If you approach engagement as a giant battleship to be turned on a dime, you’re going to be disappointed. It takes time to make a huge change in an organization. The good news is small, frequent, consistent improvements are just as effective, much easier to start and cumulative — once you get them rolling, they tend to build on each other over time. Here’s how to make small changes that get quick results.
When leaders make engagement a priority at the organization, it seems to spread among the ranks much more quickly and easily. Employees tend to see engagement as more than simply checking a box. Leaders and managers must step up at the beginning of an engagement initiative, and all must be on the same page when it comes to what needs to be measured. If it’s on you to create buy-in, find ways to tie your engagement initiative to organizational goals — improved productivity, for example, or increased retention.
The good thing about buy-in is that once leaders and managers are on the same page, it’s going to trickle down to employees. A sincere commitment to change is energizing.
Once you’ve got leaders in on the plan, you need to do the same for employees. This involves making it clear to them that they can take ownership for their own engagement, and that doing so is critical to success. This will take clear communication from managers and leaders as well, but when it comes down to it, it will be up to employees to participate in engagement efforts and make the decision to help foster change.
Ditch Annual Surveys
One of the easiest wins you can get is ditching the annual survey. It’s an instant action that shows people you’re serious about change. They’re so huge and by the time another year goes by and it’s time to measure again, so many things have changed that it has become meaningless. Instead, start doing more frequent measurements and pulse surveys to see what changes get responses and which do not.
Highlight Haves, Not Have-Nots
As you start getting feedback about what employees are looking for from work, look for easy ways to give them what they’d like — or something similar to what they’d like. I know of one company that got a lot of negative feedback about not matching employee contributions to the 401(k) program. The company wasn’t planning on offering a match, but it did find that there was little awareness about the robust employee stock ownership program that could be just as lucrative. If you get feedback about things people want but can’t have, your first step may be ensure they know about what they do have.
Keep the Momentum
After your first couple of changes, it’s easy to feel like you’ve done your work and you can bask in the new way of doing things for a little bit. This is a critical time, though — you’ll need to keep building on those successes. Look at the successes you’ve had, and find places to tweak or fine-tune the changes you’ve made.
Talmetrix is an employee feedback and insights solution that helps organizations better attract and retain talent to achieve business goals. Our solution makes it easy for organizations to capture employee feedback (feelings) and organizational data (facts) to discover actionable insights. With a unique combination of software, content, data, and advisory support we can help you measure and improve your employee experience. Contact us today to learn how your company can start achieving better business results.