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How to Shape Your Company Culture

Culture. How we do things around here — how we treat each other, customers, and suppliers. It’s not just about communication. And yet it has everything to do with communication.

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Engaging Leader™

186: 4 Tips from Brain Science for Communications That Boost Attention and Learning from Your Workforce | with Jamie Barnes

With so many things competing for attention, leaders at many organizations struggle to get their people to pay enough attention to important communications — such as for change initiatives. And it’s an even bigger struggle to get them to take the messages/information to heart, remember them, and put them into action. Fortunately, neuroscience has provided clues to plan and execute communications that are more engaging and effective.

Jesse’s colleague, communication expert Jamie Barnes, joins him to discuss how to create communications that get the attention of your workforce and make them more likely to retain what they learn and act on it.

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Engaging Leader™

183: Using the Fogg Behavior Model to Drive Change | with Jamie Barnes

When developing a communication strategy to drive change within an organization, we use various models and frameworks to help ensure we create a strategy that actually works. The Fogg Behavioral Model is a powerful framework for driving change.

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Engaging Leader™

182: The Power of an Authentic Employer Brand and EVP | with Laurie Barnes

A strong, authentic employer brand is key to recruiting, retaining, and fully engaging top talent. The most effective companies build a differentiated employee value proposition (EVP).

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Engaging Leader™

144: Best Communication Tools for Teamwork

Image of three business people working at meeting

On Engaging Leader, we share a lot of principles about leadership communication, but what about collaboration communication? In other words, what’s the most effective and efficient way to talk to the colleagues and clients you work with most closely in order to do great work together?

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Engaging Leader™

136: Sticky – 7 Keys to Making People Notice, Care, and Act

sticky tabIn a typical communication strategy, part of the plan involves leadership actions, but also involves communication content — words, images, videos, and so forth. You’ve probably heard the phrase Content Is King. You can do a great job with other aspects of your strategy, but if the content isn’t effective, you’ll fail to meet your objectives. Content is key to grabbing attention and getting people to think or act differently.

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Behavioral Economics Strategic Framework

IntentionsMost people want to do the right thing. They just need help acting on those good intentions. ~ Bob Nease, PhD

If you are a business leader — especially a benefits manager or the leader of a wellness program — you’ve probably heard the term behavioral economics tossed around.

For the past five to 10 years, consultants and service providers have been claiming to use behavioral economics to ensure their programs will overcome the reasons why standard programs in the industry have failed to engage employees in healthier behaviors and smart-consumer choices. However, behavioral economics is a still-emerging field of science, and the only literature on the subject has been academic — not very digestible, nor useful for business leaders to apply to real-world problems.

Until now.

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Engaging Leader™

106: 4 Storytelling Frameworks to Lead Change | with Amanda Marko

John Kotter QuoteStorytelling is a key tool for leading change. In episode 102, “Storytelling for Leaders,” Amanda Marko joined us to discuss why it’s such a powerful tool and provided tips for putting it to work. In this episode, Amanda returns to talk more specifically on the “how” of storytelling for leaders, and she explains four storytelling frameworks to lead change:

  • Connection story: overcomes natural skepticism by letting people know that you are like them
  • Influence story: helps to change someone’s mind
  • Success story: a more personal and memorable version of a case study
  • Clarity story: an organizational narrative or strategic story

Amanda Marko is president and chief connection officer of Connected Strategy Group, which helps leaders communicate their business strategy and engage stakeholders during times of change. Amanda is one of only a handful of people globally – and the first person in the U.S. – licensed to deliver Storytelling for Leaders, which teaches business leaders a proven method for creating messages that resonate, build engagement, and drive change.

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If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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Workforce Health Engagement™

WHE14: The 6 Drivers of Behavioral Engagement

This episode is the second in a two-part series about leading a health behavioral change. Episode 13 focused on leading a fairly straightforward change, such as influencing employees to get a biometric health screening or to take a financial wellness assessment. Episode 14 addresses leading a more complex change effort, such as influencing employees to take the recommended actions that will improve their physical or financial health.

Our behavioral engagement model is based on the research and theories discussed in the book Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change, written by social scientist David Maxfield and his coauthors.

Behavioral Engagement Model

The model recognizes two domains that drive behavior: motivation and ability. Other well-known models for behavioral change, such as the Fogg Behavior Model, also recognize these key elements.

