Lisa Armstrong on the ongoing challenge that most HR professionals face demonstrating the value of an employee engagement program.
The initial and ongoing challenge that most HR professionals face is demonstrating the value of an employee engagement program. For many, it’s the stats that make the difference. We know that engaged companies perform better, but what many still struggle with, is how to make engagement work for them. Often what makes the real difference is the bottom line: showing the monetary value of an engaged workforce.
That’s exactly what Yasir Moore met when he inadvertently put Target in the spotlight recently – an engaged workforce. He went to the store to buy a tie for an interview, but got much more from the employees of America’s second largest retailer.
If the employees at Target weren’t engaged, this never would have happened. Not only is this great customer centricity at work, but Target gained a great deal of exposure and its employer brand couldn’t look better. This was all achieved through its employees doing what we may perceive to be going the extra mile, and they see as simply doing their job. That’s the difference that employee engagement makes.
It can be assumed that Target has an employee engagement program in place, which is supported throughout the year, but how easy is this to achieve?
Technology is having a great impact on the way in which people talk about their workplaces and where, but it’s also offering a great opportunity to gain valuable real time insights from employees. ORC International’s new communities product offers employees a place in which to start discussions, manage their personal diaries, set challenges, take part in contests and live chats. Not only does it enhance communication throughout the organisation, but it offers a different way for employees to be reached, strengthening a sense of belonging, and gaining valuable real time insights into issues, which can be acted on at the time.
Action is often the thing that is lacking from employee engagement monitoring. All this lovely data and feedback is realised, graphs are made, presentations are given, but opportunities to enhance engagement and the organisation with the results of employee feedback are missed.
We know that action planning works best when we have:
- Clearly defined processes and principles
- Clear accountability and responsibility for each layer of the business
- Managers supported in taking action
- Commitment to an ongoing dialogue
- Regular monitoring of progress and celebrations of success
We’ve also found that successful organisations do the following:
- Communicate to build confidence
- Hold managers to account
- Listen to and use the employee voice
- Make sure engagement means business
So what do we think is the key to keeping engagement engaging? Commitment, communication, empowerment and innovation.