By Leah Elms, Customer Service Representative

A Gallup poll based on over 30 years of research and more than 17 million employees shows “engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused, safer and more likely to withstand temptations to leave.” But how do employers actively engage their employees? Servant HR helps our clients answer these tough questions. We challenge the same-old-same-old thinking to meet the demands of today’s marketplace. Get your creative juices flowing by reading how we recently partnered with client Cornerstone Autism Center to implement a new way of interacting with its employees.

Company Profile: Cornerstone Autism Center improves the lives of children who struggle with autism, those who love them and those who provide therapy. Cornerstone offers caring, encouraging one-on-one treatment, resources to carry progress into family homes and daily life, and professional rewards for staff who serve. Cornerstone seeks to create a long-term resource for those affected by autism to thrive and succeed. The business has been a client of Servant HR since July 2010.

Engagement Challenge: The leaders of Cornerstone understand the importance of employee engagement. To grow and develop theirs, they asked us to successfully launch their entire new year in one business day. Success meant not only introducing and explaining HR initiatives, policies, handbook changes, goals and the company vision, but it also meant having a great time and communicating how integral each member was to the team. We began the planning by discussing what Cornerstone desired to accomplish both in tangible goals and the overall impression of the day. Filtering the schedule through the lens of engaging the employee was paramount its success.

While Cornerstone could sit employees in a room and hammer through our list of information, that would only reach one of its goals. If the business failed to engage its employees while communicating the details, the likelihood of them integrating these new concepts was slim. Cornerstone wanted the employees to know they were working for an organization that genuinely cared about them. This in turn, would make them passionate about their company and its goals.

Action: With this in mind, Servant HR worked with the Cornerstone leadership team to design the Make It Happen event. It began with hot drinks, pastries and fruit. We greeted the employees with a mixer game to allow them to get to know each other better in a fun way. Slideshows highlighted the progress of the past year — both in the physical changes of their locations and the amazing changes in families’ lives they had influenced.

The nuts and bolts of handbook changes were more palatable over chocolate fountains and fixings (a “Hershey’s Handbook”). Sitting through the new policies and procedures was more tolerable when employees knew there were two massage therapists waiting for them upstairs. Though we didn’t dole out shoulder rubs, members of our team at Servant HR were on hand to answer questions or just give a face to the address or voice that Cornerstone’s employees often read in email messages or hear on the phone.

Cornerstone also wanted this day to be a time of recognition. A survey sent out the week prior to the event asked employees to nominate a colleague who best exemplified the company mission statement. These nominations were tallied and the employees were recognized in front of their peers by the Cornerstone leadership team. Throughout the Make It Happen day, good food, fun, relationship-building, valuable insight and information were interspersed to create an all-around great time. Hors d’oeuvres and karaoke capped off the event.

Value: Following the Make It Happen event, every Cornerstone employee expressed appreciation to the company’s leadership team for being a part of this innovative company. Employees walked away from the day recharged and excited to be part of this amazing team. The event served as a valuable tool in Cornerstone’s efforts to support its tradition of successful employee retention and internal culture. Such engagement encourages employees to be more passionate about their personal responsibilities as well as the company’s overall goals and values. From the Servant HR perspective, we know that many Cornerstone employees are now more comfortable calling us to ask questions or discuss problems since they have met us in person.

Did this “event” take work and planning? Absolutely! Was it worth it? Without a doubt! (We have not even addressed the negative impact a disengaged employee has on your company. Give us a call and we’ll explain.) Cornerstone’s leadership team is already discussing plans for this fall’s Make It Happen event.

Your Employee Engagement: Has this case study raised some questions in your mind? What is the employee experience in your company? Do you know how to gauge this within your company? What strategies do you have in place to encourage healthy, engaged employees? Are you ready to begin implementing steps to improve it? Servant HR is ready to come alongside you to make your company the very best organization it can be. Contact us to get started.


Photo credit: Cornerstone Autism Center