Employee engagement is crucial for any company that wants to grow and succeed. Employees are responsible for accelerating a company’s growth and only engaging employees will be able to contribute to the company dedicatedly. High levels of engagement help companies in improving performance, retaining employees and loyalty.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement can be defined as the connection employees have with the organisation. One can also attribute it to their willingness and commitment to contribute to their company’s success.
Employee engagement is not just coming up with activities to socialise with employees. Employee engagement finds its foundation in the company’s values, culture and the personality of the leaders of the company. Your company culture should be built to encourage employee engagement.
Differentiating engaged and disengaged employees - an engagement strategy
Engaged employees know what they have to do and do it. They are productive, loyal and looking for growth opportunities. Whereas disengaged workers will only work on the deliverables or sometimes they may not deliver at all. They don’t do anything above and beyond and may have a negative attitude. It is a part of your employee engagement strategy to discover these employees and engage them in a personalised matter for more impact. Devise separate strategies for these two groups.
Employee engagement action plan examples
1. Culture and core values
The core values mentioned in your website must reflect in the company culture which is the DNA of an organisation. Sticking to your values and perpetually working towards them will allow collective and individual growth. And as we all know, behaviours easily get influenced in a team. When the top management upholds it and sets an example abiding the core values, the employees are assured and follow the same.
One of the important roles of HR is to communicate the core values regularly with the employees and keep the culture and core values in check.
Chargebee was recognised by Battery Ventures, in association with Glassdoor, as one of the best Cloud Computing Companies to Work For. Chargebee has one of the best company cultures globally. One of their core values is curiosity and they believe all their employees are united by curiosity while the leaders emphasize knowledge and innovation. Other core values are bias of action, empathy, and customer-centricity.
When Chargebee asked their employees what they like most about working at Chargebee.
Source: Chargebee LinkedIn
2. Growth and development
Companies that provide opportunities for employees to grow the company and themselves attract the best talent. Employees need new opportunities to stay motivated to work. Monotonous work and no growth lessens interest to be productive over time. When you invest in making your resources better, they better your company by taking initiatives to be more solution-oriented. When it comes to growth and development, team managers have a significant role to carve opportunities for the team to explore.
Provana focuses on upskilling existing employees rather than replacing employees with new hires. They have an extensive L&D program to upskill employees of all levels. Their programs are a mix of offline and online. This way, they boost employee engagement, increase retention and enhance loyalty. Provana builds tailored programs to meet industry expectations and trends. As a part of it, they organise sessions with leaders in the space and provide opportunities for employees to learn and acquire skills. They manifest that the key to a successful L&D program is personalising it to teams and individuals.
Also read: How to upskill employees
3. Rewards and recognition
Top performers need some kind of reward and recognition that will fuel them to continue their work. And when an employee takes any initiative or goes above and beyond, it is important for the team managers to recognise. Appreciation helps in keeping employees motivated and also encourages other teams to strive for it. However, it is necessary to have a fair performance management system to avoid politics among employees. HRs can decide the rewards based on the budget given by the organization.
Freshworks gives quarterly awards to top performers. They have multiple categories to ensure inclusivity (consistent performers, new joiners). They believe in both employee appreciation and recognition. While they give rewards and they also focus on having a culture that recognises the efforts of employees.
4. Feedback and action items
Taking regular honest feedback from employees allows companies to address roadblocks quickly and effectively. However, it needs to be two-way. Employees should be able to give feedback whenever they want to and not only during the times the organisation asks for it. The system of your organisation should enable people to voice their opinions and questions without fear and judgement. But it all comes down to how much action and accountability is taken by the management with the feedback received. Nothing de-motivates employees more when their voices aren’t heard.
WazirX runs pulse checks at the beginning of a quarter and a detailed survey at the end of the quarter. They work on the feedback and delegate it to the concerned team or team managers or HRs. The HRs also have in-person conversations with employees to build relationships and understand the ground reality.
5. Promote transparency
Transparency is a key driver of a sense of belongingness among employees. This makes employees feel they are part of the organisation and invest themselves. Transparency has to be on all levels - within teams, interdepartmental and also top to bottom. Townhall meetings where the top management talks to all employees about their goals and updates will go a long way in keeping employees engaged. Having internal systems where employees could access all information they need will also help. However, it is up to the organisation to decide how much transparency to allow. It is recommended that always engage with your employees when you make decisions that will affect them.
Hubspot has a no-door policy and all of their staff have access to everything globally. They do that because better data leads to better insights and better insights mean a better understanding of customers. They made everyone an insider as they are a publicly-traded company so that everyone has equal access.
Employee engagement best practices
Hire the right people
Skills can be taught but attitude and behaviour; not so much. Companies must have a culture-fit score and hire people based on their skills and how they would fit into the culture. It is important for companies to have solid talent acquisition strategies. View company culture as an identity that unites employees. This way, you won’t deviate especially when you scale up.
Have a robust performance management system that is quantifiable and also empowers employees to achieve more. This brings in responsibility and accountability among the employees. Overall, this helps employees and team managers to plan and analyse effectively.
Use pay-for-performance programs to focus employees' attention on incentivized behaviours. Adopt competency-based pay to encourage the acquisition of knowledge and skills and enhance employee performance.
Set the tone
Communicate with your employees what is acceptable and what is not in employee relationships. As mentioned before, this has to stem from the top management and HRs must moderate it. If the top management is empathetic, understanding, and sweet then all the people they interact with will also tend to carry the same attitude. And they will radiate it towards the customers and everyone else in the team.
Companies must lay out their employee engagement strategy using these 5 points - 1. Culture and core values 2. Growth and development 3. Rewards and recognition 4. Feedback and action items 5. Promote transparency. A strategy that is just focused on games and outings, will lose gravity over time.
Devising an employee engagement strategy needs a thorough understanding of the ground reality and building a strategy with the employees considering what will work the best for them and the organisation. Do things that the founding team and the organisation believe in. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to stick to the strategy. The most effective way to go about this is by running an employee engagement survey across the organisation to comprehend what is happening and what to do. Once the strategy is in place, keep measuring employee engagement at regular intervals.