How we can understand engagement across our business to provide a better working environment that facilitates sustainable growth.
Review the Current Situation
Undertake surveys and get feedback to understand what is happening now. Realising there is a problem with employee engagement is the first step and exploring the reality comes next. There are a number of tools available to analyse the present situation and begin generating honest feedback and discussion. From here we can create a list of common themes and objectives to work on; not all at once but in actionable chunks.
Develop an Organisational Strategy
You will have identified problem areas and this strategy addresses them. Having identified the most important factors we can begin to make a plan to address them; these could include flexible hours, management communication or business culture. Some will be easier to fix and others will have wider impact, to keep the momentum one approach is to highlight 1 or 2 quick fixes and then take a long term view on areas such as culture. The organisational strategy will set out who is responsible for what with corresponding actions and timescales.
Set a Clear Vision
Everyone should understand the bigger picture. When striving to improve employee engagement then the most important detail is to take people on the journey. The following factors are elements that impact employee engagement and allow us to create action points.
Are your managers equipped with the skills and support to share your vision. Too many business leaders create a plan and steamroll it through the management team expecting them to jump on board and do the work. We need to not only engage them on the process but also ensure they have the tools and skills to deliver. This can mean reviewing the support structure or providing additional training. Likewise those employees lower down the business need to have their voices heard and the impact of change considered.
Open, honest and regular communications. Human nature is to shy away from criticism and difficult truths, there is no time for this in business. Better to be honest with the present situation than stick our heads in the sand and hope it goes away, by accepting we have current failings we can bring the team together to solve them. Different communication techniques work for different organisations but consistency is always required; taking the shape of team meetings or regular updates these messages ensure everyone is involved in the process.
Listen to Employees
Act upon the information and feedback you receive. If you talk to employees in different roles in every business you will receive differing views and opinions. The challenge is analysing the information to create themes which can then form the basis for action. What seems like a tremendous idea in the boardroom may be operationally impossible on the floor, having representation from every level gives us a bigger picture and in itself creates engagement.
Develop Trust Relationships
The ABCD trust model shapes your actions to do this. We build trust when we are seen as able (demonstrate ability), believable (act with integrity), connected (show compassion) and dependable (being reliable). We’ve seen CEOs who have acted against integrity and the impact this has on the business. As individuals this model applies in our personal lives along with business relationships; a team who trusts each other will work more closely and share. This in turn creates a more productive business that can create natural advantages such as cross selling and retained client trust.
Reward and Recognition
Are systems in places to fairly compensate employees? In today’s economy not everyone sees their job as a 9-5 with a paycheque at the end of the month. Instead we all place value on other factors such as work/life balance, management relationships and recognition. This varies by sector and demographic but as leaders we should be aware of what makes our employees happy and motivated. In sales this might be a bumper bonus but for others it could be unlimited holiday or the trust to work at home to pick up the children from school.
Learning and Development
Training and development helps employees develop skills and creates achievement. We need people operating at every level of our business, some are happy with their role and responsibility whereas others have a natural desire to grown and develop. Firstly we should not shun those that have found a comfort zone, they are often the most loyal and reliable employees. Those that want to learn will actively seek out opportunities for development and if we don’t provide them they will simply look elsewhere. Recognising who falls into which group helps us retain the steady workers and develop the high-fliers into the next leaders.
Culture of Engagement
Develop and maintain a culture that builds values, integrity, communication and trust. In an ideal world people would work for companies whose values and behaviours emulate their own. This is achievable but the transformation is a difficult journey that will require change and the loss of some staff who don’t fit with the desirable culture. The harsh reality is that if we strive to create the business we want then those people whose views do conflict will leave on their own accord, however, in the long run be happier with another business. If a company creates the perfect culture then that in itself becomes an inimitable USP.
Employee engagement is just one area that we provide support with; we work with you to identify opportunities in the business and help design and implement your strategic plan for growth.