Seems like organizations after organization roll out people programs to drive….engagement? Career development? Honestly, it’s a little unclear. Organizations are masterful at developing business strategies. MBA courses are dedicated to it. But what about people programs? What is the seamless connections between them?
In the end, the driving force behind all people programs should be “how does this drive gaining/retaining customers?” Each program needs to be linked to an organizational outcome. Yes there are organizations that are exceptions to this , like Southwest. But the majority of organizations putting out people programs with no tie to the business doom them to being:
• An afterthought
• A nice to have
• Another thing to do
• What to do when you have “free time”.
Initiatives that aren’t integrated into the business of the business don’t make people’s top priority list. “How do we increase employee engagement” Question after question are posted on LinkedIn. There are beautiful solitons and TONS of data that point to why engagement is an awesome thing to drive. Yet, it’s not a focus still. Maybe it doesn’t have to do with engagement tool but where engagement fits or is positioned.
To create a climate of universal adoption and enthusiasm for people programs, wouldn’t it be wise to frame them in a way that satisfies the interests of shareholders, managers, and employees alike?
It’s pretty clear how this can be accomplished: tie the benefits of people programs into quantifiable business results – how will engaged employees increase productivity? How will career development help attract and retain customers?
If they aren’t directly helping the business operate, what’s the point? Or rather, if people programs are helping the business, why aren’t they treated like it?
Regardless of the program, these same questions can be asked. There needs to be a direct link between a given program and a desired result.
Simply improving engagement is not a result in and of itself; it’s the means to a result like higher productivity, more effective collaboration for creative projects, increased communication for better conflict resolution, etc., and even these effects need to be tied back to reducing overhead, retaining customers, or increasing product value.
Ask yourself, what is the actual, tangible purpose of your company’s current people program?
If you can’t tie it back to a company-wide goal, you just might be wasting your time.
Anil Saxena is the President of Cube 2.14, an organizational development consulting firm that works with clients to increase both customer and employee engagement while decreasing turnover, improving customer retention, and increasing profitability within organizations.
Saxena is a certified High Impact coach and trainer and a Joint Application Design facilitator. He is also certified by both Rush Systems and IBM as a focus group facilitator. He is an inaugural member of Northwestern University’s Learning and Organizational Change program, and he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.