How to Increase Employee Engagement in Five Steps?

General / 6 May 2019

Time Read | 3 min

Some companies regularly conduct employee engagement researches and proudly announce their engagement figures. The figures in eastern countries are quite high compared to the counterparts in the western cultures! Of course, as a result managers who look at the subject carefully do not buy-in the figures and question the to-good-to-be-true ratios. Unfortunately, the process ends up with perceptual devaluation of the outputs.

Employee engagement” is a critical ingredient for the success of a company. Expectations make it necessary to go beyond Employee Satisfaction Survey method which is considered too traditional way of measuring engagement. The two most fundamental elements of employee engagement; creating the culture of “Trust” and “High Performance” are two main topics that sit on top of the priority list of pioneer companies.

“Your competitors can copy your company’s products, systems, organization, or strategy. But they can’t copy neither the trust environment in your company nor the performance of your employees”

The managers who go beyond the “ask Google!” approach and have in depth knowledge about the dimensions of employee engagement are aware of the difficulty of establishing such a culture. The common view of these managers is, they look at the issue from the “culture of trust- being a listening company- improving the performance” triangle.

Stephen Covey’s following statement summarizes the issue quite well:

“Your competitors can copy your company’s products, systems, organization, or strategy. But they can’t copy neither the trust environment in your company nor the performance of your employees”.

Today, achievements of CEOs and leaders are evaluated with their ability to make their employees happy to get higher performances. This expectation drives them to use technology to enhance their ability to coach, inspire and improve their employees.

Six Dimensions of Employee Engagement

With the growing popularity of the engagement concept, the market of digital HR tools focusing on engagement and feedback is experiencing serious developments. As Josh Bersin from Deloitte wrote in his article “Feedback is the Killer App”, employee engagement and feedback are increasingly important for companies due to the increasing penetration of the millennial workers and the impact of digitization. Companies that give their employees a chance to express themselves are reshaping the basics of human resources management in a fundamental way.

As mentioned above, measuring the engagement levels with an employee satisfaction survey, which takes place once or twice a year, has become a discursive approach. Considering the speed of access to information and number of mobile communication apps, we are having much better experience in our individual digital flows compared to our corporate applications. In order to close this gap, companies are looking for ways to provide a better workplace experiences to their employees.

In this regard, the leading companies determine their HR strategies considering the following 6 dimensions:

  1. Meaning of Work – Autonomy, Small and Agile Teams
  2. Hands on Management – Clear Goals, Feedback and Coaching, Modern Performance Management
  3. Efficient Work Environment – Flexible work, Appreciation and recognition culture, Diversity
  4. Career Development Opportunity – Mobility, Extensive Career Development Paths, Being a Learning Organization
  5. Trust in Leadership – Mission and Purpose, Investing in People, Investing in a Trust Environment
  6. Employee Well-being – Safety and Security, Employee Health, Financial Health, Psychological Support

Action-Oriented Feedback Culture

It seems easy on paper, but we all know that “the real life is always more complicated than theory”. When we look at the companies that implement these dimensions successfully, we see their attention to two issues. First, imposing managers to take action. Secondly, using feedback tools to enhance feedback culture and obtain meaningful behavioral performance data.

Employee commitment is 7% higher than the equivalent, in the companies whose managers give frequent feedback and manage their employees by the action plans.

Employee engagement is even more than 8 times higher than companies whose managers to take action and provide actionable feedback.

So how should the HR Strategy to increase Employee Engagement be structured?

According to our benchmark researches and our field experience, the company culture focusing on employee engagement can be implemented following a 5-step roadmap:

  1. The platform where employee opinions will be received and summarized.
  2. Supportive and correct performance and reward mechanism.
  3. Action plans targeting cultural development.
  4. Monitoring the process of cultural change.
  5. Feedback, follow-up and measurement of the generated effect with numbers are critical issues in the road map.

Determination of your HR strategy is the pre-requisite of this roadmap that needs to be implemented by both the employee and the managers.

According to Jacob Morgan’s “The Employee Experience Advantage” research, increasing employee engagement, making feedback a part of culture and building trust culture in your company are the most important factors that increase the value of the company.

As the futurist Naisbitt says, the determinant of development is not high-tech anymore, but high-touch (high people quality).

Most companies spend most of their budgets on improving their customer experience and digital infrastructure. But remember; increasing your company value is realized much faster by investing in your human capital.