3 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

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employee engagement diagramSo many blogs, articles and even books are published on how to have an engaged workforce.  These articles often either paint an unrealistic image of a bliss-filled office environment or an unattainable, hard-to-implement plan.  Employee engagement isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.  At times it may seem like more of an “Office Space” environment.

In reality, having a 100 percent engaged workforce 100 percent of the time isn’t possible.  Today’s workforce looks very different from our parents’ workforce.  We have many different generations working together under one roof.  We deal with flex time, complicated benefits plans and vacation policies just to name a few.  Add a growing company into that mix and you can be met with uncertainty and frustration from your workforce.  What can you do?

There are three keys to boosting employee engagement, and working with a PEO can help you implement them.  Having a credentialed HR expert at your disposal who can support and advise you on communication, surveys and identifying engagement issues is indispensable when making these sometimes difficult steps and taking action on the results.

Cemployee engagement diagramelebrate the positive, but take a hard look at the bad.
During the good times, we have positive huddles, effortless collaboration and tons of compliments for each other.  Life is good and engagement is at its peak.  Company culture is not something we have to “do,” it just is.  Sadly, this happily-ever-after tale won’t last forever, and growing companies invariably experience growing pains.   Communication in its most transparent form is the most important thing you can do during these times.  Be prepared to receive stinging, brutally honest feedback from your employees.   This will most certainly ensure you don’t have a superficial plan for employee engagement.  When you invest in really listening to your workforce, they will notice.

Ask thought provoking specific questions.

Don’t ask broad, generic questions if you really want to get to the bottom of something.  Be specific.   If you want to know if your employees received proper on-boarding upon joining your company, ask exactly that.  If you ask a broad question that isn’t tied to anything, you won’t receive the structured feedback you desire.  Focusing on specifics allows you to set up an action plan to formally address items so that employees can see the changes being made.

Use surveys or other forms of data collection? Great—now DO something!

My decade long stint with a Fortune 500 company jaded me on employee surveys.  We took them every year and had to answer seemingly irrelevant questions such as whether we had a best friend at work.  Granted, there were also more significant questions, but we didn’t see any movement from those surveys, nor any follow up on findings and what the company was doing to address engagement and morale.  Data collection and surveys can be very useful tools in your engagement process, but only if you address the feedback and communicate it to your staff.  If used properly, these tools can highlight trends and potential problems before they get out of hand.

Remember, you employ humans and not data.  Bring the “human” back into your culture and workforce.  Communicate, show action, and address the bad as it comes.  Be consistent in your approach and your employees will follow suit.

Contact the author directly at anissa.wilson@staffone.com. This is the second post in our 30 Days of HR Outsourcing series. Visit us each day in November for information on HR, payroll, benefits, workers’ comp and risk management topics affecting you…or subscribe to be notified instantly when a new post is published.

Photo copyright: Marigranula