Over the past four years working at Reward Gateway, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with HR professionals and leaders looking to improve employee engagement at their business.
As with many things in life, the tricky part is to figure out where to start.
Here are my top tips on kicking off your own employee engagement journey:
Understanding the end goal will help you focus your effort
Understanding the "why" can be a great place to start as it will allow you to build out a solid and credible business case. Before you present a solution, really sit down and map out what measure of success you're going to have, and how you're going to report on that to the business – they're the ones with the money and so will want to see how you'll bring together your employee engagement strategy and profitability for the business.
Take the time to understand your audience
Treat your employees as an audience whose attention you need to capture, rather than just part of an organisational chart.
Don’t think of your content in the sense of what you need your people to know. Craft your content based on how you want your people to feel.
Take time to understand employee feedback from new hires and also those that have been in the organisation for a long time. Speak to different generations in your workforce, and ask what motivates them specifically, as well as what is stopping them from understanding the values and behaviours, and what would help them become more ready.
Incorporating this feedback will help build your business case and show your employees you truly value their contributions.
Define what makes you unique and be authentic
What I’ve found is that a great starting point for many companies looking to improve engagement is building an effective Employee Value Proposition — focussing on all the things that make your company stand out among competitors, and then building that EVP into your overall engagement strategy.
After all an EVP is part of what makes your organisation special.
Take a step back and look at your findings. Once you have determined what employee experience you want to offer you can start to build out a clear and unique EVP statement that is aligned to you and your brand. Having a clear and inspirational statement will allow you to connect easily to your employees but also show authenticity externally too.
Employee engagement is not a sprint, it's a marathon
It is difficult, because it's really exciting designing a new programme and launching your engagement programme. But when you’re talking about budget approvals, and the initial costs vs the long-term impact on employee engagement, the long-term approach is what will help you get the support you need.
Remember, engagement does not happen overnight.
The most engaged organisations are ones that continually assess what is important to their employees and business and always looking at ways to move the needle.
Whether you are using external support to deliver your strategic engagement strategy or working on this alone, ROI is crucial and so making sure you have a thought out, long term strategy that is aligned to your demographic and culture is key.
Develop a marketing and communications plan
Make sure it's a communications plan that you can roll out not just at the launch of the programme but each quarter and throughout the year. That way, employees get those frequent touch-points. Build editable templates to make it as easy as possible for others to take it on. Consider how you can communicate the programme's success more broadly, not just in the platform you’re using or just in the moment you're recognising, but externally too.
All in all, think about how you're accumulating those great stories about your employees, what are the opportunities are you setting yourself ahead of time to share them outside the organisation and ride that wave of success.
Those stories are what makes your culture, and that’s what people need to feel engaged and connected!
Think you’re ready to get started on your employee engagement journey? Reach out to a member of my team, and we’d be glad to help you:
Rachel has been guiding some of the UK's most well-known brands on their engagement journeys for the last four years. When our classically trained ballet dancer and former stage performer isn’t making the world a better place to work, you can find her dissecting her favorite Louis Theroux documentaries.
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