Beyond Employee Engagement – Presence

What are the outcomes and deliverables as people move beyond engagement? The overall observable behaviors around knowing someone (or an organization) has gone beyond engagement are demonstrated by their presence which:

  • Determines individual and collective effectiveness.
  • Is the expression of potential meeting processes.
  • Is the natural path to profitability.
  • Is the path to sustainable high performance.
  • Is the key ingredient to a healthy company.
  • Is about personal power and not control.
  • Is about personal accountability.
  • Is our ultimate indicator of authenticity.

It’s about sustainable individual and collective effectiveness;  expression of potential through processes that lead to profitability.

Presence is the foundation of a healthy company.  We talked earlier about personal accountability and power – this is what presence is.

Ultimately, when you are with someone, you are in their presence. What is the presence of the people around you? What is your presence? Bottom-line, it is an indicator of authenticity.

You might be asking yourself ‘what is the relevance of what I am hearing to me and my organization?’

If we bubble it up to a high level, what I have shared in this series is that environment and structures influence behavior. We know this. Even if you are fully intrinsically motivated, if you are working in an environment that doesn’t align with who you are, you will leave.

We also know that raising someone’s awareness allows for conscious choice – this phrase is my definition of coaching. Remember the element purpose? Raising awareness so each is at conscious choice is my purpose in life.

Conscious choice supports intrinsic motivation, which leads to innovation far beyond what you can imagine through external rewards, which in turn impacts the profitability.

To move beyond engagement:

  • Shift from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation
  • Coaching is critical for people to achieve this shift
  • Goal is for people to be self-aware and to have conscious choice

Employees who are engaged in their work and committed to their organizations give companies crucial competitive advantages, including higher productivity and lower employee turnover. Thus it is not surprising that organizations of all sizes and types have invested substantially in policies and practices intended to foster engagement and commitment in their workforce. Yet these efforts have fallen short.

Remember – it is the inside work which will lead to a powerful external presence – and coaching is the way to unleash an individual and organization to beyond engagement.

Beyond Employee Engagement – The 9 Elements

Just what are the ‘9 Elements”? They are a proprietary process that is evolutionary and transformational in nature – it is a journey for the rest of your life. The 9 elements are:

  1. Practice = internal foundation of who you are – values, guiding principles, patterns, boundaries & standards
  2. Portfolio = assessment work
  3. Potential = energy audit, what you like and dislike doing, our strengths and non-strengths
  4. Purpose = statement declaring what you are here on earth to do
  5. Possibilities = form that purpose can take
  6. Probabilities = values and traits alignment analysis
  7. Plan = phased priorities over time
  8. Performance = sustained energy  flow
  9. Presence = deliverable of beyond engagement

Presence, the ninth element, is the foundational element which evolves through the full integration of the eight other elements. Presence is the level at which a person stands in their own power and effectiveness. Demonstrated through choices and behavior in the present moment, presence is the expression of each individual’s internal alignment with their purpose. For some people the very essence of and key to sustaining presence is gratitude, while for others it is authenticity or something else.

Presence is the foundation of each of these – based internally on intrinsic motivation that is demonstrated externally in your extrinsic behavior. The first four elements are data heavy and focused internally on becoming aware of who you are. With the definition of your purpose in element 4 you reach the tipping point when you move to Element 5 of the range of possibilities open for you in the external world. The remaining four elements are focused externally on aligning your behavior with who you are.

We are using this approach with a group in their second year – and they are going back and looking at each element from their current state of evolution – which deepens their intrinsic motivation and ultimately their presence.

The meta-metrics of these 9 elements are authentic relationships ability to tell the truth and level of trust. Strategic roadmap is from the individual (fully engaging the 9 elements) to the team (with a focus on interpersonal relationships, understanding of self and others) to the organization (knowing how to bring out the potential in others for the benefit of all).

Beyond Employee Engagement – Role of Coaching

The coach plays an integral  role in the emergence process around being the co-evolver of awareness leading to much more conscious levels of choice.  Most workplace behavior is unconscious habituated rote behavior. What we want to do is move more of the unconscious into the conscious – only 5% of what we do is from conscious choice in present moment awareness.  The more you do that the more you bring what is in the sub-conscious forward. The goal to make more conscious decisions (or choices) is a risk mitigation strategy.

The coach partners with the client to clarify accountability.  Most people believe accountability is being accountable to something outside of them, when in fact the real accountability is about accountability for their own potential and their own uniqueness to bring that forward.

Coaching co-creates the path to personal power, so that people can move beyond the fear-based need to control or force things and  find their natural organic power, and drop any need to be right about anything – and only continuously focus on finding the truth – which is no easy task for people. It is about the deep thirst to find the truth, and admit whether they are right or wrong, and have no attachment to it.

