Building Employee Satisfaction


For our third and last HR Committee of the year, we were very lucky to welcome two outstanding speakers who spoke with passion and sincerity about the topic of employee satisfaction and engagement, to a packed audience.

Our first speaker Grégory Dancs, President and Representative Director of NAOS Japan, insisted on the fact that people are the #1 asset of a company. Employee satisfaction in fact bears a strong correlation to customer satisfaction. Having said that, satisfaction is necessary but not sufficient, and only building employee engagement will ultimately ensure your staff goes the extra mile, and stays committed to your organization. Engagement can be measured against 4 axes: company values (culture, vision, and development policy), job (clear responsibilities, meaning, work-life balance), co-workers, and managers. The managers are the key element in building employee engagement, and bad management is too often the real reason behind staff attrition. Practically, this means that managers need to communicate and live company values, create a positive working environment (celebrating “small successes”), empower people (e.g. let them do the presentations themselves), set objectives, provide continuous not annual feedback, and build a development plan to grow the employee. This is all the more important when managing millennials, who are looking to be mentored rather than directed – or scolded! Gone is the perception that people are limited by their skills (aka “fixed mindset”), managers need to embrace the shift to a “growth mindset”, in which people build from their failures and learn new skills in the process.

Like Grégory, our next speaker Yoshihiro Morita, Vice President, HR, Japan/Korea/Thailand at American Express, is a strong advocate of employee happiness as a necessary element of employee engagement, even though it is not the only one. Over the years, American Express has been creating a culture in which employees feel included, welcome. This is evidenced in the effort put in promoting women to management positions, in advocating LGBT rights, and now in shifting the terminology from “Employee” to “Colleague”. Colleague engagement at American Express is built through the following actions, among others: performance recognition through the Reward Blue program, in which colleagues can send thank you messages or nominate their coworkers for an award; Work from Home policies that adapt to the wishes and constraints of both the employee and his/her direct manager (no “top-down” one block policy from top management); internal communication tools such as The Square intranet social media platform and AmexTV… Colleague Engagement is measured every year through two company-wide surveys: Annual Pulse (internal) and Great Place to Work (external). Survey results are then analyzed and translated into company improvement plans. Morita san gave several examples, including the creation of an internal “career event” to answer colleague’s requests for more visibility on their possible career paths, and “meeting guidelines stickers” to help colleagues reduce the amount of unnecessary time they felt they spent in meetings.

We wish to thank our speakers and our audience for a very positive and successful event.    

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