We have had great conversations over the past few weeks talking about why organizations struggle with employee engagement. What we have mostly learned from leaders is that engagement is an on-going, every day process that needs to permeate the entire organization. In other words, engagement is an effort that is for everyone all the time. Here are a few bullet points based on the conversations we have had:
The Perils of Employee Engagement Hot Spots
Many organizations conduct their surveys and then focus on “hot spots”, making an effort to fix the most troublesome areas in the organization. According to one professional, focusing on “hot spots” is not enough. Only focusing on hot spots does not work for a number of reasons:
- Getting Bogged Down – In change management, we teach clients to get a few quick wins out of the gate before taking on the messy, complex problems. When focusing on hot spots, organizations start working on areas where they scored lowest. Several leaders said they got bogged down on the problem area and never really created the necessary momentum to improve the overall organization. If your organization only focuses on hot spots, you are only touching a small part of the organization and the change comes slowly, if at all – a very risky approach!
- Build on Strengths – Instead of initially focusing on hot spots, organizations might consider building on a strength or searching for some quick wins before tackling the big stuff. For example, if your score on employee appreciation is average and you have a pretty outdated award and recognition program, why not do something easy like update it and enhance it. This is visible to all employees and can create the feeling that something real and tangible was done to improve engagement.
Engagement is a Process.
Engagement is not event that happens for a month or two a year when the survey is conducted and results are shared. Rather, building a culture of engagement is a process that must continue well beyond the survey event. This doesn’t mean a bunch of management’s time must get sucked up by an engagement effort, but it does mean engagement should become one of the top five priorities for organizations that are looking to make improvements, otherwise we are bound to continue getting the same results!
What has worked well in your organization when it comes to improving engagement? We want to hear from you and would love some examples. Thanks for your input and we look forward to continuing the conversation!