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Sep 25, 2017  |  We’ve all heard it in our companies: “Everyone’s in Sales!”

And if you haven’t, you probably weren’t listening during the Sales section of the company Town Hall meeting… come on, we’ve all been guilty of that!

I recently heard it again and asked myself why we say this in companies?  My thought is that we want alignment from all employees in the organization to ensure that they understand the value proposition of the company so they can sell it easily as an elevator pitch when you “meet friends and family over the weekend” or whenever.

And most people’s eyes roll when they hear it…

But I like it.

Why wouldn’t you?!  Having your employees as an extension of your brand that are super passionate about the success of the company is a dream as an HR professional, business executive, or people leader. It’s what I hope to build at WorkTango.

I’ve worked in companies that have had this in spades. Heck, I was one of those that brought up my company, sold its services and sold it as an employer ALL the time (and was clearly reminded by close friends how annoying it was and they knew what was coming when someone new asked us “what we did for work”).

But you don’t feel that passionate about selling a product when you’re not a salesperson unless you are truly ENGAGED in the organization.

Now, definitions of engagement aside (someone usually comments on how the term employee engagement makes their head hurt), engaged employees go our of their way to support the company by selling its services, offering unmatched customer service, finding great talent, wearing multiple hats when the going gets tough, promote the mission and purpose…  and stay even though they’re getting head-hunted to make 25% more than what they are making today.

When you build an employee experience that is fantastic, you don’t only get “everyone in sales,” you get much more.  Read Jacob Morgan’s recent HBR article if you still need convincing on why engaged employees is important and how it impacts business success beyond sales.

So why don’t companies start with an engagement strategy? “For every dollar spent on employee feedback, companies spend hundreds of dollars on customer feedback,” said Troy Stevenson, former vice president of customer loyalty at eBay. Ask your company how much you spend on systems and technology for customers versus employees for a real gut-check.

Who owns employee engagement, anyways?

A common debate is the question of who ‘owns’ employee engagement and the employee experience.  I’d argue that HR is the front-runner today, but it should be the executive team, the leadership team, each employee in the organization… Everyone SHOULD be in employee engagement.

On that note, a very intriguing topic that has caught my attention is the concept of ISO Certification for Enterprise Employee Engagement.

And I like this idea even more.

Which is why my passion for this concept of engagement being an enterprise-wide discussion really sparked my interest in learning more.

ISO has recently approved the creation of formal standards for engagement. In fact, it’s a fascinating read if you want to learn more from this EBook on ISO Engagement Standards and Implications written by the Enterprise Engagenment Alliance (EEA).

So what if there’s ISO for engagement?

As someone who leads a technology company in the engagement and HR space, almost no barrier to entry into the engagement field exists because organizations that utilize these services have no objective way to evaluate the claims made by solution providers.

I always joke that I would get lost at SHRM and see seven providers of pet insurance companies claiming they drive employee engagement… you get the picture.

“The arrival of ISO 10018 People Competency and Involvement standards from the International Organization for Standardization has the potential to shake up the marketplace by providing organizations with a more scientific way of developing engagement strategies and identifying solution providers capable of offering verifiable solutions.” as written by the EEA in this article.

Why this matters? If Standards like these are in place, this makes practices for engagement more of a Enterprise-wide initiative more than throwing it to HR. If your company has ever gone through ISO 9000 or ISO 27001 (which I have) it’s a huge initiative impacting all parts of the business.

And really think about that for a second. Companies get these certifications to be trusted by customers and partners… what about employees? Will employee choose to prefer companies with a certification?

So what’s next?

ISO isn’t going to shake up the world tomorrow, but is employee engagement sitting in HR today only? Or is your company making strides and discussing it at executive level meetings, or board conversations and strategizing accordingly?

It should be an enterprise and executive conversation. It’s good for business, and I see many more companies today making engagement levels a KPI for the company, and for leaders in organizations (some going as far to have engagement impact variable compensation).

What’s your company doing when it involves you commitment to engagement for the whole organization?