Drivers of Engagement Blog Series

The research is clear in establishing the benefits to your organisation of having a highly engaged workforce. To put it in its simplest form:

Engaged employees = Happy employees = Productive employees = Success for your business.

The research also tells us that there are a number of key drivers for ensuring employees are engaged at work. These drivers include:

Your workplace culture
Leadership
Mission or purpose and values of your business
Effective Communication
Positive Work Environment
Employee Well being
Performance
Role Expectations
Learning & Development
Reward & Recognition

In a series of blog posts, we’ll look at each factor in turn as we discover the link between these drivers and creating inspired workplaces.

Communication as a driver of employee engagement

A few years ago I consulted with an organisation going through a period of massive change.

The business had been taken over by new owners in the preceding six months, and some of the changes the new Executive team made included:

  • Developing a mission statement and establishing a set of values
  • Quadrupling of employee head count in < six months
  • Introduction of KPIs and strict accountability to those targets

The new Managing Director was a man of vision and drive, and he was keen to ensure his people were inspired to share in his dreams for the business.

A few months into his tenure, the MD agreed to trial a new product on the app market designed to measure employee engagement in the workplace.

A number of themes emerged from the results of the initial survey, and were still evident in a smaller follow up survey conducted approximately three months later.

I subsequently assisted the MD by facilitating focus groups to tease out the themes from the on line survey. Particularly, the issue of poor communication which was identified by both surveys as being of key concern to employees.

Through the Focus Groups, we were able to drill down to the root causes of the staff’s concerns. We clarified that staff had been excited to welcome the new owner on board, and to have a strong and clear mission to aspire to, one they could believe in. But in the rush of recent changes happening, they felt as if they had been left behind.

Messages from the top explaining what and why things were happening had started to dry up, and leaders were said to be either absent or unavailable.

In the focus groups, we also discussed potential solutions to the concerns, which I later presented to the Executive.

Participating in the process of finding solutions to problems they themselves had identified, was an important step in re-engaging employees.

The outcomes the Executive implemented also helped increase employee engagement as when the individuals were regularly reminded of what the business was aspiring to achieve and why, and also understood their role in helping achieve those goals, they once again became invested in the success of the business.

Measures introduced included:

  • Weekly one on one meetings between managers and their direct reports, in which the previous week was reviewed and goals established for the coming week. This also provided an opportunity for regular feedback (another key engagement driver);
  • Fortnightly team meetings, and when necessary, more informal ‘tool box’ type meetings to discuss any urgent issues that arose between the scheduled formal meetings;
  • A weekly email sent out first thing Monday morning from the MD sharing the company’s news, both good and bad. Because your team need to share in the wins, but also be informed about the losses;
  • A monthly staff newsletter was developed. New starters were profiled, which not only helped with the on boarding/induction process but gave existing team members an easy way in which to start conversations with the newcomers; AND
  • Examples of team members ‘living’ the values of the company was highlighted, both by sharing their examples in the newsletter, and by an award presented at the monthly staff drinks night. Each manager would nominate a member from their team who they felt deserving of the recognition, in addition to a peer voted award.

None of these measures were costly or difficult to implement, but lead to an immediate and noticeable improvement in the workplace culture.

Communication can be an issue for businesses in many different forms. In this instance, lack of communication from the leadership was the primary issue of concern, but miscommunication may also be between teams (often evidenced by silos) or between individuals (which if unresolved, can lead to workplace issues such as complaints of bullying).

If you would like to discuss ways in which communication can be improved within your organisation then reach out and chat with us at Workology Co.