When Procter and Gamble developed a potato crisp they needed a way to ship it without having the chips crumble. Enter Frederic Baur. He invented the canister that has housed billions of Pringles potato chips while giving teachers a cylindrical object used for class projects such as lighthouses and barn silos.
Baur took great pride in his accomplishment. The design, which seems simplistic to Monday morning quarter backs, allowed the chip to be safely shipped throughout the globe. As a result, Pringles introduced potato chips to people that had never tasted the traditional chip – quickly allowing it to become the highest selling potato chip brand in the world.
But Baur took his product much more seriously and when he died his internment request was granted. He was cremated and a portion of his ashes were buried in one of his canisters.
Wouldn’t it be great if all employees had that much loyalty and pride in their accomplishments?
Employee engagement has been a hot topic in leadership circles for well over a decade. Yet strengthening the connection of team members to the vision and mission of an organization remains a struggle. Historically Gallop has polled the percentage of highly engaged employees at 25% or less and although recent surveys indicate a rise it is only a small increase with 28% being the most recent engagement level.
Some blame the characteristics of the millennial generation, which typically is more connected to their resume building than to their employer. However, some employers have found traits within the generation that actually makes its members among the most dedicated and engaged groups the workforce has known.
What do they do?
Since this generation has learned teamwork throughout their educational life one of the best ways to engage them is to incorporate them into decision making and special projects. This allows then to better understand the business processes being used while helping them to see value in their participation. What really happens is a business process becomes a teaching and employee development experience that increases the employee’s sense of worth while developing a better workforce for the organization.
There are many other ways to engage millennials. As millennials attempt to experience variety in their career, high performance companies are allowing, even encouraging, employees to cross train or to transfer among divisions. Someone may start in marketing and later move to operations or human resources. This allows the team member to find the career segment that excites them the most. Although some training expense is incurred by the employer, it is minimal compared to finding someone new to add to the company. Of course the transferring associate’s old sport needs to be filled – but they move someone else within the organization to the void.
This is what we see with Baur. He was shown a serious predicament and was allowed to be a part of the solution. Although he was not a millennial, the lesson we see applies across generations.
Use this inspiring story for workshops, training sessions, staff meetings, personal development, or conference regarding: