3 Strategies to Boost Employee Engagement

August 25, 2017 | Thought Pieces

by Peter Paul Cauton

Are employees engaged and productive?
Is the organization able to maximize its talent base?

More and more, employee engagement has become a CEO-level concern. Managers and leaders are now being held accountable for engagement, decentralizing this from the HR area of responsibility. Over the years, we have seen the clear significance of employee engagement as far as attracting, retaining, and motivating employees.

Now that we are witnessing the historic mixing of five different generations (Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials, and very recently entering the workplace, Gen Z) in the workplace, the challenge to engage the workforce has become so much more complex.

Engagement demands a highly inclusive, empowering organization now that the workforce is more diverse than ever. The tips that follow are some ways the organization can start to shift to an engagement-centric strategy:

Deloitte University Press
Photo from Deloitte University Press

 

Focus on bottom-up efforts, not just top-down

What’s the typical process a company does to manage engagement? First, HR convinces the CEO to invest in an engagement survey. Once results are in, the CEO and the HR team, perhaps with a newly formed “engagement committee,” work on implementing interventions.

There is a MUCH better way to do this: first, we know that if we want something to improve, we need to measure it, so the engagement survey is the right idea. Second, once the results are out though, the best way to use the resulting data is to feed it back to each manager. What is the score of her team? How does it compare to other teams? Third, the manager HAS to share the results with her team, and then let THEM brainstorm: how do we improve things?

Instead of making the employee a problem to be solved, this approach makes her part of the solution. The resulting ideas and insights will be MUCH more relevant and effective than a top-down approach.

 

Embrace the digital age

Internal communications play a major role in influencing employee engagement. Clear and consistent updates about what is happening in the organization builds trust and an opportunity to enable employee voice which are both crucial in engagement.  Given that technology has enabled processes to change faster than ever before, it should be leveraged in pushing communications and making information more accessible for employees. In today’s digital age, tools and systems are readily available for companies to utilize in building employee engagement.

Hootsuite, for example, is able to engage their employees across all 12 countries by using Periscope through a program called “Follow the Sun”. They used the live streaming app to enable employees to share their stories with their peers in real time which led to increased engagement and talent attraction.

Another example is Squares, a mobile platform developed by STORM Technologies, designed to shape information flow—especially in large, distributed workforces, and even in organizations or associations. Employees or members can easily stay in the loop, receive updates, and access important information through their mobile device, addressing the lack of efficient communications that can most often lead to misinformation and disengagement.

 

Design for authenticity

Organizations are more vulnerable now that job candidates can easily see, and look up on the internet, if an organization is a great place to work in. This new level of transparency and openness demands authenticity from potential employers.  Companies are now developing a focus on the entire employee experience- from the time the candidate is sourced to the time they retire. Integrating people analytics, workplace redesign, employee self-service tools, and wellbeing programs make up the employee journey.

Zappos did something radical in their employee journey strategy to promote engagement. Their onboarding process is extended from the usual 2-day process to a 4-week process wherein new employees get to be toured around the office, trained, and finally given “The Offer”. The Offer basically says “If you quit today, we will pay you for the amount of time you’ve worked, plus we will offer you a $1,000 bonus”. The main reason why they “bribe” their new employees to quit is to check for alignment in values and commitment. This way, both the organization and the employee can have an authentic view of each other.

 
 


Peter Paul Cauton is founder and CEO of STORM Technologies, the Philippines’ largest flexible benefits and incentives firm. Serving over 100,000 employees, STORM combines proven HR and organizational philosophies along with cutting-edge technology to develop improved and innovative workplace solutions.


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