This post is the second in a series of three posts, all dedicated to discussing the employee engagement funnel. You can read the first post in this series here.
The employee engagement funnel, although inspired by the sales funnel, isn’t about choosing employees or promoting them. The employee engagement funnel is about making employees aware of corporate goals and engaging them in learning and in getting others to align with corporate goals.
The funnel is a step-by-step visual demonstration of how each employee goes through the process of engagement, beginning with awareness of corporate goals, going through training and learning of corporate practices or offerings and eventually leading other employees through the same path. In this respect, it symbolizes how companies can make employees into evangelists of corporate performance goals. This actually relates to a previous post, available here, asking whether Gamification can become the new corporate performance management.
The employee engagement funnel is made of five sections:
- Awareness – Knowing.
- On boarding – Learning.
- Engagement – Implementing.
- Leadership – Influencing others.
- Ambassadors – bringing more people into the funnel
This post will focus on how employees move from one section of the employee engagement funnel to the next – making themselves more valuable to the corporation and probably their internal job satisfaction and sense of worth and well-being.
For instance, let’s look at the process of launching a new product. The immediate objective is to better address customer needs during the sales or service phases, so the customer gets access to the better product proposition that was just launched. To achieve that, sales people should master the solutions the new product offers so they could naturally and logically suggest them in sales pitches, as well as effectively use them when thinking about the product. Integrating the new product into the sales process does not happen overnight, but once the product is immersed in their mindset, sales people should be able to find creative solutions for their customers. They should not only rely on their own skills and expertise, but rather should benefit from other people in the company who were facing similar situations.
Several years ago, while working in Sales for a Business Intelligence company, we were competing on a project with a global provider. Our chances to win this bid improved once we acquired a company with a product that had a crucial feature that could be part of an end to end solution. My relief at hearing the news of the acquisition and the resulting enhanced offering turned to disappointment when I learned that the sales people at my company didn’t even make it to the “awareness” level in the engagement funnel. That is to say, not only did they not encompass the product in their thought process and pitches, they were not even aware of its existence in our company. I then had to act to get the sales people into the engagement funnel, proceeding from awareness , through engagement and implementation.
Let’s go through the stages of the engagement funnel and see how they apply:
The top priority is creating awareness of organizational goals, or changes that the company underwent and that are relevant to employees’ jobs. Do all employees need to be involved? That’s an important question, since the answer would provide us with an idea of how to direct different messages to different audiences.
From the point of view of organizational culture, awareness contributes to employees’ engagement, resulting in an improved workplace atmosphere. A great way to implement awareness measures is using Gamification for on-boarding, training and learnification. It is recommended to emphasize completion and not competition, to reward learning and advancement relative to oneself.
Awareness doesn’t suffice since knowing something exists (a new product, in this case) doesn’t translate into the internalizing effort required to make use of the knowledge. That’s why the next step in the funnel is learning more about product features, pros and cons, product market fit, etc. The on-boarding phase is easily gamified. Using game mechanics that promote cooperation, especially when work requires cooperation (having several people collaborate on a customer proposal) is definitely worth considering.
Obviously, the salesman has to obtain the relevant knowledge. It is a great start, but not enough. For the salesman to improvise when needed, come up with the right solution and utilize all the resources available to him from prior and recent learning, the employee has to add an emotional dimension to his commitment, that is, to be emotionally engaged. Emotional engagement usually helps doing new things takes an effort, and the intellectual effort can be motivated by emotions.
Who are the leaders of the organization? Our first response would be mangers, but in reality leaders are those that are active around us and serve as a role model. The people who encourage and promote common goals are leaders too. In the context of the engagement funnel, the leaders are the ones to help others pass from the awareness level to the engagement level. They demonstrate how to incorporate their acquired knowledge into their everyday work. They are those who are first to construct a customer offering that incorporates new features, products or services. In this stage, the best gamification is game design that strengthens team development, giving leaders more opportunities to influence others. Using a good Gamification platform will expose the more committed employees and will turn them to leaders in the engagement funnel.
The ambassadors are evangelists of new corporate learning. They have the awareness, they are fully engaged, and possess the knowledge of how everything comes together. In this phase, ambassadors can create presentations and articles about their new knowledge, getting the message across corporate barriers, internal and external. Gamification at this stage should reward ambassadors for their expertise and include game design elements that create recognition for expertise.
To conclude, the employee engagement funnel is a framework that helps think about and implement the process of introducing new products to both the market and the workforce. The engagement funnel combined with Gamification encourages employee learning and the accumulation of past and present knowledge. It rewards them for being more engaged and moreover, for bringing others into the process. The outcome of the process will be manifest not only in KPIs but in a change of corporate culture.