Resolve to Make Employee Engagement a Year-Round Goal

There are no Quick-Fixes to Getting your Company in Shape

It’s already February. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of people, have made, and broken, their New Year’s resolutions. Companies often find themselves in the same resolution trap when it comes to dealing with employee satisfaction. Things that seemed so simple on the page became overwhelming in practice. There is no “grapefruit diet” or “7-minute abs” equivalent for companies to solve their employee engagement problems. Employee engagement issues cannot be solved with quick-fix activities or programs.

Now that the sparkling confetti has been swept up and champagne toasts have been made, it’s time to get engaged. There is no magic, mysterious formula. Ultimately, it is all just respect. Nothing more than about how people like to be treated.

Companies with high employee engagement have demonstrated, time and again, their management and employees feel respect, fairness, trust, and shared values. None of these issues can be solved with fads and quick-fixes. Increasing employee engagement requires a substantive change in how employees are treated. These are things that can’t be faked, but just like that flabby tummy, there are ways to get fit as an organization.

Companies must start with respect as a mindset. Senior leaders really need to feel it, and if they don't, things won't change. It falls on senior management to make the first overture, and sharing the results of an employee survey, no matter how bad, is an excellent first step. This is an opportunity to own the problems and demonstrate to employees that they are respected enough to share the ugly. Some degree of employee involvement in crafting solutions to engagement problems is another opportunity to show employees that they are respected. And finally, following through on promises is critical.

Here’s a quick check list for companies to follow after receiving the results of an employee engagement survey. These are basic things companies need to have in place to succeed in such a competitive market with employee turnover on an all-time high.

  • Institutionalize "fairness" - make sure that existing processes and procedures are fair and transparent. Formalize any informal processes and ways of doing things to ensure that fairness is the guiding principle. (this one is more concrete and should be easier to accomplish)
  • Institutionalize company values - make sure that every employee knows what they are and that all employees, from top to bottom, adhere to these values at all times.
  • Communicate - make it public, from start to finish. Share with employees, keep them informed, and make sure they understand what you are saying, and how it benefits them.
Communication works both ways. Listen to the employee survey results for starters, but then, continue to listen to what employees have to say.

It’s time to get in shape, a long-term, lifetime goal that isn’t about seven weeks of magical protein shakes and a twenty-minute video . The commitment to change and improve isn’t something that happens over night, instead over a long period of time implementing significant, meaningful change in every level of a company, beginning with the key value of respect. Begin today and watch how, with engaged employees, your company can develop and grow.

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