Forbes Coaches Council Member

Experts Advise on Employee Engagement Trends

CEO Panel Event

The house was packed on February 4th during a rapid fire discussion on why more companies don’t view employee engagement as a strategic initiative. Despite the research (not to mention common sense) showing that engaged employees provide higher service, which leads to higher customer satisfaction results in increased sales and causes high profit and ultimately higher returns for shareholders, it’s still difficult subject matter for companies to implement.

The three rockstar CEOs who joined me on stage are experts on employee engagement. David Niu, CEO, TINYpulse, Henry Albrecht, CEO, Limeade and Mike Metzger, CEO, PayScale shared their insight, wisdom and experience on what causes employee engagement as well as where companies fail.

One of my biggest takeaways was that companies are mistaking expense for effort. A lot of what leads to employee engagement is cheap, but companies don’t or won’t make the effort. #HugeMistake. Transparency is key. The more employees perceive leaders to be transparent, the more engagement increases and the more committed they are to the work.

What companies get it? Mike named Apptio, Chef, Amazon (yes, Amazon) Tableau and Tune as companies that walk the talk. You might not like the talk, but when you go to work at a company like Amazon, the expectations are very transparent and you’d be hard-pressed to be surprised.  Porch and Microsoft were also mentioned – Porch being a company that’s successfully weathering the storm and Microsoft being a company that’s re-inventing everything about its culture.

Here are a few summary points:

DAVID – The world and competition is changing so rapidly now so why do we still do employee surveys once a year? There’s no way a company gets their arms around their finances, accounting, inventory, marketing, etc. once a year? So it makes no sense to do that with your people – your most important and most expensive resource.

HENRY – Engagement is the meat of the “great company sandwich.”  The bread on one side is intentional culture and the bread on the other side is employee well-being.

MIKE – Engagement is a measure of team member commitment and willingness to contribute their discretionary IP. It is all the choices a company makes for the team that impacts engagement and pay is one of the bigger factors.

Thanks to our media sponsor Ryan Swanson Law! We will have some short videos to show you soon. (Check out these from the last forum). Until then, check out the Tweet-lights below:

@davidniu Getting ready for @ceopov event with @payscale @limeade ceos #wtcseattle

@Limeade “Employee engagement is the ingredient that holds great companies together.” – Henry #WTCSeattle

‘It’s important to surprise & delight internally as well as with external customers.’ – @davidniu @tinypulse #wtcseattle

‘You have to create culture where people feel ownership for outcomes & drive themselves to do great work’ – @payscale #wtcseattle

‘80% of underpaid employees who are told why are very happy in their jobs. It’s more about culture & transparency.’ @payscale #wtcseattle

“The office ping pong table has nothing to do with #purpose.” Henry Albrecht @Limeade ON #EmployeeEngagement #WTCseattle #WTCSECEO

Happy to learn from 3 great #Seattle #CEOs today at #CEOpov panel! #WTCSECEO #WTCseattle @ceopov

“Diversity is where innovation comes from — where all good things come from.” @Limeade @CEOpov #WTCSeattle

#Diversity in workforce = #innovation.” Henry Albrecht @Limeade #wtcseattle #WTCSECEO

‘95% of female CEO’s have sports in their background. Experience being competitive & collaborative teams is a key.’ – @Limeade #wtcseattle

“I’m a huge believer in the power & creativity of millennials” –PayScale CEO #WTCseattle

RT @BrettGreene ‘I see #millennials as a great source of innovation when you tap into their passion.’ – @limeade #wtcseattle

“Is there a strong alignment with the company #goals and the #employee‘s goals?” Mike Metzger, #CEO, @payscale. #WTCSeattle #WTCSECEO

#Leaders should think of physical health, mental health, etc. as all related to work life.” Henry Albrecht, @Limeade #WTCSeattle

“One of the most haunting feelings is an employee saying, ‘here’s my two-week notice.'” @davidniu @TINYpulse #WTCSeattle

Excited to be at the first @CEOpov breakfast of the year! @Limeade @TINYpulse @payscale #WTCSeattle

There are as many ways to lead as there are #leaders. #wtcseattle

There’s a big discrepancy in what employers think their employees want. #employeeengagement #wtcseattle #ceopov #ceoforum #wtcseceo

@Limeade @TINYpulse @payscale Our CEOs are ready to go! #WTCSeattle #CEOpov

Beautiful morning at #WTCseattle w @davidniu & @Limeade &@payscale CEOs.

The moral of the story? Transparency matters! #WTCSeattle #WTCSECEO #CEOpov

#EmployeeEngagement is more effort than expensive.” Mike Metzger, #CEO, @payscale. #WTCSeattle #WTCSECEO

Reminder: Culture is NOT your ping pong table #WTCSECEO #WTCSeattle #CEOpov

“The office ping pong table has nothing to do with #purpose.” Henry Albrecht @Limeade ON #EmployeeEngagement #WTCseattle #WTCSECEO

There are free #EmployeeEngagement tools to implement, too, i.e. #transparency – a common theme on today’s #CEOpanel. #WTCSECEO #WTCseattle

CEO’s #1 job is to hire the right people. We hire, fire and live by our values says @TINYpulse CEO. We couldn’t agree more! #WTCSECEO

The Millennial generation is impressive. If u want to succeed in the tight labor market, you have to care about employee wellness #wtcseceo

Who does it right? @PorchDotCom & @AlaskaAir #CEOpov friends, both mentioned on #EmployeeEngagement #CEOpanel today. #WTCSECEO #WTCseattle

“The ‘middle management’ level is where #employeeengagement is most difficult but most important.” Henry Albrecht @Limeade #WTCSECEO

2016 trends-companies who take interest in the wellbeing of their employees are thriving. @limeade CEO Henry A #wtcseceo

“You don’t quit your #job, you quit your #boss@davidniu @tinypulse #WTCSeattle #WTCSECEO

“In terms of employee happiness, I look for the ‘characteristics’ that define it.” #wtcseceo#wtcseattlw@TINYpulse CEO @davidniu

@davidniu, #CEO of @tinypulse, one thing in #leadership is continuous learning. #wtcseattle #wtcseceo


Find more CEO advice in my book “From the CEO’s Perspective” where I interview 20 top CEOs on how they are developing leaders in today’s world.

Photo credits to Jerry and Lois Photography

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