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Steps to Activate an Employee Engagement Strategy

Understanding your team is the start to create a winning team and a great employee engagement strategy. High performing teams have engaged employees, these are the people who come to work with passion, are connected and look for solutions to make things work better.  According to Gallup  only 13% of employees are engaged worldwide. That means that the rest are either not engaged and are sleep walking through the day with little energy or actively disengaged ‘acting out their unhappiness’ in the workplace.

“Highly engaged employees are more likely to be top performers and go over and above to get the job done”. 

Why does it matter if employees are engaged? It matters to the people who work in the company everyday and to the customers, who expect the best and highest level of service consistently.

Here are a few steps to activate your employment engagement strategy…

Step 1: Determine the level of engagement
Where are your employees at? What are their goals and what drives them? Do they feel that they belong and are part of an inspiring vision? These questions are significant as people employed in your company have potential far beyond what they were hired for and it is vital to understand what needs to be done to get them engaged and working as a team in order to perform and win in the long term.
Get an understanding by showing interest in their world before deciding to get something from them. In this way you will understand the level of engagement and where to go from there.

“Engaged employees are positive about the company and go far above and beyond to create success”.

There are also indicators that can show you as a leader in business where people are at without even doing extensive surveys, these indicators are employee turnover, absenteeism, productivity of an employee and quality of the work they present.
However a more formal way to gain understanding of where your team is at is to begin with a survey and one-on-one meetings. Get an understanding through discussion of the impact the manager hired has on the individuals as this has been known to influence engagement levels.

Step 2: Prioritise engagement by planning 
Create an employment engagement strategy and measure or monitor progress consistently as a project. Hire a professional Industrial Psychologist who can assist with the people side of this plan and make sure that the strategy is aligned with the organisational goals.

The plan can consist of the following:

Communication and Trust in Leadership – Assess the communication needs and get leadership to consistently meet with staff by having information sharing or vision inspiring meetings. This will help employees to feel part of the vision and also have leadership be transparent and communicate timely the relevant information.
Recruitment and Hiring of Management – Assessing who is being hired in management and the role that these managers are creating in the organisation from a people and skill level – will these managers will be contributing to building great team environments and a high performance team culture. They play a major role in this engagement plan.
Growth opportunities – The plan should include individual growth opportunities so that employees are valued and sent on training and understand that their contribution and work is very meaningful in the company.
Team day events – One key in an employee engagement plan is to have fun together and to create days that the team get to know each other and really have fun together out of the office environment or celebrating important days.

“People are interested in people who are interested in them!”

Step 3: Vision 
Employees feel more engaged when they are connected to the company with a sense of belonging and understand the vision for the future ahead. They need to be committed to a cause, and work together on achieving the goals as a team. Goals create focus and by communicating the vision, the team will be on-board and engaged. Energy and momentum needs to be gained and a stronger emphasis on building the new. Be intentional about the work done and intentional about what is required in all the communication. Share what performance in the company looks like and what the result will be.

Step 4: Reward performance
You can’t just expect performance and no reinforcement and reward of the right culture and behaviour. Recognition, praise and opportunities are all part of contribution and building a winning team culture. If you don’t have this, then don’t expect performance. Make sure that the team is involved in setting up the reward process, employees opinions count and everyone should agree on the way forward so that they will be willing to work towards this.

Strategic questions to answer:

  • What is the vision?
  • How do we communicate the vision best?
  • How do we grow our business and people?
  • What do we need to give employees in terms of support to get there?

Ultimately, it is the behaviour and culture that drives team performance, and in order for that to happen you as a leader need to help people to grow no matter what business you are in. Growth can be through formal training or by giving your team various projects that will extend their experience.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork will win championships – Michael Jordan”

Written by Carla Wasserfall

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