Many of the evolving information and consumption trends disproportionately impact the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. CPG companies are constantly facing increasing operational costs, slow-growth, global competition and tech-savvy shoppers. The key to their survival and maintaining sustainable operational costs requires innovative strategies, vision, and grit.
However, despite this challenging environment, CPG companies have some of the highest levels of employee engagement, as measured by TINYpulse’s 2016 Best Industry Ranking Report.
How do they do it? In his book, Louder than Words: 10 Practical Employee Engagement Steps the Drive Results; Bob Kelleher gives a blueprint that has been adopted and adapted by many CPG companies. Briefly, those ten steps are:
- Link Engagement to Performance. Be very clear that the business reason to engage employees is profit, not employee satisfaction. Employee engagement may result in more satisfied employees, but the reason to embark on the engagement journey is to increase profitability.
- Engagement Starts at the Top. Employee engagement must begin with the CEO and include every executive and senior manager. You can’t delegate engagement.
- Make managers leaders. According to Kelleher, the employee needs a leader who provides authority, security, direction, vision, structure, clarity, role model, reassurance, cohesion, inspiration, and recognition.
- Communication is the Cornerstone. The responsibility for making sure key messages are received lies with the person who is sending the message. Don’t expect employees to “figure it out.”
- Engagement Occurs One Employee at a Time. CPG companies are often huge global companies with diverse and decentralized workforces. Modify your approach to connect with the individual. As well as being a more effective method of communicating, it demonstrates respect.
- Create a Motivation Culture. For the most part, money Does Not Equal Motivation. Motivation comes from within the employee; your culture must recognize and reinforce self-motivation.
- Listen…often and well. Install multiple formal and informal feedback mechanism so that employees have an easily accessible channel for expressing themselves to management.
- Rewards and Consequences. Positive rewards and recognition for a job well done are important. So are consequences for less than stellar performance. The system of rewards and consequences should be easily understood by all employees.
- Track and Communicate Progress and Success. Tell employees where the company is going, how they are going to get there, and what milestones exist along the way. Employees need to know where things stand. If employees work in a vacuum, they don’t know they need to give an extra effort to get to the next milestone.
- Hire and Promote Engaged Employees. Each company has a unique culture, and there is no one-size fits all culture. Learn how to recognize those employees who will be engaged and who will be nurtured to succeed in your culture.
As CPG companies show us, employee engagement is possible no matter how challenging your environment. By adopting these ten steps – and adapting them to fit your organization – you will be making important strides to engaging your employees, just as CPG employees are engaged.