For Benito Cachinero-Sánchez, corporate vice president of human resources at ADP, No. 49 in The 2010 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity, the whole premise of employee engagement is about making companies more human.
To illustrate his point, Cachinero-Sánchez began his presentation at DiversityInc’s learning event in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 8 by showing a Microsoft commercial that aired in the United Kingdom, where a Black woman states, “It’s nice to be heard.”
“How many of us feel that sometimes, we are not heard?” Cachinero-Sánchez asked the audience. “It’s nice to be heard. Imagine an organization where it’s nice to be heard and, more importantly, imagine an organization where you have a kernel of an idea, a small idea, a silly idea, an improvement on a work process … and they take it on. Isn’t that wonderful? It’s wonderful because the default assumption … is that you were not going to be heard.”
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An engaged workforce is a business imperative in today’s changing marketplace, he said. People expect—even demand—more input and the ability to contribute to an organization’s success.
“There is not a single silver bullet that will create stickiness in your organization,” Cachinero-Sánchez said. “The subject of engagement and the subject of making your organization more human is a mindset shift. It’s a journey. It’s not a destination. You must be committed. It has to be multi-year. It has to be in the soup.”
He spoke of ADP’s own personal transformation. The Roseland, N.J.–based company, with annual revenue of nearly $10 billion, has nearly 50,000 employees and 600,000 clients. However, because the culture of the organization has traditionally been modest, ADP was not winning the slew of awards it’s winning today because no one was applying for them.
The result: A lot of people, including ADP’s own workforce, were not aware of the wonderful things going on behind the scenes, he said. “Our CEO Gary Butler … once said to me, ADP may be the best-kept secret in corporate America.”
Cachinero-Sánchez told the audience of an epiphany he had. He was reading a story in the “New England Journal of Medicine” profiling a Fortune 500 company that was operating a medical clinic for its employees.
“A single medical clinic?” he thought.
For the past 20 years, ADP had operated nine medical clinics that focused on prevention and cultivating a healthier lifestyle for its employees. Those clinics employed close to 32 doctors and nurses. And yet they weren’t the ones being profiled, because “I didn’t tell anybody I’m doing it.”
He said even little things that capture the human spirit can create engagement in an organization.
For example, ADP recently launched a mini-film festival: Any employee that wants to create a 3-and-a-half-minute film about how it feels to work at ADP will get a free video camera to shoot their clip. So far, 300 people have applied for a camera. He said a jury will ultimately select the best movies, which will be played on the company’s internal website.
“Again, think small,” he says. “Don’t think you have to implement this gigantic initiative that will change the face of the company.”
Another small initiative that has had a big impact: Employees are encouraged to submit quotes of the day, which are then featured prominently on the company’s internal website.
“People are loving it,” he says “Anything that allows you to let humans put their thumbprint on your organization is wonderful.”