I recently attended the Growth Faculty’s 2019 National Growth Summit where we were treated to two whole sessions, an entire morning, from Patrick Lencioni. In his keynote presentation, he covered all the key topics from his books on organisational health, leadership, building the ideal team and employee engagement and shared so many fascinating stories and examples from his career.
It was the last topic, employee engagement, or rather the Truth About Employee Engagement, which really resonated with me, particularly in relation to our Promotional Staff or Brand Ambassadors and their engagement levels at conferences, events and activations.
The sub-title for The Truth About Employee Engagement, is ‘three signs of a miserable job’ and Lencioni, as always, gave a brilliant example of a motivated and happy employee at a fast-food restaurant in an American airport.
As Lencioni was talking, I was reminded of a recent conversation I’d had with an Experiential agency partner of Mash, who were asking for suggestions around briefing and motivating Brand Ambassadors. And, in short, I think Lencioni’s ‘three signs of a miserable job’, if we focused on the positive reflection, (which of course is Lencioni’s point), is probably the answer.
1: Know your Promotional Staff –Lencioni states that “human beings cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are anonymous”
Promotional Staff or Brand Ambassadors are seen as a commodity and, in the truest definition, they are. BUT, those staff who committed to work on an event, conference, or activation and who have been briefed on the necessary requirements, are now critical components of the campaign with the opportunity to shape the success of the event. Lencioni suggests that “all human beings need to be understood and appreciated for their unique qualities by someone in a position of authority”.
How can we do this? Remembering the Event Staff members name (or at least the names of a few of the staff), their role, thanking them for their efforts and asking for their specific feedback and suggestions are all simple ways to make the staff member feel known and an important part of the event, conference or activation.
2: The Brand Ambassador role has to have ‘relevance’ – Lencioni advocates that “everyone needs to know that their job matters, to someone”.
This is something that can be vastly improved in the briefing process. Promotional Staff need to understand ‘why’ they are doing something, to truly engage. We need to do a better job of explaining, through the briefing process, what the company hopes to achieve, beyond just the KPI’s of the role and the campaign. This gives staff a greater sense of purpose and greater satisfaction when they understand how important the output of their role is in helping a business or brand achieve its broader objectives.
3: Brand Ambassadors want KPI’s and targets – Lencioni concludes that “employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution, for themselves”.
Lencioni shared, “people cannot be fulfilled in their work if their success depends on the opinions or whims of another person”. People/EventStaff, are not just looking for a pat-on-the-back or some kind words, they want to know, for themselves, that they have exceeded expectations. For this to happen they need KPI’s or goals to measure themselves against. If your Event Staff have bought into point 2, above (that their role is important), and believe in the overall purpose of the event, conference, or activation then, to truly be motivated and engaged, they will want to understand their individual contribution to the greater cause.
Lencioni suggests that people seek tangible means of understanding their impact because it gives them a sense of controlling their own fate, which is key for motivated and engaged staff. Yes team targets will work, but to truly get the most from your people, they will work better with their own specific targets or goals. Of course, this won’t always be possible, particularly when you consider Conference roles like registration, session scanning, ushering etc. In these instances, point 2 above, providing relevance becomes even more important and should be something that is given even greater importance in the briefing process.
I found Patrick Lencioni’s seminar fascinating and so, so, relevant to a people business like Mash. We will be implementing these three principles within our teams here at Mash HQ, in the Masher induction process and, as often as possible, in our staff briefing documents, giving all Mashers a greater sense of why promotional work can be so rewarding.
I have zero doubt that, by employing Lencioni’s Employee Engagement principles, Mash and our partners will see vast improvements in staff motivation and engagement. A win for our agencies, brands and, most importantly, our staff.