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Forging Employee Experience

Forging Employee Experience

By Forgeant
Employee engagement is dead. Employee Experience in a traditional office is dead. If you, like all leaders post COVID-19, need to make split decisions that drive the best digital employee experience (DEX), this podcast delivers on all the latest and greatest strategies that top companies are implementing today.

Join our host, Josh Drean, as he helps you to retain your top talent during these challenging times.

www.forgeant.com
www.joshdrean.com
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How COVID-19 Reshaped the Employee Experience with Ben Eubanks
On any given normal workday, we see our employees come into the office and go about their work. Their mere presence at work tells us a lot more than we think. If an employee shows up at work, then they are not too sick to get out of bed, at the hospital, taking care of their children, or caring for other loved ones. We can also assume that nothing overly drastic has happened in their life such that they would need to be somewhere else. We can further deduce from their appearance and behavior, compared to their normal, if they are stressed or agitated. (Thanks Watson) That is a lot of assumptions that we typically have unlimited access to when working alongside coworkers. Covid-19 has taken most of that away from us. We have no idea what is going on with our employees. We know they are getting their work done because they respond to emails, take conference calls, and meet deadlines. But all of the external factors that affect their mental state are a complete mystery. Are their family members healthy? Are their kids driving them crazy? Are they short on hard-to-find supplies (why is all the toilet paper gone?!)? Do they personally feel under the weather? Are they supported with the technology they need to do their job? Are they agitated at all the information they’re being bombarded with? These are just some of the things that are definitely affecting the workforce of today. In a recent podcast with Ben Eubanks, HR Analyst, Author, and Podcaster, he describes the fundamental attributes that organizations must have as they work with their new logistic set up – grace. Ben describes the attitude of grace as one of compassion and understanding. While we don’t necessarily know all of the things that are going on in our employees’ lives, we do know that there are now a lot of unknowns. Being truly empathetic of that and treating our employees accordingly is the true meaning of grace. To hear the rest of the podcast go to Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Ben, go to his site: https://lhra.io/. Employees and employers alike are having a tough time with so many things that have nothing to do with their day-to-day responsibilities. Now more than ever, employers need to listen and hear what is going on with their at-home workforce to better lead and assist them through the tough times ahead.
09:04
April 2, 2020
REFORGE Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Josh and Alexander recap the amazing content Dr. Tomas shared on his recent episode. Come learn from the best and brightest minds of this generation as it relates to the future of work and designing a better employee experience.  For more info visit Dr. Tomas' website: https://drtomas.com/
09:24
March 27, 2020
80% of Employee Experience is Determined by Managers, with Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Managers hold power. They have the ability to control and regulate the daily life of an employee. Their administrative mandate to observe, review, and divvy out work implicitly gives them the ability to determine how and when an employee works. Furthermore, the human condition subconsciously leads us to believe that those with such authoritative responsibility should be trusted more than those without. This leads to a power dynamic. Every employee knows that their boss could make their life miserable. Furthermore, every employee knows that in the event of a dispute, the company is likely to take the side of the boss. This is especially true in workplaces where management consists of a very non-diverse group of people. This power dynamic is the fundamental reason why confidence is so often viewed as competence. In a recent podcast, with Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at Columbia University & UCL, we explored the notion that a fundamental problem with the nature of work today is promotions. Instead of promoting the person who is going to best lead the team, the person with the most confidence gets promoted. To listen to the rest of the podcast, visit Forging the Employee Experience. To connect with Dr Chamorro-Premuzic visit him on LinkedIn or visit his website. This practice is a recipe for poor employee experience. When people work for bosses they don’t like, they start working just for the paycheck. No one should have to work just because they want the paycheck. Everyone should be able to work in a place where they can feel like they are contributing meaningfully to the work being done. When we prioritize confidence over competence, we undermine the integrity of the work ecosystem by telling our employees that their performance is less important than their personality … which, by the way, wasn’t good enough to get them that promotion. Entry- and mid-level managers have the absolute greatest influence on an organization’s culture and each employee’s experience at work. The system is set up for failure if the wrong people get promoted into positions of authority. Instead, we need to ensure that competence and leadership are the prevailing characteristics of the next wave of managers.
32:27
March 24, 2020
Ending Human Trafficking with Employee Engagement with Gabrielle Thompson
As far as titles go, the above might be slightly melodramatic. Nevertheless, it’s one hundred percent valid. In a recent podcast with Gabrielle Thompson, CEO of Free for Life International, we had the opportunity to discuss how her organization’s mission is the identification, assistance, and restoration of victims and survivors of human trafficking. (Before we get any further into this article, please consider making a donation at their website.) No one would argue that their goal is an ambitious and noble one. It’s also a very difficult, multifaceted plight to tackle. There are several different areas of focus that could be leveraged in order to make progress, but all of them share a central, common resource – they all require people to get it done. On the spectrum of types employees an organization like Free for Life would want to aide them in their mission to end human trafficking, they don’t want people showing up just for a paycheck. Too many organizations settle for employees who are just there to get paid. Worse yet, by and large, it’s the fault of the organization. Free for Life has a very strong and clear mission. Because of the strength and clarity of that mission, they know exactly what they are looking for when they hire new people. They’re looking for candidates who share that same passion for freedom. This simple onboarding lens allows Free for Life to make sure that they are not hiring the wrong type of people into their organization. Thousands of people have been rescued through the efforts of Free for Life. These rescues did not occur because of a group of employees who are apathetic about the overall success of the company. Freedom happened because their employees are engaged. Most organizations don’t have the same caliber of cause to rally behind but that doesn’t mean that don’t have any cause at all. If companies want passionate, engaged employees, then they themselves need to be passionate and engaged in a clear, understandable mission. To hear more about how Free for Life uses their powerful mission to engage its employees, please visit Forging Employee Experience. If you’d like to connect with Gabrielle and hear more about the work they are doing reach, out to them at https://freeforlifeintl.org/contact-us/. Once again, please consider donating via their website.
16:49
February 21, 2020
Eureka! How to Create an Award-winning Culture with Dr. Laura Wendt
We’re all very familiar with the phrase “the customer is always right.” So familiar, that no one could use it in a legitimate business scenario and be taken seriously. We’ve heard it so many times that it’s lost its value. Which, objectively speaking, is a shame because the statement is a powerful one. While an individual customer is certainly capable of being wrong, if a quorum of customers is offering feedback, we should listen – whether we want to hear it or not. The same effect has occurred with the notion of Company Culture. Executive and staff alike roll their eyes at the topic of this amorphous notion. Again, tragedy has struck! Simply because so many people have been harping on it for so long and most of them have been completely clueless about how to effect change that does not mean this concept likes value. In fact, those that ignore it, do so at the peril of their own success. Company culture is the lifeblood of an organization. It describes the how each employee connects with the organization on an emotional level. The best success a company with poor culture can hope for is the summation of the lowest performance potential of each employee. Work will still get done. Carrots and sticks are still very effective motivators. However, if a company wants to do more with less, then they will take the status of their company’s culture very seriously. In a recent podcast with Dr Laura Wendt. She compared a groups ability to excel to porcupines huddling together for warmth. She explained that when a group of porcupines comes together to survive cold climates, they must be conscious of the effect their having on the group. If their group is agitated than there will be a great deal of uncomfortable poking and quilling. However, if in an attempt to see to the groups best interest, each porcupine avoids bristling its quills, the end result will be a prickle of porcupines that enjoys each other’s company and makes it through the cold climate. To hear the rest of the podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Dr Laura Wendt, feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn. Fundamental to increased group performance is the social and emotional well-being of that group. This concept is the backbone to the trite term Company Culture. Though frequently used and rarely acted upon, company culture is a hugely critical element to the success and profitability of any organization. Twitter: @Laura_R_Wendt LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-laura-wendt-63976ab2/
24:25
February 11, 2020
Err on the Side of Kindness With Company Culture With Kristen Harcourt
For being entrenched in a society with so much change, we love the status quo. By default, most people prefer to find a situation that they are comfortable with and stay there. It takes so much incentive to force a behavioral change that entire industries have been built around getting people to do something different than they are used to. Those charged with crafting a positive employee experience are often victims of this inertia. It’s an unfortunate paradox: if an organization has been around long enough to need intentionality in the management of their employee’s experience, they are profitable, successful and less likely to think any change to culture is necessary. This business success is too often viewed as the end goal and provides a false sense of success. Profitability is never the end goal. It’s certainly a major milestone but once it becomes the sole purpose of an organization, that org will soon see the beginning of its decline. Instead organizations should be prepared to fight against this inertia and continuously strive to improve. Companies must be constantly looking for ways they can improve the lives of their employees. They must be intentional about how they go about creating a better experience for those they employ. In a recent podcast with Kristen Harcourt, Global Executive, Leadership & Career Coach, we had the privilege of discussing this concept of strategic intentionality. One of the highlights of Kristen’s message was her point that as we work to break out of the inertia that prevents us from making an impactful difference on the workplace, we should err on the side of kindness. It’s so easy be overwhelmed with all that goes into making a great place to work. However, if we are committed to kindness and respect, our policies and initiatives will reflect that, and our company culture eventually become one where people want to stay. To hear the rest of the podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Kristen, visit her at her LinkedInor at her website. Not becoming complacent with profits and being able to break through the inertia inherent with success, organizations will be able to saturate their companies with a culture that exudes kindness and respect. This cannot help but create a culture which employee have a deeply positive connection with the place where they work.
