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Increasing Employee Engagement: A Guide to Getting Started

by Sara DeNunzio on April 10, 2019
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Cultivating an engaged workforce is the key to a successful business.

Your employees are the heart of your company and it’s impossible to overstate the value of having them firmly on your side — sharing ideas, caring for customers and advocating for your success.

If you’re just starting an employee engagement plan, it can be hard to know where to begin. There are many resources for you to learn about the business case for investing in employee engagement. You can also spend time learning about the important drivers of engagement like job autonomy and reciprocal investment. But sometimes what you really need is a plan of action.

What are some action items you can tackle right now to start seeing tangible improvement in your employee engagement? How can you hit the ground running addressing this essential aspect of your business? We’ll go over some steps you can take right now to jumpstart your employee engagement plan.

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4 Steps to Improve Employee Engagement

It’s important to keep in mind that employee engagement is a journey. It takes time and sustained effort for a culture of engagement to manifest within your processes and your people. But while it is impossible to flip an engagement switch, the Employee Engagement specialists at GO2 Partners have developed some simple steps that will get you started on the right path. 

  1. Conduct a survey

Before developing a strategy for change, it’s crucial to know where you stand. The best way to do this is by listening to what your employees have to say. Every workforce has a unique makeup and every employee has different experiences and expectations to share. In order to take meaningful action on what matters to your people, you have to take the time to gather their feedback.

Conducting an employee engagement survey serves several purposes. It will allow you to:

  • Let employees know they have a voice
  • Flag problems areas to focus your efforts
  • Find out what motivates them to go above and beyond
  • Establish a baseline to measure success 
  1. Set engagement goals

With survey results in hand, you are now ready to compose the beginning of your employee engagement strategy: setting engagement goals. Your goals should be based on both the expectations established by your survey and an awareness of engagement standards in your industry. To ensure the engagement goals are supporting the success of your business, think about cultivating engagement among your current workforce and creating a culture to attract (and keep) the best talent. Here are some metrics to consider when setting goals:

  • Goal alignment – Do employees know, understand, and share your business goals?
  • Career development – Are there ample career development options?
  • Job enablement – Do employees have the knowledge, tools and support they need?
  • Recognition – Do employees feel they get appropriate recognition for their work? 
  1. Invest in your employees

To reach your goals, it will likely take a significant and sustained investment of resources. It’s time to lay out a plan to do it. If you want your employees to invest their time, passion and resources in your company then your company has to do the same for them. This step will look different for everyone, depending on the industry you work in, the survey results you received and the goals you set. Here are some examples of how it could look: 

  • Your research found that career development is a top priority for job seekers in your industry. 

This would not be a surprising result. A recent Gallup poll found that 87% of millennials view career development as a highly valuable job attribute. In this scenario, your employee engagement strategy should include developing clear career paths, providing mentorship opportunities and offering educational assistance. 

  • Your survey results showed surprisingly low numbers for job enablement. 

This is another result that you might want to be prepared for. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, only 3 in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that they have the materials they need to be successful at work. In this scenario, your employee engagement strategy should include an internal communication plan (so your employees are empowered with the knowledge they need) and technology updates (so your employees are empowered with the tools they need). 

  1. Develop a change management strategy

You’ve done your homework. You have a plan. Now you just have to roll it out. Unfortunately, this is often the tricky part because you are asking people to change. Though some people, especially leaders, thrive on the challenge and novelty of change, most people are naturally resistant. Your new employee engagement strategy might be clearly superior on paper, but the motivation for human behavior goes well beyond a calculating assessment of the cold hard facts. All change, even in business, has an emotional component. 

For a change to be successful, your employees have to want it.

At this point in your employee engagement plan, you probably have a team of people who are deeply involved in its development and therefore deeply invested in its success. Now, you have to get everyone else on board. Think about the factors that increased the feeling of investment among your core team — involvement, understanding and empowerment — and apply them to everyone.

  • Expand your inner circle and get employees involved to help with the rollout.
  • Make sure everyone understands how to make the change and why it will benefit them.
  • Empower employees with the knowledge and support they need to be successful.

The Benefits of Increased Employee Engagement

A successful employee engagement campaign can have a dramatic impact on your business — directly affecting productivity, recruitment and retention, growth potential and your bottom line. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a culture of engaged employees.

For expert guidance to ensure your strategy succeeds, contact the employee engagement specialists at GO2 Partners. We’ll work with you every step of the way to inform, engage and empower your employees.

Topics: Marketing, Employee Engagement, Internal Communications

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