Let me know if this seems familiar. You're in a meeting. Not a great one. In between looking at sales and working out how you're going to hit targets this year, somebody asks about people. Why aren't they engaged? Pay's fair, there are beers on Friday, Margret even put up a suggestion box, so where's the enthusiasm? Worse, why are some people leaving? If only we could do something about it... The eyes in the room turn to you.
Grabbing staff attention isn't getting any easier. You've got no money, too many things to do and zero time to do it in. Even if you're onto something, proving it can be hell, leaving you looking at dull graphs instead of actually doing what you love.
Let us help you out …
First, don't be afraid to say it: Employee engagement matters. Money isn't enough to keep people hanging around. When staff aren't engaged, they leave. Take your average employee's pay and double it. If they walk out the door that's the amount it'll cost to replace them.
It's not just about retention. Engaged staff get stuff done. Burning to make a difference, they're stuffed with motivation and ready to kick ass for your company. Sounds great, doesn't it?
If you don't believe me, ask our Board.
Three years ago, we got serious about employee engagement. We looked at everything from fancy IT stuff to traditional events. We blended the best things together to make our people feel awesome. The results? Sky-high retention, world-class internal comms and happier people. Oh, and we got the award to prove it. Here are the top tips we used to make it happen.
1. Start at the beginning
You've got to know what it is you're trying to do. Get clear on what engagement means to you and your company. For some, it's all about letting people share their ideas. For others, it's about making people feel valued. You want everyone to know where they're headed so you know when you've arrived.
Don't expect to have this rattling around your head. You'll want to talk to people. From new starts to company veterans, ask them what they want to see, what would make them happier. Don't rush this.
Once you know the direction, you can start sketching out how to measure it. Get some data. Understand what it's telling you now so you can see if your plan is working later. Retention rates, staff surveys and 1-2-1 interviews are all great places to start.
2. Know your limitations
Got a pile of cash and no oversight? You wish! If not, then you'll need to think about what you can do with what's available. This isn't just about money. You've got to think about time. Both yours and your staff, how can you best make use of their busy days?
Getting people face-to-face will give you impact. You'll pay for this engagement though: Good events aren't cheap, and you'll have to consider the extra cost of having people out of the office. It's tempting then to do things digitally. But the best email in the world won't do anything unless people are motivated to read it.
Play to your budget. If you can't stretch to an event, think about a virtual one, grabbing people from the comfort of their desks. Restricted to email? Then think about how to make your message shine, with a subject that gets people opening it.
Limitations aren't a bad thing. Don't be afraid of looking at your objectives if you're spread too thin. It's better to go after one thing than risk failing at many.
3. Content, content and more content
People are hungry for content. Good, exciting content will give employees the tools they need to do things better, without feeling that they're getting a lecture from management. Want your people to handle tricky situations with ease? A three-minute video on conflict will have more impact than that email that's been sitting in the CEO's draft folder. Plan content for every type of learner. Curate it. Track it relentlessly to find out what your audience is responding to.
Once you know that, give them some more.
4. Find your talent
It isn't easy to make all that content, so get some help. If you're stuck on what to share with people, ask them. Find out what they want to learn. Learn about the things that excite them. Soon your content bucket will be overflowing.
Give your staff a chance to show off their fantastic abilities to the rest of the business. Brian from HR might teach mindfulness better than a consultant. Judy in sales could be the key to creating kick-ass pitch teams. This won't just give you great stuff to share. It'll leave your experts feeling recognised and motivated.
Showcasing the talent you have now will unlock it for the rest of the business.
5. Let leadership lead
The best leaders want to know the people who follow them. Give the higher-ups the chance to engage with people from every corner of the business. Let them share their vision. Have them answer the tricky questions. Put a human face on the business decisions that shape everyone's lives.
Why? Because it's easy to get cynical about things that come from nameless people. Let your staff make a connection with those captaining the ship. Personal connection matters. It makes us work harder. Makes us believe in things we might not otherwise. Make your leaders human.
6. Love data
It's time to unlock your inner math geek. You don't want to be caught flat-footed so you have to know what's going on. Those measurements you set at the start? Keep a close eye on them, ready to make a change when you need to.
Nobody watching a particular video? Get out there, ask people why it isn't working for them. Don't be afraid to shake things up. It's frustrating not to get things right, but it's worse to let bad things linger.
The only way you'll know things need to change? The data.
The fact that you're reading this shows you care enough to make a difference. For all the tips, plans and talk, passion is the thing that ties it all together. Know you can do this. Get your objectives in hand, be happy with them. Accept your limitations, work within them. Produce some amazing content. Give a voice to your people. Get management onside and in the spotlight. Track everything.
The end result? Engaged employees and you at the centre of it, making it happen.
All of this is easier with a partner. We've made it our business to be experts on supercharging and measuring employee engagement, working with you to hone strategy, produce content and provide a platform. Click here to book a 10-minute phone call to find out how we can help, but don't feel that you can't revolutionise thing for your company on your own. Get started and start reaping the rewards before your competitors do. We'll be cheering you on.
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