Each day on my subway ride to work this summer, I couldn’t help but notice that almost every rider’s eyes was glued to some type of device or screen. If not, it was more likely than not they were browsing a newspaper or, on rare occasion, reading a paperback book. In today’s fast-paced and highly-digitized world, authentic engagement is becoming increasingly scarce. There are more social media platforms, news sources, marketing campaigns, and TV shows vying for our time and attention. Across a variety of industries and businesses, engagement has become an essential ingredient for success. The importance of engagement is evident in successful social media or marketing campaigns which foster and maintain their target audience’s attention.
The same applies for businesses and their workforce. Jacob Morgan in the Harvard Business Review explains that businesses who employ the most holistic and comprehensive approaches to employee engagement not only saw performance gains, but also had “four times the average profits and more than two times the average revenue. They were also almost 25% smaller, which suggest higher levels of productivity and innovation.”
For Hilltop Consultants, member engagement is a crucial element at the organization and team level. Just like any business or firm, Hilltop consultants and members who return semester after semester drive organizational growth and progress. More experienced members draw from a wider base of experience, are promoted into leadership roles, and are better equipped to train, support, and mentor new members in their development. A formal mentorship model encourages professional engagement while traditional end-of-project “team dinners” promote involvement beyond weekly meetings and presentations.
I have seen the value of engagement on each of my Hilltop teams. The most successful brainstorming and storyboard meetings occur when team members are engaged with one another, engaged with the research findings, and engaged with our client’s objectives. When people are involved and interested in their work, they bring a sense of enthusiasm that is reflected in a higher-quality final product.
Engagement is also essential to the success of many non-profits. This semester, our team worked for a local non-profit looking to increase their community’s participation rates. The client came to us because they understood that without consistent community involvement and a solid base of support, their goal to increase awareness of their cause and provide mission-driven services is not feasible.
Client relations and deliverable development also require engagement. Last semester, my project team attended a client-hosted congressional lunch as well as their annual gala in order to develop a better sense of their activities and events. One of their objectives for the semester was to produce an event model that would bolster millennial engagement, while increasing brand and cause awareness. Participating in these events gave us valuable insight into the organization: what our client was already doing well and what areas we could work to improve. In addition to the event model, the client was looking for strategies to increase involvement of younger generations. Through social media strategy, our team was able to take advantage of existing platforms and reach potential supporters through avenues designed to maximize engagement.
Whether it is a non-profit-client project, a Hilltop team, a private business, or a social media platform, vertical and lateral engagement drive continuous improvement and long-term success. Strong strategies and creative metrics help to better understand how to harness the power of engagement.