Improving employee engagement

10 things to do NOW to improve employee engagement

By Steve Bicknell

It may be low on your list of HR priorities at the moment, but research has shown time and time again, that workforce engagement provides huge productivity benefits. And when is it more important to ensure your team understands the vision, the reasons behind the vision and the changes taking place, than when there is uncertainty fuelled by the media and ‘corridor conversations’.

Here are 10 things that we can do now to get our workforce in tune with the organisation, engaged with our objectives and delivering the discretionary effort we need to tap into.

  1. Give your people a voice: Listening, and creating a listening environment, is essential to people feeling engaged with the organisation – and research shows this.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate: It’s easy to sit in the office ploughing through the ‘things to do’ list. At times of uncertainty, people want to see more of the leadership and management team. But this needn’t involve costly communication programmes: a walk around the office; ‘town hall meetings all provide visibility and accessibility. A regular flow of information – and information when promised – should be provided.
  3. Translate strategy into easily understandable objectives: You need to make the strategy – and any changes to the strategy – come alive. Your team needs to know exactly what it needs to do to make this happen and when it has achieved it. Use everyday language, give examples and link all the plans back to the overall goal.
  4. Be open and transparent: In times of uncertainty when decisions are being made that impact the workforce, people want to know that the decisions reached are fair, are thought-through and other avenues explored. There will always be topics that you cannot discuss with the broader team, and this will be respected, but take the time to explain the process for any decisions that have been made.
  5. Remove obstacles to performance: People want to do a good job. Help them to by removing obstacles to do this and empower them to make decisions as appropriate – remembering to give clarity as to how this should work.
  6. Nurture trust: Linked with communication and honesty, you need to build trust across the organisation.
  7. Elevate engagement to be a corporate issue: Strong leadership – and that beyond the remit of the human resources department – is essential to engage with the workforce. But this ‘buy-in’ from the senior leaders needs to flow through all tiers of management and engagement should become ‘it’s what we do around here.’
  8. Cultivate growth opportunities: In quiet times, look at training and development interventions that enable individuals to grow their talents. If you’re struggling to do ‘more with less’ and off-site training is not an option, look at the activities that need doing in-house and see who would benefit from some on-the-job learning and development in a new skill area.
  9. Value and recognise: This is about encouraging all to understand what they do that makes a difference and how they contribute to the organisation, and, going beyond what they are asked to do. Recognise and value the contributions made.
  10. Know the specifics – and take action: Having a general understanding about the level of employee engagement is fine, but to really get to the bottom of where you can improve how your team feel engaged with your organisation. You need to acquire an in-depth understanding of what makes the difference in your organisation. You can do this by using a reliable and thorough employee survey. More individual and in-depth understanding of motivation can be obtained by using questionnaires such as Intrinsic.

Next steps

If you need more information on how to implement these areas effectively or to discuss how to measure employee engagement and motivation using Getfeedback’s robust online system, and its bank of tried and tested question items, we'd love to hear from you