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Employee Engagement – Insights and Experiments

employee engagement

Employee Engagement- Insights and Experiments

Employee engagement is an extensively used strategic tool that can add real value to top-line growth and bottom-line performance. But when your attempts to engage employees are haphazard, and devoid of real meaning or value, they negate good intentions.

First and foremost, the insight to these questions about the organization would make the HR strategist align the  employee engagement initiatives to the organizational goals.

  • Does your company have a clear mission, vision and values?
  • Does your organization live by these values?
  • Are these values being actively promoted in your organization?
  • Does your company align its vision, people and processes?
  • How does your company measure and sustain the culture to support organizational performance?

Employee engagement  is a process that begins with identifying the right performance metrics, clearly communicating expectations, giving context and purpose for these expectations, providing the tools and training to achieve objectives, and finally, development opportunities for every employee, manager, and leader, that will help them achieve their goals and strive for mastery.

If you’ve already addressed all your employees’ basic engagement needs — clear goals, a context for their work, opportunities to develop and progress, recognition and rewards, ongoing feedback and coaching on their performance, and opportunity to do their best — it’s time to get creative.

Some case studies would enable us to think out of the box on the engagement initiatives in the organization  for  making it a better place to work.

Employee Yearbooks really helped to create an engaged workforce

Ken Hendricks, the late CEO of the largest roofing distribution company in the U.S., believed that “by putting your people first, your people will put the customer first.” With 350 locations spread across 45 states, fostering and maintaining an engaged workforce was about creating “a people business built on relationships.”

In all the relationship-building activities that Hendricks took on to experiment employee engagement, the key was to treat employees as equals, as peers and as friends. From taking an hour out of every day to talk directly to managers, to inviting hundreds of his employees to weekly parties at his summer home, Hendricks created a culture where people felt supported, appreciated, listened to and respected. He even had yearbooks printed for ABC Supply employees in all 350 locations, complete with photos, employee lists, and each office’s goals for the upcoming year.

            ABC Supply has continued to thrive, living by its mission “to increase customer engagement through increased employee engagement.” These little details have made all the difference. The yearbooks, as well as management’s commitment to strengthening inter/outer-office relationships, have proved to be powerful employee engagement activities that keep employees committed to the organization and to each other.

Hiring the right talent who can adapt to the culture of the organization plays a vital role in having the engaged workforce. Zappos online shoe store has often been listed in the best employer list with maximum engaged workforce. The secret to its hyper engaged workforce is A commitment to company culture. Receiving over 55 000 employment applications a year, Zappos is scrupulous about hiring the right people and more importantly, keeping them.

Candidates who pass the lengthy interview process that includes numerous phone and in-person interviews are asked to attend lunch and happy hour events to see if they’re a good fit with the Zappos “family” and culture.

After four weeks of onboarding training, new hires are made an uncommon offer: a $3000 payout to leave. According to Zappos, 2-3 percent of trainees have taken the offer since the initiative was rolled out.

Employee Engagement and culture are synonymous at Zappos. The company is clear about what their culture is and what they need to do to maintain it. They’ve defined their core company values and focus on retaining the people who share and uphold those values. It may take long for Zappos to hire a new employee, but they’re quick to let go people who don’t fit the profile.

In order to design an effective employee engagement plan in an organization, HR must strategize to link the initiatives to the expectations of the employees as well as aligning them to the organizational vision and missions and culture. The great Employee Engagement tips are as follows,

  1. Bring in ownership in each employee

Every 6 months, or even quarterly,  bring all the employees in one forum to present the most important issues in your company and the actions made to address those issues. Involve your team in planning ahead, assessing opportunities and coming up with improvement ideas for your business strategy.

By promoting transparency and offering them a strategic insight into how the company is being managed, you’ll foster more onus to work and you’ll also have a prepared leadership pipeline.

  1. Mentorship programme redefined

A knowledge sharing system helps you avoid the employee turnover cost  to some extent, and it’s also a great engagement driver for newcomers.

Ushering in newest mentorship programs, by pairing experienced employees with newly hired ones gives the new hires better learning on job. Create a learning program template that they should follow, giving them enough space to test their own learning methods by  giving them a timeframe, a set of objectives and prime of all let the peer relationship unfold on its own.

