The one simple thing to engage your employees
Here they come: your company’s annual Employee Survey results.
Do you wonder how you did?
You open the report with trepidation. This is your people’s chance to tell you what they think – about their job, about the company, about you.
It all gets packaged into a neat little report entitled “Employee Engagement Score” or some similar title. And of course you know that the score is important: companies with a high score are more productive, have higher profits and attract more talent.
“Well”, you tell yourself, “last time wasn’t too bad.” Then you see the score…
You’ve probably heard the phrase “what gets measured gets managed.” But when you look at the numbers, you start to wonder: what else can you do to raise the score? Can it be improved?
You might think it would be impossible, but it’s not. You just have to start to from a different point.
Introducing a radical approach: stop measuring employee engagement.
For years, organisations have been collecting data from Employee surveys, 360º feedbacks, pulse checks and culture assessments.
Yet, after years of measuring, we still haven’t managed to improve engagement scores in any meaningful way.
The annual numbers move up and down a notch, yet the trends show that 65-85% of employees remain disengaged, and more than half say they are likely to leave their current job.
Seems that not everything that’s measured is managed (well).
So what is happening?
Organisations insist that they want more employee engagement. It’s high on the list of priorities, they say. Maybe your boss says this too. And maybe you say it. And I am sure you honestly mean it.
I also bet you already cover the basics:
- you have a clear Reward and Recognition policy
- you pay within industry standards
- you provide perks and have annual socials and the company Christmas party.
Maybe you are doing a lot more than this. And these things are important.
But while you review your engagement strategies and look at the plans for the company barbeque in 6 months’ time, I want you to ask yourself one question.
How will these initiatives and activities grab the heart and soul of your people? Are any of them going to appeal on a deeply human level? Are they speaking to your people as individuals? As unique beings? As humans?
Step away from the jargon.
So here is the simple thing to improve your engagement scores:
Instead of talking about employee engagement and your company scores, get clear on what you are trying to do. Start asking yourself what do you actually mean by engagement. If your people were fully engaged, what would you see them do? Or not do? How would they behave? What would they say? What would someone visiting your office notice?
Pro-tip: start having a conversation with your people. Ask what being engaged means to them. This does not need to be a comprehensive scientific study, but an open conversation so you can test your assumptions around engagement.
To create genuine employee engagement you have to get down to specifics.
Getting down to specifics of what engagement means to you and your team clarifies what changes that are needed.
It allows you zoom in with laser precision on the areas where changes are needed, where you should focus your efforts.
It provides a platform to dive into two-way a conversation with your people – to start appealing to their hearts and souls. To truly engage them.