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What are some areas you could see unsatisfactory scores in an employee engagement survey? We round up three such potential focus areas that are relevant in 2021 and provide some tips to CHROs on how to work on them.

Where Do We Begin With Employee Engagement? 

The CHRO in 2021 is inundated with so many priorities as Human Resources is being pulled in so many different directions. One of the major areas of focus is improving employee engagement. Especially with more people working remotely than ever before, and AI creating a demand for job reskilling, employees need to feel safe. Or else, there is a risk of disengagement.

But where does one begin to look? In order to improve employee engagement, you have to pick your battles at a tactical level. We have identified three such areas.

There are three main employee engagement pain points brought on by this new era of work: appreciation, trust, and communication. We are seeing these focus areas becoming increasingly more impactful on overall engagement.

If you are looking for a more strategic document that advises you on the best practices of understanding and measuring employee engagement, there is another resource that will be more suitable for you.

The purpose of this article is to point you to what can be done to improve appreciation, trust, and communication, and hence obtain better employee engagement survey scores in their relevant engagement factors.

Appreciation

Hold a brainstorming session of all the things that you can do for employees to show appreciation. You can show appreciation by:

Creating a Positive Work Culture

Relaxed dress codes, monthly outings, snacks in the office are all nice benefits that make people feel more valued. Anything that treats them more like a human being and less like a cog in the machine is a good engagement builder.

These aren’t not perks, but gestures. Gestures which show the commitment the organization has towards its employees for making work as enjoyable and productive as it can be.

Recognizing Individual Contributions

There’s always time for recognizing excellent and exceptional performance. Thank you cards, work anniversary emails, hand-written notes, offering days off, offering verbal praise, and popping on the recognition feed to say “great job” are all actions that show you care.

Recognition should be a daily part of company culture. That’s where WorkTango’s Recognition & Rewards solution can help. It makes showing appreciation as simple as a few clicks, and gives everybody in the organization instant access. Managers should recognize individual members, directors should recognize managers, VPs should recognize directors, and peers should recognize one another. Recognition should cascade throughout the organization where people are commended and appreciated for their behaviors, efforts, and results.

Recognition should also be in real-time, so it is specific to a certain task or a certain result. Employees bask in the recognition more when the good work they have done is fresh in their minds. Similarly, it makes sense for everyone else to hear about their success immediately or shortly after it happens. (That’s the benefit of an always-on public recognition feed.)

Sometimes, to really recognize individual or team success, monetary rewards offer that stamp of approval. While such rewards or benefits are normally reserved for the compensation category in HR, it’s far more costly to replace an employee than to just offer them fair remuneration. Part of this remuneration can include appropriate monetary rewards when they deserve it.

Not all rewards are monetary though. Our points based system allows members of the organization to send each other reward points that can be exchanged for an item or experience of choice in the custom rewards catalog.

Finally (in this category), it’s important to  show employees the link between work and results by introducing them to people who are directly benefited. It makes a big difference when people get to interact with those they help. It cuts through the noise like no other reward or gesture.

Tip: To really tackle recognition, evaluate current recognition and rewards solutions in your HR tool stack. Consider using an integrated Employee Experience Platform that combines Recognition & Rewards with Surveys & Insights, and Goals & Feedback for ease of use and maximum ROI.

Building Employee Engagement Through Trust

Not everyone is the same, so the Hersey Blanchard model helpfully talks about the different levels of supervision one requires throughout their time in an organization.

Some people want to do only one thing or have very niche skills that allow them to stay in the same role forever. Others go through phases of being directed, being coached, being supported, and being delegated. You can increase trust in all stages by:

Developing their Skills

Providing ongoing training and education to upskill or reskill employees gets the message across that you are invested in their future. It’s not about hiring and squeezing the best out of them. Rather, it’s about empowering them where they reach their highest potential, while still working for you.

It’s not an impossible dream. It can be achieved by continuing to trust people. Training programs can be formal or informal. Newcomers can be paired with senior employees. Other similar mentorship programs can be arranged which have high favorability amongst employees. There could be learning clubs where employees are rewarded for improving their skillset, which will help them to do their jobs better.

It all depends on the receptivity of the employee. If they require more hand-holding, offer them a roadmap of learning milestones, where they get progressively better at doing something.

If they like to be left alone, offer them reserved office hours where they can pop in and inquire about skills development or choosing a career path.

Sometimes, there are tasks within job descriptions that an individual may not like. They find they can do something else much better. It’s very important to assign the right task to the right person. It’s not possible to address every grievance, but when tasks can be traded amongst people without sacrificing quality, it’s a win-win situation. Each person gets to focus on what they enjoy. And that builds engagement.

