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June - 2016 - issue > CXO Insights

Employee Engagement: A Best Practice in Building a Strong Corporate Culture

Katherine Mancuso, Vice President - HR, ShoreTel
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Katherine Mancuso, Vice President - HR, ShoreTel
Headquartered in California, ShoreTel specializes in the development and sale of IP communications systems for global enterprises and it also enables the IT administrators to view & manage the entire system of the enterprise from any location using a single application

Engagement is a word that has multiple meanings. But in my eyes as a Vice President of human resources, focusing on employee engagement is something the best companies to work for pay close attention to. While there are many areas that could fall under the engagement umbrella, it's best to focus on a key few in order to have a positive outcome for employees as well as overall company health and success. In my experience, a company is served well by having high-level initiatives driven from the top while empowering the local/regional locations to adapt these programs. The current three areas of focus for my team are community, wellness and culture.

I have found that getting employees involved and giving them a voice as to what programs are meaningful to them creates engagement from the start. The structure that works well for us is having a corporate committee made up of diverse team members who champion programs and events in these three areas; then at each office location there are local employee committees who drive the programs, making changes and tweaks to serve the needs of that particular employee base. The key to making this work is to have things in common at the highest level while keeping in mind the local interests and passions.

One commonality for my team is community involvement and giving back to others. Many of our offices organize events to raise money for charity or to collect goods such as toys or warm winter coats. Other teams are focused on hands-on activities, working at a charity to repair buildings or sort donations for example. Community involvement is such a big part of our culture that twice a year our global sales organization gets involved in a project, timed with the annual sales kick-off as well as the President's club reward trip. It's a great way for employees to feel involved and valued outside of their day-to-day job and the satisfaction of doing a good deed is embraced by all generations in the workplace.

Turning to wellness, there are a lot of things a company can do to engage employees on this important topic. Since the lines between work and personal time are blurring more & more, any resources that a company can bring into the work environment will be appreciated by the staff. For instance, our India office sponsors lectures by doctors on various health topics. In the U.S., winter flu shot clinics are scheduled and regular chair massages are offered. And globally, we've sponsored a Step Challenge to encourage people to be more active in a friendly virtual competition with others from inside and outside the company. These programs engage employees in a topic that is important to all - health & wellness and overall well-being and development.

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