If your organization is looking to make a real difference to employee engagement then an action plan is the perfect tool to get you started. With less than one third of employees in the US feeling engaged in the workplace, the time to act is now. As well as lower absence rates, improved staff morale and increased levels of productivity, businesses with large numbers of engaged employees also report greater profitability. There’s no mistaking the key message here: employee engagement is good for business. But how do you go about achieving it? Well, an action plan is a great way to focus your efforts and raise the organizational profile of this key initiative.
In this article, we look in detail at what’s involved. We start off by suggesting some key actions you may want to consider implementing to increase the rate of employee engagement. Then we provide an action plan template that you can download and adapt to suit your organizational needs. And finally, we look at how to construct meaningful and accountable targets.
Employee Engagement Action Plan: Suggested Actions
Getting started on an action plan is the hard part and so here we make it easy by suggesting some key actions that you may want to consider implementing. These are based on current good practice and hopefully will get you thinking about the possibilities in your business.
It’s a good idea for the action plan to include some quick wins that can easily be implemented and don’t require a huge budget. These will be important in kick-starting employee engagement and will send an important message to staff about your commitment to improvement. However, short-term, focused quick wins need to be balanced with longer term projects as well. And so, the list of possible actions starts off with some quick wins before identifying longer term initiatives.
Employee Engagement Quick Wins
- Implement an employee engagement survey.
- Set up a cross-departmental action group.
- Invite employees to submit ideas or suggestions for organizational improvements via an online form.
- Set up an employee engagement blog on the intranet for staff members to share ideas and insights with managers and colleagues alike.
- Conduct intranet mini surveys in relation to specific issues, job roles or locations within the company to gather information and data outside of the main employee engagement survey.
- Set up a series of team building activities and events to improve team spirit and morale.
- Implement a company-wide staff recognition scheme.
- Develop an internal employee directory with photos and biographies.
Longer Term Employee Engagement Projects
- Improve internal communications to ensure staff are involved and informed.
- Review staff performance appraisal systems to ensure personal objectives are more closely aligned to organizational priorities.
- Provide a training program for managers on how to facilitate engagement.
- Develop a set of employee engagement metrics to track progress.
Employee Action Plan Template
So, now we have identified some key action points, let’s turn our attention to the employee plan. Developing the employee action plan is crucial to ensuring engagement initiatives are successfully implemented. But what does an effective action plan look like? Well, there are certain elements that are common across all the best action plans. These elements include:
- identifying areas for improvement
- proposed solutions
- success measures
- timeline for completion.
Here’s a template that you can adapt to your own organizational needs. Download a Microsoft Word version of the employee action plan template here: employee-plan.docx
|Area for Improvement||Proposed Solutions||Success Measures||Ownership||Timeline For Completion|
How To Complete An Employee Engagement Action Plan
When it comes to completing the action plan template, it’s essential to identify clear action points, projects and initiatives as well as assigning key roles and responsibilities. What’s more, the action plan enables you to measure progress and it ensures that individual staff members and the organization as a whole are held accountable.
So, what will the action plan look like when it’s completed? Below we’ve made a start on completing a plan so that you get a feel for the level of detail that’s required. The most important point to note here is that the proposed solutions and success measures should be what’s commonly called SMART goals. This means that they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
Specific targets are ones that are unambiguous, well-defined and are meaningful to anyone involved in the project. The chances of meeting a specific target are much higher than for vague or poorly defined ones. Measurable targets make it clear whether or not you have completed the task. They also allow you to keep track of progress and make adjustments along the way if needs be, as well as holding staff members accountable for their completion. In addition, objectives need to be achievable which means that they are attainable and realistic as well as being action-oriented. Relevant targets are those that have a practical focus and a clear link with overall objectives. Time-bound targets set a clear timescale for completion. Make sure that yours include a ‘by when’ date to increase the chances of successful completion. Otherwise it’s easy for tasks to get buried under the day-to-day distractions and crises that will inevitably arise.
Furthermore, it’s better to have a dozen or so key initiatives that you can really focus on rather than scores of targets. The more you have, the less likely it is that you will achieve them all, so it’s best to concentrate on a few key initiatives at a time. Remember, employee engagement is an ongoing process and you don’t have to achieve everything all at once.
Employee Action Plan Example
Below is an example of a completed employee action plan in which we exemplify the action points we identified earlier. Hopefully, this will give you a real sense of what’s required which can be summarised as follows:
- clear concise targets
- success measures so you can assess how well you’ve done
- accountability so it’s clear who is responsible for what
- definite time frames for completion.