These domains are divided into personal, social, and structural sources – reflecting psychology, social psychology, and organization theory, respectively. As a result of the two domains and three spheres, the model comprises six drivers of behavioral engagement.

If the behavior you’re trying to change is supported by only one source of influence, changing that one might be sufficient to improve results. However, when you’re facing longstanding, highly resistant habits, you’re typically up against many – if not all six – sources of influence. So think about it: if six sources are driving a bad habit and you address only one, what do you predict will happen? If you answer, “Nothing,” you’re right.

~ From Influencer.

In this episode, we explain the Behavorial Engagement model, share examples, and discuss how the model can be used to develop an engagement strategy as well as evaluate an existing strategy to identify gaps.

Joining Jesse on the show once again is Terry Sherwood, his colleague from Aspendale Communications. Terry has over 25 years of experience helping companies communicate effectively with their employees. Her diverse background in human resources, corporate communications, and marketing provides a blend of creativity and practicality that delivers results. Terry has held senior consulting positions with several large consulting firms, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Towers Watson.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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iTunesStitcherRSS

Your Feedback

If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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Workforce Health Engagement™

WHE13: How to Move Employees from Awareness to Action

This episode is the first in a two-part series about leading a health behavioral change. Episode 13 focuses on leading a fairly straightforward change, such as influencing employees to get a biometric health screening or to take a financial wellness assessment. Episode 14 will address leading a more complex change effort, such as influencing employees to take the recommended actions that will improve their physical or financial health.

4-engagement-levels

For many years, the Four Engagement Levels (also known as the Action-to-Awareness model) has been a helpful model for planning communication tactics. This model recognizes that when implementing a new change effort, leaders need to plan multiple communication tactics that will help people progress through the four stages of engagement:

  • Awareness
  • Understanding
  • Commitment
  • Action.

In practice, engagement and behavior change does not always happen in such a clear-cut, linear fashion. In addition, several tactics such as social media are used at multiple levels – not just the awareness stage. An actual communication plan should be custom-developed based on the organization’s goals and circumstances. This model helps with identifying the communication tactics that can lead people to take action.

In this episode, we explain how the four levels of engagement apply to workforce health, discuss how to plan communication outcomes for each level, and provide examples of communication tactics that could be used to lead employees to each level.

Joining Jesse on the show once again is Terry Sherwood, his colleague from Aspendale Communications. Terry has over 25 years of experience helping companies communicate effectively with their employees. Her diverse background in human resources, corporate communications, and marketing provides a blend of creativity and practicality that delivers results. Terry has held senior consulting positions with several large consulting firms, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Towers Watson.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Subscription Links

iTunesStitcherRSS

Your Feedback

If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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086: The 6 Principles (or C’s) of Workforce Health Engagement | with Terry Sherwood

whe_albumart_1400In episode 1, Jesse and his colleague Terry Sherwood defined workforce health engagement as improving the knowledge, decision-making, and behaviors of employees, their families, and organizational leaders to optimize health outcomes, control medical costs, and enhance workplace productivity.

In addition, they discussed five components of workforce health engagement:

Population Health Management/Epidemiology

Health Consumerism

Benefit Plan Design

Resources and Coaching

Branding/Education/Communications

According to recent studies, the typical wellness or other workforce health program produces only minimal improvement in long-term employee health and health care costs. Some employers, however, have achieved significant improvement in health metrics and costs, as well as improved employee engagement, productivity, recruitment, safety, and trust in management. One of the key factors to success is whether it’s simply HR’s “program of the day” — or an authentic component of your corporate culture.

The key to integrating all five components in a way that delivers the desired results is the 6 “C’s” of workforce health engagement:

  • Context (Why)
  • Clarity (What)
  • Credibility (Trustworthiness)
  • Caring (Well-Being)
  • Connecting (Emotional)
  • Coaching (Support)

Over time, these 6 Cs together create the Big C: a culture of health. If your organization has a culture of health, you are more likely to attract healthy and productive employees in the first place, your employees will trust that management truly cares about them, and they will make smarter decisions regarding lifestyle and health care consumption. That’s successful workforce health engagement!