23:44
November 5, 2019
REFORGE Andrew Saidy
On a recent podcast, Andrew Saidy, the VP of Talent Digitization at Schneider Electric, shared his experiences of how his company has leaned into this idea of accommodating for an employee’s entire well-being. By realizing that the notions of “personal life” and “work life” are becoming less and less distinct, Schneider Electric has managed to de-compartmentalize the two. Its employee experience initiatives are all entirely focused on making sure the life – not just work— experience of an employee is the best it can be. To hear the entire episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To stay in touch with Andrew, visit him at his LinkedIn.
09:06
October 18, 2019
Engaged Employees Are Better For Business with Andrew Saidy
Organizations that feel a sensible desire to keep shareholders happy, will continuously be looking for ways to decrease costs. Cutting costs is an extremely important element to running a business. Unfortunately, we sometimes get in to trouble cutting costs in place that end up costing money in the long run. Not upgrading IT equipment will eventually result in expensive outages. Buying the cheapest parts will eventually lead to product defects. Not actively learning about customers will eventually ease a company into irrelevance. Successful businesses understand cutting costs in these areas is short-sighted. However, one area that organizations tend to forget about is the wholistic well-being of employees. Most employers operate in such a way as to bifurcate an employee’s work life and their personal life. At the very worst, organizations typically consider outside of work events as beyond their responsibility. At best, they make few allowances for such events. Ten years ago, this strategy was fine. Work and home life could be reasonably compartmentalized. The same cannot be said for today’s workforce. Employees are always able to log in and get work done. While in many circumstances, employers don’t force employees to work outside of regular business hours; in most circumstances there is an unspoken pressure to do so. This creates a reality where “work life” slowly bleeds into “personal life.” Whether organizations like it or not, they are drain on employees’ free time. So if there is no boundary on how much personal time an organization takes up for an employee, can an argument really be made the organizations shouldn’t be concerned with the employee’s entire well-being? On a recent podcast, Andrew Saidy, the VP of Talent Digitization at Schneider Electric, shared his experiences of how his company has leaned into this idea of accommodating for an employee’s entire well-being. By realizing that the notions of “personal life” and “work life” are becoming less and less distinct, Schneider Electric has managed to de-compartmentalize the two. Its employee experience initiatives are all entirely focused on making sure the life – not just work— experience of an employee is the best it can be. To hear the entire episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To stay in touch with Andrew, visit him at his LinkedIn. The workforce dynamic will continue to tread towards less distinct differentiations between work and personal life. This is a huge benefit to companies in terms of productivity and engagement from employees. In return, organizations should be willing to help support all aspects of an employee’s life – not just as it relates to work.
24:14
October 16, 2019
REFORGE Howard Ross
In a recent podcast with nationally recognized diversity advocate and consultant Howard Ross, he likened the workplace to a party. When we try and figure out what is going to make a party successful, we have to analyze a person’s entire party experience. It isn’t enough to just throw a great party. The guests have to feel like they have a vested interest in the party’s success. One way to accomplish this is to let the guests pick the music. The host still picks the venue, the theme, the price, the dress code, and the DJ, but by letting attendees pick the music, the overall investment and experience in the party increases dramatically. To hear more about the need for a great employee experience, listen to the rest of the episode at Forging Employee Experience. Feel free to reach out to Howard Ross at his website or via LinkedIn.
09:01
October 11, 2019
Fixing Employee Engagement with Howard Ross
Congratulations! You, like so many before, have finally admitted that your organization’s culture isn’t fantastic and most of your workforce isn’t engaged. Maybe those survey results finally came in or maybe you were hired because there is a culture problem. Either way, you find yourself leading the charge to make the organization a better place to work. As you strive to solve this employee engagement conundrum, you find yourself naturally framing the problem as an “employee engagement” problem. You keep thinking, “how are we going to solve employee engagement” or “what are we going to do to have better employee engagement?” Well, trying to solve employee engagement by solving employee engagement simply won’t work. A rookie mistake to running a 5k is to think that running a 5k over and over again will make translate to faster times. While this approach has sound logic (practice makes perfect!), it doesn’t work. To run a faster 5k, runners should step back and create a workout plan that involves sprints and longer runs (sometimes up to 10 miles at a time!). When runners result to the mentally easier plan of running the same thing over and over again, they do themselves a huge a disservice. Not only are the missing the actual benefits that come from workout variety, but they also don’t allow themselves to become more emotionally invested in the process. The same is the case with employee engagement. If we are laser focused on fixing employee engagement – nothing will happen. It’s too easy to say, “We need more activities to engage employees!” It’s like saying “I just need to keep running a 5k and I’ll get faster.” Instead, we have to realize that the journey to increase employee engagement is going to require some 10-mile runs. Employee engagement is a metric for the overall employee experience. To increase engagement, organizations have to step back and think about the overall employee experience and what factors are contributing to a positive or negative experience. In a recent podcast with nationally recognized diversity advocate and consultant Howard Ross, he likened the workplace to a party. When we try and figure out what is going to make a party successful, we have to analyze a person’s entire party experience. It isn’t enough to just throw a great party. The guests have to feel like they have a vested interest in the party’s success. One way to accomplish this is to let the guests pick the music. The host still picks the venue, the theme, the price, the dress code, and the DJ, but by letting attendees pick the music, the overall investment and experience in the party increases dramatically. To hear more about the need for a great employee experience, listen to the rest of the episode at Forging Employee Experience. Feel free to reach out to Howard Ross at his website or via LinkedIn. We owe the same level of intentionality to engagement. We can’t simply fix employee engagement. We have to fix the underlying experience. We do this by stepping back and creating a strategy that allows employees to feel emotionally invested in the success of the experience. It is very difficult but is the only way to get real results.
24:59
October 8, 2019
REFORGE: Christine Comaford
Christine Comaford, Founder of SmartTribes Institute, discusses the idea that while clearly, it’s better if employee engagement strategies are well-received, if people are deriding the company’s efforts – at least they are engaging. When people make fun of something it shows an emotional attachment to it. So in the case where an overwhelmed HR leader is trying desperately to boost engagement but is only met with ridicule, that’s ok! Failure paves the way to success. Eventually, the right solution will come along, and the org will eat it up. To hear the rest of the podcase, feel free to visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Christine visit her on LinkedIn or at https://smarttribesinstitute.com/.
07:59
June 27, 2019
When Employees Mock Your Employee Engagement Strategies with Christine Comaford
Most employee engagement strategies are uninformed shots in the dark implemented in good faith. Best case scenario, these efforts happen to alleviate the particular frustration that the employee base was experiencing. What a win! Worse case, you’ve made a gesture that proves to everyone that the organization is uninformed and doesn’t care enough to figure out what really matters to the employees.  Obviously, there are tons of tools out there that will help HR Leaders better understand what the organization wants and needs to become more engaged. Assuming – for one reason or another – those types of solutions are unavailable, then a good-faith guess might be the only option.  So how do you know if it’s working? The most obvious way is when employees provide positive feedback. If they enjoy the experience so much, they are willing to go out of their way to talk about it, then the engagement plan was a success.  A less direct way to know if your employee engagement initiatives moved the needle is if people start making fun of the company’s efforts. This counter-intuitive piece of advice comes from a recent podcast with Christine Comaford, Founder of SmartTribes Institute. She discusses the idea that while clearly, it’s better if employee engagement strategies are well-received, if people are deriding the company’s efforts – at least they are engaging. When people make fun of something it shows an emotional attachment to it. So in the case where an overwhelmed HR leader is trying desperately to boost engagement but is only met with ridicule, that’s ok! Failure paves the way to success. Eventually, the right solution will come along, and the org will eat it up. To hear the rest of the podcast, feel free to visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Christine visit her on LinkedIn or at https://smarttribesinstitute.com/. The only type of feedback that should really give HR leaders pause is no feedback. If employees are so apathetic that new initiatives don’t even phase them then either the implementation plan is off, or the organization is in big trouble. Breathing life into an employee base that simply does not care, is extremely difficult.  There is no need to fear negative responses! A continued effort in good faith will lead to a more engaged workplace.
36:04
June 25, 2019
REFORGE: Mary Faulkner
In a recent podcast, Mary Faulkner, author of Surviving Leadership Blog, brings up the most important question to avoid on employee engagement surveys. She says that companies must absolutely stop asking questions about things they are completely unwilling (or unable) to change. All too often organizations populate employee engagement/satisfaction surveys with questions about aspects of the company or its policies with the intention of trying to sense how employees feel about those issues. When there is no chance for a change to those issues, these organizations are doing more harm than good. When we ask employees their opinion about something we don’t intend to change – we disrespect the employees time and opinion. To listen to the rest of the episode feel free to find us at Forging Employee Experience. To stay in contact with Mary, connect with her on LinkedIn and be sure to subscribe to her blog!
