Key Factors in the Creation of an Employee Engagement Strategy

Broadly defined, an employee engagement strategy refers to the deliberate actions an organisation takes with the view to improving the likelihood that employees will start to form a strong emotional connection with the company.

These strategies are generally focused on fostering an environment that allows for the connection between the company and its employees to develop and grow in a natural and sustained manner. Additionally, an employee engagement strategy normally forms part of a human resources strategic pillar, which encompasses issues related to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce.

The Importance of an Employee Engagement Strategy

Employee engagement is critical for inspiring quality work, encouraging commitment to organisational goals, and helping employees see value in their work.

In the absence of an effective strategy in this regard, employees become disengaged presenting companies with the following challenges:

  • Poor productivity
  • Low motivation
  • Misdirected, poor or non-existent communication
  • Lack of self-worth amongst employees
  • Increased staff turnover

There are in fact many more negative consequences associated with poor engagement but the abovementioned factors are most easily identified in companies as indicators of disengagement.

Employee Engagement Strategy Groundwork

Many companies undertake workforce surveys to assess employee engagement levels and examine the links between EE and important business objectives. The findings of these surveys should reveal which engagement programmes are meeting their objectives, and those that don’t work.

While these surveys can provide useful insights it is important to understand that employee engagement surveys are not the same as other employee surveys.

Employee opinion and satisfaction surveys assess employees’ views, attitudes, and perceptions of their organisation. An employee engagement surveys assess employees’ commitment, motivation, sense of purpose, and passion for their work and the organisation.

Effective employee engagement surveys establish an important basis for the development of an engagement strategy and usually provides guidance on five key components:

  1. Identifying the best channels for communicating the strategy.
  2. Prioritising action areas.
  3. Providing pointers on the metrics that can be developed to evaluate progress.
  4. Bringing to the fore ‘unknown’ engagement challenges that might be unique to a company’s operating environment.
  5. Highlighting areas that will need to be addressed to ensure the sustainability of the strategy.

The effective design and use of engagement surveys can help companies avoid missteps when designing and implementing their strategy.

Important considerations for any Employee Engagement Strategy

As discussed at the beginning of this article, any strategy aimed at boosting employee engagement cannot be undertaken in isolation from a company’s strategic pillars – the best strategies in this regard are complementary to existing human resources objectives.

The most effective long-term engagement strategies lay the groundwork for business unit leaders to feel empowered to establish an environment that encourages a positive employee experience via the execution of an employee engagement strategy. These strategies are also responsive to key factors identified during engagement surveys.

While it is generally accepted that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to the development of a strategy, key considerations during the design phase usually include the following:

  • Reinforcing your company’s vision and values – ultimately all work undertaken by a company needs to be in support of its vision and values. Employees need to be shown how their work supports this aspect of the organisation.
  • Creating opportunities for personal and professional growth – the opportunity to learn and grow is absolutely critical, especially amongst younger generations entering the workforce.
  • Helping employees find purpose in their work – in large industrial organisations defining meaningful work by engaging employees in strengths-based conversations is an important strategic approach.
  • Introducing (or revisiting) recognition programmes that are meaningful, memorable and measurable – thoughtfully constructed, timely and relevant recognition programmes that are simple to evaluate and visible to an entire business unit, must be a part of your strategy.
  • Flexibility – the best strategies are not static, there will be changes in your workforce and to ensure your engagement is sustainable you need to be able to adjust on a regular basis.

Fundamentally an employee engagement strategy should be designed in a way that amplifies engagement opportunities for business leaders.

Desirable Outcomes

While employee engagement is not an exact science, companies should have defined goals in this regard and they can include the following:

  • Employee alignment with company goals and values
  • Improved productivity
  • Higher employee motivation
  • Enhance employee wellbeing
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Improve workplace safety
  • Alignment between employees and management
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Reduced absenteeism

The path to employee engagement is far from straightforward and companies that quickly and effectively want to monitor progress towards their goals should make use of a digital solutions to easily identify employee engagement trends.

The Benefits of an Employee Engagement Strategy

Business leaders around the globe view improving their company’s employee engagement strategy as one of their top five business priorities. One of the primary reasons for this perspective is the fact that effective employee engagement offers an important path to overall stakeholder satisfaction and business sustainability.

These business leaders are also of the opinion that an effective employee engagement strategy offers them a competitive advantage in the market which translates into the following improvements over competitors:

  • Places them among leading companies that have high to moderately high levels of employee engagement.
  • A 21% higher level ofprofitability.
  • Employee turnover rates that are more than 40% lower than those of companies with disengaged teams.
  • A 17% improvement in employee productivity.

Engaged companies are also more resilient, more likely to recover from a recession, and have greater financial returns over time.

Key Takeaways

An effective employee engagement strategy can unlock the human potential of a company and have a positive impact on its long-term sustainability. For such a strategy to be effective it needs to be underpinned by the identification of key challenges affecting successful engagement and the utilisation of employee engagement surveys play an important role in this respect. Once companies fully understand the nature of the engagement challenges they face, they can craft a strategy that focuses on their key challenges and start their journey toward building an engaged workforce.

To learn more talk to an expert.