The coach enables the process of mind-body effectiveness. As we move beyond engagement, it is the whole person that will take us there – a person is in balance rather than one that is in habituated fear of the future – a person that is living in present moment awareness.  All of our bodies – emotional, physical, mental, spiritual – have to be in harmony to really be in a state of moving beyond the traditional models of engagement.

A coach brings a person’s uniqueness forward by acting as a mirror- as a feedback loop for the client – and hold the potential for the client as they begin to draw out that uniqueness.  As the client moves to deeper states of evolution, they will feel intrinsic motivation – which is definitely beyond engagement.

Lastly, the coach assists the client in measuring value-added performance. This is one of the harder things to do in an organization – only because people feel they are moving outside their job description or challenging their job within the macro processes of the organization. The environment must be safe enough to challenge non-value added efforts.  It takes great courage for people to step up if what they are doing is non-value added.

There are many ways coaches can facilitate a person to a deeper intrinsic state– it can be in small groups or individually.  Over the past 20 years we have looked for an emergent pattern of what were the real true critical success factors and elements in moving someone to deeply intrinsic states of motivation and beyond engagement. What one word would describe the process and evolution in moving beyond engagement? To me that word is presence – a word we have heard a great deal about over the past 10 years.  Peter Senge and other leading management thought leaders have written about the concept. We discovered eight additional elements anchored in presence (which is the net effect of moving beyond engagement), that need to be present to evolve people.

Beyond Employee Engagement – What is needed?

So what is needed to bring this significant evolution step forward and to move beyond engagement. Most important is the amount of courage it takes to embrace change and uncertainty. The predictability of certainty is a natural human trait – it is not that we don’t like change, it is that we don’t like to be changed when we don’t feel that we are consciously making the choices that lead us into that direction.  We have to be courageous enough to know it is not about being right, it is getting to the truth about what is going on and what is moving us forward.  So don’t minimize the courage that it takes to do that – like summiting a large mountain.

Risk mitigation happens by beginning to challenge what is value-added and non-value-added effort to the overall processes that net the profit in the company.

Participative management, which was having employees participate with management in decisions.  Collaborative is next level like beyond engagement – it happens in authentic community where people can express their uniqueness,  it is acknowledged and they are held accountable for it. Evidence suggests that workers are growing increasingly cynical because leaders too often say one thing and do another. What is most antithetical to engagement is unconscious compliance – we can’t afford the luxury of an extrinsically motivated organization. Only 31% are actively engaged, which means 70% of your workforce are not engaged or are actively unengaged, meaning that they are extrinsically motivated.  There is your ROI – to move people out of un-engagement to engagement to deeper levels of engagement, netting tremendous ROI for this work.

People naturally want to hold themselves accountable for their growth and to be responsible to others for how they deliver on that uniqueness in the workplace – and that is where innovation comes from.  We transfer responsibility to the individual to evolve their career.  You will never have 100% intrinsically motivated workforce until people are managing their own career and are not stuck in the habituation of the annual performance review on a weighting value, bell curve, or totem – or something outside of them that is continuously evaluating them.  They need to be self-referential such that every day they are evaluating their performance and getting feedback on that.

First step is to inspire then create the structure to evolve motivation.  It is well known that structure and environment drive behavior. Studies around neuroscience – Dan Siegel’s work around neurobiology and how people respond to their environment – through plasticity in the brain they form a brain that adapts to the environment and their relationships in it.  So it is important that you look at your environment, whether people feel safe, whether they can express themselves in it, take accountability for themselves. We are beginning to explore new ways to create agile and nimble environment and structure.

Technology is accelerated – computing power doubles every 18 months – it will be so embedded in peoples lives that their humanity will walk alongside technology.  Twitter, Facebook, and all these other rapid technologies – people feel they are alone together. They want  deeper relationships and higher quality relationships and 140 characters will not determine the depth of the relationship. So as more technology gets embedded into people’s reality, they will want to evolve their humanity beyond that process – that is a parallel activity to moving beyond engagement.

And, it is no surprise when I share with you about the role of coaching in beyond engagement, because coaching brings in personal connection, it uses technology, and blends in humanity – this is what coaching does.

Beyond Employee Engagement – Why?

So “Why Beyond Engagement”?  Many people today would be happy with if the workforce went to engagement, let alone going beyond engagement. What we need to do is to shift from words that people have become accustomed to and take it beyond into the “action in” getting to engagement.  Workers have been brought to exhaustion by “flavor of the month” or “fad surfing”. Now in late stage maturity, total quality management, re-engineering, and lean six sigma – all have brought benefit. Each one of these is an evolutionary step toward where we really want to go, which is inside the person.

