Episode 92.5 – Green Apple Slice


4 Key Steps for Creating Employee Engagement


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or an Android app.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a Search Party article, “4 Key Steps for Creating Employee Engagement” by Annette Ainsbury.


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    John: It’s another Monday episode of Green Apple Slices. This is John Garrett coming to you with Rachel Fisch. Rachel, how you doing?

    Rachel: Good. How are you doing, John?

    John: Doing great. The accountant’s grand poobah whatever at Sage, right?

    Rachel: Sure. Yup.

    John: So excited to have you back. This week found an article at the Search Party blog. Four Key Steps for Creating Employee Engagement by Annette Ainsbury. If you want to get a link to the actual article, you can go to greenapplepodcast.com and click on it there.

    I thought it was pretty good as far as how do you create employee engagement? She’s like “It’s deceptively simple.”

    Rachel: When I saw the title, it felt like we had done this article like a gazillion times before, but I actually really appreciated some of the things that were inside of it.

    First of all, it’s really important that you’re not trying to replicate what you see at other companies. I think you can be inspired when you do see companies that are doing the culture and the engagement piece well, but I don’t think you can then say “Okay, now we’re going to do that at our company”, because I think that each business has really unique culture, and so that engagement needs to accompany that.

    You can take a look at for example Two Sheets that do a really phenomenal job culture-wise and their pros – bookkeepers and accountants – are really engaged with them. You can’t be another app, say “Well, I’m just going to do all the things that Two Sheets does.” You’re not Two Sheets. It’s not going to work the same way. You don’t have the same people. You don’t have the same leadership. But what you can do is take some inspiration from what they’re doing or from how they’re engaging with their audience, and then pull that in to see if it will work for you, as well.

    Then she also goes on to talk about engagement indicators as opposed to engagement driver.

    John: That hurt my brain a little bit, to be honest with you. I was like “Woah.” Yeah. But it’s kind of neat how the engagement indicators are the behaviors that you think define engagement at your place.

    What are the indicators that means that’s an engaged employee? We’re an engaged culture? Things like loyalty and pride and productivity and things along those lines.

    The engagement drivers, though, are the activities that influence or “drive” these indicators. Compensation, management performance, career opportunities, development, training. Things like that that the more engagement drivers that you have funneling people towards this engagement indicator.

    Rachel: Right. I think that in many cases, they kind of overcomplicated things. When you’re looking at an engagement driver, to me, that’s just trying to find out those people who you want to engage or be engaged – what’s their currency? Are they motivated by money? Are they motivated by praise? Are they motivated by spending one-on-one time with you? Are they motivated by a small gift on their desk when they come in in the morning?

    Basically, what is their currency? Then using that to encourage. I don’t think it’s – I was just thinking, that’s kind of manipulative. It’s not manipulative in the way that I really love it when people spend time with me, and that’s how I feel appreciated, so I do that to other people, because I think that they do it the same way. It’s totally not. It’s like, just give me some cash already, right?

    But you want to make sure that you are appreciating people and engaging people in that currency or in that way that they will feel the appreciation and the engagement.

    John: Right. It takes just a little bit of time to show a little bit of genuine interest in people to find out, yeah, what is it that makes them tick? What’s their “why”? The Simon Sinek. What’s all that? Because for different people, it’s different things. The days are gone where people are like “Oh, yeah, I want to work at this firm and just put in as many hours as possible and become a partner.”

    People are like “It’s not always the biggest factor anymore. I have hobbies and passions outside of work that I love to do. I have a family that I love to be around.” Sometimes freedom, sometimes flexibility. It’s just everyone’s got a different thing. It’s just taking the time to find that out.

    Now, on the other hand, you can’t appease every single person in every exact way. You’ve got to find what are kind of some of the common ones that’ll hit most of the people and go with those and take it from there.

    Rachel: What I’m really liking about the accounting and bookkeeping world right now is that if that’s something that you want to do, if you want to be in a firm where you’re clearly on the partner track right from campus high or all the way through, there are firms like that, but if that’s not your jam, there are now so many more options in so many more firms and businesses that will do that as well.

    Chris Hooper’s doing an awesome job at Accodex down in Australia and really kind of feeding that into the partners. There’s other firms, of course, around the world even, that are doing the same thing. You don’t need to feel stuck in the type of straight-laced collar firm. There are options now. You can do the work that you love but in an environment that you love as well, too.

    John: Definitely. DOZ’s another one out of Indianapolis. They actually have every single person on staff is part of a committee – one of 13 committees – and then they actually listen to the people and implement those things. That’s the next step of all of this is you define the engagement and what the drivers are, and then you actually get feedback and put into action those things so then the people feel valued.

    Rachel: Yeah. I think something like culture and engagement isn’t a policy you can frame and stick on your wall. It has to be connected to action items, right?

    John: Definitely. Definitely.

    There you go, everybody. That’s another episode of the Green Apple Slices. My brain hurts, so we’re going to have to stop talking about this. Rachel, it’s too much. Too much. But thank you so much.

    Everyone, you can go to greenapplepodcast.com. There’s a link to the article. You can also subscribe on iTunes or your favorite Android app. If you’ve got 60 seconds, just leave a review there. That would be really fantastic.

    Have a good rest of the week, Rachel.

    Rachel: Awesome. You too, John.

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