Tweet: 6 Cs of workforce health engagement = 1 Big C (Culture of Health) #whe

Joining Jesse on the show is Terry Sherwood, his colleague from Aspendale Communications. Terry has over 25 years of experience helping companies communicate effectively with their employees. Her diverse background in human resources, corporate communications, and marketing provides a blend of creativity and practicality that delivers results. Terry has held senior consulting positions with several large consulting firms, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Towers Watson.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Subscription Links

iTunesStitcherRSS

Your Feedback

If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at [email protected], subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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How Gamification Changes the Engagement Game

Recently I was asked how gamification fits with other engagement strategies, or whether it replaces them altogether. The answer reveals a major reason why gamification is a game changer.

I define gamification as game-inspired tactics to engage people. Traditionally, corporate communication experts have viewed the process of engaging a target audience as a progression from awareness through action.

Traditional Engagement Levels | EngagingLeader.com

For example, if an employer launches a wellness program with the objective of educating and motivating their employees to eat healthier and get more exercise, the traditional approach is to…

  • Start with awareness tactics to catch the attention of employees and frame the conversation with the proper context. For example, these tactics might start with a brand identity for the program (to help employees view it is an important endeavor, with high-quality resources provided as a win-win for employees and the company), along with an announcement memo to employees, a postcard to their homes (to help engage their spouses), and posters and other signage.

Over time, other tactics may be added to develop the engagement level of employees so they…

  • Understand what healthy eating and exercise is and why it’s important,
  • Agree the changes are necessary and become committed to changing their behavior, and finally,
  • Take action by making healthier food and exercise choices.

Traditional Engagement Levels and Communication Tactics | EngagingLeader.com

(This diagram is simplified for the purpose of illustration. For example, in actual practice, various tactics such as social media are used at multiple levels. An actual communication plan should be custom-developed based on the organization’s goals and circumstances.)

A Needed Breakthrough

Some engagement efforts are particularly challenging because success only occurs when the audience’s action becomes a permanent habit. With wellness programs, for example, despite ongoing reinforcement communication and coaching, the long-term participation rate at most companies is low and health-risk factors such as obesity remain high.

Well-designed gamification offers the potential to break through that challenge not only as an additional tactic to encourage progression through the engagement levels, but by completely changing the engagement levels themselves. I realized this when Wharton professor Kevin Werbach pointed out what happens when a person plays a video game like Plants vs. Zombies for the first time.

Gamified Engagement Levels | EngagingLeader.com

The player’s experience demonstrates the change-up from the four traditional engagement levels to the five gamified engagement levels:

  • Notice there is still an awareness phase (when the player first notices the game), but then …
  • She moves right into action. The first level of the game is ridiculously easy, so the player learns how the game works as she plays.
  • There’s no manual or written instructions; the player simply learns by doing, and after she gains an understanding of the basics, the game becomes more challenging.
  • The game continues to become harder and more interesting, and she is motivated to come back to the game on a regular basis, until it becomes a habit. At this point there is an emotional connection similar to the commitment level in the traditional process, but from a behavior-change perspective, she has already advanced far beyond mere commitment.
  • Finally, she levels up to mastery; not only does she continue to play regularly, but she plays so well and knows so much that other players bow down before her awesomeness. If this were a gamified wellness program, she would not only have adopted a healthier lifestyle, she would be evangelizing fellow employees and coaching them to reach the higher levels.

Does Gamification Replace Other Engagement Strategies?

That depends on the scope of the program. For a relatively small scope, such as getting employees to complete their expense reports on a timely basis, early data shared by software providers such as Badgeville shows that gamification alone seems to make a significant difference. For a larger scope such as wellness, additional tactics probably increase the percentage of employees who progress to each higher level. And if the scope is quite complex, such as a business transformation or any change that affects the employer-employee relationship, it’s crucial to have a broader strategy that makes a clear, human connection between employees and their leaders about why the change is necessary, where the team is headed, and so on.
Still, gamification can be useful at every engagement level. For example, if a game is really fun to play, awareness will spread by word of mouth especially if integrated with social media such as Facebook or Yammer. For that reason, rather than tacking gamification on to one of the levels as an additional tactic (in the chart below), it is represented by a big, green G as a tactic to consider at every level.

Gamified Engagement Levels and Communication Tactics | EngagingLeader.com

 Jesse Lahey, SPHR, is the host of the Engaging Leader podcast, host of the Game Changer podcast series, and managing principal of Aspendale Communications. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.