7 min read
This is the second post in our 3-part mini series on Employee Engagement, where Cara Jordan, HR Advisor at PYBAR Mining Services answers questions that she received during our live webinar on recognition and reward. With over 800 employees mostly working in remote, underground mines around Australia, keeping people engaged and informed is no easy feat for Cara's team. Here, she shares ideas for launching an employee engagement program and generating excitement for an online platform among employees who are mainly offline.
Q: What did you do to launch your new engagement platform to your people?
Cara: Launching any new HR system means supporting people through the change. Here are some of that worked well for us:
|TIP: Don’t be afraid to over-communicate and to be creative with it. It takes multiple tries to get people to hear and understand what you’re saying. Reach people where you know they already are - that’s why we included information in our company newsletter and on our social media pages. Make the advantages of logging in and using the platform loud and clear and keep on spreading the good news long after your launch.|
Q: Did you get pushback on having an additional software your employees had to use. Is the software integrated with existing programs used by the company?
Cara: There will be employees who will resist using software – no matter what it is. While some of our staff have easy access to computers, most of our workforce only ever use our Employee-Self Service portal to access things like payslips. We have a very clear link to PYBAR Perks on our employee portal, so they can’t miss it.
To respond to resistance to implementing a new system, I suggest:
We started off with PYBAR Perks as a standalone platform, knowing we wanted to spend a bit of time wrapping our heads around content and communications plans, but the options to integrate are promising.
|TIP: Ask the company you’re planning to partner with about the implementation process, what type of support they’ll provide during and after the design and launch of your program, and think about whether they’re the type of company who is constantly improving or adding product features and can evolve as the market and your business needs do.|
Q: Did you get any negative feedback did you get from the workforce ? How did you overcome this?
Cara: Negative employees will always be present and that’s ok. The important thing is to find out what's causing that negativity and to help them address it. I’ve found that employees are resistant because:
I’ve found the best way to overcome these negative perceptions or attitude is to give these employees time. Connect with them, look for ways to resolve their issues immediately and help them see that what may seem like a big deal is actually something easy to address.
Sometimes I’ve targeted the loudest, “baddest” resistor and eventually gotten them to be our advocate for us. Doing that means you need to build a relationship with them, help change their mindset, and when you think they’re ready, give them a sense of responsibility for making things work. This isn’t always successful, but when it is these naysayers communicate to everyone around them about how great the system is and do your job for you!
I think the important this is accepting that these changes take time. While the uptake of the PYBAR Perks platform was great and better than what I’d anticipated, we still have a way to go before we really cement it into the business’s communication. It won’t happen overnight and I know we can just address one negativity at a time.
|TIP: If you notice a trend in some of the concerns your staff are raising, use your employee communications platform to address it, because chances are others may be feeling the same. Use this an opportunity to encourage openness and transparency.|
Q: How do you introduce recognition into an organization that needs significant cultural change? What if you’re working in an environment where others get upset when people are recognized, where employees aren’t team-focused or used to celebrating other people’s success? Can recognition really help people embrace teamwork?
Culture change is a huge topic (for another series!). I think the most important thing is to remember that change will take time and perseverance to change your company culture and your engagement or recognition programs are tools to assist with that. They aren’t the answer to everything, but they can help.
We’ve found that introducing peer-to-peer employee recognition through our CORE Awards program has helped shift people’s attitude quite a lot. Here's how:
The other thing I’ve learned is that whenever you see someone do something positive that extraordinary for them, make sure they know you noticed it! Make a big deal about it and help them see the impact of that good behavior. Recognition works because it makes people feel good – and others will notice.
All these suggestions are simple, but I know changing culture is not simple. As I said before, shifting any company culture will be a challenge and takes time, but when it starts happening it feels like such a great achievement!
|TIP: Seek feedback from your people about what they want to change to make a better work environment, and what they like. Whatever results come from your survey or consultation, be sure to act on them – change something, no matter how small or big! Have a bias for action, don’t just sit around. Big change starts with small steps.|
What are your tips for launching an engagement initiative? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and share your ideas, or learn from others!
Joy is our book-hoarding, food-loving Content Journalist. She combines her experience in communications and change management with storytelling and digital media to help business and HR leaders connect with their people and strengthen their company culture. When she isn’t writing about business, HR or leadership, she’s writing quotes and song lyrics with a paintbrush or calligraphy pen.
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