70% of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work. They are disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive. How leaders manage their employees can substantially affect engagement levels in the workplace, in turn influencing organizations’ bottom line.
In our previous two posts in this series, we made the case for employee engagement as well as shared tips and insights for creating great employee surveys. In today’s post, we’ll to take a step back and ask a higher-level question that is crucial to your efforts in the long term:
Who’s in charge of employee engagement?
Leaders need to recognize the importance of ownership as it relates to employee engagement and should certainly place high value on the correlation between ownership and success. What follows isn’t a road map per se, but some things to consider as your organization tackles the question of ownership in your employee engagement strategy.
• The short answer on ownership is that HR, operations and senior leadership are all key stakeholders with different parts to play in employee engagement. There’s no single party with all the responsibility.
• The framework of engagement has to be championed from the top. The President/CEO must drive the effort, although not necessarily the details or implementation.
• Many organizations can become too outcome driven and can lose track of the important communications that should occur in the midst of the process. Some CEO’s get this, but others clearly struggle. Fostering employee engagement needs to become part of the organizational culture.
• Successful steering of an employee engagement strategy happens where different departments intersect. Leaders should be clear on this and not become myopic on their own tasks, but consider where their tasks connect to those of other stakeholders.
• All stakeholders need to actively champion the engagement strategy and be able to talk about the vision behind it.
• Many leaders fear over-communication when it comes to the implementation of an employee engagement strategy. Trust us, if you feel you are over-communicating with your team you are probably fostering a better form of employee engagement.
• The HR function of employee engagement is vastly important. The HR investment can help with the “how” of engagement once all stakeholders establish the “why” and vision.
• Historically, managers tend to be over-assured of their employees’ engagement. All stakeholders should prepare for some pushback on the plan from middle management, not because it’s perceived as bad, but because most managers believe their teams to be more “synced up” than they actually are.
• All organizations will tend to take on the personality of the owner (especially smaller organizations) –the culture becomes a direct reflection of what the leader values. And all good leaders want engaged employees.
Overall, remember that employee engagement isn’t a policy. It’s something that’s woven into the organization. It’s at meetings. It’s in the break room. It’s part of the communications fabric. Eventually it will become part of the DNA of your organization, but only with the commitment and investment of your leadership team.
Is this the year your company gets strategic with your employee engagement strategy?