Tap into the engagement potential of your workforce through behavioral data
I recently came across a flyer advertising an upcoming workforce engagement seminar titled, “The role of communication in creating an engaged and collaborative workforce.” As a workplace communication expert, my first thought was that this flyer was limiting the role that communication plays in creating and maintaining an engaged workforce, but I quickly realized the flyer failed to mention an equally important variable: data.
Companies spend billions of dollars per year on high profile events, entertainment, and shiny new programs designed to engage their workforce, spark morale, and improve the bottom line. While I am NOT saying that one-off events, entertainment, and HR programs provide no incentive for engagement, I do feel that this type of workforce engagement quickly fades away as soon as the event concludes, the celebrities leave, or a new program replaces an old one.
The only way to tap into the engagement potential of your workforce is through ongoing, effective communication that is tied to workforce behavioral data. Engagement is not a one-size fits all concept because it operates on a continuum and cycles up and down depending on the business environment, a person’s mood, and the moon’s lunar attraction. Yes, this last one sounds funny but it’s true. Sometimes there’s no human explanation for why your most productive and enthusiastic employee is having a down day, or why an average employee suddenly hits a home run. But if you have data to understand what motivates each of your employees, to connect with them in a way that matches their natural behavioral drives and needs, managers can better connect, inspire, and retain their most talented workers.
Return on Investment
Milestone events that can be marketed to the masses are great for capturing media headlines and a fleeting bump in engagement. But where businesses should put their money is in two areas:
- A workforce assessment suite to understand predict how and why people behave in the workplace
- Creating a culture that values mundane communication situations like interactions in corporate hallways, impromptu feedback conversations, and running effective meetings. While these scenarios are not as high profile to talk about, they are the building blocks for a truly engaged workforce.
Dr. Zach Schaefer is CEO of Spark The Discussion, a full service human capital consulting firm that provides Data Driven Talent™ solutions to growing companies. Spark is a Certified Partner with the Predictive Index®, and leverages their assessment suite to help companies hire, develop, and promote top talent.