In this third piece in our three-part series on employee engagement, we’ll consider ways leaders and organizations can evaluate engagement. We’ll also identify effective action steps to enhance employee engagement.
While formal surveys are still the preferred method for measuring employee engagement, organizations may require some innovation with respect to data collection. Surveys can take months to analyze, and the interim silence often sends a message to employees that management doesn’t care.
What’s most important is what management does with the survey data. Sharing survey results is essential to building trust between the organization and its leaders. In fact, sharing survey results can be a positive intervention between leaders and associates, if designed well. The key is to communicate openly and effectively, while providing an opportunity to have two-way communication in the organization. Leaders must therefore be courageous and transparent in sharing the good, the bad and the ugly of survey results. Often, however, survey results are just a temperature read. This means that leadership must go further in creating a dialog with employees to understand the root issues or root strengths that are contributing to engagement levels. In fact, how leaders show up, handle result sharing, and create dialog can have a significant impact on levels of trust and engagement.
When approaching employee engagement within your organization, consider finding answers to the following questions, as suggested in a recent article in Employment Crossing:[i]
- What is the nature of the relationship of the employee with their leader?
- Is the leader providing consistent feedback, and following a customized development plan for the employee?
- Does the employee possess a clear idea of the company objectives and the role/importance of their contributions?
- Are the employee’s contributions regularly measured and reported?
- What’s the incentive system for rewarding the achievement of performance goals?
For leadership teams, spending time working the data, and discussing the ways you’re leading and contributing to the current state, is an important part of the process. Working with a consulting firm can make a big difference in how leaders understand the issues, and take appropriate ownership for creating change.
The Bottom Line
Organizations with highly engaged employees are known for being excellent communicators. “Most of the responsibility for action on engagement rests on senior leaders. Without communication and follow up, the result will be low trust in top leaders, frustrated supervisors and disengaged employees, which equals lower organizational performance.” [ii]
Engaged employees don’t just “do their jobs,” but use their talents, drive innovation within the company, and help to build.[iii] It’s therefore important to take a moment to pause and reflect on what your organization’s beliefs are when it comes to the importance of engagement. In doing so, consider the following question:
What are your firm’s long-term plans to improve its organizational culture so that it supports employee engagement? In addressing this question, leaders, teams, and organizations may elect to:
- Involve leadership in a discussion of what engagement is, and what it does for the organization;
- Measure engagement more than once a year, and use multiple measurement methods;
- Use the lens of overall employee experience to focus on engagement initiatives;
- Use a range of recognition programs;
- Instill good leadership behaviors and provide opportunities for career growth;
- Emphasize clear communication;
- Build the abilities of leaders to have open and two-way dialogs with associates; and
- Build a more inclusive climate.
At Capacity Group, we help leaders and top teams understand the issues driving current organizational challenges, such as employee engagement, and partner with them to find customized solutions to create desired change. For more information, or to continue the discussion on engagement relative to your team and organization, please contact Marcella Bayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or Megan Staczek at email@example.com.
[i]“Employee Engagement: Reality v Buzzword.” Employment Crossing. August 28, 2019, https://www.employmentcrossing.com/employers/article/232209/Employee-Engagement-Reality-v-Buzzword
[ii] “The State of Employee Engagement in 2019.” August 28, 2019, sponsored by GLINT, HR.com.
[iii] Ibid #1
Additional Resource on Employee Burnout: https://hbr.org/2019/12/burnout-is-about-your-workplace-not-your people?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter_monthly&utm_campaign=leadership_activesubs&utm_content=signinnudge&referral=00206&deliveryName=DM62062