The old methods of dealing with people in companies have failed. A “rebellious” approach from practice is now to be the instruction manual for creating a corporate culture that produces highly engaged employees.
But what does all this have to do with “rebellion”? According to entrepreneur Glenn Elliott and HR director Debra Corey: A lot! To show how it can be done differently, they wrote the #1 Amazon buyer in the HR ‘Build it! The Rebel Playbook for Worldclass Employee Engagement‘1. Only by breaking with entrenched roles and practices in companies and breaking new ground can working conditions be created that truly inspire and involve people. From more than 10 years of consulting experience with more than 1,000 customers, they have developed a model that they call ‘Engagement Bridge™’ and present in their book.
In times of disruptive and innovative companies, the ‘status quo’ of personnel management does not help us any further
As has become apparent in recent years, without adaptable and agile structures and enthusiastic employees, even traditional industries are increasingly being ousted by innovative and disruptive companies. For this reason, many companies are trying to make themselves more attractive to skilled workers with offers such as yoga and healthy smoothies, playful office equipment and benefits in the “War for Talent”. That’s quite nice, but according to the authors Elliott and Corey it’s by far not enough to keep employee engagement high in the long run. The fact that inspired and motivated employees are also more productive and go the extra mile to make their company successful is not really a new insight.2
They [these companies] generate twice the stock market returns and have half the employee turnover. They innovate more, deliver better customer service and are more productive. They outperform their peers and disrupt markets.”Elliott & Corey unter http://www.rebelplaybook.com/
After all, we all know the maxim: “Treat your employees well”. But we often don’t know how this can be put into practice and how it can be kept in mind in the stressful everyday work environment. That’s why the authors give a blueprint of how a highly committed corporate culture can be promoted with the Engagement Bridge™. But what exactly are “engaged” employees? The authors define it as follows:
- They understand and believe in the direction in which the company is moving
- They understand how their role influences the organization and contributes to the achievement of the business objectives
- They sincerely want the company to succeed
Engaged employees make better decisions because they have a better understanding of their background, are more productive and more creative in their approach to solutions. Sounds like something no manager would be averse to. However, according to Elliott and Corey, engagement is not the same as satisfaction and requires a lot of work, focus and dedication to be implemented.
The ten building blocks of commitment Bridge™
The above-mentioned components ‘well-being’, ‘workspace’ and ‘pay & benefits’ are without question important elements in the model presented, but they are not sufficient on their own to close the gap between employees and the company. Instead, they underpin the seven other parts that only in combination form a viable bridge.
(Note: The individual blocks can be folded out as required)
Employee engagement is an ongoing process that must be shouldered by the employees themselves.
A golden rule that runs through all chapters of the book is so simple and yet so often neglected: “Talk to your employees!” (and of course: “Listen to them too!”). Every company is different and the needs of the people in these companies can also be very different. It is therefore only logical to involve everyone in the company, to give them responsibility and freedom of decision, and thus make them a co-shaping part of the corporate culture. Another important and so often neglected rule is: Get started! If you see something you can change directly, start there and continue from there. Employee engagement is a process, not a goal. The path is not easy, but it is worthwhile – for employees and companies alike.
“Practice without theory is blind, theory without practice is useless.”– Immanuel Kant
‘Build it!’ is an inspiring and motivating book for everyone who works with people. It follows a clear framework without claiming to offer a “One-Size-fits-All” solution. Rather, each chapter provides logically argued guidelines, an overview of the most important behavior patterns of rebels6, the most important results they strive for7 and concrete ideas for getting started8. If you like a short, informative read on the train, you can also cross-read the chapters as required.9 In addition, the remarkable case studies of successful CEOs and managers in each chapter illustrate how things can be freed from pure idealism in reality. The list of customers is quite impressive: In addition to smaller companies, big names such as Adobe10, Spotify11, Xero12 and Netflix13 are also featured, providing exciting insights into parts of their corporate culture. The book is therefore a practical and inspiring read and leaves behind a fruitful “let’s do it!” mentality. And let’s be honest: Often, that’s exactly what it takes!
The graphics and concepts presented are taken from the book “Build it! The Rebel Playbook for Worldclass Employee Engagement” (Wiley, 2018) by Glenn Elliott and Debra Corey.
- Wiley, 2018
- As early as 2013, Harvard Business Review published a study on the importance of employee engagement as a competitive advantage. See https://hbr.org/resources/pdfs/comm/achievers/hbr_achievers_report_sep13.pdf [09.04.2020]
- see page 24
- Glenn Elliott & Debra Corey 2017: 86
- the ‘Key Rebel Behaviours’
- the key outcomes
- ‘Making a Start’
- Based on this, you can also individually fold and unfold the individual building blocks here in the blog. Try it out!
- Forbes: The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2018 #13
- Forbes: Most Innovative Growth Companies 2017 #10
- Forbes: World’s Most Innovative Growth Company 2014 & 2015
- Forbes: The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2018 #7