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Managing Employee Engagement at Scale

By Jan Krögel, Head of Digital HR, Capgemini

Jan Krögel, Head of Digital HR, Capgemini

Employee Engagement has become a key driver of business outcomes, helping attract and retain talent. Demand for talent largely outstrips supply, and the digital shift is changing the expectations of our workforce at an ever-increasing pace.

The right leadership enables us to stay close to our clients and markets and to cope with these new people development prerogatives. But in an increasingly data-driven world and with the availability of game-changing digital tools, we can go much further in equipping the organization to engage our people better. What if employee feedback data was available in real time to all people? What if our managers could instantly understand which environment high performing teams are thriving and where the issues are? What if our senior leaders could get a complete and granular view of where best practices exist? Effective digital technologies coupled with leadership understanding and empowerment allows a step change in the Employee Engagement agenda.

At Capgemini, to manage Employee Engagement at scale, we’re rolling out ‘Pulse.’ Pulse is our continuous employee listening approach, leveraging our partner Peakon’s digital platform that delivers timely insights to our managers and leaders for better engaging and retaining their talents.

Three insights became particularly visible in this journey:

Outside-in, inside-out, full circle!

While a few years back transparency was relative, today what happens inside a corporation is quickly visible outside. What ‘Pulse’ is for the inside, Glassdoor is for the outside. Both provide employee engagement scores and a huge amount of qualitative information that showcases in a pretty transparent way what’s on people’s minds. In an organization like ours that recruits a lot of new talents every year, candidates are in the know of who we are and what to expect, and this even before the first interview. We are embracing this opportunity to continuously improve our organization and attract talent that wants to work with us.

A ‘hard’ People KPI?

Although we’ve not reached the stage where the Engagement score has become a critical business metric, we are indeed on the way of making it a standard for leadership team meeting agenda item and discussion point. It is as close as it gets to an objective ‘People KPI,’ one that can be compared across businesses, track evolution over time and hold leaders accountable. The short version would be to judge whether a manager is a good one or not, the real change, however, comes from how much of the corporate intent is to focus on employee’s expectations as a productivity lever is happening. This, in turn, allows us to be more effective and agile in allocating efforts to improving the Experience of our employees.

A continuous improvement mindset

Agility comes from the ability to take smaller steps, working together across functions in a clear direction, and to empower people closer to the frontline. Every manager gets equipped with a user-friendly and real-time dashboard and can at their level see what’s going on in their teams, engage and act. Where large projects were needed in the past, we see smaller incremental steps led at the manager’s discretion. For instance, one manager saw that their teams requested more transparency and clarification of strategy and direction. He implemented one-to-ones and regular town halls that quickly improved the teams’ engagement score. While we train 1000s of managers on the new approach, and our Leaders are getting the first insights, we need to make sure that we have the right mindset to build a strong and effective feedback culture. We make it a collective responsibility to improve the employee experience, and to make our Group a continuously better place to work.

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