The State of Engagement and Productivity

A hot topic in the news recently is that U.S. worker productivity has dropped for the third straight quarter. This is the fastest year-on-year pace of decline in three years and the longest dip since 1979. Experts believe that workers are being asked to do more without the tools, resources, and support they need, creating a culture of low productivity and disengagement. A 2015 Gallup poll found that only 32% of employees are engaged with their workplace.

This is shocking. Business leaders can’t deny that the constant churn of human resources makes organizations not only less productive but also less profitable. Gallup also found that disengaged employees cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion. On the other hand, studies show that companies with engaged employees enjoy two and a half times more revenue than competitors with disengaged employees and two times the annual net income than companies with disengaged employees.

Today’s workforce is looking for purpose, not just a paycheck. When employees don’t have clear goals and objectives or know how their role makes an impact within the organization, they can become disengaged and may leave the company.

Another challenge organizational leaders are facing is managing a multigenerational workforce. Baby Boomers are retiring, Millennials are now moving into management positions, and Gen Z. employees are beginning to fill our entry level roles. These generations have very different viewpoints, especially when it comes to the workplace, which makes it even harder for organizations to define their employee’s roles.

In trying to bridge these gaps, employee engagement and corporate culture initiatives have become a hot topic around the leadership table. Today, more and more companies are trying to leverage their human capital to increase productivity, differentiate themselves from the competition, create a unique brand experience, and achieve a healthy return on their investment.

The Cultural Equation

It sounds cliché, but it’s true - the foundation of a strong corporate culture is a shared vision, values, behaviors, and people.

Over the last few years, Collins has experienced rapid growth and a change in leadership. Naturally, with change come growing pains. That’s why the Board of Directors and our CEO have decided to make culture a strategic priority.

In 2014, we started working on the culture at Collins. Since then, our strategy has evolved to become more all-encompassing.

Our culture strategy focuses on vision, values, behaviors, and people. This framework allows departments to collaborate with one another and staff to infuse their unique personalities into the Collins culture and brand.

To ensure we’re keeping culture top of mind we…

  • Host weekly check in calls
  • Publish a weekly newsletter
  • Organize quarterly desk drops
  • Host employee engagement events
  • Utilize an internal rewards and recognition tool called YouEarnedIt

Our success is dependent on our people. When selecting people to join our team we want to ensure they’re the right fit for our organization. We focus on soft skills – things like leadership experience, humility, collaboration, adaptability, and the desire for growth. This process starts directly with interviewing.  

The next big project that Human Resources, Marketing, and Learning and Development are working on is a multi-year, university style leadership and development program. This program will be based on experiential and servant learning and will help Collins continue to solidify its values and foster a strong culture throughout the organization. Participants will be expected to complete each year before they can move on to the next.

The goal of these initiatives is to create a positive Collins experience for employees and members. One way we’re measuring the effectiveness of our efforts is with an external Net Promoter Score (NPS). Since January 2017, we’ve increased our overall relationship NPS by 1.97 percent. Other key performance indicators we could evaluate include retention rates, sick days taken, and employee referrals. These metrics will give us insight into how effective our core changes are, and if they’re translating externally.

When vision, values, behavior, and people are working together, that’s when a strong experience based brand comes to life.

We are working hard to make meaningful change at Collins and I’m looking forward to sharing our progress in future blog updates!

 October 2016: Human Resources Assistant, Kelsey Melchert and I, attended the WooHoo Happiness at Work academy in New York City.

October 2016: Human Resources Assistant, Kelsey Melchert and I, attended the WooHoo Happiness at Work academy in New York City.

 February 2017: Dr. Bill Withers, former professor and mentor, and I pose for a picture before he took the stage, speaking on branding and culture at the Collins all employee engagement meeting.

February 2017: Dr. Bill Withers, former professor and mentor, and I pose for a picture before he took the stage, speaking on branding and culture at the Collins all employee engagement meeting.

 May 2017: I took the Zappos culture tour and become an honorary Zapponian!

May 2017: I took the Zappos culture tour and become an honorary Zapponian!

Taylor Yezek