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The first step to launching your employee engagement program

The first step to launching your employee engagement program

You probably already know the score when it comes to the benefits of engaged employees. They work harder, they stick around longer, they provide a better customer experience, and more.

But like many worthwhile things, improving employee engagement isn’t easy. You don’t just flip a switch and boom, suddenly have an office full of committed, buzzing employees. Quite the opposite: creating a healthier, happier, more productive workforce is a journey. And like all journeys, it begins by taking your first step.

I’m here to talk about that initial step. It’s a big one: achieving alignment.

Related: Could having a customer-centric culture lead to better employee engagement? New research shows that companies that put customers first are significantly more likely to have employees who find their jobs meaningful and plan to stay longer.

Achieving alignment begins with finding an executive sponsor for your program. This is incredibly important. To continue our epic journey analogy: a program without a sponsor is a ship without a sail. Your chances of reaching your destination—the promised land of productive, enthusiastic employees—are greatly diminished without one. Get someone high up on board so they can help you establish the support you need within the leadership team and larger organization.

Now for the fun part: having candid discussions about the state of the employee experience!

The thought of doing this, especially in a room with company leadership, fills some people with dread. But it’s essential to help you determine what your engagement program will measure—and what you hope it will achieve. Here are a couple of questions to get you started.

What’s the best thing about working at your organization? Maybe there’s more than one. Write them down. Picking elements of your culture that you want to preserve is an easy place to start your list of goals.

Now flip that question: what’s the worst thing? Identifying opportunities for improvement provides easy fodder for your list, too.

Despite being one of the favorite questions of People Who Sound Smart In Meetings™, it’s essential for you to answer. Let’s face facts: humans are more complicated than a buckyball-shaped Rubik’s cube. Which means that measuring what keeps them engaged at work is no walk in the park. It’s going to require some serious thought.

Think about what’s going to make up your overall “engagement score.” What are your ideal metrics and outcomes? How about your desired survey participation rate? Is there a particular methodology you’re using to frame your efforts?

In life, the journey is important. But this is business: we also need to know our destination, and how we’re getting there.

Fast forward and imagine your team’s inbox is flooded with sweet, sweet employee survey results. Now that you’ve got all this data, what are you going to do with it?

Your employee engagement program will get a big shot in the arm if you’re able to tie measurable improvements to business outcomes. Leadership will be more likely to make your initiative a strategic priority. Make it clear that a positive employee experience has real benefits for their bottom line, including:

  • Higher productivity
  • Better recruiting
  • Greater profitability
  • Increased creativity
  • Stronger retention

Ready to get started? Remember what I mentioned at the beginning: this is only step one of a long journey. But don’t fret. The crew here at SurveyMonkey put together a handy guide to help you out! And since you’ve already done some homework by reading this blog, you can probably skip the first chapter. Happy trails!

Our end-to-end guide includes free templates and expert advice for building an inclusive company culture.