Employee Engagement: A 5-Step Guide For What Could Be Your Organization’s Biggest Challenge

5 Steps To Increase Employee Engagement

Last week, I spent some time reading through the Global Human Capital Trends 2016 Report by Deloitte, which includes facts based on the responses of 7,000 HR and business leaders from 130 countries worldwide, and went through the High-Impact Talent Management study results by the same firm. I was amazed to realize how much the responders agree on the challenges and needs of their organizations, despite the dispersion and size of this report. According to these reports, employee engagement continues to be a challenge for enterprises all over the globe; in fact, almost one in two of the survey respondents say it is very important.

For many organizations, employee engagement is directly connected to employee turnover. The recruitment of talented people who would fit and enhance the corporate culture can be a challenge by itself – still, it is even harder to keep these people and indulge them with a work environment that engages and nurtures them further (this is what Deloitte calls a “simply irresistible” organization).

We live in a social media-ruled world. Employees and candidates share information about their workplace via several streams, most of which are incontrollable. Your people can (and will) evaluate your organization publicly, disclosing the assets of your workplace as well as any disadvantages. Any proficient and qualified candidate can research your organization and read your employees’ comments, before applying for a role or accepting your offer.

Deloitte says that employee engagement has been a CEO-level issue, just like corporate culture. Almost 9 in 10 executives in this year’s survey rated engagement as either an important or a very important priority for their organizations. No surprises there: Your CEO acknowledges the challenge of keeping people engaged and aligned with your corporate culture and reinforces the importance of a successful engagement process.

So, what could help increase employee engagement? Here are 5 important steps to a more engaging organization in relationship to corporate culture and learning:

  1. Inspiring leadership is imperative. 
    Your people need to know that your organization has a thorough strategy, clear ethos and rich corporate values.
  2. Management should be effective at all levels. 
    Your senior management team will inspire, but it is your mid-managers and supervisors who need to embrace the corporate culture and diffuse it on a daily basis. Make sure they are well-trained and confident with routing your culture. You will probably need a new learning strategy and tools to achieve this.
  3. Social media (and their collaboration mechanisms in particular) can be an ally.
    By incorporating them in your corporate trainings and eLearning systems, your employees have an instant, effective tool to share (and reinforce) your culture amongst them.
  4. Feedback is crucial.
    Listen to your employees – and listen actively and continuously. Infusing the corporate culture is not a one-way thing; it requires active acceptance and embracement by the individual. By encouraging employee feedback, you invite them to engage more effectively and be a part of the whole process; while recognizing their contribution to your company. Make the most of industry’s new tools and systems that promote and reward useful contribution, enable real-time feedback and provide a mechanism for meaningful reporting.
  5. Be inclusive.
    Research indicates that highly inclusive corporations have a proven correlation with great business results.  One of the major strategies to build a diverse and inclusion-oriented environment is to integrate this ethos in your learning and performance management culture. Make sure your eLearning system respects individuality and provides an inclusive and friendly learning environment for all.

Learning by itself is very important (ranked 5th in the Report with 84%); while it deeply affects all other top 4 priorities/concerns companies have (Organizational Design, Leadership, Culture, and Engagement). Employee engagement is not an isolated issue that can be addressed by itself. In fact, we should be prepared for change in the role and impact of learning in the New Organization.