Employee Engagement requires action to increase high employee performance
Employee Engagement is about unlocking staff potential to drive high performance. Gallup’s research suggests that organisations with highly engaged employees have almost 4x the earnings per share growth rate, compared to those organisations with low engagement scores. Organisations need to focus efforts on building a mutual commitment between employee and employer. Employee Engagement requires a commitment (and action) from both management and staff as both have a role to play. Staff with a disengaged manager are more likely to be disengaged. In Engaged organisations people are seen as the greatest asset the organisation has. Successful organisations realise that engaged employees are more effective at satisfying clients and produce higher performance. BEWARE: Many employees are tired of hearing that they are important, they want action! Running an employee engagement survey helps understand areas that need attention, but these surveys are USELESS unless we take action.
Top lessons of Employee Engagement surveys
- Get leadership buy-in and TAKE ACTION. Don’t do a survey unless you know your leadership team is committed to listening and taking decisive action on the feedback. Asking employees what they think, but then doing nothing with the information will build a more cynical and more disengaged workforce than if you had never done the survey.
- Employee Engagement is not the same as employee satisfaction. Although satisfaction can be an outcome of a great organisational culture, remember engagement and satisfaction are not the same thing. Perks and money can boost employee satisfaction levels but even under-performing employees can be satisfied. The focus of the survey should be to produce higher performance.
- Establish a representative committee. This group should timeously review survey results and make recommendations to management. The team should include a mix of leaders and respected representatives from across the organisation (departmental, business unit, functional, etc.). This diverse team helps drive and reinforce an engaged culture. The team should evaluate survey results and prioritise recommendations to the leadership team. Giving employees a voice through the organisational committee helps identify priorities and increase buy-in.
- Create a budget. Effective action requires organisational investment. Survey results will identify some areas of the business that score significantly better or worse than the organisational average; follow up with an analysis at the local level and establish local action plans. Use the priorities identified by the representative committee to identify “low-hanging fruit” – priority areas for attention and quick wins and create a budget to make these happen. Run a rigorous review process that produces an itemised budget to fund these priorities. Budget more on the interpretation, action plan, follow through, communication and branding than on survey bells and whistles! Survey failures are usually because of a failure to properly interpret the results, poor prioritisation the lack of an action plan and follow up.
- Share success. Before conducting a follow-up survey, ensure you have regularly communicated specific successes, actions and progress achieved since the last survey. A vibrant communication plan should play a key part in your overall engagement strategy. View this communication as a powerful organisational branding opportunity.
Beware of over-promising and under-delivering. Many surveys begin with great intentions, but if specific action is not taken we run the risk of creating a more skeptical work culture. Organisational culture doesn’t change overnight. An overly ambitious programme will create organisational fatigue. Follow up and follow through are essential to successful engagement and culture change, and impact how your employees will judge your efforts. Employee Engagement surveys followed by action drives business success!
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