Originally posted on Blogrige by Harry Hertz

OK, I took a little poetic license with the second “K” in the title; it looked nice! I can brag about the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) staff (including its leadership) because I am not part of the survey group below; I retired from Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) employment in 2013.

Employee Engagement
The federal government conducts an annual survey of all federal employees. The results are in for 2019 and BPEP might well have set the benchmark for the government. I have to apologize because I cannot say that with certainty; all the comparative data I have are averages. (I feel the pain of all Baldrige Excellence Framework users who seek top quartile and top decile comparisons.) The survey had 71 questions. Results are reported by indices that aggregate by topic across survey categories, by overall category responses, and by individual engagement drivers.

Let me share some results:

Does it make sense to internalize the Baldrige Excellence Framework and make it the way you work? I would have to reply with a resounding “yes.” The most striking difference among the three groups is that BPEP uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework to guide its operations and decision making. While I can’t speak to the whole federal government, I do know that both NIST and BPEP strive to select the right people with the traits and baseline skills needed to fill their jobs. That might be part of the explanation why both NIST and BPEP exceed government-wide performance.

Customer Engagement
There are many studies that demonstrate a correlation between employee engagement and customer engagement. Let me share some customer results for BPEP’s customer engagement. I will first share some recent Net Promoter Scores (for comparison the NPS for Tesla is 97, Starbucks is 77, and USAA is 65):

  • Baldrige Executive Fellows Program 100
    Likelihood to recommend the Baldrige Excellence Framework 86
  • Baldrige Quest for Excellence Conference 59 (93% rated it valuable/very valuable)

And here are some data from the survey of Baldrige Award applicants (over the life of the Program) on per cent of applicants who agreed that the use of Baldrige improved their:
outcomes/results 100

  • revenue/market growth 96
  • customer satisfaction/engagement 100
  • workforce satisfaction/engagement/retention 100
  • community support/relationships 91

Building Employee Engagement
While there are detailed questions in the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, let me share some basic workforce engagement questions from the Baldrige Excellence Builder, an introductory set of criteria questions. Considering these questions could help your organization achieve results like my colleagues (no k this time) have achieved:

  • How do you recruit, hire, and onboard new workforce members?
  • How do you organize and manage your workforce?
  • How do you determine the key drivers of workforce engagement?
  • How do you foster an organizational culture that is characterized by open communication, high performance, and an engaged workforce?
  • How do you manage career development for your workforce and your future leaders?

And it all starts with the leadership:

  • How do senior leaders’ personal actions demonstrate their commitment to legal and ethical behavior?
  • How do senior leaders communicate with and engage the entire workforce, key partners, and key customers?
  • How do senior leaders create an environment for success now and in the future?
  • How do senior leaders create a focus on action that will achieve the organization’s mission?

Finally, let me take the discussion to a “higher plane” and relate the challenges of workforce engagement to some of the Baldrige Core Values:

Visionary Leadership
Your organization’s senior leaders should set a vision for the organization, create a customer focus, demonstrate clear and visible organizational values and ethics, and set high expectations for the workforce

Valuing People
A successful organization values its workforce members and the other people who have a stake in the organization.

Societal Contributions
Your organization’s leaders should stress contributions to the public and the consideration of societal well-being and benefit.

Ethics and Transparency
Your organization should stress ethical behavior by all workforce members in all stakeholder transactions and interactions. Senior leaders should be role models of ethical behavior, including transparency.

Obviously, no organization is perfect in all these considerations, including BPEP. However, honestly addressing them may be your next step toward higher performance. Again, my congrats to the wonderful Baldrige team!

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