09:55
June 3, 2019
What Not to Ask On Your Employee Engagement Survey with Mary Faulkner
Employee Engagement surveys have become a backbone to understanding and maintaining the mental and emotional health of an organization. They are an excellent way to begin the journey of creating the employee experience that will finally boost those low engagement scores.  One of the trickiest parts about these surveys is asking the right questions. There is a whole field of psychology that goes into making sure the questions are asked in such a way as to illicit the most honest answer from the respondent while minimizing participation bias.  When forming questions for internal employee engagement surveys, companies must understand the goal of such surveys before even beginning to attempt to piece together questions. In almost every case, the goal of these surveys is to determine what the employer needs to do in order to help facilitate a more engaged workforce.  It is certainly important to ask questions about respect, safety and belongingness, but what types of questions should we avoid when sending out these surveys to our employees? In a recent podcast, Mary Faulkner, author of Surviving Leadership Blog, brings up the most important question to avoid on employee engagement surveys.  She says that companies must absolutely stop asking questions about things they are completely unwilling (or unable) to change.  All too often organizations populate employee engagement/satisfaction surveys with questions about aspects of the company or its policies with the intention of trying to sense how employees feel about those issues. When there is no chance for a change to those issues, these organizations are doing more harm than good. When we ask employees their opinion about something we don’t intend to change – we disrespect the employees time and opinion. To listen to the rest of the episode feel free to find us at Forging Employee Experience. To stay in contact with Mary, connect with her on LinkedIn and be sure to subscribe to her blog! Everyone wants to feel heard. Everyone wants to feel like their opinion matters. Certainly, the employee engagement survey is great way to start facilitating that process; however, we have to be committed to driving change. Organizational change is the purpose of employee engagement surveys. If organizations are unwilling or unable to change based off the results of their surveys, then they would have been better off never asking in the first place. 
29:47
May 31, 2019
REFORGE: Tamra Chandler
In a recent podcast with Tamra Chandler, founder and CEO of PeopleFirm, she spoke about one of the main obstacles with seeing big improvements in employee engagement is the fact that many of today’s corporate leaders are used to how it’s always been. They earned their success in past decades at a company that likely didn’t value their experience so they don’t feel a need to focus on the employee experience now. To listen to the rest of the podcast visit Forging Employee Experience. To stay in touch with Tamra, visit her on LinkedIn or at https://www.peoplefirm.com/.
09:09
May 24, 2019
Why Employee Engagement Has Continued to Stagnate with Tamra Chandler
For the past several decades, we have been surveying employees. On a typically annual basis, most organizations send out a survey to ascertain the sentiment of the workforce. These surveys often serve the primary purpose of helping to identify large trends or themes in an organization that should be either spread or stopped. Unfortunately, the idea of creating a positive work experience for the employees hasn’t been a focus of most of these surveys. And so, we have seen very little movement in these past decades towards making work a better place to be. Why? After billions of dollars and so many years of work, how come we still don’t focus on the employee experience? We focus on what we measure. Stakeholders haven’t focused on employee engagement as a measure of the health of an organization. Instead they focus exclusively on profit. Making money is the main reason any company exists. Without profit (or donations), there is not company. However, the link between increased profits and a positive employee experience has become so well established that stakeholders are missing out on a huge metric for gauging the financial health of a company. Imagine if public companies were forced to include their Employee Experience scores on their 10k. We would see a lot more investment in the mental, emotional, and physical health of employees. And all of those companies who put employee experience as a priority, would see big jumps in internal innovation, company profits, and average tenure. In a recent podcast with Tamra Chandler, founder and CEO of PeopleFirm, she spoke about one of the main obstacles with seeing big improvements in employee engagement is the fact that many of today’s corporate leaders are used to how it’s always been. They earned their success in past decades at a company that likely didn’t value their experience so they don’t feel a need to focus on the employee experience now. To listen to the rest of the podcast visit Forging Employee Experience. To stay in touch with Tamra, visit her on LinkedIn or at https://www.peoplefirm.com/. If we ever want to see meaningful change in how companies treat their employees, then we have to hold leadership accountable to those metrics. Employee engagement metrics were never designed to live in the HR department; hey should live in the board room. Once stakeholders start holding executive leadership accountable for the experience of the employee, employee engagement will skyrocket. 
32:02
May 22, 2019
REFORGE: Kate Bischoff
In a recent podcast, Kate Bischoff spoke to this idea that feedback is a healthy part of any organization. She commented that part of maintaining a culture of respect is that idea that feedback can (and should) be provided when individuals disagree. Furthermore, organizations must absolutely ensure that they have implemented multiple methods of feedback. Everyone has their own preferred median for providing feedback to the organization.  To find out more and listen to the full episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To keep in contact with Kate, visit her at LinkedIn or on Twitter (@k8bischHRLaw).
07:55
May 16, 2019
When Diversity Hurts Employee Engagement with Kate Bischoff
The need for a diverse and inclusive workplace has become a research-based fact. A workforce that have a generally the same background and experiences isn’t going to be as competitive as organizations that bring true thought diversity. But is there such a thing as too diverse? Well not really, no. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should just hire folks just because they bring the desired element of diversity to the workplace. There is one characteristic that we should never diversify in the workplace – respect.  Any group, team, or company can work around any potential misunderstanding or miscommunication that will naturally occur when people from different backgrounds come together to accomplish a task, if there is a mutual foundation of respect. This mandatory shared value of respect is so critical that those individuals who show frequent patterns of disrespect should be let go immediately.  The negative impact that a lack of respect has on an organization cannot be countered with any other measure. Respect, however, does not preclude feedback. In a recent podcast, Kate Bischoff spoke to this idea that feedback is a healthy part of any organization. She commented that part of maintaining a culture of respect is that idea that feedback can (and should) be provided when individuals disagree. Furthermore, organizations must absolutely ensure that they have implemented multiple methods of feedback. Everyone has their own preferred median for providing feedback to the organization. To find out more and listen to the full episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To keep in contact with Kate, visit her at LinkedIn or on Twitter (@k8bischHRLaw).  Organizations must commit to hiring and retaining employees how are devoted to promulgating respect without diminishing a willingness to provide feedback. Without feedback companies and teams will not be able to find the growth and traction necessary to see continued success. 
30:12
May 14, 2019
REFORGE: Amy Cappellanti-Wolf
In a recent podcast with Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, CHRO of Symantec, she details some of the problems companies face as they strive to be more transparent. Equipped with direct-to-employee communication technology like email and intranets, executives are opening the firehose and pouring out information to employees. They then sit back and pat themselves on the back thinking they’re being transparent. Amy detailed that while those newsletters from the corner office may be sent with good intentions, they are missing the mark. For information to be useful to employees there has to be a balance. It has to be “just in time” information. The shelf life of information in an organization is too short to bother sending out everything. The burden is on management to both open upward channels of communication and then disseminate as much valuable, relevant information as possible. To listen to the rest of the podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, feel free visit her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter (@AmyCappellanti).
12:03
May 12, 2019
Why Information Control and Engagement Are So Critical with Amy Cappellanti-Wolf
The hierarchical structure of the workplace has been the norm for far too long. Born of necessity, this method of organizing management allows those in any leadership role to act as information gatekeepers. The only way to get information up the organization is to hope that these gatekeepers allow it to flow up, and the only way to understand what’s going on in the organization is to hope that these same gatekeepers allow information to be disseminated. Worst case scenario, this power infects managers who become too proud to share the information they have, to the detriment of everyone. Best case scenario, they share everything they can but being too often overwhelmed with too many tasks, information is still lost. This set up negatively affects the entire company. The folks on the bottom of the chain feel left out and undervalued. While those at the top of the chain miss out on potentially innovative ideas and suffer from the ignorance of not truly knowing about the lower ranks.  The hierarchical structure of the workplace kills information flow.  Without healthy information flow companies lose millions. From miscommunications to missed ideas, from disengaged employers to high turnover, marrying the flow of information with the structure of management only hurts a company. The new buzzword in the employee engagement space is “transparency.” A hip new word that is essentially just urging for increased communication and a decongestion of the current information flow. Transparency has been adopted with great success at many forward-thinking organizations.  In a recent podcast with Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, CHRO of Symantec, she details some of the problems companies face as they strive to be more transparent. Equipped with direct-to-employee communication technology like email and intranets, executives are opening the firehose and pouring out information to employees. They then sit back and pat themselves on the back thinking they’re being transparent. Amy detailed that while those newsletters from the corner office may be sent with good intentions, they are missing the mark. For information to be useful to employees there has to be a balance. It has to be “just in time” information. The shelf life of information in an organization is too short to bother sending out everything. The burden is on management to both open upward channels of communication and then disseminate as much valuable, relevant information as possible. To listen to the rest of the podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Amy Cappellanti-Wolf, feel free visit her on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter (@AmyCappellanti). The combined effectiveness of the group intellect is wasted when information isn’t shared. To gain a decisive competitive advantage, companies must liberate the flow of information.
