- Making sure your leadership team is engaged
- Finding out the truth about how your employees feel about your organization
- Survey or interview employees to find engagement gaps
Over the past twelve months I've had the chance to talk to numerous business owners who believe in the power of employee engagement/happiness but don’t know where to start or how to create higher levels of engagement. After all, it’s one thing to say that you want an engaged workforce but coming up with a plan for achieving it is a completely different beast.
Employee engagement isn't something to pawn off on your HR department. It’s not a single program that they can put into place, a training program they can launch, or an initiative they can pull out once a year. Building an engaged workforce requires every leader on the senior leadership team be heavily involved and invested in the process of building engagement.
I’ll tell you this, it’s not easy building an engaged/happy workforce but the payoff is huge. Turnover will be lower, employees will become more self motivated, people will work longer and harder to solve your customers challenges, and the atmosphere of your company will become one that is inviting and engaging.
Below are the first three steps to building employee engagement/happiness:
Step One: Make sure the leadership team is engaged, passionate about the work your organization is doing, excited about the idea of engagement, and believe in their ability to influence positive change within your organization. Most importantly, they have to want to do the hard work it takes to develop long term employee engagement.
Step Two: Find out how your employees really feel about your organization, the work they do, and the product and services you offer. Employees who don’t believe in your organization and the work you do will very likely never be fully engaged. The employees who do believe will have a wealth of information about changes your company can make to increase engagement.
Step Three: Survey or interview employees to find out where the engagement gaps are. Once you know the most common gaps you can create a plan for fixing them. You might not tackle the biggest gap first, sometimes it’s better to have a small victory by fixing a few smaller, more easily changed problems.
Going from wanting an engaged/happy workforce to having one is a process that takes time and dedication on the part of the Senior Leadership team but the payoff is completely worth it. By starting off with the steps listed above an organization can begin to create the foundation of an engaged workforce.
Marisa is a Culture Coach for small and quickly growing organizations trying to establish the infrastructure required to create a company full of passionate, motivated, and engaged employees. She has held culture and engagement roles for two nationally recognized great places to work, founded the research and networking group Culture Fanatics, and is an industry recognized blogger. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and twin boys and is looking forward to the day she can bike across the country to raise money for MS research. Follow her @marisakeegan.