Providing Benefits

Apart from building trust by investing in people’s future roles in your organization, there’s trust to be gained by investing in their well-being outside of the company as well. If you take a look at employee experience history, the landscape has evolved significantly. There are things that are popular in different eras.

At one time, industrial engineering by way of observational studies used to be big, then the focus turned towards survey, and it remains that way today with the addition of actionable analytics. Going forward, a work design methodology is getting traction where the end-to-end employee experience is crafted to maximize well-being and productivity and success.

This is especially true post-pandemic where the need to be safe and well has come to the forefront. In more laborious industries, this has always received a lot of attention, but such commitment to safety had not spread to all industries until now.

To really understand what type of help employees need, you could come up with several employee personas that describe the ideal benefit portfolio they’re looking for. Each of these personas could have an employee experience designed for them that suits their needs.

In particular, they should know:

  • Who to go to for answers on a particular topic
  • Who to go to solve a particular challenge
  • What everyone else does and how it pertains to them
  • Where to look for organizational updates
  • Voice opinions on what they want most to excel at their work directly or indirectly – if they want a certain type of health & wellness program, a product like company merch, certain ambiance, a certain chair, relocation or rescheduling of certain meetings throughout the day, flexible spending accounts, etc.

The whole idea is to craft the experience from which they’ll derive the most benefit. You’re shifting from a transactional product or service exchange to creating an experience with the employer.

Communication for Employee Engagement 

Communication gaps among existing ranks in the organization or between any two people who work together are a big red flag. It means problems will be swept under the carpet and engagement will suffer over time. To focus on and prevent communication failures, do the following:

Create a Culture of Communication

The importance of open channels of communication cannot be stressed enough. Managers and team members should be in constant communication, as it regards outlining expectations, exchanging feedback, and offering personal coaching for those that need it.

This in many ways touches on the focus of employee engagement. If people are not comfortable speaking out to express their ideas or voice their concerns, it will be obvious  to everyone in the organization. It shouldn’t come to that, though–encourage employees to talk.

Opportunities for communication may be:

  • Company intranet
  • Slack channels / Teams
  • Town hall-style meetings
  • Ask Me Anything style Q/A Sessions
  • Team lunches/ walks

Tip: If you are really serious about listening, consider adding a real-time engagement tool to track employee discourse. Just don’t get disheartened if it doesn’t receive the same response from all, at all times of the year. Employees have a job to focus on after all.

Amplify Voices

This can seem like a repetition of the culture that we just talked about, and it is, but it is also much more. Amplifying voices is all about turning over the microphone to the employee and giving them the freedom to talk as they please.

This can be an intimidating concept to swallow, but the fact is, it happens already on public employer review sites like glassdoor.com. Sometimes topics are not about work but are nevertheless important things to be discussed.

The company intranet should be a place where people can vent, discuss their distractions, offer their takes on the industry as a whole, etc. It’s not just important to research the customer, but your employees as well. Of course, not everything will be said openly, but the idea is to give employees a space within the existing company structure that lets them drop their guard just a little bit.

People feel more valued when they’re given free rein. It takes the edge off and plays into work-life balance where camaraderie  grows with fellow employees. Just like work results, efforts to be more interactive should be recognized and rewarded. See if your current incentive software allows you to recognize efforts– if not, why not try Incentives with WorkTango’s Recognition & Rewards solution?

To really amplify employees’ voices, create a closed-loop system to capture their feedback and act on it  (such as a Voice of the Employee program). Follow an established cadence of communications for the program. This can be part of the employee experience that you create for them. Our Surveys & Insights solution can make that a snap.

Takeaway

In every employee engagement improvement content, the survey will always be mentioned without fail. It’s important to anticipate what will come out of the survey. It could be that there are many areas of concern that are causing dissatisfaction, and hence low engagement.

How ready you are to counter that will depend on the actions you take. We hope this article briefs you on what to do if the survey reveals that there is a lack of appreciation, trust, and communication. All three of these themes are aspects and the focus of major engagement factors in 2021.

 

At WorkTango, we’re revolutionizing how the world’s most forward-thinking companies engage and inspire their people. We offer the only Employee Experience Platform that enables meaningful recognition and rewards, supports alignment through goal setting and feedback, and offers actionable insights through employee surveys.

WorkTango is built for the workplace we all want to be a part of – where priorities become clear, achievements are celebrated, and employees have a voice. So if you’re ready to improve (work) lives, schedule a demo today.

References: 

https://www.vault.com/blogs/workplace-issues/6-ways-to-boost-employee-engagement-on-a-budget

https://www.business-to-you.com/hersey-blanchard-situational-leadership-model/

https://joshbersin.com/2021/01/the-crusade-for-employee-experience-how-did-we-get-here/

https://execsintheknow.com/six-ways-to-boost-employee-engagement/

https://www.worktango.com/engagement-survey-methodology/