Backed by Research and Real-World Experience
Written by: John Spanczak, Director of Employee Engagement
Improving employee engagement has an undeniably positive ring to it. But, it’s so much more than a good sounding marketing term used to recruit people. It’s something that truly impacts the results of your business and also creates a more enjoyable work environment along the way.
If you read last week’s Fulcrum post on how to provide impactful employee recognition, you already know the whirlwind of positive business results that higher employee engagement brings to an organization. But, what does it really mean to be engaged and how does a business even begin to improve employee engagement?
Defining Employee Engagement
First, let’s get a basic understanding of what engagement is. A simple way to define employee engagement is “a combination of employee commitment (to the organization’s mission, vision, values, goals, and strategy) and aligned action on a consistent basis.” Highly engaged employees not only have a feeling of connectedness to their organization and its goals, but also a strong sense of purpose as an employee and a person. When an employee feels wanted, needed, and understood by their organization, they are naturally more invested in its success.
Creating a culture of effective employee engagement is certainly no small task. It requires an honest self-evaluation of how your organization operates as well as a team of engagement experts who are dedicated to analyzing the state of engagement within your organization.
But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s start at square one.
1. Welcome the Challenge of Improving Employee Engagement
Even though many organizations understand the benefit of high employee engagement, most simply don’t know where to begin. Some may conduct employee surveys in hopes of gaining insight, but few ever take on the task of actually acting on the results of those surveys.
The stakeholders of an organization must understand the value of authentic employee engagement and convey its value throughout the organization. This is important not only for the bottom line but also for themselves personally. Leaders who openly value and promote commitment and aligned action are bound to garner more support and appreciation from their direct reports. And, similar to yawning, engagement really can be contagious. The quicker that everyone realizes and buys into the benefits of improving engagement, the sooner holistic and transformational growth can occur.
2. Perform an Organizational Health Audit
Performing an Organization Health Audit (OHA) entails collecting a wide variety of both qualitative and quantitative data from all members of an organization. By utilizing employee engagement measurement tools including observations, anonymous surveys, and informal interviews, an OHA helps to paint a picture of the current engagement status within different departments and also provides guidance as to where the most room for improvement lies.
It’s important that the audit is performed objectively in order to ensure consistent and accurate data. It’s also highly beneficial for the audit to be performed by a team that has a detailed understanding of what an engaged culture looks like. This is where Leverage Talent Enrichment thrives, and it’s why we offer this service to organizations nationwide.
3. Create a Strategic Action Plan
No OHA is complete without a strategic action plan that reflects the areas of necessary improvement. When Leverage Talent performs an Organization Health Audit, the report always includes a strategic plan that outlines both short-term (0-1 year) and long-term (1+) actions that must occur in order to achieve the desired results.
Because the Organizational Health Audit measures 14 different drivers of engagement as well as overall organizational health, it’s important to be realistic when creating a strategic action plan. Creating an effective onboarding and integration program will (and should) take significantly longer time compared to, say, setting clear and high workplace expectations. Identifying and dividing the action items into separate phases will help immensely when it comes to execution.
4. Execute on the Action Items
The final (and most important) step in improving employee engagement is to execute on the strategic plan. The good news is that, if you followed all previous steps correctly, you already have a clear roadmap to success. To provide transparency on what to expect, you should share the results of the OHA with all members of your organization. Making the goals and expectations clear to all will help build a sense of comradery and alignment.
Start acting on the lowest-hanging fruit first in order to build momentum and identify any potential unseen barriers to implementation.
Or, let Leverage Talent Enrichment handle implementation until the desired results are achieved.
Employee Engagement is Worth the Investment
If you follow these steps, just as Leverage Talent Enrichment does for businesses across the country, you will be positioned to enjoy the bliss of coming to work every day with a group of people that are aligned, accountable, and highly supportive. While tackling the challenge of improving employee engagement may seem daunting, Leverage (and our parent company Clickstop) are proof that it’s well worth it.
Leverage us to get started on your personalized Organizational Health Audit today.