How much can a company with a well-connected team benefit from an employee engagement survey? Quite a lot, as it turns out. As a result of insights derived from the survey data, Capital Asset Management has moved to improve communication, connection, and collaboration for their team, and with results that prove their success.
It all started at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020 when the Capital Asset Management team took advantage of a free offer to use Engagement Multiplier’s “Working from Home & Winning” survey, designed to help leaders check in on employees making the abrupt switch from working in the office together to working from home during the lockdown.
“The amount of insight it produced was fantastic,” Chirine Harb, the company’s head of operations, told us. “We learned that employees were comfortable working from home, and felt secure. But they were worried about their jobs.”
Webinar Replay: The CEO Viewpoint
Hear first-hand from Capital Asset Management’s CEO, Alan Smith, about his team’s remarkable approach to employee engagement, and the benefits the company has realized. Watch here.
That concern about job security was a surprise to the company’s leaders – after all, the firm was stable and successful, and busier than ever due to the chaotic financial markets. The leadership team swung into action and made a focused effort to calm the waters by reaching out to their employees, giving them comfort by assuring them that they were needed more than ever. That led Chirine to take the next step of having her team participate in a full Benchmark Assessment, Engagement Multiplier’s comprehensive employee engagement survey.
The team scored well – solidly in the Successful range – but once again, the survey delivered insights that were revelatory. While the company leaders suspected that their employees would flag communications as an area of improvement, they didn’t know the extent to which it affected the team.
“Our first benchmark survey clearly identified that what the team was looking for – hands down, without a shadow of a doubt – it was more communication,” said Chirine. “We talk a lot! We’re a bunch of talkers, so we thought we were doing OK, but they told us they wanted
“The fact that you can log into the site and look at the results immediately, and then reply to people anonymously, is fantastic,” Chirine says of using Engagement Multiplier. “You can always ask for more information if someone was unclear in an answer. They can reply back, and that in itself made people feel valued. We learned what the team is looking for, based on data, based on evidence, and based upon what people are saying in the survey.”
An enhanced communication plan
Within short order, Capital Asset Management’s leadership team had developed an enhanced communication plan, which included:
Two new meetings: ‘Monday Motivation’ and the ‘Friday Round-Up.’ The format is simple: at the beginning of the week, everyone shares their key plans for the week. On Fridays, they catch up to see how everyone’s week went.
Monthly CEO videos: Alan Smith, the company’s CEO, began sending videos to the team throughout the month to share updates and kudos.
“Alan’s Breakfast” – Once a month, the company arranges to have breakfast delivered to all employees in their homes. The team then meets to eat breakfast together and hear from the CEO directly.
“We were thinking ‘Wow, this is too much,’” said Chirine of the company’s stepped-up communications. “But the feedback from the team said it was great.”
Results that boost the bottom line
However, the impact of the enhanced communications plan extends beyond positive feedback from employees. The business benefits the company has derived are profound.
“Without a doubt, we are solving problems a lot quicker than we were before,” noted Chirine. “ We’re also highlighting issues more quickly, which means we can jump on solving them a lot faster. The bottom line: the cost of operational errors is lower. We’re also seeing process enhancements, social ideas, more engagement, and better communication between each other and leaders.”
Chirine also notes that the team feels a greater connection to Smith’s vision for the business, and takes confidence in hearing first-hand from him about the direction of the business.
“The impact, I think, is emotional, too,” reflected Chirine. “Because he’s okay, we’re okay.”
A key part of employee engagement is developing and maintaining a connection between employees, leadership, and the business. For Capital Asset Management, the pandemic sheds new light on the importance of personal connection.
The company is proud of its approach to learning, development, and performance management, which is called “Capital Academy” and features regular one-on-one meetings.
Recently, however, Capital Asset Management’s leaders have also come to realize the importance of using one-on-one meetings and Capital Academy reviews to keep tabs on how employees are doing on a human level.
“It is important for leaders to check up on their teams and not assume they are OK just because productivity levels are high,” notes Chirine. “We’re looking more at how the employees are coping on a personal level, going beyond productivity.”
Chirine also notes that she – not the employee – pulls the data and puts the objectives together and sets the meeting.
“We’ve reinstated these meetings with vigor,” Chirine says. “I don’t miss one. And I take responsibility to chase people to schedule the meetings, even when they’re very busy.
Why the laser focus on the individual?
“I’m taking care of that person,” she continues. “They need to feel taken care of, and they know we care about them and value them as people. I want to talk to them as a person, to find out how they’re really doing.”
This focused, personal approach has paid dividends in reassuring employees, while also taking the value of the quarterly discussions to a new level.
“The team members feel really valued in that you’re really looking after their career progression, their development, their mental health, their physical health, their training, and anything else that has to do with them personally,” says Chirine.
The employee feedback has been powerful, with employees describing the meetings as “lovely,” and “the best one to ones I’ve ever had because they’re really specific to me.”
While there’s no question the bespoke quarterly meetings are more work for Chirine, who organizes them, the impact has been remarkable. As a result, the team is going above and beyond what they need to do on a daily basis to grow the business.
“This personal approach and interest in the team makes them want to give you that extra above and beyond effort. It’s not about just doing their job,” she notes. “They like what they’re doing, and they like who they’re doing it for, and that easily translates into productivity.”
As the pandemic wore on through the spring into the summer, Capital Asset Management’s leaders wanted to give people the option to come back into the office and see each other in person. Chirine had the idea to make this “first day back” a special one, focused on bringing the team back together and developed the company’s first Collaboration Day.
Attendance was optional, and employees were given the choice to attend in person, or virtually. All participated, and everyone chose the in-person option.
Leadership set the agenda, which was focused on dissecting a process and rebuilding it. However, as Chirine was careful to point out, the day was not over-structured. The agenda was loose, with no time constraints. The focus was on the purpose of the day and achieving the end goal, not sticking to a schedule.
By all accounts, the day was a resounding success. The team was invigorated and truly felt reunited, and they delivered on the day’s objective: the process they rebuilt shaved multiple days off of the time required to complete what had been a long, tiring ordeal.
Since that successful first Collaboration Day, Capital Asset Management has hosted five more. The icing on the cake for the company is the undeniable business benefit they’ve realized from the six Collaboration Days they’ve held: the team has enhanced three arduous processes that formerly took up to five days each to complete. All three can now be completed in less than a day.
It’s a journey
Employee engagement isn’t a one-and-done exercise, Chirine emphasized.
“I’m not going to lie to you. It is hard work, keeping on top of it,” she said. “But it is worth every bit of effort you put into it. As much as the team is putting a brave front right now, they need a lot of support and the Engagement Multiplier platform allows us to keep tabs on what they’re thinking.”
Engagement Multiplier provided the structure Capital Asset Management needed to enhance employee engagement, or as Chirine puts it, “You’ve given me a direction of travel.”
However, much credit is due to the effort of the entire Capital Asset Management team. Tools get the best results if used with skill, and we applaud the creative, thoughtful, and persistent approach the company has taken to employee engagement, using the data and insights gleaned from their employee engagement surveys as the foundation for a strategic and effective engagement plan that delivers measurable business results.