If your 2017 business strategy includes launching a new employee engagement initiative, then you’ve got one chance to get it right. Make sure you read our 6 steps to successful implementation.A great idea badly presented. It’s a common problem as any viewer of Dragon’s Den can attest to. All too often, companies have a corker of an idea that would make a tangible impact on improving the business, but it’s so poorly pitched that it results in nothing more than a collective sigh. That ‘here we go again’ moment.

So what is the key to successfully launching a new engagement initiative in the workplace? Here at great{with}talent we’ve got plenty of experience of helping companies to launch new schemes and ways of working. Whether its 360 degree feedback, introducing psychometric testing or a new engagement questionnaire, we’ve got it covered. Here’s our 6 step plan to launching a new initiative successfully in your business:

1. CLARIFY PURPOSE

Whatever it is you are trying to do, make sure you understand your purpose from the outset. If you don’t ‘get it’ yourself, no-one else will. Think about why you have chosen this particular area as a priority. Why is it important to your business? Why are you addressing it now? How will it work? Who will it impact in the business? Is it a short or long term task? The answers to these questions will be absolutely key when it comes to writing your pitch to the business to launch it successfully.

2. ESTABLISH GOALS

What are you trying to achieve with this new initiative? Most new projects involve a certain amount of additional work from those involved and often those on the periphery – whether they like it or not. Therefore it’s important to get people onside at the very outset by persuading them that the investment of their already stretched time will be worth it in the long run. Essentially people want to know how things are going to make life easier for them, usually by saving them time or money. If you get this point across successfully you will be one step closer to a successful launch.

3. QUANTIFY IMPACT

Everyone loves a statistic. We allow ourselves to be bamboozled by figures, seduced by their power. Include some good numbers in your pitch as it is the clearest way to communicate the actual difference your new initiative will make to real life in the business. It’s also an excellent way to convince your workforce en masse that it’s worth the extra time and effort. If you don’t have any stats to hand regarding the value of an engaged workforce, let us know and we’ll find some for you.

4. COMMUNICATE THE CHANGE MESSAGE

Everything above leads to this key point: communicating the change message. Think where, how and who. Are you going to launch the new idea at a big company meeting, or go tier by tier through your structure? Are you going to be speaking to people face to face or via a written announcement? Whichever medium you use, make sure that the message is absolutely clear. Ask someone who knows nothing about it to listen to your pitch/read the announcement (a loving spouse is often a sitting duck for such matters) and give you feedback. You need someone to read it completely uninformed to see if your message gets across clearly.

After the initial launch, further regular communication is absolutely vital. People need reminding that this is happening and updating on any progress or perhaps updates to the plan. Regular communication is there to reinforce the message until it is completely embedded in the company culture.

5. BELIEVE

Once you have launched the new initiative, there is no turning back. It’s crucial to have absolute belief in what you are doing. If you are in doubt then stay in the planning phase until you can see it through to a confident launch. There is always an element of ‘leap of faith’ at the moment before you launch a new plan (you may think it’s a great idea, but will everyone else?) But if you have done your research and involved others in your planning you should be able to navigate the choppy waters with ease.

6. LISTEN

Finally, listen to feedback. It’s rare that any change is greeted with unanimous applause. Expect some negative feedback and don’t dismiss it all as unimportant. There may be value in the criticism, there may not be. But unless you listen to what people are saying then it is impossible to know. Ignore critics at your peril: you risk entering ‘bull in a china shop’ territory and alienating the very people you want on board.

As a skill set, we are generally better at talking than listening. This is particularly true at management level. But that needs to change. After all there is no point in an engagement initiative unless you follow three rules. Firstly, LISTEN to your people, and don’t make it intimidating for them to communicate with you. Then when you get their feedback let them know that your HEARD it. Finally, take follow up action to show that you CARE. If you demonstrate that you are actively listening to people in your business you are engaging with your workforce, becoming a better leader and even, perhaps, learning something along the way.


Contact great{with}talent and find out more about their TalentEngage employee engagement surveys.