A Fixed Mindset Is Killing Employee Engagement • MJVacanti - Inspire
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A Fixed Mindset Is Killing Employee Engagement

A Fixed Mindset Is Killing Employee Engagement

You must have a plan to innovate. People are your brand and you need to engage them. From talent acquisition and on-boarding, through the employee journey, the fixed mindset of HR programs is blocking solutions to this growing problem.

Challenge recruiting patterns and methods, test new learning programs and discard legacy traditions that cripple progress.

Know where the budgets are coming from, re-purpose current spend and create a value proposition to move people and your business forward. ‘Speed-to-hire’ is a real value proposition. Turnover and the cost of productivity loss is a real value proposition. Employee engagement is a huge value proposition. Learning programs might be one of the largest wastes of money right now in business. The way people want to learn, what they learn and how they consume information has drastically changed.

Simply look at the way advertising used to work and how incredibly it has changed. Back in the 90s, when I was doing my advertising work, companies used to control the brand message. There were just a few outlets. The advertising strategy and spend controlled all the brand messaging, the target audience and what information was consumed by what demographic.

Your employees are the company brand.

Having people engaged in corporate messaging is so critical right now and very little is being done to improve their engagement. Every one of you, every one of your employees is the company brand. They have a voice, a platform and instantaneous access. The avenues for them to bring the company message forward is greater than the advertising agency’s ability of the past. Everyone, all the time, can create and share information on social media platforms. In real time, often without thought and concern, a personal comment will become a brand message. Employees are doing it whether we ask them to do it or ask them not to do it – they’re doing it!

In many cases it does not matter if you give them specific talking points, they’re going to bring their own message and perhaps a spin on the message created and fed to them. With this constant, immediate and far reaching platform, creating that ‘believership’ is absolutely critical.

How do you want to do that? How do you create ‘believership’ and positive engagement? Here is an idea:

“If you let people learn what they are interested in, and not myopically force-feed what you want them to regurgitate, they will embrace the desired messaging and bring their enlightenment and positivism to it, creating even more valuable content.

My resentment for the training I’ve had in my career is that they all assumed and tried to force me to be the same as everybody else. The whole training program was based on me being like everybody else. Premised on the lowest common denominator so it is universally applicable, trains everybody to be mediocre, generic and uninspired. Zero value.

New methodologies and training can have value – operational excellence is built on repeat-ability and optimization, so systems and process learning is important, yet growth and innovation are antithesis to operational excellence. You cannot create transformation by staying the same.

I understand the value of the processes and the foundation of learning, but it didn’t help me become the best me. People want to learn what they want to learn. and If somebody has a passion for ancient art, or crafts, or wellness, supporting them to pursue their passion will be inspiring – they’re going to be happy. They’ll work effectively in this mindset and they are going to be a more engaged, productive employee.

If we continue to restrict learning opportunities, we will continue the accelerating trend of disengagement. The old mandate of “here is what you need to know” and “we’re all going to learn and act the same,” is surprisingly common – still – today. That thinking needs to die. That mindset of leadership must evolve, and fast.

Gallop reports 70 percent of employees are disengaged, yet the money companies spend on training is primarily the same as it was a decade ago – even 5 years ago, when the Gallop numbers showed less than 50 percent measured disengagement. That’s what the studies show. It will not improve by staying the course, rigidly applying the status quo. Training and learning opportunities need to transform – not evolve – transform, for employee engagement to improve. This requires a shift in mindset and action. First, stop doing what doing now. You’re burning assets, resources and people.

Experiment. Innovate.

Hopefully this sparks a fire, inspiring you to focus on an area where we can do so much better. The great thing is, we can simply and affordably turn on a pilot program. Pick an area, a department, a subset of the corporation and test it. Take that learning piece and let them go do what they want with it. Then monitor, get feedback from them and see how they do. You’re going to see positive change.

Experiment with other tired and stale processes that are actively transforming at a rapid pace in the greater market outside your known bubble. How about your recruiting process.? Doesn’t take much imagination or research to realize this is a shifting landscape. Start a simple test program – for a specific type of role, blow up your past notions and experiment with an entirely new method.

Get out of the habit of accepting the things that were handed to you if it does not work or does not fit your beliefs. Say no to the fixed mindset and create. Resist the numbing adherence to what you’ve been given and experiment with new ideas and solutions. What does that look like? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Start small, but start!

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