Employee Engagement Best Practices

The first step to improving employee engagement is to ask your employees how they feel and what they think can be done to improve the workplace. The next step is taking action on those results. These actions will be different for each organization, depending on the size, resources, and culture of the organization. There is no “right” way to go about creating an engaged workforce, however, there are some employee engagement best practices that our research at TalentMap has shown to have a significant impact on employee engagement. We share some of these best practices here under the areas that most often appear as key drivers of engagement. We also strongly recommend following up with employees using focus groups to further explore each area and get their specific improvement ideas and suggestions.

Professional Development
  • Develop competency models for key job roles to form the basis for better selection, performance reviews and development planning
  • Share competency models with employees to use as a guide for development and coaching
  • Implement a process for soliciting and discussing career aspirations with staff
  • Look for ways to increase job challenge and variety where possible
  • Demonstrate trust in employees’ capability to do their jobs
  • Provide training and coaching opportunities as well as accommodating employees’ needs to take time for development
  • Tie manager incentives to development of staff
Information & Communication
  • Develop and maintain an organizational chart with high-level role descriptions for managers and teams
  • Implement “town hall” meetings once per quarter with a standardized meeting template
  • Start a regular staff newsletter, which promotes key messages, celebrates staff achievements and profiles, individual staff or teams
  • Appoint communications champions or communication networks across the organization to help promote better internal communications
  • Establish communication processes and channels to support and improve information sharing between groups
  • Implement knowledge-sharing processes and technologies that enable employees to connect easily and share expertise
Innovation
  • Tie innovation into employee recognition, for example, create an “innovation award” that will encourage employees to think outside the box and make suggestions on improving processes, reducing costs, driving new business or other priorities
  • Celebrate creativity and risk taking
  • Facilitate cross-function meetings to allow for diverse brainstorming sessions
  • Encourage management to support innovative ideas by assigning value to new ideas, providing feedback and follow up on suggestions brought forward
Immediate Management
  • Develop a process for management and leadership transition that ensures smooth onboarding for a new manager
  • Implement a manager training program for all newly promoted or hired managers
  • Create manager “standards” such as minimum frequency of department meetings, timing of performance reviews, etc.
  • Promote collaboration between managers and employees with regards to setting goals for the department
  • Prepare managers to provide guidance to employees on career development
  • Provide a safe mechanism for employee feedback if they have concerns about their immediate manager, for example, anonymous surveys, suggestion boxes, websites, etc.
  • Assess manager performance frequently and regularly
  • Hold regularly scheduled, clearly structured individual one-on-one meetings between managers and their direct reports, building the foundation to foster a great relationship
Senior Leadership
  • Develop a Leadership Development Strategy, which includes defined competencies for leaders, core and elective learning opportunities, an assessment mechanism related to the competencies, individual development plans, management-specific orientation for new leaders, leadership coaching, mentoring, etc.
  • Ensure the Senior Leadership team is visible to staff; leaders should be visible in each location a minimum of four times a year
  • A 360-degree assessment of each executive, along with interpretation of assessment and individual coaching and/or action planning
  • Make leadership intentions transparent to all employees; explain how and why decisions are made
  • Promote accountability, ownership and personal responsibility among leaders
Organizational Vision
  • Craft a compelling mission, vision, strategy and value statements
  • Regularly and clearly communicate the mission, vision, and values, as well as short and long-term goals of the organization; take time to explain and promote them
  • Develop a coherent operating plan that links department and unit goals to the overall vision
  • Identify and remove obstacles to achieving alignment between the vision and employees’ jobs

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