Thursday, 7 March 2013

Maintaining the Momentum of Engagement Activities

Taking action is an emotional thing...”

These marginalia are about an interactive seminar organised by ORCInternational, “Keep your employee engagement resolutions”, which I attended last week on 27th February. During the event several discussions on the ways for embedding employee engagement inside our organisations were led.

Within this post I would like to write particularly about one of the topics which were covered during the seminar, “Maintaining the momentum of engagement activities”. In fact, I took part in the final group discussion around this specific subject during which I had the chance to write down notes as well as develop better thinking thanks to the contributions of all participants in the room.

Below are my marginalia, write-up, relating to that part of the seminar. During the first part, participants were given a presentation of the latest research on the topic:

Taking the right actions after an employee engagement survey has been undertaken is not easy, the 'right actions' is the hard bit”.

The SMART action planSpecific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-boud – is perhaps a basic principle, yet it should be remembered since it helps make sure that actions are specific enough and have clear measures for success.

The presentation highlighted some key questions we should ask ourselves before planning any actions, such as:

Do I understand the issue?
Is it within my control?
Which are the actions that really make a difference for our business?
How does this make employees feel? (Making the emotional connection throughout the process...)

I found of particular interest the fact that the presentation proceeded by linking this topic to the four enablers of employee engagement as studied by Engage for Success: Strategic Narrative, Engaging Managers, Employee Voice and Integrity:

Link to the Strategic Narrative: Effort vs. Impact
When considering the areas for action we should remember the 'effort versus impact rule' asking ourselves:
Impact on who?
Effort from who? (Who should put the efforts for those specific actions to be in place?)
How what we are doing is improving the engagement level of our organisation?

Link to Engaging Managers and Employee Voice: Involve your team and be an engaging manager
Teams need to be clear on the actions to be taken and feel enabled to take those actions.
Engaging managers encourage their team to help them:
  1. understand what is driving their engagement
  2. prioritise action areas and come up with solutions
Managers themselves need to be supported in order to do that.

Link to Integrity: we can maintain the momentum making it more than just a survey by “doing what we say we will”.
Surveys are not an isolated event but an opportunity to start a conversation about how colleagues feel about working for this organisation, and make changes for the better.
The data from the survey is not just about an action plan but an opportunity to inform business decisions from the insights.

People need to feel connected and not to think that the actions are taken on them. Some way for doing this presented during the seminar were:
Saying how actions make a difference (sharing successes, linking to other activities, widening existing activities)
Saying what it is (meeting with senior team, recruitment strategies, workshops)
Showing the difference that employees have seen (communicating case studies, showing improvement in engagement)
Celebrating the business benefits (celebrating achievements - e.g. awards, reduction in grievances, reduced turnover)

People need to be reminded of the difference they make, they should be involved in defining what difference they will be made.

Three examples of local actions suggested during the presentation were:
Encouraging Innovation
Communication of feedback and recognition (even a 'Thank you' from seniors can make a huge impact)
Team working

During the second part of the seminar we took part in group discussions where various ideas on how we could incorporate the fours enablers were shared among participants. Some of these were:

Strategic Narrative:
  • Positioning the surveys;
  • Staff workshops putting results into context and ask for ideas to feedback to leaders;
  • Sharing case studies of best practices and biggest improvements

Engaging Managers:
  • Making information and data from survey transparent (e.g. access throughout on-line tools);
  • Involve managers throughout the whole process (two-way communication);
  • Empowering managers to take ownership of the results;
  • Running workshops and supporting activities which enable managers to be effective in engaging with their team members;
  • Empowering the rest of the team too

Employee Voice:
  • On-line communities, internal social media tools, discussions forums ( to enable people to express their opinions, to have a voice, suggest improvements)
  • Providing quality diversity groups

  • This enable should be embedded throughout the whole process when dealing with all the other three enablers

I found the way the seminar was conducted of real use since it allowed us to think on what we had been just presented. That way the learning experience has been enjoyable and productive, at least for me.

As always I hope you can benefit from these marginalia. Perhaps there is something written above which you, your colleagues and organisation may find of interest.

Finally, for further information about these topics, I would also encourage to visit both the Engage for Success and ORCInternational websites.