In today’s high performance environment, it is common to find a disconnect between our employees and our management teams. Each company seems to have their own view on why this is the case such as a lack of time or just a lack of resources. I say the blame falls on the management teams. Having this disconnect in a company leads to a constant riff between the employees and the people in charge. If this issue is not met head on, the chances of the business being successful and growing seem to come to an abrupt halt.
In a past survey focused on why certain businesses fail, the results were truly staggering. The survey showed that 83% of businesses fail when there is a disconnect between the employees and the management team. With results such as these, I think it is safe to say that employee engagement is crucial to the success of a business.
With businesses shifting their focus towards their employees first and their customers second, it has proven difficult to set the correct priority between the two. It is crucial for all businesses to first give priority to their own people. The best way to do this is to engage them with various business improvement conversations or growth initiatives.
A successful employee engagement initiative helps create a community at the workplace, not just a workforce. When employees are effectively and positively engaged with their organization, they form an emotional connection with the company. This affects their attitude towards both their colleagues and the company’s clients, which leads to improve customer satisfaction and service levels.
Today major businesses have their own ways of engaging employees (both new and old). In order to make employee engagement a success, they have to have a strong follow up plan. In short, this means the companies need to actually respond to the employee’s feedback and suggestions. When companies are able to take this invaluable feedback from their employees and actually show them they are doing something with it, the effect is an enormous boost on the employees moral because they know they were actually heard. This step, even though it may seem simple, can make or break your efforts. If companies do not follow through on their promises for their employees, they can almost without a doubt expect nothing but failed attempts and frustration on both sides.
Listed below are several different effective and efficient employee engagement activities to help your organization start feeling more like a single operating unit and not two separate divisions:
Communications activities – These activities help organizations keep their employees in the loop with what is going on both inside the company and outside. Efficient communication activities also create an open and transparent culture within the organization.
A few good examples of communication activities are:
- Develop communication teams or a group of employees who communicate all updates related within the organization. Such groups should have a good mix of employees from each level as this proves to be the most effective way in engaging all levels of business.
- In house newsletters or magazines.
- Intranet tool for all employees where any update or changes can be posted for a quick view.
- Monthly, quarterly and yearly updates on the organizations goals and achievements.
- Robust feedback model such as a winning culture survey (half yearly and yearly), quarterly focus group system based on a 360 degree model.
- Strong follow-up mechanism on any employee feedback with status updates and listed further actions to be taken.
- A dedicated corner (notice board or communications board) on site where all updates or organizational related information can be posted.
Activities to develop the culture of the organization: These activities help organizations in creating the sense of ownership within their employees. This sense of ownership and pride in the organization helps create a unified organization.
Common approaches include:
- Clear HR polices
- Policies should reflect “Employee-first” approach of the organization
- Driving employees towards corporate social responsibilities
- Strong work life balance initiatives
- Developing a transparent and safe work environment
- All actions and reactions of the organization should reflect the commitment towards the well being of the employees
- Events and activities which promote the vision and mission of the organization
- A quick decision making process with transparency throughout
Team building activities: Creating a team environment plays a huge role in helping businesses achieve a successful employee engaged atmosphere. An organization filled with employees who have the mindset of being a team player is one that is on the fast track to a successful business. When employees feel part of a team, they share a mutual feeling that they belong and that each one of them plays a crucial role in the overall success of the organization.
Popular approaches include:
- Team recreational events or activities wherein a team would be required to participate. Examples can be trips to a movie, team lunches/dinners, or a sporting event.
- Social activities such as barbeques etc.
- Community related events like fundraising, organizing blood donations, volunteering etc.
Leadership development: for the organization to adapt to the changing market, it is important to have people with leadership skills not just a leader with great skills. This helps with consistent performance and creativity.
Practices can include:
- The organization should have clearly defined leadership requirements
- Effective performance management processes with clear ways of performance evaluation
- Employee empowerment
- Openness between supervisors and peers with feedback going both ways
- Effective coaching and mentoring activities along with a strong culture of self-development
Strong Reward and Recognition Programs
Reward and recognition practices play a crucial role towards making all employee engagement activities consistent. Studies have shown that, while money in itself is not always the sole motivating factor, the absence of a financial reward system can be a significant demotivator.
Reward Programs help:
- Provide a clear framework for rewarding everyone in the organization for their performance
- Motivating employees, thereby creating a positive morale in the organization
- Increasing the satisfaction level of the employees (ESAT)
A few good practices can include:
- Realistic compensation and benefit programs
- Recognition programs such as monthly company-wide acknowledgement
- Idea collection programs
- Tenure and good performance rewards
Employee Engagement Programs are crucial for businesses today. With a little work and planning, your company can create a positive and encouraging atmosphere for your teams.