High engagement influences a company’s success in many ways. There is a direct relationship between engagement and business performance, including financial results, quality outcomes, employee behaviors, and the ability to attract and retain great talent. Communication flows more effectively in high engagement cultures, which fosters a greater level of trust between managers and their employees. That helps to build strong retention within the workforce and can help build and maintain a great employment brand that makes it easier to attract and recruit.
When discussing the importance of engagement with senior leaders, it’s critical that you tie it directly to business outcomes. The only reason to promote and advance engagement is because it drives business outcomes, not because you simply want everyone to be happy. Engaged, productive employees create a great place to work. [Employee engagement is] a leading indicator toward business performance, and that’s what sells the leadership team and the other senior leaders.
FOLLOW THESE 5 STEPS
1. Clearly introduce the concept top down, starting with the business rationale for why it is critical to measure employee engagement. In order for you to have any credibility, the CEO and senior team both need to understand it and buy into it. Don’t present it as another HR initiative or a “feel good” action item. Engagement drives real, hard business results.
2. Use a well-researched and validated tool to measure engagement; make sure it is simple—not too many questions. Employees should be able to answer open-ended questions so that they can comment in their own words on what changes they would like to see made.
3. Be transparent with the survey results and show them to the entire organization. Don’t hide the bad results—employees already know what is working and what isn’t. By being fully candid, they will believe you are more serious about addressing the issues. It builds trust in senior management.
4. Follow through on the results. Make sure team leaders regularly talk about and update their action plans with their teams. “If you just put the survey results on the shelf and don’t take action, you are better off not doing the survey in the first place,” Rude says.
5. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Make heroes out of your best managers and provide regular updates on the progress seen on individual teams and in the company as a whole. “You need to ensure that engagement becomes a regular part of your manager’s communication,” Rude says. “It will take a couple years for it to become ‘baked in’ to your culture, but once it is, there is no going back.”