Effective employee engagement within a project or programme of change is vital in making business change stick.
When developing an employee engagement strategy for a programme you could consider the following:
Stakeholder Analysis – what are people’s communications needs, how will the change impact each group? And how can you keep them informed and supportive of your employee engagement programme?
Communications channels – What channels are available to encourage genuine two way feedback? And what new ones can be introduced?
Learning and training – if there is learning and training to be delivered as part of the programme how do we make sure it is collaborative and adapts to the needs and continuous feedback of users?
Acting on feedback – Asking the right questions is only part of this; if you don’t start a conversation with the results, you won’t engage your audience. Maintaining the conversation and interest is vital to achieving sustainable results.
So how can we interact powerfully and maintain employee engagement?
Leadership during business change needs to be active and involved in talking to people. Many project sponsors aren’t especially confident in walking the floor and talking to people. And if they’re not, then encouraging a presence online or at meetings is an alternative.
Forums, focus groups and workshops all give real opportunity for conversation – they are especially useful if employees are in one place. A community hub allows members of different teams to meet allows for the sharing and development of ideas and project and business objectives.
But what happens after the meetings? A network of ‘change agents’ can keep the information flowing and gather continuous feedback.
Remote locations might not always be served well by physical meetings but an online Q&A with leadership and HR can serve to unite employees across different geographies.
Open and honest employee engagement needs the right company culture to support it. Different companies have various levels of openness. But employee engagement itself, although facilitated by a culture of openness, has the ability to produce it as well.
We worked with the head of a large health organisation and experienced how the closed culture stopped people from asking questions. We listened to people and submitted questions on their behalf anonymously and gradually people became more open and asked more themselves because it became clear it was safe to do so.
Culture change doesn’t happen overnight, but you can plant seeds that will grow over time. Creating an open and safe culture in which people can ask questions is certainly beneficial but responding to and acting on that feedback achieves so much more.
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