6 tips for building employee engagement

Magda Pietkiewicz
8 min read

Is there a formula forcreating an engaged team? Certainly not. Every company is different, every teamis different and has different needs of course. But there are some solutionsthat, at some level of generality, are universal and implementable by anyone inany company.

In Enpulse we believe that allinformation is useful, andthe data from our research is not only to show whatthe current state of engagement in the organization is, but also to be a guidelinefor further actions. Efficiency in simplicity, therefore I present six pointsof building engagement, to be used immediately 😉. 


1. Engaged managers. 

Before you start planning activities, make sure thatyour managers know how to engage employees, that they themselves are engaged atwork. Make them influence and feel part of the activities. They must beco-creators and not executors. Only then they will be credible, only then they willcare about implementing further actions. You must also make managers aware oftheir primary function - they must be leaders. If your managers think thattheir only role is to distribute tasks and verify their implementation... thenthink what went wrong.  

Note that according to various studies, in the U.S.,90% of highly engaged companies said that employee engagement was important totheir leadership team, compared to only 20% of unengaged companies.  

If managers aren't engaged, your efforts to engageemployees will never be implemented

Do you want to implement actions and not just stop atplans? Take care of managers and their conscious role in the organization. 


2. Regularcommunication with employees.  

These can be one-on-one meetings, company-widemeetings, executive emails, team, or department meetings. You have a variety ofoptions, all you have to do is to use them. Sometimes a short message will domore than huge communication plans, which are often neglected. Do not forgetabout feedback. This is probably the simplest form of both giving and receivinginformation. Of course, you must first teach your managers what positivefeedback actually is. It's not about "patting" them on the head. Youcan read more about how to communicate efficiently on our website. I especiallyrecommend the article about the 7 stops on the road to efficient communication.


Always provide feedback on engagement or satisfactionsurvey results. There is nothing wrong with sharing your organization's surveyresults. Even then, or perhaps especially when the results are not satisfyingor are in fact bad. Every employee will appreciate the honesty. Also note thatthis is not about an in-depth analysis from the survey, but a simple message ofwhat works and what doesn't work. Sometimes just a few key points.  

It's not enough to just provide information about theresults, you can really build trust when you explain what you plan to do afterthe study. When you say what has already been done and what you are planning todo and how. If things didn't work out or you know you can't address the problemat this moment - be open and honest about it. You'll be surprised how suchopenness makes the job easier and increases the sense of safety within theorganization.

Most importantly though: if you promise something thenkeep your word and comment on your actions. Sometimes you can't see the steps,you need to inform others not only about what you intend to do, but also aboutwhat has been done. 


3. Feedback culture.

Listen - Surveys are one way to get straightforwardfeedback from employees. Unengaged companies survey employees 15 times lesslikely, while 85% of engaged companies survey their employees regularlythroughout the year.   

The fact that Generation Y and Z employees are used tohaving quick access to information and communication means that they also needto receive ongoing feedback. In their case, waiting a year for the freedom tospeak up and get feedback makes absolutely no sense. They also don't want towait that long for their needs to be addressed and fulfilled.

Therefore, ongoing feedback and study of the"pulse" or actual situation of the organization has become soimportant.   


4. Action. 

Employees who are contacted by their managers when thesurvey is completed are 12 times more engaged than those who are not.  

For this to happen, managers will need to have accessto their team's results from the survey. They should be able to discuss theresults with their team and help develop action plans.  

Annual studies should become a thing of the past.Nowadays everything happens very dynamically, changes around us are visible dayafter day. So, if you measure engagement once a year and then implement changesafter a few months, you are not only relying on outdated (sic!) data, but youmay also be implementing changes in a team where only a few members took thesurvey.

If you study once a year, how often do you couldverify the efficacy of the actions you implement? How do you know if youractions need to be revised if they are being effective? 

By researching regularly, on a month-to-month basis,you can verify how much your actions do or do not impact the ongoing situation.Above all, you are operating on up-to-date data, on feedback from the peoplewho make up your organization now rather than in the past.

On this point, it's hard not to mention the cost. Byimplementing small, systematic changes, you don't have to have a huge budget,and you can quickly reduce expenses if the action doesn't work.

Cost-effectiveness - the key word. So, study regularlyand act regularly. In small steps, but precisely and efficiently. 


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5. Enhancinginformation and troubleshooting. 

The key to improving retention and reducing turnover,is to discover what makes employees leave. If you understand why your employeesare leaving, you can solve the problem at the very source. Study diligently,but don't use long, one-time surveys.

Why? When you know you're facing hours of surveyfulfillment and your job can't wait, what will you put as a priority? Will youtake the survey? Do you think your mood will impact the answers? Of course itwill. Even more so for your co-workers. 

So take care to structure your questions accordinglyand ask meaningfully, in terms of the area you want to strengthen at thatmoment. I don't believe you would use all the data at once if the survey had100 questions. Respect your time and the time of others. Act on reliable andtimely data. A survey is not an expensive distraction and should not be acoercion!

Sometimes it is also a good idea to create workinggroups that include employees from different departments. This can create veryinteresting and efficient activities that employees will welcome and implementwith enthusiasm. Do not forget to moderate the meetings well.

You can use different tools and methods e.g., designthinking or facilitation. 


6. Engagement is a process– continuous activity.

78% of highly engaged companies implement employeeengagement initiatives throughout the year. This prioritizes a continuouslistening strategy, not an annual engagement survey. Done often just to meetKPIs.

Unengaged companies are more likely to treatengagement as a project with a short time focus. Employees may then feeldisengaged, unmotivated, and insecure. By implementing an engagement study oncea year, you lose opportunities for course correction, coaching and developmentof employees and teams. You lose the opportunity to validate your ongoing work,expose yourself to unnecessary costs and risk losing employees. 

Engagement work is about daily action and cooperation.Crucially, it is always a two-way relationship. Every employee is responsiblefor engagement in the company. It is about efficient and effectivecommunication, trust, and relations. These are the elements of organizationalculture on which you have an influence, but everyone must work on thesecomponents.

Nobody is excluded from working on engagement. It'sthe work of boards, managers, and individual employees alike. Our emotions andactions influence each other and it is important to be aware of that.


Magda Pietkiewicz CEO

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