4 Keys to Incredible Employee Engagement

Gary Kaplan, President of Construction at XL Catlin, shares the keys -- including the Rapid Results Approach -- to engaging the workforce and creating a culture that positively impacts growth

Starting a business takes more than a great idea—it requires dedication, gumption and a commitment that often supercedes everything else. Still, with all the enthusiasm in the world, there’s still a great difference between starting a company and running a successful one for the long haul. Gary Kaplan, President of Construction at XL Catlin, understands the pragmatic necessities of running an effective business, while still engaging the workforce and creating a culture that positively impacts the growth of XL long-term. He shares his four keys to employee engagement with us below:

Embrace Inclusivity

The terms “inclusive” and “diversity” are about as big of buzzwords as “culture” was 10 years ago. Currently, the terms are mostly being used to describe the desires to hire from a diverse pool of applicants with the understanding that an inclusive atmosphere promotes a healthy company culture.

And it absolutely does.

Yet, in this instance, Kaplan describes another vital way that inclusivity impacts culture—and it starts by bringing everyone to the table. “It’s important to include everyone from the top down so they have a feeling of ownership when it comes to the results. Every month, every single employee stops and gets on a company-wide call so that we can keep everyone up to speed with what we expect, our goals, what’s being accomplished—or not—and the results.”

Inspire Leaders

“Typically our high performers are the ones that go down the path towards leadership—and we encourage it. We believe in giving them new roles to lead teams, build their leadership skills and generate results. Ultimately, it’s about guiding them to see a path for new opportunities—and this excites them.”

Stimulate Performance

Perhaps, however, Kaplan’s biggest motivator of engagement comes in 90-day team challenges—something he learned from mentors of his own in the beginning of his career. “These ‘90-day Rapid Result Initiatives’ are pure magic. It’s hard for people to be excited for an entire year—but 90 days is just enough to keep them engaged.”

Through these 3-month bursts, employees are challenged to stimulate performance by brainstorming, setting goals and ultimately showing results. “It’s vital that we’re always experiencing consistent growth and evolution, and these challenges help us to do that.”

Reward Untraditionally

To be fair, the conventional concept of a “work bonus” does immediately conjure thoughts of financial payouts. However, in today’s Millennial-driven workforce, it’s important to remember that their focus isn’t always on lining their pockets anymore. Instead, employees are shifting their priorities to a healthy work-life balance—and what better way to embrace that than with a day of rest?

“We used to give financial bonuses, but now for certain awards we give throughout the year employees are given the day off. I encourage them to not even think of work—though, with the recipients often being our top performers, it’s likely difficult for them to turn off and simply relax.” Still, Kaplan’s gesture proves that they value their employees’ personal time just as much as they value their hard work—and that matters when it comes to cultivating the culture they desire.

 This article, by Jason Richmond, originally published on Science of Story on April 10.

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