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    Entries in engagement (20)


    PODCAST - #HRHappyHour 284 - Transforming HR with Technology, Live from Talent Space 2017

    HR Happy Hour 284 - Transforming HR with Technology, Live from Talent Space 2017

    Host: Steve Boese

    Guests: Bailey Borzecki, Dogfish Head Brewery, David Mennie, Saba

    Listen to the show HERE

    This week on the HR Happy Hour Show, Steve Boese is Live at Talent Space Live 2017 and talks with Bailey Borzecki, HR Inspirations Manager of Dogfish Head Brewery and David Mennie, VP of Product Management of Saba about how HR and talent management are being transformed through technology at Dogfish Head. Bailey shared some of the growth story at Dogfish Head from a startup to a 350-person organization spanning 36 states. Technology plays a key role at the company to support goal setting and goal alignment, to make manager-employee 1-1 meetings more productive and effective, and in fostering Dogfish Head's collaborative culture bases on feedback.

    Additionally, we talked about the importance of user experience and user adoption, the best ways to use technology to facilitate employee engagement, and whether or not Bailey is the only 'HR Inspirations Manager' in America. Steve also shared some early HR Happy Hour tales and his long-time partnership with Halogen Software, (now a part of Saba).

    You can listen to the show on the show page HERE, or by using the widget player below:

    This was a really fun and interesting show, we hope you think so too.

    Thanks to Bailey and David for joining the show and thanks to Saba for having us out at the event.

    Be sure to check out show sponsor Virgin Pulse - www.virginpulse.com to learn more.

    Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher and all the podcast apps - just search for 'HR Happy Hour' to subscribe and never miss a show.


    Taking care of customers by taking care of employees, Part 2

    A few months ago I shared on the blog some details about fast-food giant McDonald's recent improvements in both same store sales, customer satisfaction, and customer service, (think shorter wait times in the drive thru), that were largely attributed by McDonald's CEO to a series of comprehensive hourly wage increases for thousands of front-line staff.

    For a quick refresher on that story, here is part of what I wrote back in March:

    What if there was another, simpler way to improve customer service that didn't involve 'engagement' at all, but did impact those employees that are on the front-line working with and helping customers every day? You'd be interested in something like that, wouldn't you? What if it was as simple as cutting a check? Well, make that several thousand checks.

    Check this excerpt from a recent Fortune piece - McDonald's Says its Wage Hikes Are Improving Service:

    The hamburger chain in April announced it would raise the average hourly rate for workers at the U.S. restaurants it owns to $9.90 from $9.01 starting July 2015, with average wages climbing above $10 per hour by the end of 2016. The company also said it would allow those employees to earn up to five days of paid vacation every year following one year of employment.

    McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook, who took the helm in 2015, has since moved swiftly, closing hundreds of weak stores, bringing back all-day breakfast, and simplifying the chain’s menu, reducing bottlenecks in serving customers quickly.But improving the customer experience hinges on workers being on board with all these changes, hence the raises.

    “It has done what we expected it to—90 day turnover rates are down, our survey scores are up—we have more staff in restaurants,” McDonald’s U.S. president Mike Andres told analysts at a UBS conference on Wednesday. “So far we’re pleased with it—it was a significant investment obviously but it’s working well.”

    In October, McDonald’s reported its first quarter of comparable sales gains in two years. The company built on that growth with a huge 5.7% increase in the following quarter.

    Wow, is it that simple? A general 10% across the board wage increase and sales and customer service both rise enough to offset the costs of the increased wages? That's it? Man, what took them so long to sort that out?

    That was McDonald's story back in March, and if you read the entirety of the piece, you will see that I acknowledge that there were probably some other, and possibly significant factors at play that likely also contributed to the uptick in sales and improvement in customer metrics. But there can be little doubt that the wage increase had an effect as well, and I would argue, the most pronounced effect. 

    Let's fast forward to earlier this week where Business Insider shared some details of another massive retailer taking a page from the McDonald's (as well as the Costco) playbook of increasing wages and improving training, and perhaps most importantly, concentrating on employee scheduling, (and not just to 'optimize' staffing levels) - none other than Walmart. What have been some of the effects of wage increases and overall heightened investments in people at America's largest retailer?

