Janine N.Truitt, Chief Innovations Officer, Talent Think Innovations, LLC

Janine TruittJanine is the Owner/Chief Innovations Officer for Talent Think Innovations, LLC, a business strategy consulting firm. Her aim is to provide practical and sustainable solutions, programs and strategies that are a catalyst for innovation. She is also the Founder and Chief Blogger at “The Aristocracy of HR” and Host of Periscope TV show “Ask Czarina Live”. Janine is a globally-known figure, dynamic speaker, entrepreneur, and a respected voice bringing both a human touch and business savvy to HR and Technology. She has been quoted by Maternity.com, SHRM, US News Careers and been featured by Entrepreneur, Black Enterprise, and Ebony Magazines.

What does employee engagement mean to you?

Employee engagement is the extent to which your employees feel connected to and motivated by the work that they do.

How to measure employee engagement?

There are several ways to measure employee engagement:

1) Are your employees actively participating in the work activities day-to-day?

2) Performance Evaluation/Quality of Performance: If your employees are consistently underperforming or are inconsistent with performing at optimal levels – this could be a measure of how engaged they are.

3) Absenteeism. Abrupt or even gradual changes in an employee’s attendance could mean a disengaged workforce.

4) Turnover: How long are people remaining with your organization before they move on to other opportunities? Turnover rates alone don’t tell the full story, but a revolving door of good employees could mean there are bigger issues to be dealt with.

5) How attentive and engaging are employees in meetings and other company-related gatherings?

6) Solicited feedback from employees via stay interviews, exit interviews, performance evaluations and surveys are also ways of measuring how people feel about the work they do and the teams they work with.

What are the common causes of employee disengagement?

Some common causes of employee disengagement are:

1) Lack of meaning/purpose in the work the employee does or the employee cannot see the how their individual contributions connect to the overall company vision.

2) Lack of recognition and/or remuneration for the work being performed by the employee.

3) When employees don’t feel socially assimilated or connected to co-workers and leaders it can cause the employee to distance themselves if they feel they cannot show up as they are.

4) Toxic leadership and/or a hostile work environment can make people feel helpless and effectively make them disengage.

5) A lack of opportunities whether they be promotions or lateral moves. Employees like to feel like they have options or are empowered to take further steps in their career.

6) Non-existent employee relations function or an employee relations program that does not protect employees. If an employee does not feel safe to voice a concern around how they are treated this can also cause the employee to disengage from the company.

What are the drivers of employee engagement in today’s fast-moving world?

The average tenure for employees these days is 3-5 years at any given organization. This shift means organizations have to focus on coaxing the best from their employees for the time they have them.

Employees want to be sold on the value proposition of remaining employed with you. Your pitch must be a mix of properly-cadenced communication (that also needs to be genuine nature) whereby the employee gets to connect their work to the bigger picture. This transparent communication also needs to be backed by real investment in the growth, development, and training of the employees.

Increasingly, work and life are blending. Companies who want to succeed at employee engagement will study and understand where work and life intersect for their employees while also trying to ease pain points/barriers that could prevent employees from fully showing up at work.

Employees will always have a myriad of reasons why they must move on. Your best case scenario is the employee who chooses to move on for reasons other than cultural blunders that could have either been avoided or fixed.

What makes a really effective employee engagement programme? Any best practices to share.

We need to get away from viewing employee engagement as another HR programme. Employee engagement is a matter of understanding what motivates people to show up every day and give you their best. Today’s employees are asking more and more “why should I show up to give Company X my best?” The “why” is important as employer’s will have to be clear on how employees benefit by being employed with them.

Understanding individual career goals and purpose can go a long way in addressing many engagement concerns that crop up as a result of the dissonance between personal pursuits and the company’s bottom-line and operational objectives. Adopting practices of continuous communication and feedback can go a long way in getting ahead of some of the cultural and team challenges that can lead to employee disengagement. Keeping the lines of communication open coupled with a process for taking action against any circumstance or person preventing team members from being able to show up fully and perform is important.

There should be a regular evaluation of how opportunities are presented and offered within your organization. Special attention should be paid to compensation and/or your total rewards to see that there are no gaps in how your employees are compensated for their efforts.

Additionally, understanding that your efforts as an organization have to meet the needs of individuals as well as the collective workforce. A mix of initiatives that address individual development and the employee experience at scale will allow you to address any blind spots that can arise when relying solely on employee survey data and one-size-fits-all employee engagement programmes.

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