Research continuously shows that employee engagement contributes to increased profitability, yet most organizations still have no formal engagement strategy in place and two-thirds of employees globally are disengaged. The key word in the previous sentence is ‘strategy’. Building employee engagement is on ongoing process that uses surveys to track and monitor progress but requires culture and engagement to be embedded in the role of leaders.
The process of building engagement is complex and may be a frustratingly slow process, but any leader of an organisation with high engagement will tell you she/he would not swap that fact for anything else. The key point with ‘engagement’ is to understand that it is not about ‘happiness’, or at least not just about happiness. Engagement means employees are emotionally invested in your business and have a sense of belonging to the company, because they understand that they are an important part of it and know how their work contributes to their company’s success. Engaged employees believe in the purpose of the organisation and see a wider perspective – they are not only focussed on their own tasks, nor limited by them, they care about the whole process. They want the team and the company they work for to succeed and make every effort to make it happen. