How to build an engagement strategy
- 5 Min Read
Addressing the engagement levels of workforces is on the minds of many businesses today. An engaged workforce can highly benefit companies looking to succeed in a disruptive job market. However, how can businesses create an engaged workforce? Michael Maynard, Co-Founder, Maynard Leigh Associates, aided HRD Connect in examining the importance of an engagement strategy, and how businesses can build an effective engagement plan.
There are many factors to consider when putting together an employee engagement strategy. Recognition and Reward are key assets to ensure full engagement from a workforce. A national employee survey from EachPerson suggested that over 90% of employees feel recognition is important. However, 62% of workers stated that they hardly ever were appreciated by their employers. 72% of employees also said that they would work harder if they were appreciated.
“There is now extensive data available that demonstrates, conclusively, the link between engagement and organisational success,” said Michael Maynard, Co-Founder, Maynard Leigh Associates.
“Every single measure of a company’s performance improves when there are high levels of engagement amongst the workforce. Things like productivity, profitability, customer service, and creativity are all shown to increase when there is high engagement. It’s an indisputable business case.”
Keeping a workforce engaged can make employees feel inspired, valued, and involved in the business, which can result in a happier and more productive workforce. Business leaders in this age must drive engagement to see continuous innovation, passion, and success in their businesses.
“Our recent research shows that the benefits of high employee engagement are enormous. Surely any senior leader being offered increased profitability, efficiency, customer satisfaction, innovation, and lower staff turnover, wastage and absenteeism –would leap at it,” continued Michael.
The perks of a highly engaged workforce are clear. However, how can businesses build an effective strategy that fully engages their employees?
“Many organisations start by doing an engagement survey. Whilst this is interesting and revealing in terms of where best to put your attention, nothing changes simply by measuring it. It’s about action,” continued Michael.
“Our research working with clients shows that people feel engaged because they are being valued, involved, developed, and inspired. We call it VIDI.”
“Value people for their individuality and diversity. Reward the contribution that they make. Let them know that their work makes a difference.”
“Involve people in what’s going on. Provide constant communication about what’s going on in the whole organisation. People like autonomy so empower them to get involved in making decisions, so that they don’t feel controlled.”
“Develop people so that you unlock their potential, expand their skills and then they know you invest in their career prospects.”
“Inspire people so that they can feel excited about the enterprise and their part in it.”
For businesses looking to adopt a similar strategy to VIDI, it’s important to consider a holistic approach. It’s about reshaping the whole culture around engagement. A lot depends on equipping business leaders with the right skills to create an effective employee engagement strategy.
Companies need to put their strategies into practice well enough that it is spread strongly across the whole workforce, so everyone experiences the changes being made.
“People judge actions more than words. Engagement isn’t something you do to people. You don’t engage them. You engage with them,” continued Michael.
“It’s not enough to have a set of platitudes written up on the wall stating the company values if management and leadership do not behave as role models living those values.”
Everyone within a business plays a part in building an effective engagement strategy from the ground up. If everyone reacts positively to company culture, then it will gradually be represented throughout their business. However, a line manager is pivotal in creating a link between managers and employees.
“HR, L&D or Talent management executives play an important part. But most of our research shows that the role of the line manager is vital in any engagement process,” continued Michael.
“They are the link between the organisation and its people. However, many managers don’t possess the interpersonal or performance management skills needed to involve and engage people in the right way.”
Consequently, Learning & Development is an important component to ensure that managers are fully equipped to initiate and sustain these changes to culture and business strategies.
Above all, time is the key to developing a strategy. There’s a lot of transformation that must be done to instil an engaging culture. Therefore, businesses need to construct an engagement plan and give it time to establish itself in the organisation.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You must persist in implementing actions to produce a culture of high engagement. In some ways, you’re pushing at an open door,” continued Michael.
“People want to enjoy their work. They want to feel that they make a difference when they come to work. They want to feel that what they do has meaning. Managers need to listen, because people will often tell you what they need to work at their best.”
A people-centred approach to business strategies can unlock many positive results to achieve business success. Once an engagement strategy is fully ingrained within a business, it’s important to sustain this to continually reap the benefits as an organisation grows.