Most companies recognize that employee engagement is good for business. It’s logical that workers who have an emotional connection to their jobs and employers will put in more effort and be more productive. In fact, there’s plenty of research out there from big names like Gallup telling us that employee engagement has a direct impact on company performance and profitability. But how do you define your employee engagement goals for your organization?
Your company may well be one of those that has put in place a formal program of employee engagement. And after every successful staff survey or employee focus group, you may give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself for the great job you’re doing on employee engagement. But how good a job are you really doing? Can you be certain that employee engagement is making a difference in your business?
The truth is the concept of employee engagement is somewhat elusive and means different things to different people. And so it’s not surprising that many organizations have vague goals and objectives for their employee engagement programs. Often it’s simply a fuzzy idea of increasing the rate of engagement across the board. However, you would never dream of leaving your sales team without a clear set of targets. Likewise, identified defects in your manufacturing processes would be dealt with by explicit quality control measures. Employee engagement requires the same response. It needs to be championed at the highest levels and performance needs to be monitored and reported on. In short, employee engagement needs to have smart goals and objectives.
But, how do you get started when time is in short supply and there’s no clear sense of direction? Here are three easy steps you can take to either kick start an employee engagement program or refocus an existing way that’s lost its way.
1. Employee Engagement Drivers
The first step to developing meaningful goals is to be clear about what it means to your business and what the key drivers are. Is employee engagement for you about becoming an employer of choice so that you can handpick the best talent? Perhaps employee engagement is more about improving customer satisfaction. After all, engaged employees tend to provide superior customer service to their disengaged counterparts. Customers are more responsive to employees that are positive and proactive and so employee engagement can help to generate brand loyalty among consumers. It may be that for your business, the primary motivation for employee engagement is to improve retention rates. Perhaps you’ve had a history of high turnover and want to buck the trend with a program of employee engagement.
Whatever the primary motivation is for your company, it’s important that you have that sense of direction as this will shape the specific goals and objectives for your program. And don’t forget that your priorities can change over time: this year it might be employee retention that’s the top priority. Once that has been addressed, your organization may look to another priority such as building a high-performance culture or reducing absenteeism. Make sure that managers and organizational leaders fully understand and are signed up to the employee engagement vision.
2. Develop Smart Goals
Once you have identified the primary focus of your employee engagement program, it’s time to develop specific objectives. To be meaningful these objectives have to be smart: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. You will have overarching organizational goals that in turn are translated into team and departmental ones. Try to steer away from rather vague targets like wanting to improve staff feedback or achieving better results in the annual staff opinion survey. If your focus is primarily on reducing absenteeism, for example, then be explicit about what you are trying to achieve: reduce the monthly percentage of employee absenteeism by 5 percent by year-end. This organizational target can then be translated into team targets. Make sure that you also set milestones and KPIs for each target so there’s clear accountability as well.
3. Set Measurable Goals
There’s no point in setting employee engagement goals if you can’t easily measure their impact. The program should be data driven so that you can keep track of its impact and make informed decisions about priorities.
In addition, you will need to ensure that leaders and managers act on the data. In fact, failing to act on survey results and staff feedback is probably a worse outcome than not seeking feedback at all. Staff members will quickly lose trust if they perceive management is simply paying lip service to employee engagement. Make sure employee engagement is a standing agenda item at board and senior management meetings to reinforce to the staff body the importance your business attaches to the program.
Employee Engagement Best Practices
Use the three steps we’ve identified here to either kick start your employee engagement program or to enliven an existing one. And just to make things even easier for you, below we identify an employee engagement goals sample. This template provides some examples of good employee engagement goals and suggests some measures to help you achieve your target.
Employee Engagement Goals Examples
As we’ve seen, it’s probably best to focus your activities on a couple of key drivers. Being overly ambitious and trying to achieve too much can be counterproductive. The main key drivers are likely to be customer satisfaction, employee retention, and company culture.
Let’s work through some employee engagement goals examples for each area.
A sample goal to improve company culture could be the following:
- Improve team spirit and morale by setting up a series of team building activities and events by the end of quarter 1.
Team members could be invited to submit their ideas through an online intranet survey. A cross-section of employees could be charged with making the final selection of two events to be held every six months.
The measurement for determining success could be an increase in the percentage of staff reporting a positive improvement in team spirit as part of the annual staff opinion survey.
A sample goal with a focus on improving employee retention rates could be as follows:
- Implement a company-wide staff recognition scheme by the end of quarter 2.
When it comes to retaining employees, a company culture that recognizes and rewards staff members for going the extra mile or having a bright idea that saves time or money can have a big impact. The public thank you and recognition by management is often all it takes to motivate staff.
Ask workers how they would like to be recognized and rewarded and then charge a project group with setting out the detail.
The success measurement could be a reduction in the percentage of staff reporting that the organization does not recognize or reward them in the annual survey or snap polls. Another possible measure is a decrease in the number of employees leaving overall and particularly before three years of service as collected by the HR department.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, a possible employee engagement objective could be the following:
- Develop personalized employee development plans for each staff member as part of the annual performance appraisal cycle. All plans to be completed by the end of quarter 4.
Updating employees’ knowledge and skills is a crucial aspect of maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction. A training program to support that is essential for any business wanting to increase customer satisfaction. It also sends an important message to staff about how much you value them as individuals.
The success measurement for this goal could be an increase in the percentage of positive customer feedback and star ratings from online recommendations such as Facebook and Google reviews.
Best Employee Engagement Programs
If you want your company to have one of the best employee engagement programs then make sure you set clear goals and objectives. You will be able to more easily track progress and you can report back to management and, of course, staff members on how you are doing.
For more advice on employee engagement check out the rest of the MyHub blog here. Or why not get in touch with the team for a free demo of how our intranet software can support employee engagement while delivering a whole host of other business benefits.