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15 Ways to Drive Employee Engagement and Reinforce Culture via the Green Goldfish

What’s Your Green Goldfish Executive Summary

Motivation for employees is sagging.  Recent reports show that motivation has fallen off at more that half of all companies.  In difficult economic times, how can companies boost employee morale and drive high performance?

The simple answer is doing the little extras beyond compensation to demonstrate commitment and caring.  What’s Your Green Goldfish examines how companies go above and beyond to capture the hearts of their employees. Creating signature extras that help them stand out from competitors, drive engagement and reinforce their culture. This executive summary outlines the Top 9 takeaways from the book, the ingredients / R.U.L.E.S. of creating green goldfish and the 15 different types of green goldfish:

Here are the 9 takeaways from the book:

#1. The Workplace is Changing and It’s in Crisis

One could make the assertion that workplace has changed more in the last five years than it has in the previous 25. Seismic shifts in technology, social media and management have drastically changed how we work. Combine all this change with record levels of disengagement, meaning employees are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive. According to Gallup, two out of every three workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged.

#2. Engagement is Key to Tripling Your Growth

Engaged organizations grew profits as much as three times faster than their competitors. Earnings per share (EPS) growth of 89 organizations found that the growth rate of organizations with engagement scores in the top quartile was 2.6 times higher than organizations with below‐average engagement scores. Also, according the CLC, highly engaged organizations have the potential to reduce staff turnover by 87%.

#3. It’s Not Ignorance

According to Accor, 75% of leaders have no engagement plan or strategy even though 90% say engagement impacts business success.

#4. It’s Important to Show that You Care

According to a study by Towers Watson, of seventy-five possible drivers of engagement, the ONE that was rated as the most important was the extent to which the employees believed that their senior management had a sincere interest in their well‐being. Google sets the gold standard for taking care of its employees. No stone is left unturned in their quest to provide a welcoming and happy work environment. WHY? Here’s an answer according to Google’s Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock,

It turns out that the reason we’re doing these things for employees is not because it’s important to the business, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. And from a company standpoint, that makes it better to care than not to care.”

#5. Shift Your Mindset

Employees are the bedrock of your organization. You would be better served taking compensation out of the equation and thinking of them as volunteers. Here is a great analysis from Ted Coiné on this exact approach,

CEOs, team leaders, and everyone in between: if your people don’t love your company after four years of employment (or four months, or four quarters), that’s all on you… Do you have the pick of the employment litter? Are your best people dying to stay on board? If not, it isn’t that they’re ungrateful, and it isn’t that your competitors are luring them away. It’s that you suck as a leader… Act as if every single employee is a volunteer. Because you know what? In a fundamental way, they are.”

#6. Beyond Dollars

Money is not the major motivator among college-educated workers. Today’s employees are looking beyond conventional monetary rewards. And it doesn’t take a huge budget. Many of these rewards can be free. Sylvia Ann Hewlett cites the results of a survey on working remotely, “83% of Millennials and 75% of Boomers say that the freedom to choose when and where they work motivates them to give 110%.

#7. Little Extras Can Be Drivers of Performance

Doing the little things can make a big difference. For example, most managers take an, “if, then” approach to recognition. Shawn Achor believes this paradigm needs to change, “…from thinking that encouragement and recognition should be used as rewards for high performance as opposed to thinking that encouragement and recognition are drivers of high performance.”

#8. If You Build It, They Will Come

Focus on what you can control, creating a great environment to work in. Your goal should not to be the biggest or to have the best clients, but simply to become the best place to work for. If you become known for being a great place to work, you’ll attract the best people. And if you retain the best people, the best clients will follow.

#9. Culture is a Commitment, Not a Campaign

Actions speak louder than words when it comes to employee experience and building a strong culture. Brands need to start taking small steps to add value to the experience over time.  Little things can truly make the biggest difference.

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: Culture trumps strategy and principles beat rules. The entire premise of “What’s Your Green Goldfish” is that employees must come first and that happy engaged employees create happy customers.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – One of the big takeaways from the book involves managers, “75% of people who leave a job voluntarily don’t quit their job, they quit their boss.” Investing in building leaders is a key factor in driving employee engagement. What’s the cost of a bad boss? This video by One Minute MBA breaks it down: