6 Strategies For Ground-Up Employee Engagement

This blog post first appeared on my Linkedin page:

When organizations provide clear direction and empowers staff, there are higher chances of employees staying engaged. Building ‘KRAs’, investing in a shared future and leveraging the ‘wisdom of crowds’ can uplift the engagement in offices, however dispersed they maybe.

While most organizations rely on the human resources group or a ‘dedicated’ counsel for employee engagement or the cool sounding ‘Chief Fun Officer’ to own and drive engagement, I strongly believe a grassroot approach works best. ‘Grassroot’ engagement to me is a movement from within where staff take ownership for their own success. It is ‘bottom-up’ rather than a top-down push of what engagement should be.

In their white paper titled “Market Research: Voice of the Employee” Globoforce discusses how engagement can improve morale and remain a priority in good or bad times. Communication and recognition are highlighted as essential elements for success.

While surveys agree that engagement drive productivity and improve the bottom-line, it is the final equation that matters to employees. Employees seek on-the-ground tangible effort that is direct, transparent and visible.

Rather than see a top-down initiative to drive engagement employees usually ask: 

a)    How can I contribute to the effort?

b)    What more can I do to make a difference to the organization?

c)    Can I do something now to improve connection?

So how does this work and how can we as human resource personnel or internal communicators play an active role? 

Here are some thoughts.

·      Provide a framework: As internal communicators you can help define templates for running local connection programs. Basic planning sheets, budget trackers, communication formats, post event feedback questionnaire, promotion outlines among others. These can help reduce rework and turnaround time. Discuss and arrive at a formal process for content and design reviews so that you can avoid reinventing the wheel.

·      Lead by action: Participate in planning meetings and call out the role of internal communication in the success of connection programs. Such as review of communication, support for promotion and internal branding guidance. Work closely on a couple of connection programs and demonstrate ‘how’ engagement can benefit from the support communication provides.

·      Empower staff: The organization must empower employee(s) to take decisions and thereby evolve their own guidelines for connection programs. The event or engagement owners must be provided with all support they need – be it with budgets or with relevant tools and resources.

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