As we draw closer to the UK & European Employee Engagement Awards entry deadline, we at the Engagement Zone will be interviewing judges for the upcoming event. Today, the Engagement Zone sits down with Karin Volo, Chief Joy Bringer & CEO at Evoloshen Academy.

NOTE: Deadline for the UK & European Awards is October 16, 2019 – Enter here.

EZ: What does employee engagement mean to you?

KARIN:  The definition I shared in my book Engage! is “to have full attention, commitment, enthusiasm, passion, and purpose for your work, to be wholeheartedly involved in and contribute positively to an organization”. It is also a two way street for both the employer and the employee. The employer should work to create a culture where people can thrive and the employee should take ownership of their own engagement to see how they can contribute and reach their own full potential.

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

KARIN:

  1. Have your bigger purpose, your why, defined clearly
  2. Understand employees and customers want to connect on a deeper emotional level
  3. Be authentic and caring, your people are the lifeblood of your organization

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

KARIN:

  • Delegating only to HR rather than having the CEO and management being a part of the process
  • Not being authentic, not walking the talk, the leaders need to show by example and set the tone for engagement

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

KARIN: You can’t force people to be engaged, you have to draw them into being engaged by focusing on the emotions you want them to feel at work and what activities will create the behaviours you want to see.

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

KARIN: There is a difference between skills and attributes. Attributes are personality characteristics that are just the way a person is. Skills can be taught but if you know the key motivators of employees you can draw out their enthusiasm for their work, which will, in turn, lead to engagement. We teach the neuroscience behind engagement so that we can tap into the way people are hard-wired and we’re able to give tools to empower behaviour change—in a fun way!

EZ: You’re a judge for the Employee Engagement Awards. What will you be looking for in the entries?

KARIN: I always look for great engagement activities, and I can always get a sense of the enthusiasm and effort a person has made in writing their entry to tell if they were just told to do this or if they really are proud and authentic with their energy.

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

KARIN: There’s always the hot buzz word or trend for each year in this space so engagement is being replaced with experience. Bottom line is if your employees love their jobs and their company, the customers are going to get great service and they sense that as well. I had a CEO of a large telecom company tell me recently that he calls into customer service and can tell if they are smiling or not. If you prioritize the employees, they’ll take good care of the customers

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

KARIN: The daily linkage of an organisation between a team’s productivity levels, the leaders/managers behaviour (learning and development through nudges) and improved engagement and connection with the workforce to resolve challenges and issues.  Engagement is a business driver and this approach reinforces that fact.

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

KARIN: Simon Sinek, Brene Brown, Shawn Achor

EZ: Best place in the world you have visited?

KARIN: So far…New Zealand—breath taking nature at every turn!

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

KARIN: Machu Picchu is high on the bucket list currently

 

NOTE: Deadline for the UK & European Awards is October 16, 2019 – Enter here.