    From the Business Insider piece

    Walmart is becoming a better place to shop because it started paying employees more.

    For many years, the company was plagued by widespread complaints about poor customer service at its stores.

    That was until last year when Walmart, under pressure from investors following several quarters of same-store sales declines, decided to invest billions of dollars in wage increases and training for workers.

    Specifically, Walmart committed to investing $2.7 billion over two years in higher wages, scheduling improvements, and employee training, following in the footsteps of companies like Costco.

    Walmart's efforts so far have translated into a pay raise of about 16% to $13.69 per hour for non-managerial full-time employees, The New York Times reports.

    In the meantime, widespread issues in Walmart stores such as empty shelves and cleanliness have significantly improved.Three out of four Walmart stores now meet the company's own customer service standards, according to the Times. A couple years ago, just 16% of its stores met those goals.

    It turns out that paying people more may have made them better employees.

    The piece goes on to mention, (like in the McDonald's situation), some possible other reasons for the improved results, and some alternative motivations for Walmart to make these investments in their workforce, but as in the McDonald's case, Walmart's leaders see a clear line between taking better care of employees and taking better care of customers, (and driving better top and bottom line results).

    I think after these two cases, you get the idea of where I am going with this. I will end this piece with the same couple of thoughts I used to end the March piece on McDonald's:

    Sometimes, maybe most of the time, we tend to over think what it takes to keep people (reasonably) happy, and give them a situation where they feel good about the work they are doing, and the customers that they are serving. 

    You might not be able (nor necessarily should you), give everyone on the staff a 10% bump. But there probably is some other, simple, reachable change you can make that would serve the same purpose. It's out there. You can find it.

    Just don't call it "employee engagement" and you will be fine.  

    Have a great day, and if you hit up a McDonald's or a Walmart today, let me know how it goes.


    Signs of the corporate death spiral #2 - no more free lunches for you

    Quick shot for a super-busy day where I am simultaneously juggle attending an event, sorting out numerous technical issues, (I know, no one cares), and trying to keep the content engines humming around here.

    Thought it would be time to resurrect my 'Signs of the corporate death spiral' series that has long been dormant. Although I could just write about Yahoo every day and that would cover things.

    No, this post is not about Yahoo, but rather another Silicon Valley tech company Dropbox, who you may know from their pretty large data and file storage business. What signal is there that Dropbox may be lurching towards the dreaded death spiral? Check an excerpt from a recent piece on Slashdot:

    Not everything is working out at Dropbox, popular cloud storage and sharing service, last valued at $10 billion. Business Insider is reporting a major cost cutting at the San Francisco-based company. As part of it, the publication reports, Dropbox has cancelled its free shuttle in San Francisco, its gym washing service, pushed back dinner time by an hour and curtailed the number of guests to five per month (previously it was unlimited). These cuttings will directly impact Dropbox's profitability. According to a leaked memo, obtained by BI, employee perks alone cost the company at least $25,000 a year for each employee. (Dropbox has nearly 1,500 employees.)

    Look, no doubt Dropbox's pretty lavish perks package would be considered incredibly excessive by the average organization. I mean, have you ever worked anywhere that let you bring in five friends each month to the open bar on Fridays? Have you ever even had an open bar at work? And I am not talking about that bottle you think is 'hidden' in your bottom drawer. Everyone knows about that by the way.

    But why this benefits/perks cut at Dropbox could potentially be more serious longer term to them than the average organization's occasional need to cut benefits (which can usually be survivable), is that Dropbox exists almost entirely in a world where 'excessive' benefits are not considered excessive at all, rather they are more or less expected components of their Employer Value Proposition.

    That's right, I went all EVP on you all. But it is the best, most concise way to describe what I think is going on here and the potential warning signal this kind of a benefit pull back might end up having at Dropbox.

    No workplace or employee needs free dry cleaning service at work in order to be considered fairly compensated, and (hopefully), happy with their organization. No one needs this for sure.

    But at Dropbox, and maybe 100 other companies in the Valley that are chasing similar pools of workers?

    The end of free dry cleaning and posh gym memberships and open bars?

    They might move towards the need category a lot faster than you think. For you and your organization? It would be good for you to know what is your version of free dry cleaning before the CFO decides to come down with the cost-cutting axe.


