What are employee engagement strategies?
We’ve all got an idea of what employee engagement initiatives look like – things like team-building days, bring and share lunches, counselling programs, speaker events – they’re all things that can support people in an organization and bring them together.
But they’re not employee engagement strategies.
A strategy is a rationale and overarching plan for a long-term program to engage employees. Effective initiatives are the result of a well thought-out strategy. Without a system to guide them, initiatives will lack clarity, reducing how effective they are.
Building effective employee engagement strategies
An employee engagement strategy begins with identifying so-called ‘drivers of engagement’. In other words, what are the things employees care that can connect them more closely to the organization?
Drivers of engagement are pretty consistent across most organizations. They include things like:
- Work-life balance
- Recognition and reward
- Career progression
- Workplace benefits
- Personal autonomy
- Diversity and inclusion
Strategies often focus on the issues organizations need to address. Topics like absenteeism and low productivity that businesses can improve by achieving better employee engagement. Once you’ve decided what the key drivers of engagement for your organization are, the next stage in building your strategy is to find out how you’re performing around them. You can use this as the basis for your strategy and as a benchmark for continual improvement.
Benchmarking employee engagement
To build an effective strategy, you need to measure your current level of employee engagement and those areas where you need to improve. Running a regular employee satisfaction survey based on key drivers of employee engagement is one way to discover this.
Employers can analyse the results of employee engagement surveys to uncover patterns in the data. The survey might indicate where engagement is high or low within the company and which other factors (such as workplace environment, management style and frequency of feedback) correlate with it. You can use these insights to shape further exploration, helping leaders develop and refine their employee engagement strategies.
You can view the results in two ways: In terms of relative engagement – for example, by personal characteristics such as gender, ethnicity and age - or by job characteristics like job role and working pattern.
The more you interrogate the data for detail, the more targeted your employee engagement programs can be. For example, you might discover that wellness is particularly poor in a specific department or that workers from a particular age group feel they need more reward and recognition. You can then set goals and build initiatives around these issues. Using your original survey as a benchmark, you can survey again after a set time to see if there has been any improvement.
Using an online survey has clear advantages in making results easier to collate and analyse and reducing error and administrative effort. It's also easier to reach and connect with frontline deskless workers using a digital survey you can distribute to mobiles and tablets.