Friday, September 16, 2011

Tackling Two Monumental Challenges: Engagement and Meetings

It seems the nation’s top human resource executives are having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep – and for good reason.
In a new survey of nearly 800 Human Resources executives, 74% said their job stress level has skyrocketed in the past 18 months due to several key concerns including retaining top talent, developing leaders and controlling health care costs.
But above all else, keeping employees engaged and productive  was rated the biggest workplace challenge by those surveyed. That’s a repeat performance, as 2010 survey results had engagement in the top spot as well. The survey, titled “What’s Keeping HR Leaders Up at Night,” is conducted by Human Resources Executive, a leading publication in the HR arena.
Employee engagement is a huge issue at companies—big and small, but the good news is, it doesn’t have to be.
Just to give you a little perspective, my firm worked with a global, high tech company on ways to improve employee meetings. A quarterly, town hall process was underway at most of the firm’s 300 sites, but research showed lackluster results for generating interest or excitement among employees.
Uncovering root causes, we saw a few rise to the surface. First, meetings were stuck in one-way, transmit mode, which made employees feel like they were attending a lecture. Second, hefty PowerPoint presentations dominated the 60-minute sessions. The text-heavy charts laden with buzzwords and acronyms in 12-point font did more to tune out than tune in.
So we went in with a new approach to employee meetings, designed to create more collaboration and interest—and ultimately, engagement. And it worked. After a year’s time, site leaders reported noticeable turnarounds in participation, which helped to raise employee knowledge about business goals and performance.
Want the same results at your company? Here are a few tips to get you started:
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