Over the past several years much has been written about the emerging field of employee or workforce engagement, which is a framework for achieving goals through people in a measurable way.
These “goals” can involve anything, and might include increasing sales revenue, improving customer satisfaction or client retention, reducing team turnover, enhancing safety, and so on.
But what many of us might not realize is the fact that today’s “engagement” plans are designed to benefit all stakeholders, including employees and employers.
Organizations that have embraced this approach have found it is not only possible to achieve almost any goal that involves people, but also, to the surprise of many, to realize a return-on-investment in the process. In other words, engagement can be a profit center rather than a cost center and the ROI can take on various forms.
For example, according to an Employee Engagement Benchmark Study by Temkin Group, highly-engaged employees try harder and tend to drive business results. They are twice as likely to work after their shift ends, twice as likely to do something good for the company that is unexpected of them, and three times as likely to make recommendations for company improvements.
But these same employees are also participants in an ongoing effort to improve their workplace. They have a say, and they have a hand in impacting the quality of day-to-day work life. Many feel more empowered and experience greater levels of job satisfaction as well. So, as noted above, engagement yields benefits for all stakeholders, employers and employees. Or, as the saying goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
However, it’s important to recognize that engaging people to achieve results requires more than a casual or ad-hoc effort. Far too many organizations have learned this lesson the hard way, only to find half-hearted efforts don’t work. This reality is evidenced by the fact that only thirty-percent of the U.S. workforce is engaged.
Here is a more comprehensive and structured approach to engaging a workforce based on extensive research completed by the Enterprise Engagement Alliance:
- Develop realistic, achievable, and measurable goals and objectives.
- Effectively assess the people and the playing field to identify opportunities and obstacles to success.
- Create a formal Engagement business plan outlining the desired outcomes, behaviors that lead to outcomes, key program components, roles and responsibilities, timeline, and return on investment, etc.
- Implement the appropriate integrated communication plan, including an Engagement web portal for the program when appropriate.
- Make sure people have the knowledge or skills needed to succeed.
- Foster an atmosphere of collaboration, innovation, and fun.
- Reward and recognize both progress and achievement so that people feel supported in their efforts.
- Measure outcomes and returns.
- Reinvest and continue…