Improving Employee Engagement

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Forbes recently did an Expert Panel touching Employee Engagement, and referenced our founder (see #5).

“To improve retention, companies should seek regular feedback from employees. Do so via one-on-one weekly meetings and anonymous surveys on a quarterly basis. Ask for feedback on what you and the company should start doing, stop doing and continue doing.” – Adam

What the pandemic has taught most businesses, is that Employee Engagement now must be intentional. We no longer have the luxury of the whole team being in an office to provide engagement through osmosis. But how do you intentionally focus on improving Employees Engagement?

1. “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin

Put together an Engagement Alignment Plan (EAP). A simple one page plan that charts the year with annual goals and current quarterly projects.

What we frequently see as necessary in the majority of the EAP’s that we author, is the annual goal to adopt a business operating model. The business operating model gives you a structure on how to run the company and provide regular feedback to employees. Both one on one (15 minute weekly and 60 minute quarterly), and anonymously on a quarterly basis.

This feedback loop serves two purposes:

  1. A scorecard of how current EAP projects are being received
  2. Ideas for the next quarter’s EAP’s

2. Engagement Committee

Empanel an engagement committee with a champion from each of your departments. The champion has to be excited at the prospect of improving engagement at your organization and will have two responsibilities:

  1. Voice of their department to the engagement committee.
  2. Voice of the engagement committee and associated projects back to their department.

3. Quarterly Planning

Take the anonymous quarterly feedback, and reflect on what projects worked and which did not work. Use the insights to as a team, come up with the projects for the next quarter and update the EAP.

4. Annual Guidance

At the completion of your first year running with an EAP, it is time to begin the process again and interview the leadership team to set the course for the following year.

5. Watch for Obstacles

Though there could be an infinite number of obstacles, the unique causes are few. Here are the top we have identified through thousands of interviews and assessments:

  1. You. Yes you as the leader of your organization, you must truly believe that the people in your organization are the most valuable aspect of your business. If you do not, you will continue to struggle. If you answer yes to any of the below, you need to do some seriously soul searching (or googling):
    • If you put profits over people
    • If you feel that employee engagement is a nice to have to focus on during the good times
    • If you think that you are not ultimately accountable for the level of engagement in your company
    • If you tolerate people being in your company that are cancerous to your staff, but they perform so well you fear replacing them
  2. A member of your leadership team does not believe the people in your organization are the most valuable aspect of your business. Very similar to the first step though here you should make a short term step in reframing your leadership team member. Hopefully they come around, but if they do not you have to let them go. This is the most frequent cause of disengagement we have identified. You are paying a heavy cost to waiting and tolerating.
  3. Assuming everything is fine. The average level of engagement in an organization is 34%. Understand where you stand!
  4. Department silos. You operate like individual teams, with minimal cohesion.
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