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What can an HR department do to improve employee engagement?

By Danielle Le Breton, HR Director at Lanes Group

February 13 2024 - Employee engagement is and always has been a critical driver of organisational success. Engaged employees are not just more productive; they are more innovative, loyal and deeply committed to achieving the company's objectives. For HR professionals, fostering high levels of employee engagement therefore needs to be seen as a key strategic imperative.

Accomplishing this requires a working culture where employees feel genuinely valued, heard and intrinsically connected to the company's mission and values. HR has numerous roles to play in this process, involving the development and implementation of strategies that align employee goals and aspirations with those of the organisation.

At Lanes Group, improving employee engagement is a central aspect of our People Plan for 2024. Here, we will discuss the methods through which HR can transform a workforce into a dynamic, engaged and highly motivated entity, ready to play an integral part in driving business growth and resilience.

What are the key strategic objectives of effective employee engagement?

Effective employee engagement is rooted in strategic objectives designed to align the workforce with the company's broader goals, fostering a sense of unity and purpose. There are a number of facets to this:

  • Embedding company culture: ensuring the company's purpose, values and vision are deeply integrated into the daily experience of employees. This involves making the organisation's core principles and goals a fundamental part of the work culture.
  • Fostering openness and respect: creating an environment where openness, respect, honesty and dignity are the norm. This includes promoting a culture where every employee feels valued and respected, regardless of their role or level within the organisation.
  • Enhancing two-way communication: actively promoting channels of communication that facilitate dialogue between employees and management. This objective focuses on ensuring that feedback, both from and to employees, is not only encouraged but also valued and acted upon.
  • Creating a progressive work environment: developing a workplace that is collaborative, supportive and healthy. A progressive work environment is one that fosters innovation, teamwork and a positive work-life balance.
  • Ongoing employee engagement: engaging with employees continuously, not just during annual reviews or surveys. This means maintaining an ongoing dialogue to ensure employees feel heard and their input is considered in the company's evolution.
  • Valuing employees: ensuring that every employee feels genuinely appreciated and fulfilled in their role. This involves recognising their contributions, celebrating their achievements, and providing them with opportunities for growth and development.
  • Transparent change management: implementing change management practices in a way that is clear, transparent and empowering. This includes involving employees in the change process, helping them understand the reasons behind changes, and how they can contribute to the success of new initiatives.

These objectives collectively create a robust framework for HR to enhance employee engagement, ensuring that employees are not only committed to their roles, but are also passionate advocates for the company and its mission.

What concrete measures can HR use to achieve these goals?

To turn the strategic objectives of employee engagement into tangible outcomes, HR departments can adopt various concrete measures:

  • Regular communication of goals and values: consistently reinforcing the company's vision, goals and values in all aspects of the business, including internal communications, meetings and employee onboarding. This helps employees understand and connect with the company's mission.
  • Employee focus groups: utilising focus groups to gather diverse employee perspectives. These groups can serve as platforms for feedback, innovation and championing improvements, making employees feel involved and valued.
  • Launching employee engagement surveys: conducting comprehensive surveys to capture employee feedback on various aspects of their work experience. These surveys provide insights into areas of strength and those needing improvement.
  • Provide a clear plan: developing a detailed plan to effectively communicate the engagement strategy, fostering a culture of inclusivity and active participation in engagement initiatives.
  • Sharing best practices: identifying and disseminating examples of successful engagement practices within the organisation. Sharing case studies or success stories can inspire teams and highlight effective engagement tactics.
  • Conducting stay interviews: engaging with key employees to understand what motivates them to continue their employment and identify potential areas for improvement. Stay interviews can provide valuable insights into the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction and retention.

An example of an initiative that Lanes Group will be introducing in 2024 is pulse surveys, designed to ascertain progress against actions or views on specific topical issues. This will also enable us to target hotspots and measure engagement on a more regular basis. We will also launch an employee feedback and suggestion scheme to give our staff the opportunity to submit comments and suggestions at any time, which will help to foster a sense of ownership and empowerment among employees.

Through these measures, HR can build a comprehensive approach to enhancing employee engagement, ensuring that each initiative is aligned with the company's strategic objectives and addresses the unique needs and aspirations of its workforce.

How will success be measured?

In order to determine whether your employee engagement efforts have had the desired impact, it is necessary to measure their success in a structured manner. HR departments can use several key metrics to do this:

  • Employee satisfaction scores: monitoring the changes in employee satisfaction scores over time, obtained through surveys and feedback tools. An increase in these scores is a strong indicator of improved engagement levels.
  • Employee retention rates: tracking the retention rates of employees, particularly those in key positions or high-value roles. Higher retention rates often reflect a more engaged and satisfied workforce.
  • Engagement in company initiatives: measuring employee participation in various company initiatives, such as training programmes, focus groups and feedback sessions. High participation rates can indicate a strong connection between employees and the company.
  • Quality of employee feedback: evaluating the depth and constructiveness of feedback received from employees. Quality feedback, where employees offer meaningful insights and suggestions, is a sign of a highly engaged workforce.
  • Impact on key performance metrics: assessing the correlation between engagement initiatives and key performance indicators like productivity, quality of work and customer satisfaction. Improvements in these areas can often be linked to higher engagement levels.

By tracking these metrics, HR can provide a comprehensive view of the success of their engagement strategies, identifying strengths to build upon and areas requiring further attention.

In taking these steps, HR departments can foster a work environment where employees feel fully engaged and able to contribute positively to a harmonious working culture that supports and drives the whole team to greater success. In doing so, your organisation will not only be able to enhance its operational efficiency, but also build a strong, committed workforce that can be the engine for long-term success.



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