Thursday, June 4, 2015

Even Doughnuts Aren’t Enough for Great Employee Engagement!

Mmmmmm, doughnuts. In offices everywhere on Friday, people will bring in dozens of old-fashion glazed, Boston creams, jelly-filled, crullers and bear claws to early meetings or just to leave outside their cube – whether or not those people realize that June 5 is National Doughnut Day. Doughnuts are a tasty way to say thanks to a team mate, to gather people for an announcement, to bring visitors to your cube, or just to celebrate Friday. But while a box of doughnuts might be a great shortcut to engagement, it’s not enough. It’s easy to guess that employees might like to start their day with a guilty pleasure, but knowing what they really want out of their jobs takes careful listening, and careful listening requires the right tools.

The larger the organization, the more difficult it becomes to listen to employees in a meaningful way. Allianz, a provider of insurance, banking and asset management products and services, has about 148,000 people operating in more than 70 countries. With an organization that large and complex, having a strategic plan for employee listening is critical. Allianz knew that companies that don’t listen have disengaged and unproductive employees, and those employees were more likely to leave for jobs at competitors.

Furthermore, Allianz realized that training and development are necessary to help employees reach their full potential. With all of these factors in mind, the company launched a regular engagement survey to better understand employee motivation and identify areas for improvement. Working with IBM Kenexa Survey Enterprise, Allianz asked staff about their views on the company, their careers and their personal work environment.

More than 100,000 people participated in the survey every year from 2010 through 2014. Senior managers were able to view high-level dashboard reports that gave breakdowns of results from the entire survey as well as from their own departments. Leaders of teams and Allianz subsidiaries could then draft their own strategic plans based on the results as well as on individual opinions, giving greater weight to the voice of every respondent.

As a result of the listening and follow-up program, global engagement at Allianz rose six percent between 2010 and 2014. Local initiatives that were started after the introduction of the survey include a stress-reduction program in Romania and a plan in Spain that allows workers over 61 years old to spend their last years before retirement in a part-time role training a replacement.

 “We want to understand our strengths, opportunities, and what motivates and engages our workforce, because creating the right work environment has a major impact on business performance,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Dr. Christian Finckh. Measuring that impact is Allianz’s next move. When the numbers are in they will in all likelihood confirm what seems intuitive: giving employees a voice and taking action on their feedback makes good business sense. It might even work better than doughnuts.

To learn more about Allianz’s employee engagement efforts, click here.

from Social Business Insights Blog

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