    What makes a workplace human

    Remember the classic Marvin Gaye song, 'What's Going On" from 1971?


    Sure you do. In the song Marvin lays out a kind of meditation on many of the issues and problems facing America in the early seventies. What is interesting about the song to me is that 'What's Going On' is not phrased as a question, as in, 'What's going on?', but rather it is presented as a statement, i.e. this is what's going on.


    I am taking the same approach to this post, 'What makes a workplace human', in that I am not asking, but rather I am going to try and make a statement too, at least a statement on what a human workplace means to me.


    If I think about all the places I have worked, and the attributes from each of those places that were the most human, three things come to mind, (there are certainly more that three 'humanizing' elements in workplaces, but I kind of think they all can be abstracted into three main categories).


    So what are the three common features of a more human workplace? 


    1. Respect for the person - The most human workplaces and experiences that I have had in my career were with organizations, or more accurately, within work teams where people were respected and treated with dignity at a basic, simple level. These were teams that were made up of smart, high-performing individuals, and led by demanding leaders, but they never forgot that the organization was not some abstract entity, but rather was made up of individual, and real people. How do you know if your organization respects and values people as real people? Check the 'official' response when a team member has a personal crisis, a family emergency, or in the worst case, a death in the family. Does the team rally to support the person in need? Or do they worry, (primarily), about project deadlines, insurance forms, and leave of absence policy compliance? A human workplace treats people as people, not as cogs to keep in line.


    2. Respect for the mission - The other side to the organization caring for its people as real human beings, is the people caring for what the organization stands for, and the larger mission that the organization exists to try and fulfill. The most human organizations consist of real people who (at least most of the time), feel energized by the mission and purpose of the organization, and can invest emotionally in doing their part to see that the mission is successful. When people can genuinely invest at an emotional level in a cause that is greater than just making sales or earning a profit, the 'humanity' of the organization increases dramatically.


    3. Respect for the community - Every organization exists as a part of some kind of community, whether it is a small, local business that sits on a main street in town, or a global organization that operates in hundreds of locations. Either way, every organization makes an impact on its community, however that is defined. The most human organizations never forget the influence that they have over these communities, and the best organizations attempt to make their communities better places. Organizations that have a strong commitment and demonstrate caring to their communities are likely the same organizations that are going to be more human in their interactions with their people too.


    The inspiration for this post is the upcoming Work Human Conference presented by Globoforce that is taking place from May 9-11 in Orlando. The event is about increasing the engagment of the organization, releasing the energy of your people, and helping you and your organization reach your potential. I will be attending and you can join me by using registration code WH16SB300, at the following registration link http://bit.ly/whstbotw and receive $300 off the current registration rate.

    WEBINAR: From Employee Engagement to Employee Experience

    Quick pitch for a FREE Webinar that I am co-presenting along with the nice people from Globoforce this Tuesday, Feb. 23 (that's TOMORROW), at 1PM EST titled Changing the Conversation in 2016: Moving from Employee Engagement to Employee Experience

    Here's the quick pitch (as if you needed one to get on board with this idea):

    Surveys consistently show that only about 30% of employees consider themselves 'engaged.’ And improving engagement in a meaningful way has proven elusive for many organizations. What if instead HR started focusing more on the overall employee experience?

    It’s time we stopped treating branding, onboarding, coaching, and development as separate entities. By approaching these employee interactions in a more holistic manner, we have a huge opportunity to really “wow” our employees.

    Join Steve Boese (that's ME) and Lynette Silva from Globoforce as they discuss how recognition plays into engagement and some useful metrics for measuring the employee experience.

    What you’ll learn: 

    • How to think about the employee experience from a customer experience point of view
      • 3 primary components of the employee experience
      • Errors in how we’re pursuing engagement (and how to fix them)
      • Specific ways to elevate the fundamental value you offer employees
      • And lots more...

    This is going to be a fun, and pretty lively conversation with some (hopefully) good ideas you can use in your own organization to begin to create the kinds of 'wow' experiences that marketers strive to create for their customers.

    You can register for the FREE webinar, Changing the Conversation in 2016: Moving from Employee Engagement to Employee Experience on Feb. 23 at 1PM EST by clicking HERE.

    Hope you can join us tomorrow!