It’s no secret that high employee engagement significantly contributes to gaining a reputation as a market leading employer.
In the past, employee engagement has been defined by annual feedback surveys; giving employees the opportunity to confidentially provide their feedback on what they like, love and loathe about working for your company.
However, is a feedback survey the most progressive way to assess, define and protect employee engagement?
The best approach for you will differ depending on your industry sector and unique workforce. Below are some key considerations to make in determining how you can best be proactive with employee engagement.
1. Ask your team what is important to them, and no, not in a survey
Employees want to feel heard, and they want to see change, so it's important that we as HR professionals listen to their feedback and take this information onboard. Consider sitting in on different departmental meetings and asking your questions informally. Perhaps you could hold a ‘town hall’ style presentation whereby free discussion and feedback is encouraged. Or perhaps you utilise a survey tool in addition to some of these supplementary concepts, designed to help prompt honesty, collective enthusiasm and a feeling of support and openness from HR.
2. Work with the leadership team on how to drive culture and project company vision
Certainly off the back of the last two years, many people yearn to feel connected to the vision and goals of a company, and to feel like their job has a purpose. Ensuring that your people can be true owners of their work and feel they are contributing is a key driver for engagement. Leaders need to carefully plan how they approach leading their teams to ensure their environment is not just a vision but is realised in practice each day. Open and honest conversations, timely feedback and support for team members is critical. People also want to see organisations investing in strong leaders as it gives them something to aspire to.
3. Focus on continual development and growth
There are many reasons why people leave organisations. Topping many lists of collective exit data is not feeling challenged, being unclear on future progression and lacking learning. You might not have a big budget for L&D and that’s ok. This is more about creating individual development plans that don't serve to tick a box, they provide measurable goals and true insight as to next steps.
4. Manage the environmental roundabout of values, flexibility and wellbeing
The physical or virtual work environment is now more important than ever before. Flexibility and hybrid work models are highly sought after. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Social Corporate Responsibility enable people to hold their personal values to a high standard in the workplace and give them the pride and power to show up as themselves. Recognition, social events and enjoying the company of colleagues is also very important to many people. From a wellbeing perspective, people want their organisation and their leaders to be mindful and supportive of their health and happiness. Ensuring you can take a conscious approach to the above and working with what is available to you, will create an opportunity to stand out as an employer in this space.
By no means do I believe this is an exhaustive list on where to start – nor a silver bullet on getting employee engagement right! There is plenty to do within this space and it’s not just up to people leaders and HR professionals to get it right. Your team members should, can and would likely enjoy contributing ideas, providing feedback and participating in work groups, with the goal of making the company a better and more engaged player in the market. So long as there is open communication and transparency on the priorities from both sides of management, everyone can be a part of the journey to a more engaged workplace.