Keeping your best employees around always depends on setting up reliable, powerful, functional employee engagement processes internally. But the only way you can get there is with the right strategy to design and implement it. At Kazi, we spend a lot of time thinking about the importance of employee engagement and tell all our clients about it. Here are some of the most dependable strategies for employee engagement that we’ve been proud to use.
Put the Emphasis on “Bottom Up” rather than “Top Down”
The most durable strategies and processes are the ones that are the most organic. When you try to force a change on people from above, they always resent it, and oftentimes will resist it. In this kind of situation, no matter how good your strategy might be in principle, it will fail in practice because people won’t be comfortable with it, and won’t want to adopt it. Consider instead starting your employee engagement strategy from the employees themselves. Rather than company-wide directives, maybe start with a few pilot projects at smaller scale, and include space and incentive for employees to participate in surveys and discussions with the company. Integrate the concept of employee engagement from the interest of the employees themselves. You’ll be surprised how quickly word of a good thing will travel within your company. Soon enough, other employees will want in on the same thing.
Get Clear about Your Data Targets
Everyone knows that you can’t get useful measurements if you’re not clear to yourself about what you’re measuring. No employee engagement strategy will be able to help you if you don’t know what kind of information you need to gather from the engagement. Prepare your strategy long in advance, and think through the kinds of issues you need to get addressed from employee engagement. A lot of people think questionnaires and interviews are as a simple as just asking a few questions. Well, they’re not. At Kazi, we’ve spent thousands of man-hours perfecting our expectations scan, so we know a thing or two about surveys and data collection. And you can’t underestimate the importance of question design. Take the time you need in advance of rolling out employee engagement to make sure you’re gathering the right data, and in a way that you will be able to use at the end. You’ll thank us later!
Make sure to acknowledge high performance
In any employee engagement process, you’re going to find out things about your staff that you might not have known before. And some of it – hopefully! – is going to be really encouraging and positive stuff. And that’s a good thing for you and your employees, as it gives an opportunity for them to have their hard work recognized. But in order for this not to be a lost opportunity, you’re going to need to be ready to acknowledge it and even provide bonuses and rewards that show the employees you see what they’ve done and you are encouraging. Don’t downplay the value of even a small gesture of support. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’ll pay dividends many times over in employee trust, enthusiasm, and loyalty!
Be Ready to make Cultural Changes
Any company that takes employee engagement seriously will eventually have to reckon with the changes to the company culture that this will bring. Both the actual experience of integrating the employee engagement processes into the regular workings of the company, but also the information, revelations, and consequences of what you will learn during your greater regular engagement with your employees. You might find that some people benefit from having more time to work at home, or others can help by moving around from team to team once a year, or even that others create far more problems than they solve. And if you collect and learn this information, and then don’t make the space in your company processes or procedures to do something about it, well, it’s all been a waste. At Kazi, we’ve been working for a long time on how to go from insightful information about your employees to making effective management decisions with your employees. Getting your engagement strategy deployed is going to mean changes are coming. You’re going to have to be ready to make them!
A solid employee engagement strategy is the key to a happy, enthusiastic, loyal staff, and a company that runs smoothly. But like with anything important, the devil is in the details. Make sure you think through the implications of the implementation and consequences of your strategy before rushing headlong into it. At Kazi, we’re specialists in helping our clients through problems just like these. If you’ve got an HR problem, drop us a line today, and we’ll talk!