Setting a goal is the first step in your engagement journey. We’ve mentioned before that there are two common reasons behind engagement goals:
- There’s been a change at the organization and business indicators are falling.
- You’re working toward a specific outcome.
Whatever your reason, these tips can help you set effective goals that build momentum as you build engagement.
How to Pick a Goal
Your organization’s engagement goal will depend on your size, culture and other variables. But we’ve found it’s better to focus on goals associated with business outcomes than to get hung up on a specific engagement score.
For example, many of our clients set goals that address improving company culture, attracting and retaining top talent or creating a high-performance organization. Work with organizational leaders to determine what your highest priorities are for change; that’s where you can find a goal for your engagement initiative.
As part of determining priorities, leaders at your organization will need to be honest about what they’re willing to invest to make changes to reach those goals. If culture is a concern, what are you willing to do to improve it? Answering this question requires setting budgets, identifying specific tactics you’re willing to start (Do you want to serve free lunch every day? Offer employees more flexible work arrangements?) and establishing the proper levels of people, time and resources it will take to make these changes.
Communicate Your Goal Carefully
Once you’ve set a goal, communicate it to the organization, but be conscientious about how you frame it. Saying something like “We want to move our engagement levels from X to Y by the end of the year” is too abstract; it shows you’re more concerned about a number than actually making improvements in the workplace. In the same way, if you say you want 100 percent feedback on a survey before you take any action, you can rush respondents into submitting a rote response instead of focusing on responding honestly.
Instead, share the original goal with employees, not the numbers behind it: You want to improve engagement to improve retention rates, for example, or build a more open, flexible culture to help retain employees. There will be measurements around these goals, and sharing them is obviously useful: “We retained 95 percent of employees last year, an improvement of 10 percent over the year before.” But simply saying “we must reach 75 percent engagement by the end of the year” puts employees on the spot and gives them no context about how to reach that goal.
As you become more comfortable with managing engagement, your goal will change. It’s a business goal like any other, and as you achieve success you will need to set more goals to keep the momentum going. You’ll need to stay flexible through the process, especially when it comes to larger goals: Engagement is a major change initiative, and building a new culture or improving productivity takes time. You may be constrained by others’ timelines; changing health benefits to improve satisfaction, for example, can only happen once a year. Be patient, look for quick wins and stay flexible to get the most out of the process.
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.