Employee Engagement Q&A With Jill Christensen

Employee Engagement Q&A With Jill Christensen

Author, speaker, and employee engagement expert Jill Christensen responds to questions from our Bee School webinar, “If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement.” In this session, she reveals how employee engagement drives business success. She also provides a thorough action plan to start the conversation about how better internal communication workforce solutions like Beekeeper can improve employee engagement within your company.

Employee Engagement Q&A Session

Q: If the employee is in the wrong chair [not a suitable role], should the organization try and place them in a more suitable chair or different department or get rid of them?

JC: This is something we see organizations do all of the time. I call it “moving the deck chairs on the Titanic.” If you have an employee who is truly mismatched for their role, and there is not another role in the company where they are a good fit, you need to think about what that person’s skills are. If they are in marketing, that person may be really good at sales or communications. If this person is an accountant, chances are there isn’t another role inside your organization outside the finance department. If this person has extraordinary skills in what they do, but that person’s position is eliminated and there isn’t another position like that in your organization, that might be an opportunity to release them because their skills are in finance and there is not a finance role open in your organization.

However, if the person has a great attitude and was great at their job but their job is being eliminated or they want to try something different, then I would absolutely move them to a different place within your organization.

When you have an employee who is incompetent at their job and there is no other job that is a good fit for them in your company, and if they cannot grow and improve, they need to be removed. The situation could also be that a person is great at their job, but their attitude is negative. If you talk with them and let them know they need to improve their attitude but they’re not doing that, and their performance plan has not worked, I highly recommend you remove them from your organization because they’re bringing down other engaged workers. I understand it’s difficult to do, but trust me when I tell you the employee is going to land in another organization in another company and they’re going to be fine.

I’m encouraging you to say, “We should invest in ensuring people are a good culture fit and are amazing at their jobs,” because as you try to engage employees and create an amazing culture, you simply cannot afford to have people amongst you who are in the wrong chair. Use my four-step process to achieve sustainable engagement.

four step process for employee engagement

Q: How do you measure employee engagement?

JC: The best way to measure employee engagement is to conduct an employee engagement survey. There are many employee engagement surveys that exist in the marketplace; I highly recommend you don’t create your own survey. You cannot piece together questions that you have seen on other employee engagement surveys and believe that your survey is statistically significant and valid unless it has been created by scientists and statisticians.

Your employee engagement survey needs to be rubber-stamped by people that do this for a living. Run a search on “employee engagement survey” to find these. If you would like me to help you find the survey that is right for the size of your organization, please reach out to me or look into Beekeeper. Once you send your employee engagement survey to all employees, you’re going to get a certain number of responses back, and that number is the percent of employees who are engaged.

Q: How do I approach senior leaders if they don’t think there is a problem?

JC: One easy way to approach this is to conduct an employee engagement survey because then it’s not just you communicating with senior leaders that there is a problem. It’s arming you with data about your company, where employees are saying, “Houston, we have a problem.” This way it’s not anecdotal; it’s your employees saying, “We don’t like the culture; we don’t think our senior leaders communicate well; we don’t understand the organization’s values; we don’t feel like compensation is where it needs to be, and we don’t feel like we have the resources to do our job.”

Now if you’re going to say, “My senior leaders won’t allow us to conduct an employee engagement survey because they don’t think there is a problem,” what I would do is show senior leaders the data and the correlation between employee engagement and profitable revenue growth. Ask some of the following questions: Is the company where they want it to be? If the customer satisfaction level is where they want it to be, is employee retention as high as they would like? Are revenues high, and is the company growing as fast as they want it to?

If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” then the answer lies in looking at the company’s culture, how things are done, and the work environment. This means your employees are not as productive or creative as they could be, not staying as long, and are not providing great levels of customer satisfaction. Unless you have an extraordinary workforce, or your workplace is known around the globe for being amazing, chances are you have work to do.

This is about empowering you with the courage to go to your senior leadership team and say, “If our organization isn’t exactly where you want it to be on all these levels, then we have an opportunity to improve. We know employee engagement creates an amazing culture and can drive improvement so we have nothing to lose by conducting an employee engagement survey to see where we are.”

To watch the employee engagement webinar, fill out the form below.

how to increase employee engagement

How to Increase Employee Engagement

As part of our Bee School educational series, we recently co-hosted an employee engagement webinar, “If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement,” with former Fortune 500 business executive, best-selling author, and employee engagement expert Jill Christensen. In this employee engagement webinar, Jill shared her four-step strategy to immediately boost employee engagement, why Beekeeper is a thought leader in the employee engagement space, and her passion for giving frontline employees a voice through better internal communication.

Key Takeaways

When it comes to improving employee engagement, actively encouraging frontline employee feedback, adoption of team communication apps by leadership, and building and sustaining company-wide trust are all primary ingredients for better productivity and revenue growth.

  • When employees are engaged, everyone benefits. This includes customers, clients, leaders, shareholders, and the board of directors.
  • Build trust in leadership! Your CEO, not just HR, must own and champion your employee engagement strategy. This is a paradigm shift when it comes to an employee engagement strategy. When organizations approach employee engagement as a team, it shifts the dynamic in employee engagement from being there to give (genuinely motivated, invested) rather than just to get (showing up just for the paycheck), building a mutually beneficial commitment.
  • Disengaged employees offer untapped potential and an opportunity for growth to improve profitability, performance, and productivity. When people trust leadership, they feel an emotional connection to the organization, and this encourages employee engagement and discretionary effort, otherwise known as “going above and beyond.”

