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Business Success Through People Success is the New Leadership Frontier

Aug 13, 2019 by Santiago Jaramillo 1 Comment

Business success through employee success

As business leaders, we care deeply about employee engagement, but we can’t operationalize a culture of engagement by ourselves. Without a strategy for scaling it across the business, it’s tough to move the needle. As my own business has grown, I’ve realized that the best thing we can do for our employees is to focus on the top two or three actions that will have the greatest impact—and hold our people-leaders or “trusted lieutenants” accountable as owners of those initiatives. Determining what areas to focus on requires more than relying on gut feelings. Measuring employee engagement and getting real data provides a baseline to measure progress against. As Bill Gates writes, “In my experience, the management slogan ‘What gets measured gets done’ holds true. The mere act of tracking key indicators makes it much more likely that changes in those indicators will be positive.”

I’ve talked to many leaders who’ve tried to do anything and everything to improve engagement. And while some have improved engagement with the “10 darts thrown blindly at the culture wall to see what sticks” approach, the problem becomes knowing which actions and initiatives led to the change (and should be protected and enhanced) and which actions were ineffective (and should be scrapped or iterated). Documenting a strategy and making incremental changes based on data-sourced, strategic problem areas and measuring them over time is much more effective. Here's how to develop a continuous-improvement employee engagement process in 5 steps:

  1. Measure employee sentiment and get baseline (quantitative) engagement data for the organization.
  1. Follow up by collecting specific and highly-targeted (qualitative) feedback from employees around areas of concern or specific engagement blockers they’re experiencing.
  1. Pick 2-3 initiatives to focus on for one full quarter. (Sometimes it’s best to focus on low-hanging fruit first to get some early wins and momentum.)
  1. Document strategic initiatives and goals and hold leadership and management teams accountable for executing on those initiatives and communicating them with their teams.
  1. Measure employee engagement again—using the exact same method—at the end of the quarter to see how those actions affected engagement levels.

Repeating this process every quarter allows you to continuously and strategically chip away at your larger goals. And each time action is taken on employee feedback, employees are  seeing that their leaders are actually listening to them, and will be more likely to provide useful feedback in the future. When data-driven insights turn into well-communicated actions, an organization can experience and sustain a culture of high employee engagement.


Tackle some of the most challenging problems with employee feedback, retaining top talent, and productivity  by joining Santiago Jaramillo at the 27th annual Gathering of Games, where he will be presenting on these topics and more from his Amazon best-selling book, Agile Engagement. 

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Leadership, The Annual Gathering of Games, Gathering 2019 Speaker

Santiago Jaramillo

Founder and CEO of Emplify—A nationally recognized expert on employee engagement, Santiago is the co-author of Agile Engagement, an Amazon best-selling book that provides employers with a framework for measuring employee engagement. At Emplify, Santiago leads a team of engagement experts in their mission to provide more reliable employee engagement insights for better decision making. Santiago has spoken to and trained thousands of CEOs and HR leaders across small, mid-market, and Fortune 500 companies on the importance and business value of employee engagement. In 2013, Santiago was named to Inc. magazine’s “30 Under 30” list and was also invited to the White House for recognition of his entrepreneurial contributions through the Champions of Change program.

About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.