Skip to main content

Shift Happens

The final step to employee engagement: Action!

<p>Google, Campbell&#39;s Soup and other companies share their secrets to effectively engaging employees.</p>

Editor's note: This is the final installment in a five-part series on engaging employees around sustainability. The first part introduced the four stages of employee engagement; the second part discussed raising employee awareness about sustainability; the third part discussed connecting to the company’s vision and strategy; and the fourth part discussed how connection leads to commitment.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully moved through the first three phases of employee engagement and have achieved effective, actionable engagement from your workforce. This installment is the final piece in our series on employee engagement. We hope you’ve gained valuable insights and knowledge from our proven process, client examples and other relevant best practices.

This month’s installment will showcase best practices of companies that have successfully moved through this process and have achieved action-oriented results from effective employee engagement.

ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas has been on its sustainability journey for a few years, and during this time has taken measurable steps to actively engage its workforce around its sustainability initiatives. ThyssenKrupp has the most LEED Green Associates of any company in their industry, and provides continuing education for these individuals and all employees.

With the issuance of its first sustainability report, the company developed a foundation and visual identity around its sustainability initiatives, establishing regular electronic communications to update employees on progress. A separate website dedicated to sustainability at the company serves as an outlet for employees to share best practices and success stories. This website is a perfect example of employees taking action in sustainability.

With the development of the Interactive Virtual Navigation (IVN) technology, the sales team is able to tell the ThyssenKrupp Elevator story on the road and educate customers and potential customers on not only products and services, but how they’re sustainable and how they can help others be sustainable, too. 

Fairmount Minerals walks the talk of being a sustainable company every day, with its employees leading the charge. Not only do employees, or “family members” as they’re referred to, participate on specific sustainable development teams as part of their daily jobs, they take it upon themselves to individually volunteer in their communities and help make a difference. From educating local students to helping clean up a park to organizing teams for Relay for Life, family members continue to exceed their allotted paid time off to volunteer. In 2011, family members completed more than 12,500 volunteer hours — almost 2,000 more hours than they pledged to complete for the year.

Fairmount Minerals also achieved more than 1,000,000 consecutive safe working hours, due to its commitment to health and safety. Fairmount awards a family member at each facility every year with the Sustainable Development Employee of the Year Award, to the family member who takes the most action in sustainability initiatives at work, at home and in the community. Family members are personally committed to helping the company be an industry leader in sustainability now and into the future.

Campbell’s Soup Company has many examples of actionable, effective employee engagement. It has a culture of celebrating, informing and engaging employees on a daily basis. From presenting employees with formal awards for excellence, to informal peer-to-peer awards called Make a Difference (MAD), to an annual innovation fair where employees can submit their ideas for new product development, Campbell’s has been able to track and measure employee engagement over the past six years comparable to Gallup’s database of respondents in this area. (See graphics below). Overall, the company has stayed relatively consistent with high employee-engagement numbers due to its daily efforts in driving action-oriented results around engagement. 

Source: Campell's Soup Company

Google is another best practice in actionable, employee engagement. The company, like Fairmount Minerals, promotes a sense of family and provides a work-life balance that takes into consideration children and outside interests and commitments in the community. Diversity and inclusion is a priority at Google, where “do the right thing” is not only a slogan but business as usual. Employee benefits and freedom allow for more productivity and better business overall. This includes free on-site medical care, low-cost high quality child care, a fitness center and a library. Employees are also encouraged to spend 20 percent of their time on a project of their choosing.

Google tracks and measures employee performance and has found that innovation and productivity consistently increases, turnover and sickness rates consistently decrease and employee satisfaction is high overall. Employees can be reimbursed for classes and degree programs, receive free legal advice or common legal services at a discount and have travel insurance and emergency assistance even on personal vacations. All of these benefits help explain why Google continues to be among the top companies on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list. It believes that engaging employees and making them happy allows them to be highly productive and innovative.

We hope you found these examples and best practices useful and that they’ve generated some ideas for your own organization around employee engagement. We also hope this whole series was helpful in understanding and explaining the four stages of employee engagement, and how to make good progress and move along the continuum.

Remember: It’s not a race. Every organization is different and it may take time to move through the stages. The key is to make consistent progress and affect organization change.

Engage! photocollage by GreenBiz Group

More on this topic

More by This Author