How a Refrigerator Can Increase Employee Engagement

A couple of years ago, we conducted an employee engagement survey with a client that had a large union workforce.  Many of the employees were skeptical about how the results would be used and what they were expected to do.  Management and union relations were not the best and many employees did not trust the intentions of management.
We trained the managers on how to interpret their group results and conduct action planning meetings with their employees. The idea was to get employees to come up with ideas that would increase employee engagement. Managers were hopeful that employees would come up with good ideas about increasing productivity or ways to improve quality.
One manager became frustrated at the end of the action planning meeting with his group of employees.  The only idea they grudgingly came up with was to get a refrigerator in the break room.  He wondered, “How was a refrigerator going to increase productivity?!
He reluctantly agreed and was surprised once the new refrigerator was in place. He learned that the employees were testing him to see if he was really serious about doing something about their feedback. Once that trust was established, they were able to have several productive team meetings where they came up with ideas to improve the workplace, increase performance, and become more engaged.
Many times employees won’t buy into an employee engagement process until they trust that leaders really care about them.  This trust can be established by holding focus groups about the employee survey results, recognizing employee performance, or even getting a refrigerator for the break room.
Related Post: Trust and Employee Engagement
Related Post: Putting People First: The Key to CHG Healthcare’s Success
Related White Paper: ENGAGEMENT MAGIC®: The Five Keys of Employee Engagement
Related Content: Employee Engagement Surveys

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