Too often our efforts in achieving an engaged workforce are so focussed on improving the sacred engagement score that it’s easy to lose sight of why we have that goal in the first place. So, what’s the winning formula?  It’s about understanding employee engagement in the unique context of your business strategy and culture.  And that, in turn, means aligning the goals of your people, their teams, and your organisation. 

Sometimes running a business can feel like a constant stream of decisions, deadlines and priorities to juggle, never mind keeping everyone happy.  Doing it all single-handedly eventually becomes impossible; that’s when you take a leap of faith, and invest in hiring a team.  And that’s when, almost overnight, you’ve become something completely different.  Because now, you’re not just managing a business, you’re leading a team.  How you simultaneously wear these two hats will make the difference between failure, bland mediocrity or organisational excellence.  So, what’s the winning formula?  It’s about understanding employee engagement in the unique context of your business strategy and culture.  And that, in turn, means aligning the goals of your people, their teams, and your organisation.

Too often our efforts in achieving an engaged workforce are so focussed on improving the sacred engagement score that it’s easy to lose sight of why we have that goal in the first place. The devil most certainly is in the detail of employee engagement feedback, and not just in the overall result.

Monitoring and developing the engagement levels of your workforce has benefits that go way beyond ‘doing the right thing’; businesses with high engagement levels generally have better retention rates and lower recruitment costs; staff are more motivated and therefore more productive; there are fewer employee relations issues because, generally, staff are motivated and happy in their work, freeing up managers’ time to be more operationally successful. If your prevailing employee engagement levels are high, this will deliver fantastic impact, both financially and operationally. It can also improve your employer branding by creating a reputation as an attractive and enticing employer – and moreover, one that cares.

This works both ways of course. A sustained culture of poor employee engagement will also have a significant and self perpetuating impact: high labour turnover, hours of management time wrapped up in handling performance and conduct issues, loss of productivity due to training and re-training new staff, difficulty recruiting. And that’s not even mentioning the trial by social media that may await companies with a disaffected workforce.  Leaving you, as a business leader, spending far too much time managing day-to-day people issues, rather than freed up to focus on the strategic growth of your business. All is not lost, though; even if engagement levels are below par, the simple awareness of this in itself provides a benchmark against which you can plan goals and track progress in the future.

So, based on the above, the argument to measure, track and improve engagement levels in your business is a bit of a no brainer. But there’s more to employee engagement than simply churning out an off the shelf ‘happy sheet’ once a year, and hoping for the best. If you want to find out the truth, warts and all, about the employee experience in your company, you’ve got to ask the right questions in the unique context of your organisational environment. Being fully engaged at work carries many dimensions to it; the people we work for, the team we work with, the physical environment we work within, the resources at our disposal, the support we receive, how much we believe in and understand the wider purpose and mission of the organisation, how our role contributes and, of course, how valued we feel (intrinsically and extrinsically).  Moreover, what is incidental to one person might be of paramount importance to the next.  That’s why one singular, company-wide engagement score, whilst an interesting benchmark, is far too broad.  And that’s why, if your goal in assessing employee engagement goes beyond ticking an annual survey box, you need something more powerful; something that revolutionises employee engagement and delivers organisational excellence into the bargain.  You need to know what drives and motivates your people, what defines (for them) a great day at work and a day best forgotten.  You need to understand what triggers dissatisfaction and resignation, versus what drives excellence and commitment.  You need to pinpoint how your organisational strategy and your workplace culture define your employee experience.  You need to know whether your employees understand what they are they to achieve, whether they are suitably equipped and enabled, and whether they share your understanding of and passion for the corporate vision and objectives.  And, most importantly, you need to know how to address any shortcomings, and in what order of priority.

If you can make your people feel happy and enthused about coming to work, that’s a step in the right direction for everyone.  But ‘happy’ and ‘enthusiastic’ (as wonderful as they may be) don’t automatically deliver results, and nor are they likely to endure, without a good dose of goal alignment. The employee who doesn’t ‘get’ what they are there to do, why their contribution matters, and why it is important they do it well, is not your best asset, even if they are your most outwardly cheerful.  In short, they are content but perhaps not fully engaged.  And in time, that will affect not only their performance, but also their sense of connection with the company, their motivation levels and their overall contribution to company results.  And, looked at from the opposite angle, the employee who knows exactly what they are there to achieve, why it matters, and what ‘good’ should look like, yet doesn’t feel motivated or inclined to deliver results, is a wasted asset. If either description applies to one member of your workforce, it’s a hurdle.  If it applies to most or all of them, it’s a roadblock.

At great{with}talent, we believe there’s a strong correlation between employee engagement and organisational effectiveness.  A downturn in one will most certainly result in the same for the other. And yet, the two are so often assessed and reviewed in isolation.  Employee engagement surveys get ‘wheeled out’ annually, at an arbitrary time of year (typically shoehorned into the HR calendar at the least inconvenient time of year).  Strategic reviews are typically timed to coincide with annual budget submissions, but rarely does anyone draw a connection with important employee engagement feedback.  The net result is that, unfortunately, much of the insight that comes back from employees comes at the wrong time, and the value in it is lost. Budgets have been set and allocated. Time, resource and manpower have been planned and scheduled.  Project commitments have been set in stone.  And so, typically, whilst the small changes can be easily actioned (a fresh lick of paint in the staff kitchen area, or the suggestion of a company football league after work), the bigger – and arguably more critical – issues cannot (a more flexible working rota, an upgrade to IT systems that don’t crash every week, or a complete overhaul in team structure).  Sadly, it would be better not to ‘do’ employee engagement at all, than to do it like this; after all, who doesn’t hate being asked specifically for an opinion on something, only to have it completely ignored?

That’s why we’ve created something way more powerful and insightful than a basic annual engagement survey.  We’ve created an assessment tool that offers a holistic review of your entire business; strategy, culture, process and people. WinningFormula is a bespoke and results driven analysis tool that will help identify the priorities in your organisation; the things you need to start, stop and continue to do in order to drive organisational efficiency, employee engagement, and goal alignment.  Our questionnaires are quick and easy to administer, are delivered online via both mobile and desktop devices, and result in detailed reports (see example) which tell you everything you need to know in order to make excellence the very definition of your business.  WinningFormula provides pragmatic solutions to your engagement issues in the context of your specific organisation and industry because, let’s face it, no two businesses are the same, and every team is unique.

We’ve already had proven success with this product in different sized organisations and industries.  Whether you’ve got 10 employees or 1,000’s, we can tailor our approach and our product to work in the right way for you. So, if you want to take engagement to the next level, and learn a thing or two about your business along the way, then WinningFormula is, well, the winning formula you need. Why not start the conversation today?