Jill Christensen’s Four-Step Employee Engagement Process

  1. Get the right person in every chair. Hiring for a job skills match is a mistake; you must also hire for a values match. Individual values need to be aligned with your organization’s values. When incompetency and toxic attitudes go unchecked, it ripples out to the rest of the team.
  2. Create a line of sight (goal alignment). Employee goals need to be aligned with CEO goals. This demonstrates that what employees are doing every day matters, and strengthens employee connection with your organization, i.e. “we’re all in this together.”
  3. Build a two-way communication culture through platforms for employees to communicate with the rest of the organization—with each other and with management. 80% of employees globally use mobile devices to communicate. That’s why it’s critical to have mobile and desktop apps for them to communicate. Provide opportunities to speak up. Your employees have ideas about how to improve your business, what’s working, and what’s not.
  4. Lift people up! Create a culture of constant and sustained recognition. People want to hear the words, “thank you.” And the best part? It’s free! This can also be leveraged as an opportunity for brainstorming and debriefing after an event or large project.

The bottom line? In order to re-engage your employees, you need to understand and fulfill their basic human needs. Make the commitment to start the conversation about moving beyond traditional approaches to employee engagement with an internal communication solution.

To watch the employee engagement webinar, fill out the form below.

Improve internal communication trends with the Beekeeper employee app

Internal Communication Trends in 2018

This year, we had the privilege of attending CEB/Gartner’s Internal Communications Summit in London, where business leaders across many industries gathered from around the globe to share internal communication trends to pave the future of workplace correspondence. Over the course of two days, high-level delegates convened to take a dive deep into the various ways in which internal communications will technologically evolve starting in 2018.

ceb internal communications summit

Prevalent throughout the conference was the changing attitude towards the strategic importance of internal communication, with a strong focus on providing outcomes instead of output. This consensus mirrors comments made by research scientists Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner in their 2015 MIT Sloan Management Review feature in which they observed, “Most of the productivity increase seen in organizations nowadays originates – directly or indirectly – from digitization and big data analytics. […] the future of internal communication should be determined by the needs of future employees.”

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear to executives that investing in a centralized digital workspace is a core pillar of fostering employee engagement. When the backbone of an organization is rooted in a rich sense of purpose and positive company spirit, a workforce will be far more likely to perform at their peak to execute upon any deliverables at hand.

2018 Trends With the Biggest Potential Long-Term Impact

Many trends were discussed that will help organizations run smoother and more productive operations.

Mass Digital Migration with Mobile Apps

It is reported that 80% of our time on our mobile devices is spent using an app. With this metric in mind, CEB Summit attendees hypothesize an increasingly widespread adoption of mobile workplace tools that give employees instant access to company news, operations tools, workflows, communication channels, media sharing, and beyond.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Programs

With the rise of mobile communication apps for the workplace comes the expectation that messages will be responded to in real time, or at the very least, in a timely manner. While it is up to your company to establish rules of engagement so that employees don’t burn out or rack up overtime while dealing with off-the-clock internal communications, it’s also important to make the digital workplace app as accessible to all employees as possible. For many, this means using whatever mobile phone is in their possession. It is of critical importance, then, to ensure that the digital workplace provider you find can function on a wide variety of devices.

The Importance of Engagement

Throughout the Summit, the critical importance of fostering high levels of workforce engagement came up again and again. Employee engagement leads to rich company culture, a vested commitment to the success of colleagues, and a sense of pride working for a brand that cares about its people. Summit attendees observed that just as managers value the ability to provide timely and productive performance feedback to their teams in real time, more junior employees value the ability to give bottom-up feedback to the company leaders.

The consensus among conference-goers was that feeling heard helps workers remain connected to their colleagues, and that digital workplace platforms allow workers to meaningfully connect with colleagues that they may not interact with otherwise. Hosting digital interconnectedness within in a robust, well-design multimedia forum is a surefire path to employee satisfaction.

Anticipated Budget Trends for 2018

Throughout the event, many budget trend forecasts for 2018 were brought to light. Despite all the noise around what we may or may not be able to expect to see next year, the four anticipated trends below are certainly ones to watch:

anticipated budget increases

Social Media

Strategic social spend is a great way to stay on top of digital marketing trends. Allocating resources to explore the current roster of popular social apps allows companies to constantly put their best creative foot forward. Thinking long and hard about your company’s public persona will help you further define your key verticals and customer cohorts, ensuring that all digital marketing efforts going forward are supported by hard and fast data.

Employee Communications

As mentioned above, the importance of carving out time and resources to perfect employee communications processes was a common and emphatic sentiment we heard throughout our time at the CEB Summit. Apart from budgeting in resources to procure and onboard the tool itself, it is important to assign a core internal stakeholder to all digital workplace management, troubleshooting, integrations, and useage trainings.

Corporate Website

As SEO and SEM technology continues to iterate quite rapidly, spending time and resources to refresh and perfect web copy, meta tags, and backlinks will likely prove to be a worthy arena of spend for most organizations who rely on e-commerce or digital word-of-mouth in any way. Building a strong visual and written corporate identity will encourage both employees and customers to feel proud of their association with your brand.

Corporate Intranet

Whereas digital experience platforms will become an increasingly important fixture for ensuring employee engagement, maintaining a traditional CMS or intranet hub will continue to be a tried and true method to host more static company assets.

As Maya Angelou noted, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This sentiment echoed throughout all the remarks made by our esteemed colleagues about the communities and cultures they aim to foster within their organizations. We walked away from the Summit feeling more optimistic than ever about the future of internal communications.

At every turn, attendees across the board made it clear that companies must start thinking about how they can expand company correspondence programs and technologies to encourage productivity, community, and mutual respect among their entire workforce population. Budgeting resources and time to onboard new digital tools and analytics will help ensure that employees feel a fundamental connection to the company mission, and to each other.

Since you’re interested in internal communication, download our white paper to learn how to craft a successful internal communication strategy.

Grow employee engagement and operations with the Beekeeper employee engagement platform

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