Many companies say employee engagement is their top challenge for 2013, according to a new survey from Dulye & Company, a workplace communication consultancy. But the survey exposes a gap between how HR communication professionals view the needs in their organizations and management’s priorities.
A breakdown by job title suggests the origins of that schism. When asked for their top priorities for the next year, 54% of HR specialists and 43% of managers list employee engagement as the top goal overall. For directors, engagement drew 42%, behind business development. Among survey respondents at the vice presidential level, engagement didn't even make the list of their top goals. Business development was first, with 56%.
Below are some tips on how to encourage engagement from the top down.
If executives don’t value engagement, maybe it's time for a conversation with them to educate them about the ‘why’ of the importance of employee engagement. Everyone needs to understand that high engagement makes employees excited about coming to work, bringing innovation into focus, and fostering company success.
Encourage Engagement throughout the Organization
Engagement should be a goal owned by everyone in the organization, not just those in the HR department, just as those responsible for safety can't be the only people who think about creating a safer work place.
Make an Appearance
Company leaders, members of the HR department, and all executives should get out and walk around the work floor. One of the key ways to start to build engagement is human interaction: between managers and frontline employees, between managers and their direct reports, and between employees in different departments.
While internal social media tools are great for fostering engagement, they are secondary to face-to-face interaction.
Urge Everyone to Ask Questions
Discard the speeches, pep talks, and formal presentations. Ask questions and listen for answers to questions like, “How are things going? What do you think is going well? What do you think isn't going well? What could we be doing better?” Genuine interest in their ideas and their lives builds rapport, rapport builds engagement and engagement builds a deeper understanding of what is happening throughout the organization.
Hard Economic Times Demand Increased Communication
In recent years, many organizations have had to deliver some tough news, creating communication voids which leads to even poorer engagement. Instead, the more difficult the message, the greater the frequency of communication should occur throughout the organization. From an employee’s perspective, unknowns create more stress and demoralization, fueling disengagement.
Use Recognition as a Transformative Force
Employee recognition is a tool with quantifiable business value and transformative force for reaching future business objectives. Employees who are engaged and excited to be a part of the organization create value to customers and directly impact the bottom line.
Here’s a link to more information on the survey: http://dulye.com/survey-employee-engagement-top-challenge-2013-0. What do you think about the Dulye survey? Does your company plan to focus on employee engagement in 2013? It is something every organization has to keep top of mind on an ongoing basis. We welcome your thoughts on how you plan to keep employees engaged throughout your organization in the coming year.