In 2015 Employee Engagement Will Look Like It Did in 2014…and 2013…
The fundamental elements of employee engagement programming do not change every year. This is foundational stuff for your future business success, so a consistent approach that employees can come to rely on and trust is critical. Chasing fads each year in a misguided attempt to keep the program “fresh” is off target. Humans do not change how they relate to each other and work together year-to-year, so your engagement tools only need to change if they aren’t working.
The start of a new year, with its mental resets, clean slates and Spring cleanings, gives you a chance to assess how your engagement efforts are working, and get input from your employees about how to spiff them up!
How does your workplace look? Here are elements to consider:
Is your retention rate reasonable? Have you managed to reduce the rate over the last year? Are the best people staying or going at a higher rate than average employees?
How does your rate of pay stack up against your competitors and other local businesses who could tempt away your good employees? You don’t have to beat other companies on pay, but you respect your employees by paying competitive rates.
Challenges and Growth Opportunities
Do your employees have the chance to push past their regular duties to put their experience and brain power to work tackling strategic challenges? Do they regularly have the chance to give input to important internal initiatives? Do you make it a point to get that input and value it? Do you fully credit the people who have ideas that get adopted?
Do you think your employees understand exactly how their role fits into the strategic whole? Do they have a clear idea about how their work impacts that of the team and the organization? Do they get the chance to mingle regularly with the people who use their output (other teams, customers, bosses of other groups)?
Do your supervisors emphasize employee engagement as their number one priority? How does that actually play out in the workplace? What would employees of any particular boss have to say about their relationship with him or her? Have bosses improved their relationships with subordinates in meaningful ways over the last year? What commitments have supervisors made to embed better leadership habits in 2015? What help are you providing them to accomplish that goal?
You need to treat people fairly, and that means recognizing them objectively. We do not recommend a heavily structured program that institutionalizes rewards and other “attaboys.” Those program lose their oomph after they become ‘factored into’ an employee’s expectations. Keep recognitions focused on objective measures of achievement that other employees can see and appreciate, but keep them flexible, frequent and unscheduled: Give your bosses the ability to use the element of surprise to keep their recognitions fresh and energizing.
Nothing is ever going to be perfect – You will use some engagement methods well, and others not so much. But, all of these elements must be addressed continually. Engagement is a process, not an event. Keep checking your efforts against these elements of success, and find out where you can make improvements to fill gaps that may exist. Use your employees to design the solutions. Nothing beats ownership to get buy-in!