  1. Encourage knowledge sharing and connect with each employees

Many a times it happens in the organization that one team is not aware of what developments are happening in the other teams or in the organization as a whole. The team works as an island in the organization.

By creating an open forum wherein each team can present updates on their project and key learning points or any landmarks of success, the employees get an opportunity to mingle and evolve much more rapidly using the knowledge shared and different learning experiences in each project. Adding fun to this meeting would minimize the risk of turning the meeting into a regular activity which becomes boring after some point in time.

  1. Build the trust in the organization with transparency

Nothing builds trust like showing someone your financial statement. And that’s exactly what you should do in your company.

Give your team a quick presentation of the financial state of your company, every quarter or at the end of the year. Show them how everyone’s efforts are linked together, set bold objectives for the next months and get everyone involved in meeting those objectives. You’ll notice that this activity links back to the 1stone.

Encourage employees to take responsibility for the success of the company if you want them to put in their discretionary effort.

  1.   Explore the learning curve for each employee

By creating your own Academy, where employees can access the knowledge and development opportunities that they need, we would help to keep our employees engaged highly at work. This is one of the top 3 reasons why employees quit companies: lack of learning prospects.

Assess their needs and their preferences, create a curriculum and set-up 1-2 classes per week. Get them involved in deciding how you should schedule these learning initiatives (during or after working hours).

Make it engaging and rewarding with a Graduation ceremony, caps and flowers and even a fun night out.

  1. Emphasis to keep your workforce healthy

Have your own Office Gym where everyone can gets involved  and have fun. Promote wellbeing and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in a fun, competitive way. Office Olympics or sports can bring back enthusiasm into work.

Get to know each other in a different environment and connect people with the same interests. It’s a great chance to get some of those chair-numbed-muscles going and bond in a friendly competition. Prizes and embarrassing photos are a must.

  1. Create excitement about upcoming opportunities

Make sure you communicate upcoming opportunities on a regular basis. Get employees excited and striving for what’s next. Do it in your internal newsletter, face-to-face or during a general update meeting.

If they’re excited about what’s next, they’ll do their best and wait for the new opportunities coming on their way.Keep in mind that a career processes should be driven by individual potential as well as current opportunities.

  1. Make onboarding fun

Usually the induction programme ends up with going through various slides about the organization and the new hire remembers very low proportion of the information shared. Turn information that is usually considered boring or useless into company trivia and learning how to use tools and systems, such as the internal communication system.

  1. Create your own internal magazine

Create your internal employee-focused magazine with fun columns, news, featured stories and opportunities. Who wouldn’t like to be featured on the cover as Employee of the Month?

It can be an online magazine or a printed one. Or, it can be both, a monthly online issue and a quarterly printed one.

  1. Let employees design their career paths

The Managers playing a guiding role can actually encourage the employees to design and own their career paths. They can understand and help align the employees’ aspirations for growth opportunities with the organizational career development point of view.

Employees need to take initiative and set a career goal for themselves.Have people write their goal on a piece of paper. Put it in an envelope and close it. Then, after 6 months or a year, give them the sealed envelopes back to see if they’ve realized that goal.

Commit to taking action, don’t wait for engagement to happen

Moving from theory to practice is a big challenge. Most companies that measure employee engagement do little beyond that measurement.

In order to obtain all of the benefits of employee engagement, you have to commit to act.It also means engaging managers by developing their leadership skills, living the company values on a day-to-day basis and allowing open, two-way communication with employees.Employee engagement is an organizational effort that requires a long-term vision in a business strategy context, if it is to improve productivity and retention rates.

You have to identify what your company needs and develop the right strategy. Only then should you focus on how to measure employee engagement and what activities to implement.

 

 

Jayati Tapadar
A seasoned HR professional with more than 13 years of work experience in the whole gamut of HR.She graduated in Economics from Banaras Hindu University and has a degree of Masters in Business Administration with specialisation in Human Resource from Nagpur University. Jayati has varied exposure in the industries like IT, HR consulting, auto ancilliary , manufacturing and worked with corporates like Randstad .
Her rich work experience has given her opportunity to know the varied dynamics of HR domain.
Categories: Blog.

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  • vinodkumar