For the ninth year in a row, I’m proud to share the news that MainSpring, Inc., earned the Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE) Seal of Approval Award, as well as the Health & Wellness and EcoLeadership Awards.
This comes on the heels of last week’s Flu Fighter Award from Adventist Healthcare LifeWork Strategies for promoting a healthy workplace, and the 2015 CRN Pioneer 250, which recognizes the top IT firms demonstrating innovation and leadership.
Am I writing to just brag or is there a point? Both.
I joined this firm more than a year ago, but not before I did my own research to learn about the people and the culture. Now a year in, I’ve experienced both and want to share my lessons learned to help other organizations reap the rewards and recognition they deserve.
Here’s my top three lessons learned:
1. Before developing an employee engagement program, engage them
Sounds insanely obvious, but more often than not organizations skip this step because they have their own idea. There’s numerous ways to do this, including culture surveys, virtual town halls, broadcast emails or just one-on-one calls with staff.
Regardless of the method, employee buy-in starts with the idea creation stage, not the idea confirmation stage. Your employees just may surprise you with how willing they are to share ideas and run with it. This past year, we used virtually all of the approaches above, and for the first time in 22 years we have an actual committee comprised of employees in three states that create, maintain and drive the program we call Make it Count.
2. Make sure it’s strategic
Look no further than your company’s strategic plan. Don’t have a copy? Then ask for it, or at least one that states the organization’s goals and how they measure success. Then communicate that to your most vested staff members and challenge them to create an engagement program that feeds support to a strategic goal. You’ll likely find metrics that line up.
For instance, if referrals or repeat business are goals, then list ways that your employees can engage with your organization’s stakeholders in a way that’s simple and painless. Examples could be as simple as supporting fundraisers, coordinating a wellness activity at work or in the community, team up with a client or partner for a good cause or volunteer to speak at a school or host the next networking event. You’ll be surprised how many metrics you can gather to better inform your approach and hone in on an outcome-based measure that aligns with your strategic plan. Last, but not least, get an executive or member of management to fund the plan.
3. Make it fun
Nobody has time, but if it isn’t fun you have little chance of getting people involved. Here’s a small list of fun activities we do to keep our consultants across seven states involved:
- Make a game out of making connections, volunteering time/money and sharing stories. Keep a scoreboard and reward the winners. Stay tuned for my next blog on how to do this.
- Movies are our thing, so we coordinate an annual Oscar ballot pool in February and follow it up with movie month in May. Teams get together where possible, share stories over drinks and a movie and catch up on who’s doing what in and around the organization.
- Wellness continues to be important to our employees so we’ve assigned someone as a wellness coach. She helps employees with personal health goals and we’ve set up a rewards system to recognize the top earners.
- Summer cookouts and chili cook-offs are easy types of events to publish in a company calendar, along with sharing healthy recipes.
- Sports make for an easy rally. In addition to company-sponsored Fantasy football and baseball, we host a MainSpring March Madness pool to include all past and present MainSpring alumni as well as their families. If you’re not allowed to gamble, then throw in a small budget and let the winner be the name on the check being donated to a good cause.
If you’d like to learn more, feel free to contact us anytime. Next month the AWE will share best practices on their website. We’re proud to be honored for these achievements, but we’d be even better if we could inspire others to be well, give back and connect.