Eloise Allen, key account manager at Thales Learning & Development, on the action plan you need to take to boost employee engagement
The key to any successful company is its employees – specifically each individual’s ability, productivity and, most importantly, level of engagement with the organisation and its goals. It has been shown numerous times that the more engaged an employee is, the better their work will be and the less likely they will be to leave. This will only benefit the company they’re part of both in the short and long-term.
However, cultivating effective and consistent employee engagement is something that many businesses struggle to do. What they need to do is devise an action plan focused on developing and nurturing employee engagement every day.
Define what your employees want
The first step is to determine the fundamental wants and needs of your employees – if you can meet most or all of these, you should begin to see improvements in work quality and productivity almost immediately. Although there may be variants when you look at different companies and different people, Thales Learning & Development defines the fundamental wants and needs of almost all employees as:
- A sense of purpose
- To feel valued
- Clarity of role and expectations
- An understanding of accountability
- Open, two-way communication
What’s striking about these five elements is that none of them are really that hard to achieve – it simply requires an open, transparent company where there are no secrets and everyone knows what’s going on with regards to senior management or expansion at any one time. Furthermore, an employee will easily be able to discern what’s expected of them in their role or how their work fits into the company’s overall aims if they are told or shown.
However, while a culture of openness is a good start in making a difference to employee engagement; it takes more than that to truly effect permanent change.
Apply the strategy from top to bottom
It’s vital to ensure that nobody is exempt from the new regime, including senior staff, who should be leading by example. The company’s leaders should be able to promote the overall vision and demonstrate the values of the organisation to everybody else through the way they conduct themselves on a daily basis. Additionally, line managers need to concentrate on empowering staff and requiring them to be skilled when it comes to people management.
It’s always important to point out whenever somebody has done more than they needed to, or completed a piece of work to a particularly high standard – this shows that good work will not go unnoticed and motivates employees to do well, especially if they are rewarded accordingly. Of course, managers should be discerning when it comes to highlighting employees’ achievements, but they should make sure they bring it to the company’s attention when it is warranted.
Create an employee engagement survey
The final thing you can do as part of your action plan is the distribution of an employee engagement survey to gain an idea of how readily your initiatives have been taken on board by employees and how well they are working in general. This will allow you to refine your engagement programme and make improvements. If you’re always working from the viewpoint that you can never do enough for your employees, this attitude will filter down to them.