Tools to Increase Employee Engagement
The best places to work recognize the importance of engaging and retaining top talent and continuously deploying tools to increase employee engagement levels. Why? Because engaging employees is good for the people and for the business.
Employee Engagement Research
From our employee engagement surveys with over 5,000 organizations per year, we know that engaged workforces outperform their unengaged counterparts. Organizationally, higher levels of employee engagement correlate to 18% greater productivity, 12% higher customer satisfaction, and 51% less voluntary turnover. Whatever their role, engaged employees expend more discretionary effort and they stay longer.
Employee Engagement Pitfalls
And yet, even among those organizations with good intentions, employee engagement initiatives often fail to achieve meaningful goals. In fact, weak engagement survey follow-up correlates to 12 times less engagement compared to companies with consistent and effective engagement survey follow through.
The most common mistakes are having misaligned leadership and an unclear business case, treating survey results as an employee wish list of needs, confusing a “fun” environment (i.e. ping pong tables, pizza parties, and cocktail hour) for an engaged environment, trying to change employee opinions, and not empowering workers to design their own solutions to improve engagement.
What Does Work – 2 Research-backed Tools to Increase Employee Engagement
To effectively increase employee engagement, our research finds that you need both accurate measurement and high levels of transparency so employees and management alike feel ownership and share accountability.
First you need to know where you stand. How does your organizational health stack up against others in the industry in terms of employee effort, employee advocacy, and the retention of top talent?
To create a great place to work, you need to consistently and frequently conduct engagement surveys. While many debate the best frequency of assessing employee engagement, we recommend starting with an annual survey to see where you stand.
When the engagement survey results are in, the first step is for the executive team to agree upon what the data means, how the feedback fits into the business and talent strategies, what engagement drivers matter for the next twelve months, and what potential initiatives are in and out of scope.
Once the executive team is aligned, it is time to be transparent with management and employees. First, each manager should be clear about where their scores were high, where their scores were low, and what is expected of them to improve employee engagement. Next, managers should receive full access to the data and any employee engagement training required to succeed.
Once managers have reflected upon the results, have received proper training, and understand what is expected of them, they need to fully review the results with their teams. Employees should feel heard, be able to discuss strengths and weaknesses, and be able to design the solutions required to improve their engagement that are within their control. Do not make the mistake of waiting for the perfect time or worrying about how they will react – employees took the time to provide feedback and deserve to see the results in a timely manner.
The end goal is for each team or location to identify the specific action plans for improvement that make sense within your unique culture and strategy. Then it is your job as a leader to take the plans seriously and to help make sure that they are carried out.
The Bottom Line
Employee engagement can be improved. Use these two research-backed tools to increase employee engagement. They will lead to higher levels of accountability, discretionary effort, advocacy, and loyalty. Are your levels of employee engagement measurement and transparency where they need to be?
To learn more about improving employee engagement, download The Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Employee Engagement.