Any proud parent will tell you it’s hard not to brag about your kids.
In the same vein, I’m very proud of the team we’ve built at Prime Data. And I need to brag about them a little, because every time I do, our clients’ eyes light up.
Clients know that an engaged team is simply a better business partner
They realize, as I have, that Prime Data’s long-term growth has as much to do with our employees as it does our embrace of cutting-edge technology that merges data and print.
Increasing employee engagement within the company is one of my proudest achievements over the last couple of years.
And we’ve been able to measure it. We know that more engagement means a better customer experience.
You’ve heard all the buzzwords before. But this is how it really works
A few years ago I realized that, to achieve the most for our staff, our clients and the company, I had to do more to engage the team.
They needed to:
- Know what our goals were
- Be part of setting them
- Understand their part in achieving the goals
Nothing new there. Anybody who manages a team knows they should be striving for this.
What I want to tell you is that we made it work.
We couldn’t have done it without Verne Harnish
We were able to do it with the help of Verne Harnish’s book: Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It. And Why the Rest Don’t.
The plan includes regular meetings and communications that focus on goal setting
I put in place a regular weekly meeting with my four managers, along with daily huddles with them. In turn, managers hold a daily huddle with their teams.
Yes, it means more meetings. But it also means that a wider group is involved in setting goals, problem-solving and we have a daily conduit for communication.
(Incidentally, bankers love hearing this stuff too. Not only does involving your team in goals give them more skin in the game, it means that the company can function without you if it has to.)
By keeping the meetings to a set time (as short as 15 minutes), and focusing on status updates of our goals and not problem-solving, it pays off
We also added a task force, including a member from each business area, to help develop goals and communicate them to all employees regularly.
Each quarter we set a goal for the entire company to meet as a team
One of the task force’s biggest tasks is our quarterly campaigns. Here’s just a sample of the 7 campaigns we’ve held so far:
- November Storm – focusing on raising our on-time delivery during our busiest three months of the year
- Are you smarter than a 5th grader – employees learn new things, from playing a guitar, to wielding a fire extinguisher to using new software
- Thank you, thank you very much – where we acknowledge co-workers, customers and vendors with a written thank you as often as we can
- In Prime Health – in which we all try to eat healthier and become more active together
Each campaign lasts only three months. But the effects last much longer
18 months after our first November Storm campaign, our on-time delivery has stayed at over 99% every month. That’s compared to around 90% before we started the campaign.
Each time we celebrate successes with prizes, acknowledgements and a celebration meal.
The proof lies in the measurement
This is a critical part of the equation. We need a mechanism to get honest opinions regularly and to measure results.
We’re using Officevibe . It measures things like employee happiness, compensation, wellness and much more.
Each week employees fill in a quick 5 question survey and provide anonymous feedback. That means we have a constant barometer and we can respond to issues quickly.
Now we can benchmark employee engagement across a wide range of areas. We’ve tracked improvements that were reflected in our service levels and customer satisfaction.
All of this happened in under two years
This regular cycle of communication has been fantastic. We had none of these things two years ago. Now there is a near constant hum of communication going throughout the company.
Everybody knows where we’re going and is committed to helping us get there. In turn it’s made Prime Data to become a better place to work and a better company to work with.
When this year’s holiday party rolls around, I’ll get up and give a little speech about the team’s great accomplishments.
Every year, the list gets longer (and the speech might too). And every year, I get a little choked up when I think of all we’re accomplishing together.
But sentimentality aside, the numbers bear it out: By looking after our team, we’re looking after our business — and our clients — better.