Test of Employee Engagement… are they chewing the boss out for a lack of business performance?

And what are YOU going to do about it? That was a questioned posed by an hourly employee to the president of the company regarding productivity. Yes, she was very upset over the lack of company performance. Ever had that happen? Ever had an employee (at any level) show real emotion over the lack of company performance? And have the courage to hold accountable and confront management? If not, I would suggest there is room to improve your level and definition of employee engagement.

About six months prior to that encounter, we had designed and implemented our Equishare System™ into this New England business. A system, where every employee shared in the financial performance of the business, every month.

That day I was sitting in the president’s office when a lady came into the doorway.  It was obvious she had come from the factory floor. Ron (the president) asked if he could help her. She said, “ the guy next to me has been making junk all morning… the supervisor has walked by twice and hasn’t said a word. He is wrecking my bonus and I want to know what you are going to do about it”!  Wow, an employee chewing out the president over lousy performance… that’s novel.  Engaged? I would say so.

This level of engagement was a product of several core fundamentals. Her monthly earnings were significantly impacted by company performance. Beyond that however, the Equishare System™ had been designed in such a way to drive real changes in the way employees think and act. This behavioral change was a product of –

  • A real understanding of the key metrics that drive company wide profit
  • Measured and communicated frequently
  • An operating plan to achieve it
  • Timely – monthly bonus opportunity – long enough to tie to the financials, short enough to keep people engaged
  • Amount of variable pay – enough to affect her standard of living.

The story concludes with this. As it turned out, this employee was a single mom, and $200-300 extra opportunity a month meant the world to her. Nothing was going to stand in her way.

AND, since the system was set up on the factors that truly drive improvement in operating profits –  and a fair sharing of the incremental gain, Ron was committed as well. I hate clichés, but that is a win-win.

This is example of a mindset that transcends hourly, salaried, or senior manager – manufacturing or service. Are your employees at all levels deeply concerned and engaged in the financial performance of the business this month, next month and beyond?

When employees are really engaged, really committed, millions of dollars of improvement and opportunity become a reality. It’s not easy, but clearly worth the effort.

This was an “encore blog”, originally published a year ago (edited today), to reinforce comments and questions I had from my previous posting.


About Karl F. Muller

Specializing in driving Organizational Performance to new levels. Utilizing a tactical and focused four (4) part strategy to engage all employees in the pursuit and achievement of performance and real financial results. Applicable to manufacturing, service, distribution and corporate services groups. We have worked throughout North America with businesses and facilities ranging from 50 to 5,000 employees, union/non-union. Define... Measure... Pursue... Reward. Celebrating our 30th year. 200 public speaking engagements, 5,500 senior managers trained, 700 organizations assessed. We are serious, tactical, focused. No fancy corporate speak, no blue suits. Just Results. The Muller Group, Inc.
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