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Rick Blabolil

Employee Engagement Thrives When Expectations are Aligned

How would you like to increase customer satisfaction by 10 percent, boost workforce productivity by 21 percent, and hit a 22 percent increase in profitability? It’s all possible if you have a highly engaged workforce, according to a Gallup survey of “work units” in the top quarter of employee engagement measures.

We know that when organizations set expectations in a way that aligns employees around business goals, engagement is a strategy that motivates employees to meet those expectations. So, expectations, engagement, and alignment are linked. But what can an organization do to make that happen?  

1. Employee engagement is at the center of everything the organization does.

Organizations with highly engaged employees put their engagement programs at the center of their business. Rather than implemented as “add-ons,” employee engagement programs have the same value as other high-level strategies.

In addition, as other business strategies are developed, leadership takes into account their impact on employee engagement. This needs to be done prior to implementation. To quote a thought leadership article from Deloitte University Press, “Almost every management practice impacts employee engagement.”

Employee engagement isn’t an afterthought, given consideration as to how it fits into a strategy. It is incorporated into every business strategy from the time that strategy is conceived. 

2. Recognition and rewards are continuous.

Recognition doesn’t have to be relegated to formal, highly structured events. In fact, we’ve found that recognition is often more effective when given on-the-spot, and with an immediate reward such as a gift card with a personal message.

Peer-to-peer recognition is also a powerful motivator. When these programs recognize and reward both employees who give recognition and those receiving recognition, the impact is doubled. The key is to empower your employees to give and receive rewards.

FYI: companies with high employee recognition levels have 31 percent lower voluntary turnover than those that don’t. 

3. Employee feedback is ongoing and in real time.

It’s easy to slip into a top-down feedback mindset. But some of the most important feedback comes from the bottom up. Employees are always talking about their work and their company—what they like, don’t like, what’s working and what isn’t, and what they’d like to see improved.

Capturing that feedback serves two purposes: employees that are listened to are more engaged, plus their feedback can inform your organization’s continuous improvement efforts. So, take the time to explore the many tools available for capturing employee feedback continuously and anonymously. 

4. Leadership is transparent.

Transparency and open communications build trust, a proven component of employee engagement and a critical factor in aligning your workforce around business goals.

Don’t let social media tell the story when your organization has a bad quarter or experiences a mishap. Leadership must communicate immediately and organization-wide when a negative event occurs. The same holds true of positive news. If an employee scores an outstanding achievement or a customer gives glowing feedback, shout it out. 

5. KISS is a driving mantra.

We all know what that acronym stands for: keep it simple, stupid. But organizations that keep it simple aren’t simple, they’re smart. They don’t burden the workplace with hierarchies or complicated workflow processes. Instead, they drive down empowerment and autonomy, allowing frontline teams to make decisions about how best to get the job done.

Forget the checklists and complicated processes for accomplishing tasks. Empowered employees who have greater say so about how a job is done are proven to be more productive—and experience less work-related stress.

Finally, we’ve seen that in organizations where expectations are aligned and supported by strong employee engagement, those businesses have created a mission-driven culture. They have committed to a specific mission and to the values supporting that mission. This commitment is clearly communicated to employees and it gives them a strong sense of purpose. It is this strong sense of purpose that cements alignment with engagement.

Are you ready to re-visit your workforce engagement program? Or are you thinking of a more flexible platform or incentives that give employees maximum choice? Talk to a Marketing Innovators solutions expert about PPM Express and MIStyle Award Voucher to see how we can help you.

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