We have seen the ROI of the quality movements.  What will take us to engagement and beyond will be the inner work of the individual – their inner uniqueness brought into their overall performance effectiveness, in a sustainable way.  We know from written literature that the soft stuff is really the hard stuff, and many people are not comfortable with that. People can get lost in doing their inner work – some people feel it is more about therapy than anything – when in fact it is about bringing forth your uniqueness, which will bring tremendous ROI in organizational lifecycle optimization – it is the health of the organization.

What is truly exciting, even with the turbulence going on within what some call the ‘age of profit’, is that we are turning to an age of prosperity which embeds profitability into it in a sustainable way so that we don’t have these radical spikes in profitability and employment profiles – moving to sustainability within organizations such that quality of life is moving to higher and higher evolutionary states.   The coming shift will literally redefine what work means to us – we will go from a job that I work to a purpose that I create – this is no minor shift.  It could take generations to occur – people aren’t going to look at their work the same way as they did before.  They will look at it as “I am not going to go do a job for someone in compliance”, they will be consciously aware and create their contribution in the world with a community of people that they want to learn and grow with – and will focus on the creativity through uniqueness and whole new levels of personal accountability – where people will be absolutely responsible for their own development and growth – we will give them the tools and technology to do that.  For almost 30 years we have said that people are responsible for their own careers – and yet we didn’t really know how to do that with the tools and technologies that were available back then. Today we have the tools and technologies that will allow them to do that.

The most recent movement is the strengths movement – and this is the first step we are talking about toward ‘beyond engagement’.

According to Blessing-White’s 2011 study: your entire workforce needs to be accountable for their piece of the ‘engagement equation’ every day. Individuals need to know what they want — and what the organization needs — and then take action to achieve both. Managers must understand each individual’s talents, interests and needs and then match those with the organization’s objectives — while at the same time creating personal, trusting relationships. Executives have to demonstrate consistency in words and actions, communicate a lot (and with a lot of depth), and align all business practices and behaviors throughout the organization to drive results and engagement.

Beyond Employee Engagement – Evolution of Engagement

We hear the word engagement a lot, and we have for quite some time.  From a contextual perspective, the evolution of that process and word actually goes back to the 1920s when studies of morale or a group’s willingness to accomplish organizational objectives  were  done. The value of morale to organizations was matured by US Army researchers during WWII battle-readiness before combat. In the postwar mass production society morale scores were used as predictors of speed, quality and militancy.

After the second world war engagement was somewhat still born in the workplace until it emerged in the 1990s in academic literature.  The quality and engineering process movements were there in the 1980s, and yet were limited in their effectiveness in engaging the workforce.  People were looking for new things to engage their workers. Engagement is a modernized version of job satisfaction linked with commitment – people want to drill deeper based on those academic studies and the legacy of the history of the work.

With the advent of the knowledge worker and emphasis on individual talent management (stars), a term was needed to describe an individual’s emotional attachment to the organization, fellow associates and the job.

The important thing to remember is that engagement’s key attributes are aligned to desired business outcomes through retention of talent, customer service, individual performance, team performance, business unit productivity, and even enterprise-level financial performance (e.g., Rucci at al, 1998 using data from Sears). Engagement is externally driven such as meaningfulness, variety, autonomy and co-worker support

In 2011 Blessing-White completed a study on employee engagement and found that 31% of employees are actively engaged and 17% are actively disengaged. As the global economy rebounds, more employees are looking for new opportunities outside their organization than in 2008.  Engaged employees plan to stay for what they give; the disengaged stay for what they get.  Employees worldwide view opportunities to apply their talents, career development and training as top drivers of job satisfaction.  What was very interesting is that trust in executives appears to have more than twice the impact on engagement levels than trust in immediate managers does.  Additionally, engagement surveys without visible follow-up action may actually decrease engagement levels.

What follow-up to engagement surveys have been done in your organization?

Beyond Employee Engagement – Toward True Sustainable High Performance

Today I will introduce some thoughts to get you to think about the next evolution of moving through employee engagement towards true sustainable high performance. Sustainability is an important word today because of the spikes and troughs that really happen in engagement – what you are trying to do is level that out so you get sustainable high performance.

To begin, engagement can be defined as the extent to which workforce commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organization. Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a whole. Though different organizations define engagement differently, some common themes emerge. These themes include employees’ satisfaction with their work and pride in their employer, the extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do for work and the perception that their employer values what they bring to the table. The greater an employee’s engagement, the more likely he or she is to “go the extra mile” and deliver excellent on-the-job performance. In addition, engaged employees may be more likely to commit to staying with their current organization.

What has your personal journey to engagement been?

What has been the experience of engagement in your organization?

Menu Title