Written by Nathanial Marshall, Practitioner at LI Europe.

One of the most common questions we come across is “How do we engage our workforce”? 

Many companies try to measure how engaged people are but often overcomplicate the surveys.

They create a vast array of questions among many categories which results in a large amount of convoluted feedback. How easy is it to then analyse this feedback? How often does that feedback actually get translated into activity that makes a demonstrable difference to engagement? Or do the actions end up as the most generic of activities that will do almost nothing to meet a specific individual’s needs?

One of the simplest yet most effective surveys I came across was reading the book “First, Break all the Rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

Early in the book, they detail a simple survey which later became known as the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey. They surveyed 105,000 people amongst 2500 business units within 24 companies.

The following 12 questions were asked and scored 1 to 5 on “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” respectively.

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work? 
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last 7 days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?  
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development? 
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? 
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last 6 months, has someone talked to me about my progress? 
  12. This last year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow? 

Gallup completed a significant analysis of their findings and found two key results.

The first key finding probably wasn’t surprising, but was nonetheless, important.  Employees who responded more positively to the questions also worked in business units with higher levels of productivity, profit, retention and customer service. In essence, more engaged employees mean better business performance.

Further analysis also showed that employees rated the questions differently depending on their department rather than the overall company.  The opinions to the 12 questions depended more on the employee’s immediate manager than the overall policies and procedures of the company.

It goes to show how every single line manager and their ability to engage with their team is the key driver of engagement within a business and thus directly linked to performance.

How engaged are your employees? Could you be doing more to support them in the workplace? Do you have effective systems in place for managing performance and developing your team?

LI Europe has created The Ambassador’s Academy, (TAA). A monthly forum for ambitious manufacturing operations professionals concerned with, amongst other issues, engaging their workforce.  The peer-to-peer format allows like-minded individuals to discuss best practice and how to deliver improvements within their workplace.

TAA membership isn’t open to everyone.  Members must be ambitious and have something valuable to add to the group. To find out more about TAA member visit the LI Europe web page at www.laurasinternational.com/news/ambassadors-academy-taa/

Written by Nathanial Marshall, Manufacturing Improvement Practitioner at LI Europe

I recently watched a review of Theresa May’s first month in post. It discussed how evolving the ‘micro-management’ style she used in her previous department, would be critical in her role as Prime Minister. And it’s something all leaders have to deal with at some point…

Have you ever heard yourself saying any of these?

  • “It will be quicker if I do it myself.”
  • “It won’t get done properly if I don’t do it”
  • “I don’t have time to train someone else to do this task”

Whilst this might be the case – at some point, learning to delegate will become critical to your success in your Front Line Management role.

Delegation is a skill which requires you first to assess the individual to determine the level of freedom they need, as explained by the Tannenbaum-Schmidt model. Once you know their current position you can then apply the appropriate delegation level, of which there are 7, each conferring more responsibility on the individual.

Delegation

It’s your job as a leader to delegate to them at the right level and gradually move them up the scale towards freedom, developing some potential successors along the way.

Effective delegation helps free up your time, develops you as a leader and most importantly empowers your team.

For more information on the Tannenbaum-Schmidt model and other leadership techniques, drop me a line

Written by Erica Bassford

The best performing teams give each other feedback in a ratio of 5.6 positive to 1 negative (source Institute of Leadership & Management). Poor performing teams give far less positive feedback to each other… why is this?

Could it be that poor performing teams have very little that’s positive to talk about, or is it that teams make more improvement, and hence become the best performers, when they have a good mix of positive and negative feedback? We believe in the latter.

Feedback is an opportunity for the manager to let each team member know how they are doing, both positive and negative, and to enlighten them to their Blind Area, as described by the Johari Window Model. We are all human; focussing on the negative can be demoralising but a balance can be motivational. Building on strengths and developing weaknesses by agreeing targets, along with a way for each individual to measure their own performance, establishes an improvement culture.

Check out the Weetabix Case Study to see what was achieved when the company focussed on improving employee engagement by using a range of tools and techniques, including the optimum feedback ratio.

If you’re looking to establish a culture of improvement in your organisation, then why not get in touch to see how we could help.

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