Employee Engagement and the Management Top 250

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The name Peter Drucker is to business management what the names Mario Andretti and Dale Earnhardt are to professional racing. Drucker’s more than 60-year career as a teacher, consultant, and management thought-leader inspire his title ‘the father of modern management.’  So when the Drucker Institute, founded to advance the ideals of the management guru, presented the Management Top 250 early in December, business ears perked up.  

Interestingly, unlike other rankings, this “best of” list does not measure any single aspect of a company’s power or productivity.  Rather, the landmark ranking– with Amazon and Apple on top– holistically examines how well a business does in five areas that reflect the core principles of “a brilliant man who placed a high premium on being ethical, globally minded, and socially conscious.”

Using metrics from twelve third-party sources, 37 data inputs were compiled into five categories:  

  1. Customer satisfaction
  2. Employee engagement and development
  3. Innovation
  4. Social responsibility
  5. Financial strength

So what are companies doing to boost employee engagement and development? Adobe Systems, Inc., listed on the Management Top 250 as fourth in the category, makes listening to its employees’ feedback a priority, conducting four emailed surveys asking if they felt they could be themselves at work, whether they were encouraged to think creatively, and if they had recently had a meaningful conversation about their career development.  

For other companies that employ mostly workers paid by the hour, such as Wal-Mart, Target, Costco and Dollar General, raising starting wages and adding manager training have reduced turnover and boosted morale.  Wal-Mart, spending $2.7 billion to add front-line management training and increase wages, has experienced an upward shift in its engagement scores, having scored near the bottom for employee engagement until 2015 when numbers started to climb.

Consumer product giant Johnson & Johnson, receiving one of the highest rankings for employee engagement and development, launched an employee health screening in 2015.  The screening was part of an overall plan to increase wellness, help employees manage their time, and optimize workplace performance.  As a result, nearly all of Johnson & Johnson’s 128,000 employees have participated in a health risk assessment to evaluate health factors such as body mass and cholesterol.  

In the face of a shortage of trained workers and low unemployment rates, companies are seeking to attract– and retain– talent.  “Organizations that promote a strong sense of belonging among employees have more success cultivating engagement and, in turn, are more effective,” says Marcy Fetzer, founder of Excellence in Leadership Group, a workplace-culture consultancy.  Management research also suggests that companies perform better financially when employees are engaged in their work and feel recognized and rewarded for their efforts.  

Whether your organization decides to promote wellness projects patterned after those of Johnson & Johnson; management training and higher wage incentives that boost morale in workplaces for largely hourly employees like Wal-Mart; or email feedback surveys mimicking Adobe’s, the positive results of employee engagement efforts will rock your company’s world.

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