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Stefan Wissenbach founder of EngagementMultiplier.com gives us 6 simple steps that all employers should implement to boost engagement in their employees.

employee engagementEmployee engagement – it’s the talk of the town, today’s hot topic. But unlike other fads or passing trends, engagement is here to stay – or at least it is for any business owner, leader or entrepreneur that wants to run a successful, profitable organisation. Hundreds of research papers, surveys, case studies and experts in the field of human psychology reach the same conclusion – engagement can no longer be considered a whimsical, nice to have. Engagement is essential to succeed in business.

The evidence is clear and abundant. Engaged organisations enjoy reduced staff turnover, improved morale, more productive, loyal employees, improved efficiency, higher customer retention and are more profitable. On the flipside, disengaged organisations suffer higher absenteeism, high staff turnover and more accidents. They are quite simply more inefficient, headache inducing, costly organisations to run.

So when the evidence is so overwhelming, why is it that business owners and leaders put off doing anything about it? In my experience it’s simple – perceived complexity and a lack of willingness to invest time and money in this area. Perhaps even more dangerous, many think or assume they know how engaged their organisation is but when it comes down to it, they don’t truly know.

Having spent over 20 years helping business owners and their organisations become more engaged, I can reveal that it’s not hard, complicated, time consuming or costly to create an engaged organisation, provided you have the right structure and framework in place. In fact, our clients have proven time and time again, our philosophy that the answers to engagement already lie within your organisation – you just need the right way to unlock them.

Here are some simple steps to improve engagement:

  • Connect your team to a purpose that’s written for them. Many purpose, mission, or vision statements are written for customers. This is wrong. Most customers don’t care. They choose to deal with you for reasons other than some words about why you exist and what you do. The people who matter are your team. Write it for them, engage them, and engaged customers will be a by-product.
  • Measure engagement regularly. The problem that exists with the majority of engagement programs is that surveys are run annually. Yet, when people complete the survey, they typically provide feedback on their experience of the last 90 days – because with the exception of extraordinary or landmark events, anything pre-dating the last quarter has become blurred in their minds. When you run an annual survey, you’re really just picking one point in the year from which to draw conclusions and develop strategies that will engage your team. It’s no wonder annual surveys often miss the mark. At Engagement Multiplier, we recommend measuring engagement levels every 90 days, for accurate results, keeping your finger on the pulse and engagement fresh in the mind of everyone in your business. You measure the financial performance, effectiveness of marketing initiatives, in fact, any number of key indicators of the health of your business at least every 90 days – so why not engagement?
  • Make engagement a permanent fixture. Owners and leaders need to be clear and intentional about their commitment to improving engagement levels and, importantly articulate this to their team so they too can appreciate the upside. We’ve seen employees at many of our client companies form committees and project teams to take ownership of pursuing engagement initiatives – making engagement a bottom up, not top down driven initiative.
  • Listen to your team on their terms. Provide them with a safe environment and mechanism that enables them to provide feedback confidentially and anonymously. At Engagement Multiplier we offer the chance for 2-way communication between owners and staff- whilst keeping the employee completely anonymous. Being able to follow up on comments and suggestions with complete anonymity means you’ll hear their honest views – not just what they think you want to hear.
  • Provide your team with an ROI that exceeds their investment. Keep your engagement survey short and simple (I recommend less than 10 minutes to complete). Share your results quickly. Too many surveys are time-consuming and complicated and, as a result, it takes way too long to interpret the results and, importantly, share the outcomes with team members. Strike while the iron’s hot – take action on feedback in real-time.
  • Create some quick wins. Acknowledge your teams’ contribution and identify areas, based on their feedback, where you can score some quick wins.

Ignorance is never a strategy. Knowing how engaged your employees are and what you can do to improve things is essential. Quite simply, the cost of disengagement on your organisation’s health, wealth and happiness significantly outweighs any investment you make to improve it. And, what’s more, engaged organisations are happier, more productive places to work.

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