The most engaged… are first in line.

mailchimpRecently I read a blog post about email marketing and delivery, and that line struck me. Stick with me, because I think there’s an intriguing question it brings up.

People that run companies and blogs often use delivery services to communicate with customers and readers. I use a tool called MailChimp and have for several years. I have a little bit (okay, a lot!) of a geeky side, so I follow their blog to stay up to date on best practices for email marketing, product updates, etc. A short while back they posted an interesting piece describing how they send emails to large groups quickly. Here’s a snippet:

Our sending infrastructure is designed to turn large campaigns into smaller “payloads” to get them out the door much faster. When you click Send in the Campaign Builder, you’re actually telling MailChimp to start biting off parts of your campaign. As each payload is created, it’s immediately routed to our Mail Transfer Agents (MTAs) and queued for delivery. We organize this based on subscriber member ratings, so the most engaged subscribers in your campaign are first in line.

In email marketing speak, engaged subscribers are those that open, read, and click through the emails. Over time they are ranked based on how often they complete those tasks from highly engaged to not-so-much.

That made me wonder–what would happen if we could tweak our HR service delivery to prioritize those who are most engaged? For instance, if two requests come in for support and both will take an hour to complete, we would determine which employee was most engaged and handle their request first.

What if…?

On one hand, it seems like that approach could have a detrimental effect on those already on the cusp of disengagement. But should we be focusing our efforts on those individuals? I mean, engaged staff are pretty valuable to the organization…

Jim Harter Ph.D., a chief scientist at Gallup Research explained what engaged employees do differently in an email interview: “Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant. They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”

Harter, who has co-authored over 1,000 articles on the topic as well as two bestsellers, also says engaged employees “continuously recreate jobs so that each person has a chance to do what they do best.” Engaged employees “listen to the opinions of people close to the action (close to actual safety issues and quality or defect issues), and help people see the connection between their everyday work and the larger purpose or mission of the organization.” When engaged employee do this they create a virtuous circle where communication and collaboration nurture engagement and vice versa.

Considering the benefits, why do companies still struggle to foster engagement? Harter writes, “Many organizations measure either the wrong things, or too many things, or don’t make the data intuitively actionable. Many don’t make engagement a part of their overall strategy, or clarify why employee engagement is important, or provide quality education to help managers know what to do with the results, and in what order.” Source

On the other hand, just like we’ve learned over time that focusing on strengths can deliver more value than focusing on weaknesses, maybe we should be focusing on making sure those engaged employees get the best service that the HR team has to offer. If we consider it logically:

  1. It helps to maintain or improve engagement levels
  2. It helps to prevent a slide toward disengagement
  3. It might help to drive additional results from those individuals

Another similar example of this is handling support requests from free and paid users of a product. Often times when companies use the “freemium” model and have a free version of their tools, the paid users have priority when it comes to getting support/help from the provider.

What are your thoughts? Would it make sense to handle our requests from employees based on the individual’s engagement level? What would be potential benefits or pitfalls? 

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  • One thought on “Prioritizing Employees by Engagement Level

    1. It is extremely important to focus on strengths. Pointing out the plus points can truly make a difference. Though I do not believe that it is a good idea to minimize the weaknesses, what matters is to know how to approach this sensitive issue, and to give quality its deserved place.

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