Improving Employee Engagement at MasterCard
The Client: MasterCard is a multinational financial services corporation employing approximately 6,700 people. The company has an annual turnover of approximately USD 7 billion.
The Goal: To take coaching in MasterCard to the next level, create a performance feedback culture and deliver an improvement in performance and employee engagement.
The Challenge: In order to support the new business remit of “competing to win”, managers and leaders needed fully to incorporate coaching skills and behaviours into their management style.
Performance feedback is critical to improving performance and employee engagement. In 2011, MasterCard approached Performance Consultants to partner with them to launch a new coaching initiative, Coaching for Impact.
Needs and Objectives
When Ajaypal Singh Banga became CEO of MasterCard, he set the business the remit of “competing to win”. The Learning & Development team identified that in the existing business environment this required leaders to develop empowered, engaged and energized employees who would take ownership to create solutions in the face of current challenges. Their main objective was to improve employee engagement and they would measure this using the annual Employee Engagement Survey.
Performance Consultants’ Approach
Creating a Performance Feedback Culture to Improve Engagement
We started with a thorough examination of the needs. Employee Engagement Surveys have become the ultimate test for how organizations are inspiring and engaging their people. Questionnaires commonly include 50–75 rating questions and a handful of open questions so that employee opinions can be captured. The surveys cover a broad range of topics including Feedback, Teamwork, Communication, Opportunities for Growth, Work/Life Balance, Fairness, Respect for Management, Respect for Employees, Performance & Accountability and Personal Expression/Diversity. With MasterCard, we tailored a coach training programme called Coaching for Impact that addressed each of these topics.
A key area for development was feedback. In an Employee Engagement Survey, rating questions asked about feedback could be:
- I receive feedback that helps me improve my performance.
- I have an opportunity to participate in the goal setting process.
Coaching for Impact equipped managers with the practical ability to score highly in response to such questions. Once managers and leaders incorporate coaching skills and behaviours into their management style, they have the critical skills needed to create engagement. The method of delivery of such a programme is also important. In line with the winning formula that we have developed over 30 years, the programme is high-energy, interactive and, above all, practical.
As Fromm says, it is only when a person is engaged, or interested in what they are doing, that they can begin to fulfil their potential. Focusing on transformational rather than transactional coaching, our experiential programmes show managers and leaders how to grow people, performance and purpose.
“A person is happy only when he is interested in what he is doing; only then does he feel that the power of his own being is confirmed; only then can he express that power; only then is he not isolated; and only then does he feel connected with the world and not powerless. He can love things, he can love his work and he can love people.”
Erich Fromm, Life Between Having and Being
After an initial pilot, we trained 42 internal trainers to deliver Coaching for Impact to all 1,500 people managers globally. The project spanned 15 countries in Europe, US and Asia-Pacific and was supported by local Performance Consultants team members in each country. Getting the skills out to all managers in a timely manner was key to its success; all managers went through the programme in 1 year.
Client Testimony and Impact
An Employee Engagement Survey was completed once all the managers had gone through the training. It showed an improvement across the board with a noticeable jump in the area of feedback. Below, the client sponsor of the work, Don K Carter, Vice President of Management Development, Global Talent Development & Org Effectiveness of MasterCard Worldwide (2011–2014), talks about the impact of the programme and how it was recognized as a success by senior management:
“One of the key objectives of the programme was to improve our Employee Engagement – we have seen significant improvements and the programme is recognized as a great success by our senior management.”