31:56
May 8, 2019
Extreme Employee Engagement with John Baldino
All too often when we think of organizations that have incredible employee experiences, we might think that these companies just give the employees whatever they want. In some cases, that’s true, there are some organizations where the sky’s the limit as far benefits and perks are concerned. Unfortunately, we can’t all live in that fantasy land of being able to provide our employees with a heath care plan that provides free monthly massages.  The fact of the matter is that we don’t have to blindly give in to the needs of our employees. Employee engagement does not mean that employees should be able to wave a magic wand and get what the want. This type of strategy is both unsustainable and ineffective. It’s unsustainable from a resource’s standpoint. Most companies would be hard pressed to be able to financially support this type of relationship with their employees. Furthermore, a workplace that has no boundaries or limits on what the organization should be providing the employees will absolutely generate a sense of entitlement. Employees will be less likely to value and appreciate the company as a whole if they feel entitled to whatever they want.  Companies have to create a balance. There must be a mechanism in place at each organization for them to know what is most important to the employee base and then find ways to provide the top sought after benefits. By working with employees, management will not only be able to provide the perks most employees actually want but would also be able to do so in a financially sustainable fashion. In this sense, organization fill their primary responsibility to the employee as a quality provider of resources to enhance the life style of each person that works there.  In a recent podcast, John Baldino, MSHRD SPHR SHRM-SCP, spoke about the importance of being a resource to employees. In the episode, he talked about his personal journey to always be a resource for those around him. As President Humareso, he attests to the positive impact that being a resource has on his employees. Because his people know that he will do anything within reason to ensure that have a positive experience, they see well above average levels of engagement. To listen to the rest of podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with John, visit him at LinkedIn or Humareso. Organizations do not have to provide an unlimited amount of resources to effectively enhance the employee experience. But they do have to provide some. By having an attitude of wanting to be a resource for employees and opening up that two-way dialog, organizations will understand exactly what they need to provide their employees in order help them become more engaged. https://humareso.com/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnbaldinohr/
33:55
May 2, 2019
REFORGE: Tayo Rockson
In a recent podcast with Tayo Rockson, diversity and inclusion consultant and author of Use Your Difference to Make a Difference, spoke to the idea of intentionality as a huge barrier to progress in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplaces. He detailed that organizations can’t simply decide to be diverse and inclusive. Not being against diversity and inclusion (while obviously a good start) is simply not enough to affect real change. Organizations must be consciously intentional about how they are going to facilitate inclusion and promote a diverse workplace. It doesn’t just happen. To hear the rest of the podcast go to Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Tayo, reach out to him via LinkedIn or through his website and don’t forget to pre-order his book!
07:20
April 27, 2019
Improve Employee Experience with Diversity AND Inclusion with Tayo Rockson
No one would ever say that Diversity and Inclusion isn’t important. No one would ever say that they aren’t trying to have a more diverse and inclusive workplace. And yet, we still have issues with both diversity and inclusion.  Organizations that are not diverse will not perform as well as those that are. Diversity brings to the table the ability to innovate. Without a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and ideas, organizations will find themselves stuck in the same routine implementing the same ideas. Fortunately, in the past decades we have definitely improved in our ability to hire a more diverse workforce. The workplace of today does not look like the workplace of 20 years ago. But while we are moving in the right direction with diversity (and there’s a lot of work to be done), we still struggle with inclusion.  The reason diversity and inclusion are paired together is because one without the other is largely ineffective. If we are hiring a diverse workforce simply to check an HR box, then we missing a huge opportunity to add value to our organization. We must hire a diverse workforce AND ensure that everyone feels included. Without inclusion we don’t get to draw on the benefits of diversity. If we have a diverse workplace but all the decision makers have the same background, then our efforts fall short. If we want an organization that leads the industry in innovation and progress, then we have to make sure that everyone in the organization feels included. Only with inclusion do people feel empowered to suggest new ideas and have the platform on which to do so. If it’s such a great thing, why isn’t everyone doing it? In a recent podcast with Tayo Rockson, diversity and inclusion consultant and author of Use Your Difference to Make a Difference, spoke to the idea of intentionality as a huge barrier to progress in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplaces. He detailed that organizations can’t simply decide to be diverse and inclusive. Not being against diversity and inclusion (while obviously a good start) is simply not enough to affect real change. Organizations must be consciously intentional about how they are going to facilitate inclusion and promote a diverse workplace. It doesn’t just happen. To hear the rest of the podcast go to Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Tayo, reach out to him via LinkedIn or through his website and don’t forget to pre-order his book! Diversity and inclusion is a huge opportunity to help an organization grow. It is a competitive advantage that will absolutely help companies outpace their competition. But to seize that advantage, organizations must be deliberate and intentional about how they implement.  Book: https://www.amazon.com/Use-Your-Difference-Make-Cross-Cultural/dp/1119590698 Podcast: https://tayorockson.com/podcast Website: www.tayorockson.com
35:45
April 24, 2019
REFORGE: Joe Hirsch
In recent podcast with Joe Hirsch Managing Director of Semaca Partners, we had the opportunity to discuss the ever popular, Feedback Sandwich. One of the most common ways to provide negative feedback is to “soften the blow” by sandwiching the negative feedback between two compliments. While a cursory review of this practice may reveal an amount of merit, the poor context this form of feedback provides ends up doing more harm than good. Joe discusses how by repeatedly providing feedback in this same format, most employees leave the conversation unclear about what to do next. He goes on to say that when folks leave these types of conversations, they are typically hanging on to the last thing that was said. This is the worst-case scenario. Now there is a manager who thinks he/she has provided effective constructive feedback and an employee who think he/she was just praised for a job well done, missing the need for improvement. To hear the rest of the podcase, visit Forging Employee experience. To stay in touch with Joe, visit him on LinkedIn or at his website. His amazing book on feedback is a must read and available on Amazon at The Feedback Fix. www.joehirsch.me
07:18
April 19, 2019
Most Feedback Hurts Employee Engagement with Joe Hirsch
In an effort to further the development of direct reports, management often attempts to provide effective feedback. While these efforts are usually accompanied with the best of intentions, by and large, they act as a detriment to the overall employee experience. Feedback is one of those tools that when not done intentionally is often done wrong. Part of this intentionality is the idea that it has to be consistent and with a proper understanding of context.  One of the first big mistakes of feedback is that it just happens when necessary. Well, this presupposes that all feedback is corrective – which is a huge part of the problem. We seem to be hardwired to wait for some negative performance to kick off the feedback-flag in our brains. When a direct report does something incorrectly, our old-school management mindsets are ready to swoop in and provide feedback. This type of behavior contributes to a reinforcement of the idea that all feedback is bad. These patterns are recognized almost instantly by employees and once rooted in the mind of a direct report, it’s a tough uphill battle to try and initiate any feedback conversation where the employee doesn’t automatically get defensive. In most companies, this pattern of feedback-on-mistake is all too common (although it’s better than waiting till a month later to correct the mistake…). It is unclear which management training guide is responsible for indoctrinating all our managers with these detrimental practices. Regardless, we must retrain ourselves to think of feedback moments as opportunities to both praise and correct our employees. This is done by providing feedback on a consistent basis. When, as is most often the case, there is nothing corrective to discuss, use these feedback moments as an opportunity to pour sincere praise on employees for the good work they’ve been doing. This consistency will ensure that feedback doesn’t become taboo.  In recent podcast with Joe Hirsch Managing Director of Semaca Partners, we had the opportunity to discuss the ever popular, Feedback Sandwich. One of the most common ways to provide negative feedback is to “soften the blow” by sandwiching the negative feedback between two compliments. While a cursory review of this practice may reveal an amount of merit, the poor context this form of feedback provides ends up doing more harm than good. Joe discusses how by repeatedly providing feedback in this same format, most employees leave the conversation unclear about what to do next. He goes on to say that when folks leave these types of conversations, they are typically hanging on to the last thing that was said. This is the worst-case scenario. Now there is a manager who thinks he/she has provided effective constructive feedback and an employee who think he/she was just praised for a job well done, missing the need for improvement. To hear the rest of the podcase, visit Forging Employee experience. To stay in touch with Joe, visit him on LinkedIn or at his website. His amazing book on feedback is a must read and available on Amazon at The Feedback Fix. Efforts to bolster the employee experience must include better feedback. To be successful, managers must provide consistent feedback given with the right context (either positive or negative). This will allow for an atmosphere of feedback that doesn’t inherently bring with it an overabundance of negativity. 
30:41
April 17, 2019
REFORGE: Kasper Hulthin
Kasper is the CoFounder of the leading employee engagement platform, Peakon.  Learn more at www.peakon.com
06:20
April 8, 2019
Survey Data and the Employee Experience with Kasper Hulthin
Despite the overwhelming advances in technology, we still haven’t made much progress in really knowing what people are thinking. While machine powered analytics can parse through an ocean of data to give insights on behaviors and tendencies, if we really want to know what someone is thinking – we’ve got to ask. The ability to survey a population provides huge insights into understanding the what and why of any particular population.  Decades ago savvy, marketing experts realized that surveying customers would help them better understand their target audience. However, the value of the data was never in the asking, but in the listening. By listening and acting on the survey/review data, organizations have found great success in making sure they only produce goods/services that customers want to buy. Recently, organizations have caught on to the idea that this same principle applies to its employees. For companies that are cognizant of the mission-critical importance of the Employee Experience, being able to survey their employees is a huge advantage. By asking the right questions, organizations can gain insights into the lives/well-being of its workforce, these insights can drive change and produce a positively boost employee engagement.  Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just asking employees questions and figuring out what to do with the answers. The factors that affect each employees experience are numerous. Being able to piece together a series of questions where the answers accurately reflect an employee’s experience or level of engagement is no small feat.  One of the main difficulties of getting good date from your employees is asking the right question. The other major element to gathering survey data was highlighted by a recent guest on our podcast Kasper Hulthin, cofounder and Chief Growth Office of Peakon. He said that people don’t respond to a survey to give feedback, rather they respond to a survey to be heard. If employees don’t see meaningful change to prove that management is listening to their responses, they will stop giving honest answers. When employers ask for employees to take the time to let them know how everything is going, employers must respect that effort; otherwise, future survey attempts will be fruitless. To hear the rest of Kasper’s episode, visit us at Forging Employee Experience. Feel free to reach out to Kasper through LinkedIn or visit www.peakon.com. Surveying employees is a powerful tool (and currently the only tool) in understanding how to improve the employee experience. To harness that potential, organizations must ensure that their questions are expertly crafted to provide meaningful insights and that once they have those insights, they make actual changes to prove to their people that they are listening. 
33:03
April 3, 2019
REFORGE: Tom Krieglstein
Listen to a fun and engaging recap of our amazing conversation with Tom Krieglstein. 
07:21
March 29, 2019
Employee Experience Matters with Tom Krieglstein
The easiest solution to the handling employee engagement is to ignore it. The details and intricacy of understanding how people feel and adjusting to those feelings requires a great deal of effort and time. It requires a shift in mindset and a not small amount of awareness. So by and large, organizations simply stick their head in the sand and pretend like it’s a pop psychology fad that doesn’t matter. But we know it does. Hiding from the problem, or any problem for that matter, doesn’t go away because we choose to ignore it. People never wanted to be in a contract-based relationship with their employer, so the idea that we can simply pay people and call it a day, doesn’t work. Every moment of everyday is an experience for employees. They unavoidably participant in the culture of the company. They are victims or beneficiaries of the interactions and politics of the workplace.  This inevitable participation in the ebb and flow of the organization means that ignoring the problem will absolutely not make it better. Nine times out of ten, it makes it worse.  In a recent podcast with Tom Krieglstein, founder of Swift Kick (an organization that trains leaders on creating a culture of connection), he described the nature of the work force as a dance floor. He asserts that all employees are essentially just attendees at a dance. The most engaged employees are dancing in the middle and the least are sitting by the wall with their arms folded wishing they were somewhere else. The goal of an organization is to get people in the middle of the dance floor actively involved and participating. This powerful construct is called Dance Floor Theory and is how Tom and his team help engage employees at organizations across the nation. To listen to the rest of the podcast visit, Forging Employee Experience, and to stay connected with Tom visit his website at http://www.swiftkickhq.com. The company culture of an organization is very much like a dance that everyone must attend whether they want to or not. If the dance facilitators, or company leadership, tries to pretend like engagement doesn’t matter than the company culture will fizzle like a dying party that everyone eventually tries to leave.
30:44
March 26, 2019
REFORGE: Lindsay McGregor
Alexander and Josh review the wonderful work of Lindsay McGregor.  They discuss TOMO, or total motivation, from the frame of the 3 Ps Join us on another reforging episode! 
08:35
March 22, 2019
TOMO! with Lindsay McGregor
Motivation. If you can understand what motivates your employees, you’ll have summarily solved your organizations engagement problem.  Unfortunately, the journey of understanding each employee’s individual source of motivation is long and difficult. While everyone is motivated by something, sources of motivation are as unique as the people themselves. Here in lies the burden of leadership, managers must know what motivates their people. It is impossible for the company executives to both understand and make policies that are custom tailored to all the employees. So, the burden rests with managers to make sure they lead their people according to what moves them.  When trying to better address the ever elusive “why” behind employee engagement issues, organizations must ensure they have created an environment that allows management to find real answers. All too often, organizations pass along as lip service the idea of management empowerment, which encourages them to run their teams they way they want to produce the best work. At the same time these same organizations enforce so much bureaucratic approval processes that nothing gets done without their bosses’ boss giving the sign off.  If organizations consistently reinforce the idea that management doesn’t actually have the power to make real meaningful decisions, then in time managers will stop trying to effect positive change in their teams. They will stop trying to figure out what moves their employees to greatness because even if they could figure it out, they’re powerless to enable those aspirations.  Without being able to motivate employees, organizations will be stuck in the void of low engagement.  In a recent podcast, Lindsay McGregor, author of Primed to Perform and cofounder of Vega Factor, explained to us the science behind employee motivation. She described three instrumental characteristics to ensure that employees are fully motivated: play, purpose, and potential. She asserts that work needs to have elements that are enjoyable. People want to have an amount of fun while doing any task so why not help make work a little more fun? That fun shouldn’t just be random and directionless but be focused and with purpose. Everything that people do at work should have a purpose. Useless and boring tasks will demotivate people very quickly. Finally, the work should drive people to reach their potential. To reach out to Lindsey, visit her at her LinkedIn page. Everybody has drive. Everybody has passion. As humans, there are things that move us and inspire us to be better than we are. While the specifics behind each person’s motivation vary tremendously, it’s imperative to understand that each of us has something for which we are willing to go above and beyond. Only organizations that enable managers to affect change in their employees’ lives will find success motivating their people. 
25:46
March 12, 2019
REFORGE: Bek Chee
Despite our audio problems to get this episode started, we talk through the amazing chat we had with Bek Chee. 
07:26
March 7, 2019
Crafting the Employee Experience with Bek Chee, Head of Talent, Atlassian
Often the story of poor employee engagement seems connected with companies that have been around for a long time. Typically, these organizations hold on to how things have always been done. With such a long history, it’s no surprise that there is a resistance to new processes and crafting a new culture. However, we live in a world of growing companies. These young, new companies are founded on ideals of innovation and effecting change. While it’s easy to have a pulse on employee engagement and to carefully create the company culture in the early stages, most organizations struggle to hold on to their roots as they grow. No young company expects to survive without innovation. By and large all the good ideas have been taken. In order to advance, organizations must innovate their product/service offering. But what about their company culture? Most organizations don’t take enough time cultivating their growing company’s culture, until it’s too late. As organizations grow, owners must ensure that the collaborative, trusting environment that was essential to fostering the innovation that built the company, is maintained through growth. The most important element of maintaining a strong, desirable company culture is onboarding. As owners in a growing company expand and begin to hire managers, it is imperative that these managers not only have the skillset necessary to get the job done, but that they will also be responsible for contributing to the cultural identity of the company. One of the biggest mistakes a young company can make, as it relates to ensuring the survival of the original culture, is to hire for skill and not character. Very few skills can’t be learned on the job. Doctors, lawyers, and handful of other degree-heavy professionals can’t afford to learn things live. Most everyone else, in almost every other profession, can be taught how to do a job. So, when young organizations think to the future of what their business will become, a critical component of that vision should be what the company culture will look like. If organizations maintain the company culture that defined them in the beginning when they had no employees, then the employees that join as the organization grows, will have a fantastically positive experience. It is so much easier to maintain positive culture during growth than to let it grow wild and try to fix it later.  In a recent podcast, we had the opportunity to speak with Head of Talent at Atlassian, Bek Chee. In our conversation, we learned that this is an organization that epitomizes this concept maintaining strong, positive company culture. Founded in 2002, in Sydney Australia, Atlassian boasts impressive employee engagement scores in excessive of 80%. Employees love working there. When asked how the organization accomplished such an impressive feat, Chee responded that the company had always stayed very close to its roots and maintained the great culture it was built on. For more insights on cultivating an incredible employee experience, listen to the rest of the podcast at Forging Employee Experience. Feel free to reach out to Bek Chee via LinkedIn. By keeping a hand on the metaphorical culture steering wheel, growing organizations can ensure they never lose what made them great from the beginning. 
26:02
March 5, 2019
REFORGE: Michael Beck
Listen to this great recap that Josh and Alexander put on the episode with Michael Beck.  For more information visit www.forgeant.com.  We'll see you there!
