There’s a common theme among top-performing companies: they focus on employee engagement. In fact, Gallup reports that “winning organizations” engage 71% of their employees. On average, these companies see nearly seven times the average engagement rate in the US and 21 times the average rate for workforces globally.
With the move to remote and hybrid work – as well as the country’s economic volatility – there’s no better time to make your people a key component of your business strategy. Part of prioritizing your people is measuring and addressing employee engagement. By doing so, you’ll solidify your company as a transparent, responsive, and people-focused organization that attracts candidates and retains your talent.
Below are seven ways you can focus on your employee engagement, starting today.
Before promoting and measuring employee engagement, you first need to define what employee engagement means for your company. Whatever age-old advice you wish to cite – putting the cart before the horse or knowing what happens when you assume – it’s best for leadership to start on common ground when it comes to evaluating your people.
Sarah Diegnan, VP of Customer Experience at ChartHop, is no stranger to engaging her team. She advises, “As a first step, your leadership team needs to define what employee engagement looks like at your company at an individual, team, and organizational level. One of the key things I think about in defining engagement is asking, ‘Do we know why we’re all here, and if we do, are you passionate about it?’”
Once your definition is solidified, it’s crucial that you share it across your company. Just like assigning an essay without a rubric, measuring your employees’ engagement without first setting expectations results in wasted time and energy.
Once you’ve standardized your definition of employee engagement, you’ll need to ensure objective, best practice templates to report on sentiment are used across your organization. When your expectations and templates are aligned, you’ll help everyone pull in the same direction.
These templates may be used for:
Using standardized, best practice templates across your organization empowers your managers and reduces potential review bias.
We may be doubling down on the cliches, but “leading a horse to water” doesn’t cut it in the employee engagement world. You first have to build the path and the watering hole before helping them get there.
To do so, embed employee engagement opportunities into everyday work life. Places to start are:
ChartHop’s org chart takes you directly to employee’s profile pages, which gives greater visibility to your company structure and drives employee connection.
Measuring performance and understanding employee sentiment is not a one-and-done process. When you employ continuous performance management, you’re continually evaluating how individual employees perform according to role expectations.
One aspect of this style of management is regular 1:1s. Whether they’re weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, these sessions build trust between managers and their reports, which is a proven way to develop a common culture and loyal workforce. Furthermore, 1:1s give visibility into current tasks, professional growth initiatives, and collaboration.
Ultimately, knowing how employees are progressing each week provides a triple win for you and your company. Besides driving engagement, employees, managers, and leadership will benefit from up-to-date data:
You would never start a proposal by stating, “I’m not sure what the numbers say, but my best guess is…”
But that’s what you’re essentially doing when you don’t collect meaningful, relevant data. It’s not enough to just define and watch for employee engagement. You have to measure it. Diegnan agrees: “You have to send out surveys and make sure you actually have data behind your objective definition.”
Besides using your weekly 1:1 forms and performance reviews as data sets, you should also administer employee NPS, pulse, and feedback surveys to gain a clearer picture of employee engagement.
Additionally, it’s important that these surveys live in one place. So whether you choose to send them out via your people analytics platform or a company-wide email, make sure the surveys are easily accessible (and easy to find) by all employees.
Let’s not mince words: Data is pointless if it just sits there. It’s therefore important to turn your facts and figures into insights and decisions that are backed by numbers.
One way to do so is spending hours logging collected data into separate spreadsheets, then toggling through those tabs to discover any insights.
A better way is with a modern people analytics platform, which makes it easy to dissect your employee engagement data and create impactful reports with the click of a button. What’s more, running reports allows you to look at intersectionalities among your people data. This will help you create a more comprehensive engagement strategy by allowing you to monitor trends, identify gaps, and track your progress.
This report provides a powerful snapshot of this company’s employee engagement, cross-referenced with six different types of people data.
It’s important to address employee concerns. It’s also important to know which concerns to address.
Although your people want an empathetic HR department, Barry Marshall of P5 Collaborative Consulting believes that HR leaders often jump to action too quickly. He instead suggests that leaders listen, reflect, and analyze before making any big decisions. He asks, “Are you helping an individual, or are you using an individual complaint to drive organizational change?”
To answer this question, there’s no better place to turn than your data. Metrics help you pinpoint areas of concern and shed light on whether issues are at the company, department, or individual level.
For example, let’s say Mark, the Director of Engineering, complains to his superior that a member of his team, Ron, isn’t engaged. Before making any decisions or giving advice, the VP looks at the team’s engagement data and finds that it’s not just Ron; the whole team has low engagement scores. This discovery prompts her to sit down with Mark and do a deep dive into the qualitative and quantitative data to further understand this issue.
In short, having and analyzing your data isn’t enough. You need to use it to investigate and address concerns, which in turn prioritizes your people and their experience within your organization.
Your people should be a primary focus for your company. Their engagement leads to higher productivity, profitability, and sales. It also leads to lower turnover, absenteeism, and employee safety incidents.
It’s clear that when your employees thrive, so does your business. So how are you ensuring that you’re engaging employees, and the measures you’re taking to drive that engagement are working? By implementing these seven steps, you’ll establish a no-fail strategy to prioritize your people and set your company up for success.
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