At ClearVoice™, we are experts in delivering employee communications and engagement solutions. We inspire and motivate your workforce to increase your company’s productivity and profits. For more information on how we can help with recruitment, on-boarding and retention of employees and Millennials, call or email us today and let us show you how engagement can boost your organisation.