07:48
March 1, 2019
Employee Engagement Is Not a Generational Problem with Michael Beck
My knee-jerk reaction is to blame the Employee Engagement epidemic on the increase of Millennials in the workforce. Though they may complain the loudest, they can’t be fairly pegged as the culprits behind the low engagement in the workspace. Looking at the Gallup numbers around 80% of employees world-wide aren’t engaged, but the workforce only consists of about 50% Millennials. Assuming every single Millennial is disengaged (impossible) that still leaves a very large percentage of other generations that are also not engaged. Furthermore, the research behind such high disengagement in the workforce goes back well before Millennials were in the workforce. Prognosis? Employee Engagement is a workforce problem, not a generational problem.  At the end of the day, all people problems are really leadership problems. Low levels of engagement follow bad leaders. If an organization has too many of these bad leaders, they’ll find the bulk of their workforce simply isn’t engaged. To fix this problem, organizations must make sure they have better leaders leading their workforce. Leadership development is a very robust and advanced industry. The number of fixes and strategies organizations have at their disposal is truly staggering; however, one of the must effective of these strategies is intelligent promotion. All too often, a contributor is promoted to a leadership/management role because they are good at their job. For example, the top salesman is a very likely candidate for sales manager. But does being good at selling a product mean a person will be good at leading a team? Impossible to say. There’s simply no correlation between the two. Truth be told, most individuals who excel in their field probably don’t want to be bothered by the administrative burden that comes with management. Yet, these high performers still aspire to be managers and continue to be promoted. Why? Because all too often, the pay bump from contributor to manager is too much to pass up. Paying a person more because they take on extra responsibilities is both fair and equitably, but it can also have unintended consequences. In this case, promoting an associate simply because he or she is a high performer will almost certainly lead to the creation of a disengaged team. Leadership skills are different and need to be treated differently and cultivated differently. This doesn’t mean that a high performer with no leadership skills can’t acquire those skills, but it does mean that if organizations wants to enhance the Employee Experience, they’ll need to ensure that all of their managers are trained to be good leaders. In a podcast with Michael Beck, he brought up how leaders shape the company culture (a reflection of the Employee Experience). He defined company culture as the set of values and behaviors that an organization will tolerate. He went on to say that if leaders simply establish a set of shared values, they’ll like not find the results they want. However, if managers across all levels are actively encouraging and supporting those shared values, then the organization will become those shared values – or culture. To listen to Michael’s full podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience and to keep in touch with Michael you can follow him on twitter @Michael_Beck or visit his website. His, Eliciting Excellence, can be purchased on Amazon. Employee Engagement is a vital metric to understanding the health of an organization. If companies want to help positivel
26:03
February 28, 2019
REFORGE: Andria Ink
In this episode we discuss the great learning outcomes from Andria's podcast.  Andria is an expert at practically applying the principles of Employee Engagement, we'd hate for you to miss out on her perspective.  For more information, listen to the full interview.  https://anchor.fm/forgeant/episodes/No-Excuse-for-Slow-Moving-Employee-Engagement-with-Andria-Ink-e36jea
11:57
February 15, 2019
No Excuse for Slow Moving Employee Engagement with Andria Ink
The Employee Engagement industry is filling up with software solutions that enable organizations to more quickly implement effective Employee Engagement initiatives. However, even in organizations where this software is being used, companies tend to move slowly when trying to affect change that would boost engagement. There is no excuse for not prioritizing and implementing change. By and large, customers won’t buy in to an organization if the employees haven’t already bought in to it. If the employees aren’t having a positive experience, that energy will flow to the customers and sales won’t be as strong. However, when organizations allow their employees to have an experience that excites, customers will flock to the product (assuming the product isn’t terrible).  In a recent podcast with Andrea Ink, head of Employee Engagement at BC Hydro, we had the chance to understand how she takes the lead on building an employee experience that employees love. She works for a government-controlled agency that, while using only an annual survey, boasts 84% engagement among employees. In her company, she focuses on making sure that everyone is seen, felt, and heard. These fruits of these efforts are partly seen in the success of the employee council that connects top level management with the workforce to make sure that everyone is being heard. The result of fostering a spirit of collaboration from top level executives and employee representatives has been the creation of a company culture where employees know they have a voice and that the organization is listening.  Andrea spoke volumes about how important it is as leader to always be present to listen and observe any issues that employees may be having. She focused on the idea that leaders must always be communicating information up and down the organization. Finally, she emphasized the notion of “follow-up and follow-through.” Every leader should make sure they follow-up with the communications they have with their groups, and they must always follow through with promises and commitments. To listen to the full podcast, please visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Andrea, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn. If a government organization that only has official Employee Engagement survey once a year, can create a culture where people love to work, then so can anyone else. There is no excuse to not being quick and decisive in implementing new Employee Engagement initiatives. The employees and customers deserve the best experience. 
20:35
February 12, 2019
REFORGE: Kevin Kruse
Join us as we delve in to the learning outcomes of Kevin Kruse's podcast. He shared some wonderful insights and we tease out the most applicable and relevant here so you can take what you need and get back to work.  These REFORGE episodes will be posted after every guest so feel free to listen up on all things Employee Experience.
11:13
February 9, 2019
Employee Engagement Comes From a Company's Vision with Kevin Kruse
Boosting Employee Engagement scores don’t happen with the thoughtless purchase of more employee perks. This comes as both good and bad news for organizations looking to increase the engagement levels of their employees. On the one hand, the research shows that simply buying stuff for employees doesn’t actually move the needle. Organizations don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on perks to help engage their employees. Unfortunately, the most effective solution is decidedly more difficult than just throwing money at the problem. Companies need to focus on converting employees to their vision. Most for-profit organizations spend their time focused on revenue generating activities. Understandably, companies want to make sure that their resources are spent to increases shareholder value. Acting otherwise would be a disservice to stakeholders and to the customers. However, lost in the pursuit of financial strength is often the fact that employees aren’t automatically as driven to boost sales and drive down costs as top management. Employees join a company for a paycheck but stay at a company for a cause. The burden of converting employees to the company’s cause is critical to helping win the hearts and minds of the workforce and boosting employee engagement. Implicit in the idea that an organization can convert employees to its cause is that the organization actually has a cause. “Making money” or “increasing shareholder value” is unfortunately not a cause. Instead companies need to have a passionate, driving force that motivates its members to give it their all. Once that cause is established an organization can begin to rally its employees.  In a recent podcast with Keven Kruse, he mentioned that employees should be able to say, “I care about our goals.” This simple phrase carries profound meaning to an organization. It implies that an organization has established a cause with which it can inspire its employees and that those employees have internalized those goals and honestly care about reaching them. To listen to the full episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Kevin send him an email at kevin@leadx.org. For more information about his books visit his Amazon page. By helping ensure that employees are converted to the company’s vision, organizations create a sustainable culture that employees will never want to leave. Though difficult, the work required to convert employees will pay off exponentially. Without spending a dime, organizations can watch their engagement scores climb as they enhance their employee’s workplace experience.
31:31
February 2, 2019
The Neuroscience Behind Employee Experience with Scott Halford
We begin to get a feel for a room from the first step we take inside. We feel temperature, light, air quality, and aesthetics. After spending time co-occupying that space with other people, we begin to feel and sense a group vibe. We’ve all been to parties that should be awesome but aren’t or family dinners that check all the boxes to make it great but it’s not. These same experiences shape the workplace. Are the feelings and vibes real or perceived? Does it matter? When employees come to work every day, they are met with a feeling. The office lighting, the floor plan, the general comfort, and the demeanor of colleagues all play a key role in shaping how employees feel about the environment they work in. This general feeling when applied universally to all employees is a large driver for company culture. But some organizations are met with frustration when they go through the motions checking all the great-place-to-work checkboxes and find their employees still perceive a lackluster experience. Whose fault is this? It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, the company leadership maintains primary responsibility for how the workplace feels and feelings are subjective. The reason so many organizations fall short of cultivating a great company culture is because they can’t get past the fact that it doesn’t matter how many great things the organization does on culture. Most important is how the employees perceive the company.  The million-dollar question: how do we fix it? Books can and have been written trying to answer this very question. However, one of the best places to start is with communication. We live in a society that has embraced text-based forms of communication. Most of the communication that happens with in businesses occurs in written form. To try and turn back the clocks and shy away from an emotion-poor, communication median is pointless. The best alternative companies have is to shift to a concerted effort of infusing emotion into written language.  In a podcast with Scott Halford, he brought to light another concept that can help craft a positive perception of an organization’s culture. Backed with research from his book, Scott suggests that creating a brain-friendly environment will drastically increase the productivity and efficiency of employees. To that end, companies must both embrace change allowing for the transition to a brain-friendly environment and create a place where progress is measured and rewarded. To listen to the full podcast at Forging Employee Experience and connect with Scott visit www.completeintelligence.com or www.scotthalford.com. Molding another person’s perception takes a huge amount of effort. Companies can’t take shortcuts and change doesn’t happen overnight. By listening to employees and understanding how they are feeling, organizations can know if their efforts to saturate communication with emotion and create a brain-friendly culture are successful. 
25:36
January 24, 2019
People Analytics Can Distract From the Employee Experience with Lewis Garrad
Over the last couple of decades, Employee Engagement has started to become more and more important to companies. Early data showed how much time and energy companies lost to a disengaged workforce. In recent years, organizations have started making huge efforts to fix the Employee Engagement problem. Yet despite millions of dollars of investment, the average number of engaged employees has only risen 3% in the last almost 20 years. So, what’s the problem? At a fundamental level, employees don’t feel a connection with their companies. The relationship cultivated from their first day on the job perpetuates a feeling of obligation. Employees tend to feel like once they have provided the work their companies have paid them for, then they have fulfilled their obligation and are typically content provided the minimum to get by. Employees don’t feel connected with their organizations on an emotional level. If organizations want to see real change, they’ll have to start focusing on curating a working relationship such that employees feel truly connected with the company. To make that change happens, organizations must stop focusing so exclusively on the numbers. Yes, employee engagement stats are an important metric. Yes, increasing retention is a huge bump the bottom line. But at the end of the day, it’s about the people. It’s not about the numbers. When organizations can honestly say that they care most about connecting with their employees, then they’ll find the engagement stats rise organically.  Furthermore, many of the past efforts of boosting engagement have missed the mark. Quick fixes like beer Fridays, snacks in the break room, or casual dress don’t move the needle. This failure stems from the lack of efforts that the company exerts when they do these things. While they think they are showing how amazing they are to work for, most employees see it as an attempt to make them more loyal. It doesn’t work.  In a recent podcast with Lewis Garrad, he discussed another major factor to employee engagement. He related that about 50% of the tendency for employees to be engaged at work can be traced back to their personality, and that those type of people that tended to be more engaged shared a similar set of cognitive characteristics. He warned that while it may be tempting to hire based on those characteristics, a workforce full of individuals who are all more inclined to be engaged would prevent cognitive diversity and promote group think tendencies. Listen to the full podcast at Forging the Employee Experience and follow Lewis Garrad on Twitter at @LewisGarrad or connect via email at lewis.garrad@mercer.com. Employee Engagement can be boosted, but there is not shortcut to success. Organizations will need to look place the ineffective low hanging fruit, stop focusing on the numbers, and commitment to creating a workforce full of positive connections. 
