Reading this article will tell you the next steps to improve your employee engagement now that you have implemented your employee research program.
If you have not researched your team I strongly recommend you read my last article 5 Actions To Discover Your Employee Engagement.
1. Workshop Research Findings With The Total Team
Given there is a direct correlation between team engagement and customer engagement, it therefore becomes paramount to openly share the results with your team. It is an amazing opportunity to engage your team at a higher level.
The research findings should be presented by your third party in a confidential manner.
- They must not include individual comments
- The research findings must be presented as overall findings
- You cannot joke about this, people are very sensitive, the moment an employee thinks they are not trusted, you will lose them.
Your team have been honest, you have asked them and they have told you the truth.
Now they want to know what you are going to do with the information they have given you.
It’s now time for the leadership team to acknowledge the findings and include the whole team to workshop the findings together. Involving all of your employees is critical to generating ideas and owning any new processes or systems that are created as a result of workshopping the findings as a team.
The more commitment, the more ownership, everyone feels part of the decision-making, again another best practice driver for a highly engaged team.
Remember, It’s all about providing your team with a 10/10 experience.
2. Do Action Plans
One of the biggest challenges identified by many companies, in fact the top 500 companies in the world. Identified that one of their biggest issues is the failure to implement their ideas.
Action plans must identify the action, not the intention, and identifying who is responsible to implement and by when.
For example, an intention would be we need to have better communication, an action would tell us exactly how we are going to have better communication.
Action plans build on the best practice drivers and decrease the variation, the areas of improvement.
It’s no good writing an action plan for just the overall findings. Although, there would be overall things that the company would need to improve such as their system or particular systems.
Create action plans on each of the drivers based on the findings provided by your employees.
For example, lets look at communication as set out in my previous article.
If we focus on best practice:
What are you doing to do to ensure all employees are communicated with all the time?
What actions will you set in place to ensure this happens everytime?
Best Practice Drivers
- There is excellent communication between management and employees
- They always keep us informed
- They are very clear about company policies and procedures
- They are easy to speak to if there are any problems
- The communication between staff and management needs to improve.
- They should keep the employees in the loop so everyone knows what is going on
- Information isn’t relayed properly between different departments
- Managers should ask for our feedback and opinions on things before implementing them
3. Map Out All Of Your Employee Touch Points
Mapping out of your touch points you have with your team shows you all the opportunities you have to engage with your employees. Not doing this means you tend to develop overall actions but not one’s specific to each touch point. Every moment is critical, we refer to those moments as ‘moments of truth’.
Employee touch points – ‘moments of truth’ must include every moment you engage with your team.
So, think about your employee engagement touch points and break it down:
- On boarding engagement
- During engagement
- Performance Reviews
You can lose all the good employee engagement you have worked hard to win if it is not consistent.
4. Develop Employee Engagement Standards Or Procedures, Whatever’s Required
Now you know your team’s engagement drivers you can identify where there are human interactions and develop service standards to cover those.
Service standards provide the behaviours required to ensure best practice stands out.
Not doing this means your employees will do what they think is the right thing to do, more than following the best practice. This will result in a lot of variation in the way they operate.
Service standards are more about people’s behaviour and people’s interactions, and procedure is defined as a non-personal interaction.
A critical action in implementing an employee engagement program that drives a high level of customer engagement is to use the research findings to change and improve your system.
Why? So that, it creates a long term change.
So again, think about your team, and think about the standards you want to cover. Include, all areas as mentioned by your employees.
For example, how do you communicate with your employees?
- Face to Face?
Once you have listed your service standards, refer back to your employee research. Everything you need to know to create solid grounded employee engagement standards has been provided to you by your team.
Your team has supported you in creating service standards that not only have you stand out as a place to work but through implementation drive a highly engaged team and customer base.
- What did your employees tell you is important to them?
- What do your employees say they want from you?
- What have they asked you to continue to do or to change?
5. Train Those Standards And Procedures Into Your Teams
No point having engagement standards if you don’t train them into the teams. Behavioural training is often the best method as many people are unconscious about their own behaviour. We call this unconscious incompetence, see diagram below, training and feedback helps people move through the different steps.
The role of leaders is critical as part of the training process, are they modelling the right behaviours? Are they giving feedback, allowing for repeated practice?
These standards must be observable and measurable behaviours that can be trained and coached in others to produce ongoing improvement.
Set your team up to win the game they are playing.
This needs to happen every day. It is the leader’s responsibility to ensure they do everything in their power to help their team succeed.
6. Ensure You Have A Test And Measure System To Record Your Progress
We have done some great work. But if you don’t know where you started and you don’t have a way of measuring your progress this can fail and fail fast.
Implementing an employee engagement program involves knowing your benchmark – where you started and knowing how you are tracking against your goals.
If you are looking to improve communication you may choose to measure:
- How many employees read your emails and respond to questions asked?
- How much employee participation is happening in your meetings?
- How often are you interacting with your employees?
For example, let me tell you a story about one of my students who came up to me as his teacher and said “you haven’t spoken to me in 2 week’s”.
I said “what do you mean” and he responded saying “you haven’t actually talked to me”.
I really prided myself on my level of communication with my students. So I started to think about what he had said, and started to measure when I actually spoke to each of my 35 students individually.
I found that this fellow was in a group, there was about one third of my class that I didn’t have a lot of one on one interaction with.
There was also a lot of my students who got a lot of my time, even if it was just fun interactions.
I realised what hurt me the most was that the group, the one third of my students, were the students who made my life easy as a teacher.
When I said, “go do your work” they went and did their work. They just got on and did things, they weren’t the most intelligent necessarily, they didn’t have any behaviourial problems and they didn’t have any learning difficulties.
And for me to help my students who did, I needed them and it really killed me to realise that I wasn’t acknowledging them at all.
So, I put a fortnightly system in place to ensure at the end of every 2 week period I had, had a one on one interaction with all of my students. And I would literally mark each student off a checklist as I did so.
The point of this story is that the only way I got to see this is simply by putting in a test and measure system. And I got interested in what was going on.
What I learnt and this is a lesson I have never forgotten, is that I found that this is true for every company I have worked in.
When I went into business, I had one company with 21 people reporting directly to me, let alone the number of people who reported to them and it was the same thing.
Some I engaged a lot, some I got on with better personally, some I had the same interests as like sports and there were others who just did their job.
I am prepared to bet that every leader would have this experience.
As a leader:
- How often are you giving positive feedback?
Even the people who turn up on time, we tend to take that for granted but we notice when people don’t.
What if you just made a point of saying to a person “I notice you are always early for work and you are always ready to work the moment we are ready to start, and I want you to know that I always really appreciate this and want to say thank-you”.
Imagine the difference this would make and what might then be possible?
Put in place measurements so you know whether you are winning the game while you are playing it.
For example, ten pin bowling….
When playing ten pin bowling you are constantly aware of your score. When you bowl the ball, you want to know your score. You don’t want to wait until later to find out.
So how do you know you’re winning the game while it’s being played?
Ideally, these actions, would be completed three times per year (every 4 months), to measure the impact on your teams engagement level.
Go Back To Number 1
Implementing an employee engagement program is not simple, especially if you want to do it so it actaully makes a difference.
Acting on these areas as stated in my previous article 5 Actions To To Discover Your Employee Engagement and this article 6 Actions To Improve Your Teans Engagement will ensure you have a program that will drive employee engagement long term.
Much more fun to run a business like this.