Today at TINYhr we are very happy to share our interview with NY Times best-selling author and employee engagement expert Kevin Kruse. Kevin is the author of several books including the NY Times bestseller, We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement, which was named one of the top leadership books in 2011 by 800-CEO-Read. He is a Forbes Leadership columnist and was named to the Top 100 Business Thought Leaders list by Trust Across America. His book, Employee Engagement 2.0, provides a detailed action plan that turns “task-managers” into “people-leaders” and Employee Engagement for Everyone guides individuals to greater happiness at work.
Kevin also finds time to give back to communities worldwide through the Kevin Kruse Foundation, which has supported The US Naval War College, Wreaths Across America, The Library Project, The Acumen Fund, Senior Adults for Greater Education, and the Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership.
Let’s get started with our TINY interview:
1. What inspired you to study, research and write about employee engagement? What is the "why" behind your story?
Unlike most who work in the area of employee engagement, I am neither an academic nor an HR professional. I'm just a business guy who has started and sold a few companies. I discovered over the last 20 years, that the more I focused on employee and engagement and wholehearted leadership the better my companies did. After I sold my last company, I decided to spend my new found time spreading the gospel of engagement.
2. Who is responsible for employee engagement at a company (HR, CEO, Managers?)
I think everybody is responsible for employee engagement. Certainly it needs the support and understanding of senior executives, and we know that most of engagement comes from the right leadership from front line managers. However about 40% of how we feel about work comes from intrinsic motivation--our internal emotional drivers that have nothing to do with our boss or company.
3. What are the key obstacles to driving employee engagement programs at most companies?
I think many business leaders don't really understand the direct connection between better engagement and better business results. And too many companies who ARE trying to improve engagement think it's all about picnics and parties. The solutions to better engagement don't come from top-down initiatives but rather from specific ideas that come from the front-line employees and individual teams.
4. In your book "Employee Engagement 2.0" you discuss getting emotional commitment, what can managers do to achieve this?
The top three drivers of employee engagement--getting emotional commitment to an organization and its goals--are Growth, Recognition and Trust. For growth, we need to feel like we are learning and be challenged and advancing in our career. For recognition, we need to feel appreciated at work. For trust, it's not so much about ethics but rather trusting that leadership has a specific company goal, a plan to get there, and we know how we fit into that plan.
Kevin, thanks for your time and sharing your insights with us.
For more great insights check out his books on employee engagement linked to above and follow Kevin on Twitter. Kevin’s a great speaker and you can see more of his inspiration and passion in the video below and some interesting correlations he found between employee engagement and your weight and health.