3M workforce planning

Trust is the Foundation of Engagement at 3M

3M differentiates between employee satisfaction and employee engagement by looking at how the perceptions, behaviors and drivers associated with each word differ. The company found that while engaged employees are satisfied and demonstrate satisfaction behaviors as well as engagement behaviors, the same is not necessarily true in reverse: satisfied employees don’t always display engagement behaviors.

3M defines engagement as: “an individual’s sense of purpose and focused energy, evident to others in the display of personal initiative, effort and persistence directed toward organizational goals.”

With this in mind, 3M’s engagement model looks at conditions for engagement that include engagement attitudes, engagement behaviors and organizational outcomes. The basic building blocks of engagement at 3M are:

  • Fair/consistent treatment leads to people trusting their environment,
  • Trusting one’s environment leads to a sense of safety,
  • People feel safe to take action on their own initiative, supporting engagement and innovation.

How does a global company ensure alignment worldwide?

Karen B. Paul, Ph.D., who leads Global HR Measurement for 3M, says that the fundamentals of engagement are universal; the desire for meaning and purpose in the workplace knows no borders; how the company capitalizes on the fundamentals is local, and how these two facts are aligned can produce engagement and financial success.

At 3M, employee engagement is definitely on the rise with consistent increases on key measures—commitment, innovation, engagement and risk-taking, even during a time of economic uncertainty. 3M’s research validates the business case for employee engagement, finding that engagement attitudes predict 3M plant absenteeism (short-term disability), reduced benefits costs, evidence that lab employee engagement attitudes are linked to innovation and profitability, and linking employee engagement with customer loyalty and sustainability.

This is an excerpt from i4cp's report, Employee Engagement Strategies and Practices, available to i4cp members exclusively.

Lorrie Lykins
Lorrie is i4cp's Vice President of Research. A thought leader, speaker, and researcher on the topic of gender equity, Lorrie has decades of experience in human capital research. Lorrie’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other renowned publications.