33:07
January 15, 2019
The Most Important Word of Employee Engagement with Henry Albrecht
Henry Albrecht is the founder of Limeade, an employee engagement platform that builds great places to work by improving well-being and strengthening workplace culture. He has led the company from an idea in his basement to a high-growth, industry-leading employee engagement technology company that serves some of the smartest companies in the world. Henry earned his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management with an emphasis in technology and marketing and his B.A. in economics and literature from Claremont McKenna College. Limeade helps the world’s best companies develop happier, healthier and more productive employees. Learn more at http://www.limeade.com/ and keep in touch with Henry on LinkedIn and Twitter.
 Topics covered in this episode: • Engagement: A deep sense of purpose and connection that leads to extra energy and commitment at work. • Engagement initiatives without thinking of the well-being of employees is short-sighted • We’ve fallen in love with people analytics, but we fail to act. • Square deal-I put in as much as I get out.  • Bi-directional trust. What are you doing to show your employees that you care.  • 3 questions to show you care: • How do leaders show up? • What resources do you give them? • Are managers invested in their people? • “Care” is the single-most important word we can talk about around employee engagement • When people can feel that their manager cares about them, they are 38% more engaged at work. • Learning to take a whole person approach. • Burnout is a luxury in a workforce who cares.
30:56
December 18, 2018
3 Crucial Elements for the Ultimate Employee Experience, with Jacob Morgan
Jacob Morgan is a 3x Best-Selling Author, Futurist, and Leading Keynote Speaker on the Future of Work, Leadership, and most importantly, Employee Experience. He works with global organizations around the world ranging from Samsung, Prudential, Microsoft, Salesforce, Disney, MasterCard, and many others. He speaks in front of tens of thousands of people each year and his content is seen over a million times a year. Jacob founded The Future of Work University, an online education and training platform. You can find it at futureofworkuniversity.com.  He has contributed to publications such as Cosmopolitan, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN, Glamour, USA Today, and The Harvard Business Review. His new book on the future of leadership is coming out Sept, 2019. You can connect with him on Twitter or email him Jacob@thefutureorganization.com. You can also subscribe to Jacob’s newsletter to get weekly content on the future of work to work with Jacob or have him speak at your event visit TheFutureOrganization.com Website: http://www.thefutureorganization.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FuturistJacob Twitter: https://twitter.com/jacobm Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacobmorgan8 The Employee Experience Advantage, Future of Work, and more on https://www.amazon.com/Jacob-Morgan/e/B00703V3WO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1505835726&sr=8-2-ent The Future Organization Newsletter: https://thefutureorganization.com/newsletter/
35:42
December 13, 2018
Moving People Analytics Into Action with Jeff Jolton, PwC
To engage their employees, organizations must give them a voice. In our most recent podcast with Jeffrey Jolton, we talked about the importance of reaching out to employees through surveys and what it means to actually listen to the responses. Jeffrey is the managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) people analytics practice. He has over 15 years of executive consulting experience and has contributed to over 90 publications and presentations related to engagement and employee experience. He is a regular presenter at numerous professional conferences and is published extensively in both business periodicals and scientific journals. He co-edited a book on global HR practices and holds a PhD in industrial organizational psychology from Ohio University. Employers often try to engage with their employees through engagement surveys. Yet, they don’t often see honest feedback and optimistic participation. This indifference to engagement surveys comes from a lack of action in response to the survey. When the survey process is done properly, it provides the company with better data on how to improve. However, if the organization doesn’t take timely steps to make those improvements, employees will begin to doubt the efficacy of the effort they expended filling out the survey. This apathy will result in a much less effective surveying process and workforce that doesn’t trust its leadership. Managers and leaders then should act on the feedback they receive in a positive way to improve the company overall. Jeff discussed that in engaging employees, companies should have intentionality. He emphasized that if a company is just doing it because everyone else is and doesn’t really have a sense of why they want an engaged environment, then they’re not going to see a lot of success. Jeff continued by saying that many companies don’t actually know what engaging employees would mean and how would it change their business, yet they still take employee surveys because that’s what they think they should be doing. He opined that a survey is an effective strategy when done intentionally. Surveys should communicate to employees that their feedback is crucial for the company’s well-being. Surveys should also be able to get across to the employees that the feedback will be used for them and not against them. Surveys should contain questions that are relevant to those taking it. Finally, survey data should be analyzed and best off the results, noticeable actions should be published to the company and implemented. When companies take action based on survey results, employees are more likely to participate in giving future feedback. However, Jeff concluded by saying that surveys may not be the right tool for all companies. Companies should think of the right strategy for them and act accordingly Companies should be authentic in wanting to engage employees. Listen to the full podcast to learn more on how employee feedback can propel companies forward. Reach out to your colleagues and be a force for change. We would like to thank Jeff for his time and expertise. We encourage everyone to check out his LinkedIn profile, Jeffrey A. Jolton. You can also reach him through jeffrey.a.jolton@pwc.com.
34:43
December 6, 2018
Employee Engagement 2.0 with Casey Wahl
Casey Wahl is the CEO of Attuned, a company that he started while living in Tokyo, Japan, and he has been there ever since. He is extremely passionate about the employee experience and making sure that employers understand very clearly the intrinsic motivations of their employees. Attuned helps to solve one of the hardest and most complex problems that companies face with engagement: an individual's driving motivators. In this episode we dive deep into what Casey calls "Employee Engagement 2.0" and that is intrinsic motivation. you can connect with Casey on Twitter @caseywahl.
31:52
December 4, 2018
2 Formulas For Employee Engagement Success with Eric Rowlee
Eric is the Director of Change, Training and Communication at Walmart. Let's all just keep in mind that Walmart employees are over 2.1 million people world wide. That's about 1.4 million in the United States alone. He's got his work cut out for him. Eric holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University, a masters degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology in the University of Nebraska. He has an MBA in Brigham Young University. He has a big beautiful family, we're talking 7 kids living in Arkansas. He's got a farm, crops that he is growing. Engagement is what you see when people are fully involved in the work that they are doing. They are enthusiastic about its that feeling of investment. I can't put a single word on Engagement other then engagement but if you were to take the lid of it and look inside its this feeling of being involved, invested and enthusiasm. To start to hear people say things like, "I want to do this or we're going to make this successful or I love want I'm doing." That's engagement, it inspires people, drives commitment, you might use the word passion. That's engagement on my head.
51:38
November 29, 2018
7 Cultural Pillars of Employee Engagement with Eric Chester
Engaging employees is synonymous with retaining employees, and engaging employees is on the forefront of moving companies forward. In our most recent podcast with Eric Chester, we talked about how to both manage and retain employees. Eric is the author of On Fire at Work: Great Companies Ignite Passion in Their People Without Burning Them Out, his best-selling book that talks about getting employees to “work harder, perform better, and stay longer.” Eric has delivered more than 2,000 keynotes to great companies all over the world, including Harley Davidson, McDonald's, Sprint, Great Clips, Wells Fargo, and Subway. He has spoken on three different continents and is a 2004 inductee into the National Speakers Association’s acclaimed CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame. The concept of employee retention has largely evolved over time. Decades ago, employers, or even employees, didn’t have a thought about engagement or about being “happy” at work. The relationship between employers and employees was a transactional relationship where you just do your job and get paid. We have now come to realize that money isn’t the only motivating factor in why an employee chooses to stay. Employees are now focusing more on the experience. In order to keep employees engaged, companies should reach out to their employees. By doing so, they learn the employees’ points of view and are able to create a better workplace. Eric spoke about his experiences as a high school teacher and youth speaker. These taught him about talking to individuals in the trenches. By conversing with these individuals and learning what their thoughts are, he was able to inspire them. Over time, he became interested in generational studies and wrote the book Employing Generation Why?. The book was a huge success, and he companies started asking for his help on managing employee engagement. When he works with companies, he follows the same strategies of talking to employees in the trenches. He would take excerpts and present these to the management. The management will then learn what they can do to improve the workplace. Eric emphasized that with most of these organizations there are really no employee retention strategy. From his On Fire at Work book, he explained that there are seven cultural pillars that employees evaluate their jobs. Money is only one of them and is far from the only assurance of keeping an employee in a company. He further added that retention is a by-product of hiring the right people and treating them the way they want to be treated. Employee engagement problems are solved when companies put an effort into making a better workplace. Companies only get out what they put into their workforce. Listen to the full podcast to learn more on how talking to employees and knowing their points of view makes a better workplace. Reach out and initiate change in your workplace. We would like to thank Eric for his time and enthusiasm. We encourage everyone to get a copy of his book On Fire at Work: Great Companies Ignite Passion in Their People Without Burning Them Out and to check out his website at www.ericchester.com.
