Are you having trouble keeping your employees motivated during today’s challenging times? Well, I recently caught up with human resource and leadership guru Theresa Welbourne, Ph.D.
As the President and CEO of eePulse, Inc., www.eepulse.com, a Research Professor with the Center for Effective Organizations, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California and the Editor-in-Chief of “HRM, the Journal,” Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Theresa has some great advice to help you get your employees engaged and on track for 2010.
Here’s the interview:
Tell us about eePulse.
eePulse™ is a human resource management (HRM) and leadership consulting and software firm in the business of transforming traditionally slow HR tools and processes into fast, high impact systems.
Speeding up core HR processes is done through two channels. The first is implementation of eePulse’s proprietary software as a service (SaaS) suite of products (Measurecom™, measurement and communication).
The second is improving process with the Data and Dialogue Driven Leadership™ methodology (based on over 18 years of research on the drivers of high performance). With over 13 years of experience with global clients, eePulse has teamed with customers to improve organization performance and transform the HR, organizational development and internal communicators’ roles to deliver higher strategic impact to their internal clients.
eePulse’s offering enables Fast HR™ and Extreme Strategizing. These are new, business-models designed for organizations that need to move quickly to compete and win in today’s business environment.
We also power the Leadership Pulse™, which is the first and only real-time leadership benchmarking and learning process (www.leadershippulse.com). And with all of this extensive technology and research, we’ve been able to help numerous organizations transform their slow and low-impact employee survey programs into critical business processes that are used to drive business results (all while lowering the costs of the process).
What research are you working on now to help business leaders succeed?
The research we do is in several buckets.
We conduct customized, client research that helps leaders use data from employees like a weather map. They can spot what’s working and where problem areas start to arise within the firm. They can use data from employees to anticipate changes in their competition, customers and environment. We use data very creatively so clients can speed up their response to the changes that are happening in the environment.
In addition, we aggregate client data and share big-picture learning with clients and other stakeholders – particularly through our teaching and relationships with universities and consultants.
We also innovate based on what we learn. For example, we have a set of proprietary tools that we use to help clients derive specific, metric strategies that drive results in their business. These processes can be used with or without our technology.
In addition, we working with the Center for Effective Organizations at USC and delivering a new program called “data coaching.” We’ve been doing this work within specific organizations to date and will launch the first public program in March, 2010. To enable this program, we are using a data audit process that makes use of our own measurement map.
Our work has helped businesses engage employees, improve productivity and see a significant increase in ROI, and we are really excited about expanding on our new processes and research in 2010.
From your research, what have you found to be the best ways to keep employees motivated during tough times?
First, remember that bad news itself can have some positive side effects.
If you explain to your employees the need for the cutbacks, the importance of their work now, and then talk to them about how they can positively impact revenue growth and cost containment, you then make employees part of the solution and motivate extraordinary behaviors.
You have to be aggressive and act quickly, and it’s not easy because making cuts is exhausting. We’re seeing that leadership teams are coming together, breaking silos and innovating in ways they never would have done without the external pressure of a recession (see report titled “Hope and Humility” out of crisis at www.leadershippulse.com).
Second, celebrate small things and celebrate everyone.
A few weeks ago, we opened a bottle of champagne in our kitchen (at 4:45 pm) and invited everyone into the room. We then gave everyone a small bit and just started talking about what was working well. Every person was recognized. It was an impromptu champagne bash, with champagne in paper cups, and I got a lot of positive feedback from the event.
Third, reach out to employees ongoing.
Take the “pulse” of your company by talking to everyone or by using a formal process. We work with companies that measure employee energy on a regular basis; not only does management have real-time data about their employees but workforce morale improves because they see the ongoing pulse taking as a benefit.
Where can new entrepreneurs discover more about how to improve productivity and employee engagement?
Numerous research studies are available at http://www.eepulse.com/research_papers.html, and there are case studies at http://www.eepulse.com/case_studies_change.html. But people can also share their tips and insights at no charge on the forum at http://www.energizeengage.com/. By openly discussing issues, we can see what works and what doesn’t and make changes accordingly.
Thanks for your time Theresa! To get free information on Theresa’s research and learn more, please visit one of the sites mentioned above or www.eepulse.com.
And if you need help with your marketing, SEO copywriting and public relations activities for 2010, please write to me here or at www.rembrandtwrites.com. Thanks!