2 tricks to supercharge employee engagement

The healthcare industry in recent years has taken lessons from other industries. In addition to what car manufacturers can teach medical practices about efficiency and how amusement parks demonstrate customer service, lessons in achieving superior employee engagement may be found in a can of soup.

In a brief video created by Harvard Business Review, Doug Conant, former president and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, describes some simple ways he helped bring the company's dismal employee engagement levels to world-class levels in about a decade. The company reported that for every two employees who were actively engaged, one was looking for another job, but that changed to 17 highly engaged employees for every one that's not. Consider the following tips:

  • Handwritten notes. During his 10 years as CEO for 20,000 employees around the world, Conant wrote about 30,000 personal notes to employees in recognition of their contributions to the company. The keys to making the notes work, he told HBR, was that they were not gratuitous but called out specific employee actions he wanted to commend. The fact that he took the time to handwrite them in the age of email mattered too. In fact, Conant said it was not uncommon when he was traveling to other offices to see his hand-written notes posted on employees' cubicle walls.
  • Management by walking around. Conant took this management technique so seriously that he went as far as to use a pedometer to track whether he reached his goal of taking 10,000 daily steps walking around the office and connecting with employees. Despite his busy schedule, Conant would spend about 30 minutes a day on these walks, which he squeezed in during varying parts of the work day. While he was out and about, employees would not only see that he was actively working to be present with them, but he kept himself physically fit as well.

To learn more:
- watch the video from Harvard Business Review