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We at The Engagement Zone sat down with Tracy Mellor, Managing Director ANZ, Reward Gateway to gain an insight into how she sees the field of employee engagement and a bit about Reward Gateway’s involvement as the official partner of the 2016 ANZ Employee Engagement Awards & Conference. 

EZ: What does employee engagement mean to you?

TRACY: Employee engagement means great people in well designed jobs loving what they do, delighting customers and creating a healthy, growing business.

EZ: What are your three tips to companies looking to drive engagement in their organisations?

TRACY: Listen to your people and act on what you hear. Really understand the business, where it is, where it’s going, what the targets are, what the pain points are and how you can add value. Involve as many people as possible to create ownership in creating the solution.

EZ: What do you feel are the biggest pitfalls that companies should look to avoid when executing their engagement strategy?

TRACY: Trying to create a picture book scenario when the truth isn’t that great. Trying to get everyone to buy-in to some halcyon view of the future when it would be much better to start small and kick some small goals to build upon. It’s a journey – work out what you want to achieve and then the small trips to each success point.

EZ: Why do employees fail to buy in when companies try to ramp up engagement?

TRACY: They think it’s another gimmick – something else you’ll start up and not finish. Some companies forget to talk about the “why” and so lose their people right from the start. If it’s something someone has to log in to, the UX has to be great or people can’t be bothered.

EZ: What skills are most useful for everyone to have when trying to move towards a culture of engagement?

TRACY: Collaboration, communication – asking great questions and listening to the answers (and acting if you need to) and authenticity. You’ve really got to walk the walk and make sure you listen to what people say to you. Don’t let managers hijack some of the great things people come up with and make sure you articulate why things need to be different.

EZ: How important do you think it is to connect Employee Engagement to Customer Engagement and why?

TRACY: It’s vital – employee engagement must come first. If you look after the team, they will look after you customers. People always “leak the truth” so if they’re not happy they will tell you if you ask. For example, the teller at my bank told me that they weren’t short staffed that day as the weather was bad so they were all in – had it been sunny I would have had to wait! A wet day’s not worth taking a sicky for!

EZ: What’s the best EE idea you’ve seen a company roll out/attempt and wish you’d had that idea yourself?

TRACY: There are lots of things I like that others do. I really like the funky work-spaces that some companies which they can really leverage through their size. Café spaces, sleep pods, play areas – either video games or table football. When you’re a small office you don’t create that buzz – and if a few people are working from home it can come across as a bit quiet.

EZ: What’s the worst and glad that you didn’t?

TRACY: Freezing eggs so women didn’t have children early in their career. Thought it was appalling.

EZ: Since you entered the world of work, what’s the best experience you’ve had?

TRACY: I think RG is pretty damn good. Plenty of autonomous, happy people – working with the Australian team is a great family experience and I love it!

EZ: What’s the worst?

TRACY: Being on the LT in a company where they stopped living the values and being powerless to resist it.

EZ: Which person (dead or alive) would you love to be able to come in and speak to your workforce/colleagues?

TRACY: I still think that Sir John Whitmore was the most influential person in my life as a manager and wish I could introduce him and his passion to all my managers.

EZ: Favourite song to crank up after a tough day at work?

TRACY: I’m an 80s throwback. So there are loads of 70s and 80s songs that I dance and sing to – badly.

EZ: Best place in the world you have visited?

TRACY: The aura around the Taj Mahal is pretty special.

EZ: The place you’d most like to visit?

TRACY: I’d love to go on safari. I’ve got a list of things to do before I die and places to visit!

NOTE: Entries for the UK & European and ANZ  Employee Engagement Awards are now open. For your chance to be recognised as a great place to work, click the link here.

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