10 Ways top Improve Employee Engagement
According to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) the term employee engagement relates to the level of an employee’s commitment and connection to the organization. SHRM also notes that high level of engagement promotes retention of talent, fosters customer loyalty, and improves organizational performance and stakeholder value. It becomes easy to see why I have included it my blog, “Trends in IT Talent Solutions 2022” as the first item in the trends list. This article is designed to present you with simple, implementable ideas that should improve employee engagement. While many of you have programs like these in place, after the pandemic, it may be time for a thorough review. As always, thank you for taking the time to read them and I look forward to your thoughts and comments.
1. Starts with Recruitment
From the job advertisement all the way to the “Welcome Aboard”, it is time to take a look at your recruitment process. So much has changed in the last two years and if you have come back to your work and are still using the same language and templates you were before you left, it may be time to set up a Tiger Team and do a review of your entire recruitment process. Sharing that your job is in office, hybrid or fully remote is now something many job seekers look for first. Clearly stated responsibilities and the salary for the position are also things people seek right away. With those items covered, the next place to shine is with the initial conversation. Whether it be by telephone, via video or in person, the way the person feels after that event shapes everything that will follow. This is a place where scripting and role playing can be used to keep skills up to date and sharp for new recruiting talent and even for the veterans. Well defined execution and explanation of the interview process, the job details and a clear understanding of the requirements and compensation are the next place you can shine. Lastly, with all details verified and confirmed, the offer letter needs to be crystal clear with all the details. Choosing to take a job with an organization is a big decision and all paperwork being in order and correct improves engagement through their confidence in their new employer.
2. Onboarding isn’t Pass / Fail
You have read it multiple times in the last three months and every day another large corporation makes their announcement that ‘remote work is here to stay’. In our field of information technology, nearly every candidate we speak with asks, “is the opportunity fully remote?” within the first few sentences of the conversation. COVID-19 sent the workforce home and it revealed that productivity could indeed be maintained in many instances with fully remote teams. Some companies are not willing to go fully remote but have opted for a hybrid model where employees work from home on some days and in the office for others. These new arrangements must be accounted for and managed. Distribution of credentials, network accesses, and equipment are just a few of the things that must be adjusted. Take some time and make sure your onboarding is thorough, simple for the employee and makes them feel welcome.
3. Constant Communication
So now your new teammate is onboard and working in the new model of office, hybrid or fully remote. The next area to consider is how and how often, as their employer, they should here from the company management. The answer simply put is constantly. Having an effective way to distribute clear detailed messages to all employees quickly, with acknowledgement and provide for feedback is now essential. Your employees will appreciate being informed and feel a part of the team whether in the office or out. Having a tool that helps to facilitate and document this may be a consideration if that work has not already happened.
Transparency in this article refers to the employer’s diligence in sharing corporate information as a means of elevating the performance of the company or its employees or both. Transparency breeds trust, fosters collaboration and promotes company culture. If you have chosen a good communication tool it can certainly be used as an effective way support your transparency efforts, but it isn’t a “must have”. Utilizing email, social media and video conferencing in regular patterns with keep employees informed and give them a place on the calendar to look forward to updates.
5. Facilitate Peer to Peer Communication
I got asked a difficult question recently regarding building corporate culture with a fully remote workforce and the only good answer I could come up with was “purposefully”, because determination and resolve must be present. The ability to communicate from corporate to employees and the corporate transparency efforts I mentioned earlier help employee engagement but getting employees to communicate with one another is another challenge. Finding structured ways to promote peer to peer communication and recognition leads to team cohesiveness. Promoting a culture of honesty and accountability not only to the management but to one another builds trust. Other key areas influenced by a good peer to peer strategy include, coaching and mentoring, performance metrics and goal achievements, and relationship building.
6. Continuous Learning
The employees Synergy hires in IT are experts in their trades and they still must spend time keeping their skills sharp. In your relative workplaces the same is true and it has become a key differentiator in selecting a place to work. Stopping to re-tool or re-skill can be costly both for the company and the employee but integrating a continuous learning model cures for this over the lifetime of the employee’s tenure. Having a culture of learning encourages the employee to take control of their respective career path and builds loyalty to the company. There are several learning management systems in the marketplace to research or look for my upcoming blog, “Top Ten LMS: 2022”.
7. Recognize Achievement
When work is plentiful and times are stressful, employee recognition programs often become the expendable work. Employee Engagement being such a focal point means valuing these programs and committing to them may be more important than ever. But just as many other aspects of your business need review in ’22, employee recognition may also need re-tooling. There are a number of ways to recognize outstanding performance from a simple comment to incentives of all varieties. Make sure you are taking the time to note accomplishments of employees demonstrating great values, diligent effort and outstanding performance and you will find more that strive for the acknowledgement.
8. Personalized Performance Programs
Every employee signs on with your company for reasons distinct to them. They have a role and each role has metrics associated with acceptable and outstanding performance. One of the interesting things that I have seen happening post-pandemic is performance programs that are tailored specifically for the employees are becoming more common. While they still measure performance against agreed upon goals and improving both strengths and weaknesses, they reward differently based on choices and preferences the employee shares during the interviewing and onboarding process. There are tools that are being used successfully to manage the tracking and calculations and I will feature some of them in an upcoming blog.
9. Support Healthy Lifestyle
As the workforce puts more emphasis on working their values and jobs that support the individual goals, I am seeing a number of companies chasing high-end talent using employee wellness programs as incentives. Greater still are the number of companies that are paying attention to the statistics on stress and absenteeism as it relates to employee health, both mental and physical. I personally am not a fan of the phrase work-life balance, as that puts them on a continuum that would indicated if one is good the other is getting worse, and I have found when home life is good work life is too and vice versa. I think to speak about the concept of work-life SYNERGY (you see what I did there, right?), having a healthy lifestyle both in the work environment and at home. Providing a structure wellness program may be a way for your organization to increase people’s loyalty and efforts.
10. Thoughtful Exit Meetings
Sometimes an employee leaving can be a chance to get insights into the efficacy of your employee engagement efforts. Whether you are sad that they are taking their talents and leaving, or it was time for a change having structure exit meetings is a chance to get quality feedback. One of the benefits is getting genuine feedback which may highlights shortcomings or successes. Another is getting insights departmentally and learning more about your managers leadership styles and effectiveness. There are a number of additional benefits but two really stand out for me. First, the ideas that are created from candor an exiting employee feels. Some of the best ideas I have ever executed were on the heals of one that wasn’t that good. Second, is the last chance to make a fan out of the exiting employee. Genuine appreciation for their service and the sharing of their experience helps our company improve and making sure they feel that sentiment can be the difference between an advocate or an adversary.
Employee Engagement is a hot topic in 2022 – I hope that in some way one or some of these list items helps you improves your company’s efforts. As always, I hope you find them interesting, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.