1. Key employee engagement strategies for 2018

    February 27, 2018 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Floship

    For any business to be successful, it must have three things: a robust overall strategy, exceptional leaders, and engaged employees. This society has moved from an economy driven by the agricultural and manufacturing industries to a service oriented, personally connected economy.

    One hundred years ago, employees were tasked with manual labor and had no vested interest in the business that employed them.

    In 2018, with high paying jobs hard to come by, it is essential for employers and leaders to engage their employees and make them feel as if they are an integral part of the business.

    How can they do that? In this article, we’re going to lay out the what, why, and how of employee engagement.


    Employee Engagement Most Recent Data

    In 2017, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report revealed that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs – meaning that they are emotionally invested in committing their time, talent, and energy to adding value to their team and advancing the organization’s initiatives.

    This means that the majority of employees show low overall engagement. Workplace productivity was low and employees and organizations are not keeping up with workplace demands fast enough.

    More Gallup research shows that employee disengagement costs the United States upwards of $550 billion a year in lost productivity. As employee engagement strategies become more commonplace, there is an amazing opportunity for companies that learn to master the art of engagement.

    Jacob Shriar, in a piece on OfficeVibe, tells us that

      • Disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually.
      • Highly engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.
      • Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
      • Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.
      • Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%.
      • Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged.

    These statistics are just the beginning of why employee engagement is so important.

    Why Is Employee Engagement So Important?


    The term “engagement” has been used so often and in so many different situations that it’s become hard to define. Many people think it means happiness or satisfaction, but it’s much more than that.

    According to Gallup, who has been collecting and measuring employee engagement data for nearly 20 years: “Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces.”

    Imagine if every employee was passionate about seeing the company and its customers succeed. The only true way to ensure that your customers are well taken care of is by taking care of your employees. This is known as the service-profit chain, a concept first introduced by Harvard Business Review in 1998. It’s still as relevant today as it was then.

    Profit and growth are stimulated primarily by customer loyalty. Loyalty is a direct result of customer satisfaction. Satisfaction is largely influenced by the value of services provided to customers. Value is created by satisfied, loyal, and productive employees. Employee satisfaction, in turn, results primarily from high-quality support services and policies that enable employees to deliver results to customers.

    The service-profit chain is the flow from the culture you create to the profits you generate and every step in between. The key is to start internally. When you create an environment where employees are happy, productive, autonomous, and passionate about what they do, they’ll provide better service to your customers.

    That amazing service will create many loyal customers, leading to sustainable growth and profits. That’s why it’s important for every leader in an organization to understand the service-profit chain and how each step impacts the other.

    Key Employee Engagement Strategies


    Organizations need to pay attention to specific priorities to engage employees. Employees are more likely to become truly engaged and involved in their work if your workplace provides these factors.

    Employee engagement must be a business strategy that focuses on finding engaged employees, then keeping the employee engaged throughout the whole employment relationship. Employee engagement must focus on business results. Employees are most engaged when they are accountable, and can see and measure the outcomes of their performance.

    Employee engagement occurs when the goals of the business are aligned with the employee’s goals and how the employee spends his or her time.

    The glue that holds the strategic objectives of the employee and the business together is frequent, effective communication that reaches and informs the employee at the level and practice of his or her job.

    Engaged employees have the information that they need to understand exactly and precisely how what they do at work every day affects the company’s business goals and priorities. (These goals and measurements relate to the Human Resources department, but every department should have a set of metrics.)

    Employee engagement exists when organizations are committed to management and leadership development in performance development plans that are performance-driven and provide clear succession plans.

    When businesses actively pursue employee engagement through these factors, employee engagement soars to a ratio of 9:1 employees from 2:1 employees with concurrent improvements in the business success.

    Employee Engagement Examples

    There are of course many ways to show your employees they are valued, and to keep them focused and engaged on company success. According to Forbes, there are certain items in the benefit package that will help in creating employee engagement:

        • Health Insurance
        • Company Parties (social engagement)
        • Gifts (new babies, appreciation luncheons)

    Employees go home to different roles–parent, caregiver to a loved one, a church or civic leader, spouse, bandmate, freelancer, artist, neighbor–and the people they are closest to impact their lives and perspectives about work in meaningful ways. Acknowledging those relationships and showing they are a priority will increase employee engagement.

    How to Improve Employee Engagement


    In a recent article in Forbes, Brent Gleeson, a former navy seal and successful businessman, gives solid advice on ways to improve employee engagement.

    When managers are engaged, their team members can confidently state the following:

        • I know what is expected of me and my work quality.
        • I have the resources and training to thrive in my role.
        • I have the opportunity to do what I do best – every day.
        • I frequently receive recognition, praise and constructive criticism.
        • I trust my manager and believe they have my best interests in mind.
        • My voice is heard and valued.
        • I clearly understand the mission and purpose and how I contribute to each.
        • I have opportunities to learn and grow both personally and professionally.

    The steps for improving engagement aren’t complex, they simply must be prioritized. This means engagement must be a core function of the manager’s role. The following steps can help the manager to accomplish this.

    Step 1 – Put Everyone in the Right Role
    Again, get the right people on the bus and make sure they are in the right roles. This means that all talent acquisition and retention strategies have to be aligned with meeting company goals.

    Step 2 – Give them the Training
    No manager or leader can expect to build a culture of trust and accountability — and much less improve engagement —without setting the team up for success. This means providing the proper training and development while removing obstacles.

    Step 3 – Task Meaningful Work
    Engaged employees are doing meaningful work and have a clear understanding of how they contribute to the company’s mission, purpose and strategic objectives. Again, this is why they first have to be placed in the right role. I’ve made the mistake of hiring great talent just to get them in the door – but didn’t have a clear career path or role for them. If you don’t sort those details out quickly, they will leave.

    Step 4 – Check in Often
    The days of simply relying on mid-year reviews for providing feedback are long gone. Today’s workforce craves regular feedback — which of course leads to faster course correction and reduces waste. Use both formal and informal check-in strategies — and use them every week.

    Step 5 – Frequently Discuss Engagement
    Successful managers are transparent in their approach to improving engagement — they talk about it with their teams all the time. They hold “state of engagement” meetings and “engage” everyone in the discussion — and solutions.

    Again, these principles are not complex, but must be prioritized. Companies that get this right will drive greater financial returns, surpass their competitors, and easily climb to the top of “the best places to work” lists.

    Are Your Employees Engaged?
    Employee engagement is critical to the success of any business. When a business has engaged and invested employees, it is in their best interest to protect the productivity and profitability of the business, and the image the business has in the community. Engagement also results in employee retention, which saves the business money in turnover and training. There is no downside to getting your employees engaged and invested in your business.

  2. A car dealership that helps other organisations run better

    February 25, 2018 by ahmed


    Originally posted on Blogrige by Christine Schaefer

    How did a car dealership in New Mexico earn America’s most prestigious award for business excellence? The last time we interviewed Lee Butler of Don Chalmers Ford (DCF), he described the company’s methods for ensuring ethical behavior, among other exceptional practices that helped the small business earn the Baldrige Award in 2016. DCF continues today to demonstrate the commitment of its founder, Don Chalmer, to “customers, quality, and community.” Beyond its business of selling cars, the national role model helps organizations in other states and other sectors improve and excel, too. To that end, at the Baldrige Program’s annual Quest for Excellence® conference in April, Butler will lead the session “Driving Forward with Systematic Leadership.” In a recent exchange (captured below), Butler described his upcoming presentation and his perspective on the Baldrige framework.

    Please briefly describe what attendees will learn at your conference session.

    We will focus on sharing our journey to performance excellence. This will include sharing our systematic approach to leadership while building a truck in the process to make it more fun. Attendees will learn the importance of persistence and [DCF’s] slow and steady approach.

    What are some examples of how you’ve seen organizations (or your own Baldrige Award-winning organization) benefit from this concept?

    We have benefited due to the systems perspective of our business and the processes that support those systems. We lost our owner Don Chalmers to cancer on Easter of 2014; in 2016, we won the Baldrige Award. This [demonstrates] the value of being systems-focused as an organization so that when someone like Don is no longer with us, the vision, values, and systems are in place so that the dealership is sustainable through mature systems [that are] not people-dependent.

    What are your top tips for introducing or sustaining use of the Baldrige Excellence Framework (including the Criteria for Performance Excellence) to promote an organization’s success?

    1. Get leadership commitment. If you are doing a Baldrige assessment for the award and that’s all your organization’s leadership wants, two things will happen: (1) you won’t make improvement a core approach to your business, and (2) you won’t win the award.
    2. Start with documenting a critical business system per Criteria category each year. Develop the key results to ensure that the system is meeting its intended purpose. I would start with the leadership system from category 1, and then document five more systems, like strategic planning, customer engagement, performance measurement, workforce engagement, and work process improvement. Then I’d do six more the next year. After five years, you should have most of your critical business systems documented, with the corresponding results.
    3. Get frontline employees involved early in the process. I would label it “our business model for performance excellence” and “the way we do business.” I would not label it “Baldrige.” That makes it seem like something new; yet you’re really just documenting what you already do and improving it.

    What is your “elevator pitch” about the Baldrige framework and/or assessment approach? In other words, what do you say to a group of senior leaders who are unfamiliar with the Baldrige framework if you have just a few minutes to tell them something about it?

    I say, “I’m sure you would NOT want to improve employee satisfaction, customers satisfaction, and your bottom line. I’m guessing you are accomplishing all of your goals, and all employees are meeting theirs.”

    “But if they are not, wouldn’t you want to have the approach to get better? Have I got a gift for you: the Baldrige Excellence Framework. We use it, and we have obtained benchmarks levels of customer and employee satisfaction.”

    Similarly, what do you say to business students about the Baldrige framework?

    If you have learned a lot of great theories on how to manage a business, and if you would like a real tool to help make your career soar and make you more marketable on your resume, become a Baldrige examiner. This will provide you master’s degree-level experience that will teach you more than any business book can.

    When did you first hear about the Baldrige framework?

    In 1993 while [I was working] at Honeywell, the corporation decided to use the Baldrige Criteria to help its operating units become more effective. We wrote our first Baldrige Award application that year and then applied at the state level through Quality New Mexico [a state-level, Baldrige-based award program. I’ve never looked back.

    Are there ways you’ve applied in your personal life what you’ve learned from using the Baldrige framework in your work?

    This learning makes you think differently and realize how many opportunities there are to develop approaches to improve stakeholder satisfaction and engagement. When I interact with companies and businesses in my life beyond DCF, I have to be careful—for example, when I get bad service as a customer—not to say, “Haven’t you read the Baldrige Criteria?”

    Also, I did try to develop a family mission statement once and failed miserably.

    As a Baldrige Award recipient committed to sharing best practices with others, your organization gets inquiries from others striving for improvement. Would you please tell us about some of those?

    We have had people from Chicago, New Zealand, Texas, and Arizona visit us to hear our story. We also received a call from a water utility in Virginia who is using the Baldrige framework, and we are assisting them on their journey through our consulting branch.

  3. BPIR Newsletter: Best Practice Report: Training for the Arts and Culture Sector

    by ahmed



    Best Practice Report: Training for the Arts and Culture Sector

    This report outlines the best practice research undertaken by BPIR.com in the area of training for the arts and culture sector. The best practices have been compiled under seven main headings. This layout is designed to enable you to scan subjects that are of interest to you and your organisation, quickly assess their importance, and download relevant information for further study.

    Featured Events

    Latest news

    • The challenges facing Tonga after Cyclone Gita and how business excellence can help…. read more
    • The Xerox Story – A Past Employee’s Perspective….read more
    • Winners of Abu Dhabi excellence awards honoured….read more
    • Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Key Challenges….read more
    • Increasing the uptake of benchmarking in the public sector….read more
    • Dubai We Learn book launch – 13 benchmarking success stories….read more
    • Automobiles, Blind Spots, and Organizational Strategy….read more


    Impact of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence at a US university

    Since winning the 2001 Baldrige Award the University of Wisconsin-Stout continued to use the Baldrige Excellence Framework. In recent years the university: 1) started an informal Baldrige team with membership open to the entire campus. The team met several times a year to discuss ways in which they were following the Baldrige Criteria and addressed improvement opportunities. 2) Teams were sent to Baldrige professional development offerings, to Baldrige regional conferences and occasionally to the Quest for Excellence® Conference. 3) a Baldrige-based approach was used to meet regional accreditation requirements through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 4) the Baldrige framework helped the university to focus on the small number of metrics that were most important to success and that aligned with the strategic plan. The university had a comprehensive review in March 2016 and the review team leader said it was the best portfolio he had ever seen.

    Do you know that in BPIR.com there are more than..

