National President Solveig Malvik got the opportunity to interview Wayne Clarke, International Partner, Best Companies Partnership (the company resposible for the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies award) about his experiences with JCI and how Wayne feels JCI can contribute to a company’s employee engagement.
Wayne first got in touch with JCI at National Awards in Reading in 2009 and has since then been stuck in from being key-note speaker at the JCI Global Partnership Summits in New York to JCI World Congresses in both Osaka in 2010 and Brussels in 2011.
Wayne’s company Best Companies measure how engaged employees are in companies and how this affects the financial performance of the same company. In short, it does! The more engaged your employees are, the better your company performs. And Wayne believes that the best way to get engaged employees is to get them involved with JCI…read the interview…
Solveig Malvik: So, Wayne, can you tell us a bit about your experience with personal growth factor in companies and the success of companies?
Wayne Clarke: So there’s 8 factors that we measure in our surveys, ehm, there are three of them which really do stands out in terms of being the most influential for how people feel about being at work. One of those is what we call the personal growth factor. So the most influential factor that we measure is how you feel about your manager, then how you feel about your leader, we also ask a number of questions about how you feel about the company, but really one of the most practical thing organisations can focus on is what we call personal growth. Now, in the personal growth factor we’re actually measuring a very specific question which is: do you feel that you’ve got the learning, you know, enough learning and growing opportunities within your organisation. Do you feel grown? And the specfic nature of the question is, is do you feel that there are limited opportunities to learn and grown within this organisation.
Now the way that people respond to that question seems to have a big effect on how they feel about everything else at work. So what we know, is that, the responses to that question, aren’t really related to the amount of money organisations spend on training and development, because we’ve companies that have zero training and development budgets but they do well on that question, so what we’re looking at really is say, as a manager or as a leader, how much time do you truly spend with your people helping them to think about the opportunities that they can access in terms of learning, growing and developing. And the default position is usually to default back to the corporate training programme which often isn’t designed in the right way in the first place. So we know that personal growth is a big issue and we know that the way to solve it is about having managers who understand and can have the type of conversations they need to with the people that they look after to identify what those individuals really need. So the personal growth factor is huge to affect the engagement levels of companies.
SM: So can you give us some examples on personal growth opportunities that the managers can present to their employees?
WC: So I had, I’ll give you a personal one, one of the people that works in our organisation, who’s been there for a year and a half, really smart, is a engineering graduate and very clever, and one of the conversations we talked about is how she feels about her future, and when asked the question, of you know, if you could wave a magic wand in the next twelve months and create a future that you’ll really love, what would it be? And her immediate response was “I’m not sure”. Which for me was interesting because I’ve kind of always been sure, but then if you think back, I don’t think she’s ever had that conversation with anyone growing up in her career. So you know I had a boss who had those kind of conversations with me on a regular basis as I grew up in my professional life. That’s not a common experience though, so you’ve got lots and lots of people who haven’t had those kind of conversations. Now we sat and we ended up talking for about 5 or 6 hours about what it is that she really wants. And she ended up coming up with an absolutely fantastic 12 month plan of a future that exites and engages her, but it came from the willingness from me as a manager or as a leader or mentor or however you want to put it, to have the in depth conversation and care enough about her to ask the questions about what she really wanted. And I know it sounds quite soft and fluffy but that’s the basis of what we’ll say is a great manager relationship.
SM: Can you tell us about your first meeting with JCI? Your first impression of JCI when you came to Reading.
WC: Yeah, so, what a crazy lot of people! Who the hell has a conference on a Saturday, that was my first thought when I got asked to speak. So I mean I was really blown away because we spend most of our time in companies talking about these challenges, talking about the importance of personal growth in companies. Then I’m there on a Saturday, with I think 60 people in a room in Reading, who’ve taken their own personal time because they’re committed to growing themselves and that for me was, just it blew my mind, which is why I’ve ended up being such a fan and devoting, you know, my time and energy to JCI over the last, what, two years now? As a result of that session. I think that was December 2009.
And I mean I recently sent an email to, he was the guy used to be the chief exec of one of the big accountancy companies, and I sent him an email connecting him with JCI, and what I’d put in the email was, JCI is the most engaged organisation I’ve ever come across. Because it’s a voluntary organisation of people who absolutely care about making a difference in their local areas as well as for themselves in terms of the opportunities they’ve to grow and develop themselves, so. JCI is the most inspirational organisation I’ve ever come across. Love it.
SM: Thank you Wayne!
Categorised in: Charity
This post was written by Solveig Malvik