The question that many organisations grapple with is: “How do we turn the plethora of evidence and theory on employee engagement into practical actions that have a real impact?” Here are five top tips from our work with organisations across the globe that will help ground the theory into practice.
1. WALK THE TALK
If there is a gap between the rhetoric of “people are our most important asset” and the attitudes and behaviours of the leaders and managers towards staff, employee cynicism and disengagement will follow. Is there a genuine commitment and plan from the top to deliver on the people promises, and create a positive working environment for all employees?
2. LISTEN TO YOUR STAFF
At Grass Roots, we placed ballot boxes at each site and invited staff to drop in their questions for the leadership team anonymously. We then held Q&A sessions for the leadership to address the questions and update staff on future plans. It was risky, but less risky than not listening to our people.
More than half of HR managers believed their managers don’t say ‘thank you’ enough
3. DEVELOP AND EQUIP YOUR MANAGERS
Managers play a critical role in the engagement equation. Do they have the training and tools to do their job effectively, for example, performance reviews and handling team conflict? Or are they just following their instincts? Sometimes, instincts can be misguided, so development and tools for your managers are critical.
4. CREATE A CULTURE OF EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION
According to a study by Deloitte, organisations where recognition occurs have higher employee engagement, productivity and customer service. No surprises there. Despite this more than half of HR managers interviewed in a survey believed their managers don’t say “thank you” enough. Never underestimate the positive impact of employee recognition.
5. COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE, COMMUNICATE
Whether it’s communicating the value of pay and benefits through a total reward statement or providing regular face-to-face updates for the team, communication is key to an engaged and motivated workforce. Targeted, relevant and engaging communications are the foundation of a successful employee engagement strategy.
Francis Goss is head of employee engagement at Grass Roots, director trustee of the Engage for Success Foundation and a member of the UK’s Employee Engagement Taskforce