Cinthya Quijano

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In my last post I wrote a little bit around employee experience, it was piece that hopefully provoked thought around the subject of why focusing on this whole thing really matters.

Today, in this post, I want to talk about the greater aspect of Employee Engagement. The sad truth is that the statistics around this have not changed much since the Engage for Success research started. 1 out of 3 UK employees are disengaged. What I tell my clients, is if your engagement scores aren’t going up, staying still is still not a good thing.

My last piece explored the “why”… this piece is going to talk a bit more about the “how”. I have heard a multitude of reasons why organisations are not focusing on this topic: some believe doing engagement activities are too expensive, or they are going through change at the moment, or we do a survey every year…we got this. All which are false assumptions to be honest.

Employee engagement is not something we do to people, it is something we can energise, facilitate and create the environment for it to happen on its own. It’s not an initiative; it is part and parcel of the organisational culture.

So what are some low cost, innovative and not so innovative ideas around this…?

1.Have you asked employees what they think? – Whether it is an engagement survey, focus groups, town halls, employees need to have a voice. Oh and make sure you actually do something with it, otherwise it is just a tick box exercise.

2.Do you as a leader role model your values and behaviours of your organisation? Do you role model and serve as an example for other senior staff? I think as HR leaders we really need to be doing this piece, it is one way we can truly influence our surroundings.

3.How does recognition currently work in your organisation? You really don’t need a costly recognition scheme… if you have the budget go ahead! If you don’t try to just say thank you or even have just an award ceremony for recognition (almost like being back at school); staff really do appreciate it. From peer to peer, or from managers to staff or a mix.

4.Does your staff have ways of networking with staff in other areas? This is really helpful to create a community at work. Many times this is when innovation happens; people really get to understand the entirety of the organisation rather than just their bit.

5.Do you have management training for first time managers? At the end of the day the old saying “people leave their managers not their jobs” has a lot of truth behind it. I find many times, that managers just feel like they have been thrown in the deep end with nothing really to support their development or skills.

6.What do you do in your organisation for fun? Yes, this sounds kind of silly, but let’s be honest, fun has a lot to do with engagement. How can you create a funner environment to work in, and I don’t mean “team building exercises”, I mean just fun stuff. This also doesn’t mean you need a pool table (although they are pretty cool), but it can be just as simple as having sports days or charity walks, or staff networks.

7.How visible are your senior leaders? If you are in different locations this is not an excuse! Use technology, nowadays there are so many free apps that can help you do this, from Zoom to Google Hangouts, find one that works for your organisation and help your senior leaders be more present.

8.Do your staff know why they are there? What is the story and purpose of your organisation? Sometimes as employees we get tied down in the day to day and it is hard to view the bigger picture, so make sure you are helping your leaders and managers talk about this. Maybe have sessions where you get your teams to think and reflect how their work contributes to the vision and purpose, let them do the linkages once you’ve shared what it is you are all trying to do.

9.How do you involve staff in change? See change is not the time to drop your values, culture and engagement… it is actually the time when you really need to focus on these things. Let staff be part of any change project, give them a voice and the freedom to come up with ideas, or lead a project. This equals less resistance and probably a more successful change effort.

10.Don’t forget to smile! Enjoy your work and the energy will be contagious, there is nothing worse than trying to create an engaged workforce when you are not engaged yourself.

Want to learn more about how to put people at the heart of business, I highly recommend the Engage for Success conference coming up in March.