As an HR practitioner, employee communications professional or even just an employee engagement advocate in general, most often your most challenging audience to engage is not your employees themselves, but your organization’s leaders — the C suite. To know how to successfully engage your executives means that you must also understand what is their motivation and what are their primary areas of concern.
Simply put, it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to get executive level support of your engagement programs unless those programs are solving for what the C suite currently sees as organizational issues or needs.
So how do you know what keeps your CEO up at night?
At the Achievers Customer Experience event (ACE 2012), designed to connect workplace success with employee engagement and recognition, executives from the best-in-class companies shared the hottest topics in today’s volatile business environment. The insight was so valuable that Achiever’s documented the Top Five Takeaways:
- Talent skills shortage is a top CEO concern—according to a 2011 study by Lloyds of London, the top two business risks that CEOs worry about are customer retention and the talent and skills shortage. As you build a business case for recognition programs, this information should be top of mind as the talent war is expected to escalate.
- The approaching “youth quake”—according the US Census, by 2013, 47% of employees will be those born after 1977. They are also the ones less likely to be engaged and be actively looking for new and interesting work. Recognition programs have proven a key tool to motivate a younger workforce because they require constant feedback to improve performance.
- Change management is critical—building a culture of recognition drives powerful employee productivity and improved financial performance, but it is a journey (not a destination). Thoughtfully planning, socializing and implementing a recognition program will draw results connected to business success—and C-level attention.
- The power of real-time recognition—recognition has proven to be most effective when it is specific, meaningful and timely. With mobile tools that are available, recognition can be given to both offline and online employees on a 24/7 basis.
- Engagement matters—recognition drives engagement, and engagement drives business results (according to Gallup, disengagement costs $300 billion in lost productivity alone). The Fortune 100 Best Companies to work for—which have high levels of employee engagement–have a 10% annualized return compared to the general return of 3% for other companies over the same time period.