08.11.2021

6 tips for building employee engagement 

Is there a formula for creating an engaged team? Certainly not. Every company is different, every team is different and has different needs of course. But there are some solutions that, at some level of generality, are universal and implementable by anyone in any company. 

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

1.Engaged managers. 

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

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

If managers aren’t engaged, your efforts to engage employees will never be implemented 

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

 

2.Regular communication with employees.  

These can be one-on-one meetings, company-wide meetings, executive emails, team, or department meetings. You have a variety of options, all you have to do is to use them. Sometimes a short message will do more than huge communication plans, which are often neglected. Do not forget about feedback. This is probably the simplest form of both giving and receiving information. Of course, you must first teach your managers what positive feedback actually is. It’s not about “patting” them on the head. You can read more about how to communicate efficiently on our website. I especially recommend the article about the 7 stops on the road to efficient communication.  

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

It’s not enough to just provide information about the results, you can really build trust when you explain what you plan to do after the study. When you say what has already been done and what you are planning to do and how. If things didn’t work out or you know you can’t address the problem at this moment – be open and honest about it. You’ll be surprised how such openness makes the job easier and increases the sense of safety within the organization. 

Most importantly though: if you promise something then keep 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 about what has been done.  

 

3.Feedback culture.

Listen – Surveys are one way to get straightforward feedback from employees. Unengaged companies survey employees 15 times less likely, while 85% of engaged companies survey their employees regularly throughout the year.    

The fact that Generation Y and Z employees are used to having quick access to information and communication means that they also need to receive ongoing feedback. In their case, waiting a year for the freedom to speak up and get feedback makes absolutely no sense. They also don’t want to wait 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 so important.   

 

4.Action. 

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

For this to happen, managers will need to have access to their team’s results from the survey. They should be able to discuss the results 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 day after day. So, if you measure engagement once a year and then implement changes after a few months, you are not only relying on outdated (sic!) data, but you may also be implementing changes in a team where only a few members took the survey.  

If you study once a year, how often do you could verify the efficacy of the actions you implement? How do you know if your actions 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 people who make up your organization now rather than in the past.  

On this point, it’s hard not to mention the cost. By implementing 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 regularly and act regularly. In small steps, but precisely and efficiently.  

 

5.Enhancing information and troubleshooting. 

The key to improving retention and reducing turnover, is to discover what makes employees leave. If you understand why your employees are 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 survey fulfillment and your job can’t wait, what will you put as a priority? Will you take the survey? Do you think your mood will impact the answers? Of course it will. Even more so for your co-workers.  

So take care to structure your questions accordingly and ask meaningfully, in terms of the area you want to strengthen at that moment. I don’t believe you would use all the data at once if the survey had 100 questions. Respect your time and the time of others. Act on reliable and timely data. A survey is not an expensive distraction and should not be a coercion!  

Sometimes it is also a good idea to create working groups that include employees from different departments. This can create very interesting and efficient activities that employees will welcome and implement with enthusiasm. Do not forget to moderate the meetings well. 

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

 

6.Engagement is aprocess – continuous activity. 

78% of highly engaged companies implement employee engagement initiatives throughout the year. This prioritizes a continuous listening strategy, not an annual engagement survey. Done often just to meet KPIs.  

Unengaged companies are more likely to treat engagement as a project with a short time focus. Employees may then feel disengaged, unmotivated, and insecure. By implementing an engagement study once a year, you lose opportunities for course correction, coaching and development of 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 responsible for engagement in the company. It is about efficient and effective communication, trust, and relations. These are the elements of organizational culture on which you have an influence, but everyone must work on these components.  

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

 

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