How do we get our employees to do their best?

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By Katrin Berntsen, August 15, 2018

One of the most important parts of a manager's job is to inspire the employees to do their best and feel engaged. Aker BioMarine has an award-winning Human Resources Department and the employees report that they feel passionate about their work. How did we make this possible?

It’s not an as easy job, but by putting our people in focus, we find that they get engaged and creative.

 

Finding the right people

The first thing they point out is that it’s essential to have the right people in the roles, meaning people with the right skill set and personal abilities to do the job.


THEN WE GIVE THEM THE TRUST AND FREEDOM TO DO THEIR JOB, SET DIRECTION AND MAKE DECISIONS TOGETHER, 
SAYS HEGE SPAUN, DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES AT AKER BIOMARINE.


It is important that employees feel a sense of purpose in their work, that what they do matters and has an impact on the results of Aker BioMarine. Spaun also points out the importance of connecting the employees’ goals to the companies goals:


«Aker BioMarine is an ambitious company, the goals are big, and the future looks bright, there are many opportunities to explore, and that also creates engagement for the employees», says Spaun. 


People are the heart of Aker Biomarine, and they are the key to success. If you manage to engage the employees, they will try to do their best.


Read more: Do you feel trusted, empowered and engaged at work?

 

How to create passion

78 per cent of Aker BioMarine’s employees say that their job is a passion of theirs, not just a job. How did we make this possible?


First of all, we measure engagement and what drives engagement, and the results indicate that the majority of our employees believe that they have autonomy in their work, that their opinion counts, that they know how their role and department contribute to the greater goals of Aker BioMarine and that they develop them self-on-the-job.


«How we’ve made it possible is a matter of people philosophy and our managers. We have a fundamental belief that people want to do a good job, and if you hire the best you need to give them the freedom to spread their wings and fly», says Spaun.


It is also a matter of having good managers that are both hands-on and hands-off, meaning that they keep in close contact with their employees but don’t micromanage.

 

Read more: Caring for talent


Think different when it comes to HR

Traditional HR focuses a lot on compliance with work rules and regulations. It is important to be compliant, but it does not add value to the company. We put our people at the centre of all we do, instead of focusing too much on rules and regulations.


WE TRY TO APPLY AN EMPLOYEE-EXPERIENCE PERSPECTIVE TO THE PROCESSES AND SYSTEMS WE IMPLEMENT


For instance, our performance review is focused on facilitating a good discussion between the employee and managers, by having both the employee and manager answer questions such as;

  • What would have the greatest impact on my ability to do my best at work more often
  • What are [name]’s strengths/improvement areas
  • How can my manager best support me in my role

Most performance management systems are set up for the managers to rate the employee's performance only. The questions above support our managers in having a good dialog with the employees, which focuses on development.  


Read more: We need more skateboarders in the boardroom


We also make results from our employee surveys (&frankly engagement) available to all, so it’s not something managers own. Establishing a culture of open and honest feedback is key to allowing new thinking to surface.


We also aim to follow best practice founded in research.

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