Employee Engagement: Four questions to ask yourself
1 January 2019
It’s safe to say, there are huge organisational benefits to good employee engagement – from higher productivity to lower turnover rates, and everything in between. In the first of our masterclass series in association with HEC Paris, we look past the jargon and share our no-nonsense tips for employee engagement. We’ve summarised below the key points made in this first masterclass, but we would definitely encourage you to watch the webinar and hear the real-life stories behind this practical advice, and learn more about how this could be applied specifically within your own organisation.
Creating high employee engagement goes both ways, needing the employer and employee equally onboard. HR’s role is to facilitate good engagement, being mindful not to simply create rules and processes which can be too rigid and stifle collaboration.
Whether you’re thinking of reviewing your employee engagement initiatives or looking for inspiration, ask yourself these questions to stay on track.
- Have you defined what employee engagement means for you?
Defining engagement means different things for different people and different organisations. What’s important is that the definition of engagement is clear to everyone in your organisation – whether it’s moral involvement and emotional commitment to a firm, or the opposite to burn out.
- Have you ensured engagement isn’t siloed?
Most organisations have various departments, and it’s not unusual for slightly different cultures to develop within these separate departments. But it’s important to bring everyone together and break down the walls so that good engagement runs across the organisation as a whole. It must be a top down approach, and managers need to be on the same page so that everyone collectively moves in the same direction. You can’t be what you can’t see – if leaders want engaged teams, they must engage themselves.
Also, careers are journeys and organisations can’t expect employees to be happy in one role forever. Employees who are given the chance to collaborate with other departments may be inspired to move laterally to feed their curiosity and hunger for trying new things.
- Have you created the space for engagement?
It’s not about control, it’s about building a great culture where engaged employees thrive. It could be that there are parts of your organisation where groups of employees are already engaged, so sometimes it’s not about creating something new but promoting best practice that already exists within your organisation. HR must think framework over process, with the idea of creating consistency and clarity. Good engagement is closely linked to culture and values – for example, making it ok to make mistakes when trying new things or encouraging autonomy with clear expectations.
Most importantly of all, every employee needs to be engaged to reap the best benefits and for that to happen you must communicate clearly, regularly and to every level of employee equally.
- Have you set up the right metrics and measures to track success?
Once you’ve defined what employee engagement is to you, you can set your metrics for success, aligning to your mission as an organisation. Typical metrics are retention, productivity and length of time at an organisation. But there are many forms of measurement, and many ways to collect this insight within your organisation. Of course, there’s employee feedback surveys, but the performance review is also an under-used but opportune time to collect feedback, particularly when you’ve just implemented new initiatives. How much have you facilitated collaboration? What has made them more engaged? Managers must be given extra guidance on asking the right questions.
And even the engaged employees who have left your organisation can be extremely valuable as brand ambassadors.
Technology is a great asset to HR – it allows visibility of good/bad engagement levels and enables more collaboration. There are no quick fixes to addressing employee engagement, but even small changes can lead to huge benefits for both employer and employee.