How to get engaged in Employee Engagement: Improving Employee Engagement

There is no doubt that the members of the French World Cup team were 100% emotionally committed to the goals of their organization; the very definition of employee engagement.  Organizations with engaged employees out perform those without by over 200% according to Gallup .  A recent study by Deloitte’s Bersin group finds that Employee Engagement is believed by 87% of it’s global respondents as an important issue.  With over 50% stating that it is very important.  This finding is repeated in many other studies, where businesses leaders, overwhelmingly, find employee engagement is important to their success.

In our series of articles, How to get engaged in Employee Engagement, we have followed the process improvement approach of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control (DMAIC) commonly used in Six Sigma.  In our first three articles we Defined Employee Engagement, Quantified it with 3rd party surveys, discussed points to Analyzing this issue and now we will discuss ideas on how to Improve Employee Engagement.

SHRM has identified the first factor to consider when improving employee engagement is to make sure your employees have the tools to do their jobs.  This would be obvious in making sure plumbers have pipe wrenches given you are operating a plumbing company, but just as important in sales organizations is to have an effective Customer Relationship System or for HR professionals to have an effective Human Capital Management system.  It is defeating for employees to struggle through manual spreadsheet reports for much of their day vs. having that same time to engage in projects to move the company forward.  This also goes hand in hand with training and coaching, both factors (tools) that are needed for employees to excel in their jobs and to become more engaged in what is important to employers.

Edward Deming was a great process improvement guru who famously stated that 94% (later increased to 97%) of problems are caused by the system.  He was also quoted as stating, “All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.”  These are two great points to consider when looking to improve employee engagement.  First look at the system in which we all work.  Is the system favorable to engaging employees.  Is the performance measurement systems at your company still working with the traditional once or twice a year review or does your company employee a more modern approach of frequent review and reward.  Deming stated in his book, Out of Crisis, “Give the work force a chance to work with pride, and the 3 per cent that apparently don’t care will erode itself by peer pressure.”  Deming may have been on to something when he published these comments 35 years ago.  To learn more about how a modern HCM can help  click here.

My last point for this article:  make time to listen.  Take time to individually listen to your employees and to tailor your management style to each employee.  Individual personality assessments are one approach to learn what tasks employees may become more involved in, but a more simple approach is simply to ask what they want.  Also keep in mind that what may be considered a positive approach to one employee’s engagement strategy may be terrifying to others.  An example would be public speaking and presenting in front of others.  Great for some, not for all.

And there is no greater way to engage an employee than to listen to an idea they have and then ask them to participate in the idea’s implementation and success.   It is a well known fact in our company that if you bring me a good idea and you are willing to make it happen, you may just have a new line on your job description next week.  By allowing the employee to develop a sense of ownership in the success of the idea and making sure to acknowledge the employee’s contribution you will no doubt see employee engagement on the rise.

In our next article, we will discuss how to keep our new employee engagement  strategies moving forward over the long term and to avoid losing what we have just gained.





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