Last week, Indianapolis’ top executives and thought leaders came together at the Biltwell Event Center for Insights Live. We were blown away by the energy in the room and the ideas that were exchanged.
The day started with a fireside chat with Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company. He shared how communication and credibility are key to transforming company culture and reminded us that at the end of the day it’s the character of the people and the way they work that matters. Along with the importance of good character and work ethic in the workplace, Mark also shared with us the top two things he looks for in new leaders: trust and taking initiative.
Next, Emplify CEO and Co-founder Santiago Jaramillo shared principles from his Amazon best-selling book, Agile Engagement, including how to build a winning employee engagement strategy. He began by introducing the audience to a Japanese concept called Ikigai which means “a reason for being.” He expressed that at an early age, he found his Ikigai in business and entrepreneurship. As he grew and expanded his knowledge, he finally found something he loved, that he was very good at, that he could be paid for, and it happened to be just what the world needed. That something was (and still is) employee engagement.
A statistic from the Corporate Leadership Council states that highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their companies than their disengaged counterparts. And yet, as Santiago revealed, only 30% of employees are engaged at work. So how do you fix it? The answer starts with understanding what employee engagement truly is:
Using this definition, Santiago explained the difference between engagement and satisfaction in the workplace. He described workers who are merely satisfied as “leaned back”. They are comfortable, getting paid well for doing the bare minimum, and have no drive or motivation to improve the work they do because, frankly, there’s no reason to. Engaged workers are the opposite. Engaged workers are “leaned in.” These are the workers who find purpose in every bit of work they do. The disconnect between engaged and satisfied workers starts with the generational change as Santiago demonstrated with this quote:
“There is a fundamental shift happening in the way people view work. It’s not just a job or a paycheck anymore. Our work is the expression of our natural gifts intersecting with the needs of the world. This is the purest realization of human potential.” – @khalidhalim.
The growing generation of employees don’t want to just be satisfied. They want to be engaged. They want to feel love for the work they do and be able to connect with every aspect of it. This change in generational personality has created an abundance of expectations upon entering the workforce. The focus isn’t just earning a paycheck anymore, it’s finding and doing what you love. Getting paid is just a bonus.
Although the workforce is changing, companies and businesses are struggling to adapt. As Santiago said, “you don’t grow in the status quo.” To tackle the growing disengagement among the workforce, he outlined the four steps companies should take to reach employee engagement:
- Quantitatively measure
- Qualitatively diagnose
- Focused action
- Analyze results
Going Beyond Buzzwords
We wrapped up the day with a lively panel discussion featuring CHRO of Castellini Group, Bonnie Curtis; Director of People at Fairbanks, Elizabeth Stahl; and President of Auto Finance Corporation, Jim Money. The panelists spoke from experiences with engagement and disengagement throughout their job history.
Bonnie Curtis had a lot to say about what multi-generational culture companies are beginning to encounter. These companies are now facing the challenge of one generation viewing work as a place you go and one generation viewing it as a thing you do. The environment is clearly changing, leading to a strong need for culture change.
Bonnie shared with us her beliefs that people strategy should align with and feed into the business strategy. She says, “It is always important to know the “what” in a business, but to be successful, you need to know the “how” — and that starts with the people.”
We created Insights Live so executives could create meaningful connections with their peers and exchange actional ideas. Thank you to everyone who joined us and made the day truly memorable and inspiring!