In part one of 3 key steps you could take to better engage your workforce, I looked at how listening to your team, banishing the blame culture and not reading too much into surveys could all help increase engagement.
Below are the final 4 key steps you can take to increase staff engagement in your business.
Engagement: 4. Honesty
Resist the urge to dress-up feedback or findings from research with employees. Be straightforward with your feedback and avoid packaging employee’s input under a catchy theme, e.g. “The ABC’s of Engagement”.
Employees know what they told the interviewer and if important issues are omitted from what is shared with them or packaged in a cutesy way, they will know it and distrust the organisation. Obviously, this will not help improve engagement. It’s important to candidly report the key issues that emerge in research and then announce an action plan to make improvements.
Engagement: 5. Implement Interventions
After the survey findings are in, and employees are interviewed to identify interventions, the hard part really begins. It’s critical to make some changes. Does this sound obvious? Unfortunately, there are companies that, upon completion of the research and identification of interventions, do not proceed with the most difficult part – implementing change.
Some companies make plans to re-survey their employees one year after the original survey to gauge improvement, even though they have done nothing differently since the original survey. That is a recipe for disaster! If a company has identified engagement issues after a baseline survey and does nothing about them, I can guarantee conditions will be worse one year later.
Engagement: 6. Involve Senior Management
It is vital that employees feel that the senior management team are involved and are fully supportive of the engagement process. Not only should the company leaders communicate the findings they should also endorse and participate in the interviews.
Senior Management is most likely going to need to make and model new behaviours in order for change to cascade down through the business. And if the culture needs to change, it is critical to work individually with members of senior management to provide them with input about behaving in ways that conveyed trust and openness to their teams.
Engagement: 7. The Follow-Up Process
After interventions have been implemented, conduct follow-up research to gauge progress. Give yourself a year to 18 months for change to be effective, and then re-survey employees and conduct interviews for further depth. Some clients are impatient with waiting this long, but I would encourage giving the organisation time to really make some improvements.
However, this guideline doesn’t mean that employee feedback comes to a standstill until the next research phase. This is where conducting your own internal conversations becomes extremely valuable.
Encourage leaders and managers to ask employees for input. Have senior management meet with groups of 50-60 employees at a time for updates and frank discussions. Ask managers to check in with their direct reports to learn how things are going. Overall, set a tone of on-going dialogue to get feedback and make adjustments to keep the engagement process on track.
The news that employee engagement is low is always difficult to hear, but it is most definitely not a terminal diagnosis. Involving leadership and employees at every level in improving the organisation is a revitalizing experience with a powerful return.
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