I was invited to speak with a networking group of HR managers on the topic of improving employee engagement in their organizations. I expected to have a conversation about best practices, so I prepared accordingly. I quickly realized that this group already understood the best practices, but they weren’t effective in launching their initiatives.
These HR managers:
- Had great idea for programs to engage front-line employees.
- Needed to influence a leader to support them in executing their plans.
- Presented their leaders with slick PowerPoints and spreadsheets.
- Were met with responses such as
- “Can’t you just send an email or mention this at an all company meeting”?
- “This isn’t really something that I’m willing to allocate money or resources for.”
While they needed the support of leaders to launch their programs, I suggested that there’s a flip side. Leaders can’t deploy initiatives without the help of everyone in the company, including them, and I encouraged them to appeal to that co-dependency. By understanding what their leaders care about most, they could make an explicit connection between their programs and the potential impact on what their leaders care about.
I recommended that they skip the charts and slides and create an emotional connection by demonstrating their commitment to help that leader reach their goals. What would you have suggested?