In the past years, the topic of employee engagement has become a global concern for companies.
When building their long-term growth strategies, businesses are taking into account the most important resource that they need: talent. They are experimenting different ways of managing that talent, keeping it engaged and getting their ROI.
So what’s your plan to keep your team engaged for the next year and for the foreseeable future?
• Globally, engagement levels are increasing but shifting across different regions, with a rise of 2 percentages, from 58% in 2012 to 60% in 2013. Europe seems to be up by 5 percentages from last year, while the US has dropped 3 percentages.
• The predictions are not very optimistic. 4 out of 10 employees are disengaged worldwide.
• Employee engagement pays of in the long run. Despite the economic recession, companies who have invested in their employees and kept them motivate, are now seeing a positive impact on their revenue growth.
• Work experiences are improving by as far as 7% in some regions.
• Employee engagement is serious business. Employers who focused on the right drivers are getting significant results.
• Unfortunately, money has become more important. Pay moved up from ranking number 6 to ranking number 3 in the overall engagement drivers. However, these drivers are not the same around the world, varying dramatically from one culture to another.
Try doing the same analysis right now, on a team micro level. That’s a great place to start, before we begin planning next year’s strategy.
Once you’ve done that, let’s move on to a more actionable level. If it was hard to get a feeling for how things progressed over the past months / years we have a good news. This is what we do, so let us take care of the tracking and you can focus on the real challenges.
Step 1: Individual Learning Plan
Every employee should have one. Managing talent doesn’t just mean using their talent but also growing it. If you want your team members to feel valued and encouraged to perform, you need to support their learning process inside your company.
Start with what they already know and see how they can improve that knowledge and those abilities. Then work your way to what they want to learn, in order to reach their career purpose. This analysis can give you a great perspective on their potential and how you can build it into growth driver for your business.
Set actionable objectives in a clear timeline and track their evolution. Support their learning process by providing some of the informational or operational resources. Give them space to perform and make sure that they have access to positions that challenge them into growing further, giving you a bigger ROI.
Step 2: Workplace
In REMOTE: Office Not Required, David Heinemeier and Jason Fried state that “liberating yourself from the geography of work opens a whole new world of opportunities.” A workplace is no longer a space, it’s a way of working. Your team has the expectation of being free and it’s up to you to provide that freedom.
Office hours are no longer timesheet hours but productive hours. Most new-thinking managers give their team a free space in which they are invited to work and enjoy what they do, without an alarm clock going off at 9am or 5pm.
So what’s your working policy? If you already have a company policy on office hours, there’s not a lot of freedom around that but there are still some things you can do to make it more flexible. If you’re a flexible company and you get to set your own rules, get your team involved.
Set your own team working modus and make sure that everyone’s opinion is heard and respected. People will be more motivated and responsible if they are a following a guideline that they helped drew themselves. You will not be able to incorporate all ideas, but it is important for the team to provide the basis of it.
Cisco made this dynamic infographic about The Future Of Workplace Mobility that shows you the global trends on The Anywhere Office. As true as that might be, technology and workplace mobility have not changed our social nature. We still enjoy working with people, talking to people, seeing them and getting a coffee together.
It’s great to have an innovative office, with an inspiring design and all sorts of facilities. But, as Michelle Checketts so accurately puts it, it takes more than perks alone to build a long-term engaging culture, so make sure that they just complete your overall engagement strategy.
Step 3: Increase employee engagement & happiness
Back to our favorite topic: happiness at work. This subject requires a substantial amount of information and debate. By now, we’ve tried to outline some of the most important behaviors or drivers of happiness at work, such as Gratitude, Feedback, Relationships or Purpose.
Start by assessing your current state of happiness at work. Are people enjoying what they do, are they building relationships and fostering collaboration? It’s not easy to figure out whether someone is happy or not. The best way to find that out would be to ask them. Go to your team and ask what makes THEM happy at work. See where your actions fit in and how you can capitalize on the positive aspect of their answers.
Try coming up with some solutions for the less than positive aspects. Make constant evaluations of their happiness and find a way to track their progress. Maybe Hppy Apps is the software solution that could do that for you.
Maybe you just want to have personal meetings once a month. Either way, use what you’ve learned and never break communication with your team.
Step 4: Constant Feedback
Which brings us to our next topic: Feedback. One of the biggest frustrations that disengaged employees have is they feel that their voices aren’t heard. As a human being, having our voice heard is one of the first signs that we matter, that we are appreciated and that the person we’re interacting with is aware of who we are and what we have to say.
So how do you make sure that the voice of your employees is heard? Well, you can start by creating the framework for it. One way to go about it is to have a standardized procedure where you invite them to offer their ideas, solutions, feedback and general state of mind. In time, your aim should be to turn this into a natural behavior, one that doesn’t need a frame to function.
But for now, you need to reassure people that you are listening to what they have to say and that you value their views. It is also important that you act on the feedback you’ve received. Reading it is not enough. Use it so that everyone understands that their view is considered. That doesn’t mean that you have to comply with all the ideas. But when you discard someone’s feedback, do yourself a favor and explain why it cannot be done, or why it’s not the right moment.
Set up monthly check-in meetings and talk about whatever comes to mind, from your achievements to new ideas, to the things that didn’t go so well lately. Use a tool to keep in touch with people and get constant feedback that can tell you how your culture is evolving. You can also use Hppy Apps for that and also enjoy the anonymity it provides, giving you an overview of the general mood in your team.
We’ve now covered the key aspects that you should have in mind for the next year, in order to build a community and to engage your employees. Your engagement strategy should be built on the specific needs and aspirations of your team. But remember, you need to provide them with a flexible working environment, where learning and happiness are encouraged and supported.
Take a look at this Case Study we recently published, on Employee Engagement and Company Culture.
Next, we’re going to talk about Company Culture, as a key success factor for your business. So stay with us and join our thought process with new ideas and comments bellow.