    5200 Best Practice case studies, 150 Best practice video clips, and 85 self-assessments


    Brand Management at a national infocomm organisation

    To fully align its internal and external brands and to attract top tech talent, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), the national infocomm planner, launched a campaign to change the public perception of its role as purely a regulatory one. The programme invited potential hires to “Join us in building the world’s first smart nation.” IDA created tiered campaigns on LinkedIn, and became one of Singapore’s first adopters of Glassdoor, a website where employees and former employees reviewed companies. IDA reached over 200,000 Facebook users with its Smart Agents of Change app, that helped potential candidates understand the range of roles available. A monthly newsletter was produced for candidates and new hires, and IDA enhanced its on-boarding processes. As a result, IDA’s ranking on the Singapore Government-Linked Employer of Choice ranking climbed 10 places, it was ranked as one of the most attractive employers in a graduate survey, and was named Joint Winner of the 2016 UK HR Excellence Award for Best HR Strategy Overseas.


    Finding Best Practice Reports in BPIR.com

    Did you know that a free best practice report is published on the BPIR every month? To see how to access these reports watch this clip. Over 60 Best Practice Reports, provide case studies and innovative ideas that will help you stay up-to-date concerning the latest international business trends and practices..


  4. South African Quality Institutes latest news

    by ahmed

    South African Quality Institute (SAQI) http://www.saqi.co.za is the national body that co-ordinates the Quality effort in South Africa. Their monthly newsletter is an excellent source of information to keep up with the latest quality issues in South Africa.


    • Getting to grips…whith software management, by Dr Alastair Walker
    • ISO 9001:2015 certification and Quality are not always the same thing, by Jacques Snyders
    • Managing Quality Quality in Project Management, By Paul Harding
    • Feedback from National Quality Week, By SAQI staff
    • Evolved Models of Combined Assurance Bloster Organisational Risk Management, By Terrance M. Booysen
    • Peer presure: Make it positive

    Click here to download this newsletter.








  5. The challenges facing Tonga after Cyclone Gita and how business excellence can help

    February 21, 2018 by ahmed
    Beautiful Tonga comprising of 169 islands, 36 inhabited, facing major hardship

    Beautiful Tonga comprising of 169 islands, 36 inhabited, facing major hardship

    February 21, 2018. Posted by Dr Robin Mann, Head of the Centre for Organisational Excellence (COER) and BPIR.com Limited, New Zealand.

    I was lucky. I managed to get the last flight and seat out of Tonga before Cyclone Gita arrived. I was supposed to leave Tonga on the evening of the 13th February but when I arrived at my hosts, the Public Service Commission on the 12th, all the staff were securing the building and planning to depart home as soon as possible – a state of emergency had been declared. I was advised to leave Tonga and transport was arranged to the airport. The journey, normally a 30 minute drive, took one and half hours due to the long queue of cars as families were purchasing gas supplies with power lines expected to be downed. On arrival at the airport I was informed by Air New Zealand that the flight was over booked and I should go back to my hotel. However, I waited in case some passengers did not turn up, luckily this was the case and I managed to purchase the last seat out.


    With the arrival of Cyclone Gita many Tongan dreams and hopes were severely tested as homes and livelihoods were damaged or destroyed. The category four storm was the strongest to hit the Islands since modern records began 60 years ago. NASA said the estimated sustained winds from the storm reached 230kmh, gusting to 278kmh. Related deaths to the disaster have been recorded as two but could have been many more. Ten days on major problems exist with thousands of homes severely damaged and difficulty in providing water and power to all areas. To compound matters there is a threat of a Dengue fever outbreak with 53 cases prior to the disaster.


    Destruction of Parliament House, 1000s of homes damaged

    Destruction of Parliament House, 1000s of homes damaged


    I arrived in Tonga on Wednesday 7th February on an assignment to assist the Public Service Commission (PSC) develop a strategy for excellence for the public sector. Dr Lia Maka, CEO, of PSC and her staff stressed the need for change and the desire to develop a public service culture whose “minimum standard is excellence”. We talked about the approaches of other countries to embed excellence within the fabric of government and the economy. I shared my experience of working in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which have made dramatic strides forward in short periods of time. The common thread between these countries has been a strong and stable leadership with a clear vision to become the best that they can be. This has been backed up by the use of capability building through business excellence models and learning from best practices. Singapore on most international measures is now in the top 10 in the world and often No. 1., for example, in School Education1 and Government Effectiveness2. The UAE on most international measures is in the top 30 but climbing quickly with high ratings already in a number of areas such as No.1 for Transport Infrastructure3 and No.2 in Country Capacity to Attract Talent4.