35:50
November 27, 2018
Unlocking Self-Determination Theory with Dr. Scott Rigby
As it turns out, employees are humans. Like all humans, they have needs, and these needs need to be fulfilled. In our most recent podcast with Dr. Scott Rigby we talk about the fulfillment needs of employees and how they become assets to the company. Dr. Scott Rigby is a behavioral scientist, author, entrepreneur, and founder of Motivation Works – a company that applies behavioral science to organizations. He is a leading authority on predictive measurements on motivation and engagement as well as interventions to improve organizational culture. and He has been featured on ABC News, BBC, National Public Radio, National Geographic, and Scientific American. Companies today tend to interpret happiness among their employees in the workplace as fulfillment. Organizations believe that by adding certain perks and by keeping the employees “happy,” they can get more out of their employees. Unfortunately, happiness and fulfillment aren’t the same. For the employees to be engaged, the company has to make sure they fulfill the employees’ needs. The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) specifically addresses how to fulfill those needs. Dr. Rigby explained that employers should focus on employees’ fundamental needs as human beings before trying to fill their needs as workers. To this end, he, along with the creators of the SDT, founded Motivation Works. This platform utilizes SDT so that companies can measure the fulfillment of different basic needs of employees. According to the SDT, employees have three basic needs for fulfillment: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Autonomy pertains to giving the employees a meaningful choice over how they are completing their tasks. Competence is the desire to be successful by performing things with efficiency and achieving growth in their skillset. Relatedness is a sense of belonging in the workplace where there’s mutual respect and support for each other. Satisfying these components always leads to increased employee engagement. Dr. Rigby emphasizes that measuring employee engagement isn’t that hard. It can be done as simply as by asking employees if they agree with the statement “I love my job.” Employees who love their job are almost always fulfilled and engaged. The real trick is making sure changes are made based off those measurements to help increase fulfillment and thus engagement. Every employee, every manager, every leader, needs to understand the employees’ experiences and points of view. Listen to the full podcast to see how fulfilling the different needs of employees engages employees in the workplace. Motivate your reports. Motivate your managers. Be an agent of change. We would like to thank Dr. Rigby for his time and expertise. We encourage everyone to visit www.motivationworks.com to learn more about the platform. You can follow Dr. Rigby on twitter at @csrigby.
34:14
November 21, 2018
Building Employee Experience with Trystin Bailey
Trystin is the Director of Employee Experience at Huge INC and shared some amazing insights with us on how to build an employee experience that will make your employees feel like you care about them. Included in this episode are themes around Employee empowerment, building a level of community and collaboration that strengthens every other business aspect, and taking risks in the corporate arena to be authentic and real. He makes the point that you are nothing without a cohesive team and encourages all managers to focus on the whole of a person and not just the work they produce. We hope you enjoy this episode of Forging Employee Experience.
20:54
November 15, 2018
Making Employee Engagement Personal with Mary Miller
An engaged workforce keeps the company moving forward, and keeping employees engaged in their job is a challenge companies have faced for decades. Our most recent podcast with Mary Miller, CEO of Jancoa Janitorial Services, discussed the concept of the issue of focusing on happiness that leads to success and how this has cascaded in her flourishing company. Mary is also the author of the best-selling book Changing Direction, which talks mainly about optimism and how this has helped her in life and some of the employee engagement strategies she has implemented at Jancoa. Golden handcuffs are the trend of today. Organizations keep employees from looking for employment elsewhere through predominately compensation-based approaches. This retention approach, however, does not equate to an engaged workforce, and when employees are disinterested, it affects their performance and the company overall as a result. Mary talked about the culture of caring. When the company cares for its employees and their families the focus shifts from tasks to results. When the company provides their employees with the tools to be successful, including helping them connect to programs and agencies to make their future better even if that means that the employee may go down a different road in the future – employees thrive. Companies want to retain team members who want to be there. When employees are engaged in their work and are able to become efficient workers, the customers are happy. Engaged employees that care about their work, take care of the customers. The end result is a win-win-win situation for all parties – company, employees, and customers. However, applying this to other companies would be a challenge as it would have to start from the top – the CEO or the Board – and that this is not something that you just “plug and play.” Take care of your employees, and the employees will take care of your customers. This is true employee engagement. Listen to the full podcast to see how companies can benefit from nurturing their employees holistically. By developing this culture of caring in the workplace, we bring the “humanity” to the work place. Employees will be aware that they are contributing to a mission and that they are not just another person doing a certain job. These will all boil down to the company’s success. Be an agent of change in your team. We would like to thank Mary for her time and enthusiasm. We encourage everyone to get a copy of her book Changing Direction and to check out their company’s website at jancoa.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at @mary_dreams.
27:55
November 13, 2018
Unlocking High Performance with Jason Lauritsen
Jason is a global speaker author and employee engagement expert. He helps companies adapt workplace culture and Performance Management strategies. A former corporate human resource executive himself, Jason has dedicated his career to helping leaders build organizations that are good for both people and profits. In this episode we digest what employee engagement means and the term "Discretionary Effort." We delve into practical ways that companies can increase retention and employee happiness. Enjoy this in depth conversation with Jason Lauritsen.
28:35
November 5, 2018
4 Vital Factors to Enhance Employee Engagement with Fraser Marlow
Trying to understand the workforce is not a new endeavor. For decades organizations have been accumulating and analyzing data on why employees lose steam at their job. In our most recent podcast, we sat down with Fraser Marlow, head of workplace research at Energage and had a great time talking about the dynamics of understanding the workforce. As the coauthor of the Engagement Equation and with a background steeped in leadership development and organizational improvement, Fraser had a lot to add to the conversation on empowering employees. Organizations nationwide are starting to pay more attention to how well their employees feel meaningfully engaged at work. One of the main issues facing employees is that they often feel like they don’t have tools or resources necessary to get their job done. Many employees strive to give their best at their respective companies only to fall short do to external factors preventing them from excelling. After a few cycles of this type of failure, employees quickly stop trying as hard. Marlow describes four main factors that his research considers vital to enhance employee engagement. Firstly, organizations must direct people towards a common purpose. Secondly, leadership must help people to feel connected, like a community, by developing a coaching mindset. Thirdly, managers must realize that investing time in helping employees is crucial to the organization’s success. And finally, effectiveness, companies need to cut the red tape that creates so many inefficiencies within the workplace. Fraser noted that this effectiveness component is the most crucial, as it allows the remaining pieces to be effective. However, all of these adjusts requires total shift in mindset. Simply instituting new policies in an attempt to fix the mechanics will not work. It is not about “workplace perks” but a strategic running of an organization with employees at the center, that can be aided by data-driven HR supervision. Employees deserve to be understood. Listen to the full podcast to see how organizations benefit tremendously when they listen and act on the improvement’s employees ask to see. By focusing on the four key areas that Fraser explained, will drastically change the look and feel of an organization’s inner workings. Employees will feel empowered to get their work done and achieve that sense of satisfaction that only comes with success. You are the start of change at your organization. We want to give a big shout out and thank you to Fraser. We encourage everyone to go out and get his book Engagement Equation and check www.engergage.com. You can follow Fraser on twitter at @frasermarlow.
24:25
October 30, 2018
Becoming an Engagement Rebel with Debra Corey
Debra Corey is an Author, speaker, and employee engagement rebel. She is the Global Head of Engagement at Reward Gateway. She’s an expert at understanding and applying effective and practical engagement techniques and practices. Her most recent book, Build It is an amazon #1 best seller in Human Resources and has received praise from Dan Pink, Margaret Heffernan, and Patty McCord. In this episode we dive into what it means to be a rebel in the HR space and how to cultivate a winning culture. You'll get to feel of her energy and enthusiasm as we build a bridge based on proven principles to make a difference at work and give employees the flexibility they need in order to feel happy and fulfilled at work. Enjoy!
21:58
October 24, 2018
What is Employee Engagement?
Every year, businesses are spending almost $700 billion dollars in an effort to improve employee engagement, yet you’ll get wildly inconsistent answers if you ask business leaders what that means. Researchers, consultants, and leaders have been struggling to define employee engagement for decades. These definitions range from the simple idea of “discretionary effort” (which we'll get into) to the truly insane “complex nomological network encompassing trait, state, and behavioral constructs”. This causes a large problem in the industry because there are still signs that engagement (whatever it is) needs to be clearly defined in order to gain the necessary results. In a Gallup survey, for instance, organizations whose employees reported high engagement had 25% to 65% less attrition than their peers (depending on the national average for low to high turnover organizations). They also performed well in productivity and customer satisfaction. So defining engagement in a clear and precise way isn’t just a philosophical practice. It has bottom-line benefits. This first episode helps paint the picture of employee engagement on the canvas of people analytics in the attempt to not only achieve more results, but to create a culture where employees thrive and are ultimately happy. Join us on further episodes where we meet with industry experts, HR data scientists, and cutting-edge leaders to get to the bottom of what, truly, is employee engagement.
11:52
October 17, 2018