    Together we set about working on a business excellence strategy for Tonga. We decided on a three-year strategy of capability building prior to business excellence awards being introduced. The proposed strategy consists of annual business excellence self-assessments facilitated by PSC to enable public sector agencies to identify their strengths and opportunities for improvement, an annual business excellence conference, a best practice competition at which each public sector agency shares between one to three good to best practices, two best practice sharing days per year between public sector agencies for each category of excellence, and 10 targeted benchmarking projects per year to address areas of major concern that would bring large rewards once the identified best practices were implemented. All activities would be designed to maximise the involvement of public sector staff from the various agencies so that a spirit of improvement and transformation would be fostered as wide as possible.

    An essential element of the strategy is that each agency take responsibility for its own excellence journey and a helping hand is provided when needed. I advised against introducing a business excellence award for at least 3 to 4 years. Administering a business excellence award requires substantial resource and for organisations that are just beginning an excellence journey the award criteria and assessment methods would be too daunting. With annual self-assessments conducted across all public sector agencies it will be possible to track their performance and determine the average level of excellence for Tonga’s public sector. This will provide a base-line for moving forward year on year.


    Services being considered for Tonga’s public sector

    Services being considered for Tonga’s public sector


    Tonga ranks around 100 on most international measures with an average GDP per capita of US$4,160 which means many Tongans seek employment overseas. Indeed, approximately 100,000 people live in Tonga whilst a similar amount live in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Now, as a result of Cyclone Gita the challenges are even greater but Tongans are strong, determined people – look no further than Pita Taufatofua who has competed at both the Summer Olympics (Taekwando) and Winter Olympics (Cross country skiing). Without snow in Tonga, Pita trained by strapping planks of wood to his feet and sliding across a beach or using roller skis. Discussing the cyclone, in an interview with Newshub, Pita said “We’ve been rebuilding for a thousand years, we’ve had cyclones come before. What hasn’t been affected is the heart of the people. Buildings we can repair but the core values and the core strengths of the Tongan people, no cyclone can come through and affect them. That hasn’t been touched.


    Pita Taufatofua practicing on skates to Olympic flag bearer and cross-country skiing.

    Pita Taufatofua practicing on skates to Olympic flag bearer and cross-country skiing.

    There is a cause for optimism. Prior to leaving Tonga I was invited with PSC to discuss the proposed strategy with the Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Semisi Lafu Kioa Sika said he approves of the strategy and will be delighted to support its presentation to the CEOs of the public sector agencies. The Hon Dr Tevita Tu’I Uata, Minister for Commerce, Consumer, Trade, Innovation and Labour, who has had previous experience of business excellence when working for Boeing in the United States, was most enthusiastic. Dr Tevita had been part of the team that helped Boeing win the United States business excellence award – the Malcolm Baldrige Award. He said that the pursuit of excellence using business excellence models will be a Game-changer for Tonga.


    A happy team after our visit to the Cabinet. Dr Lia Maka, CEO, PSC (right), Dr Robin Mann, COER, Charlotte M. Vuki, PSC, and Moleni Ika, PSC.

    A happy team after our visit to the Cabinet. Dr Lia Maka, CEO, PSC (right), Dr Robin Mann, COER, Charlotte M. Vuki, PSC, and Moleni Ika, PSC.


    The focus on Tonga right now is the clean-up and repairing homes and livelihoods. This is the first step. The strategy for excellence in Tonga’s public service will be launched formally in June/July this year.

    To help Tonga overcome this crisis, please click on a link to make a donation. The Tonga National Emergency Management Office manages donations to the disaster from most charities and ensures money is spent wisely. Remember, every little bit helps, thank you. face

    Adventist Development Relief Organisation (ADRA) New Zealand
    Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
    Christian World Service
    Habitat for Humanity Emergency Disaster Appeal for Cyclone Gita
    Oxfam New Zealand
    Rotary New Zealand
    Redcross New Zealand
    Tearfund New Zealand Cyclone Gita Appeal
    Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA)

    1. OECD (2016), PISA 2015 Results (Volume I): Excellence and Equity in Education. OECD Publishing. Paris
    2. World Bank (2016). The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI) project. World Bank. Washington, DC
    3 & 4. Schwab, K and Sala-i-Martin, X. (2017). The Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017. World Economic Forum. Geneva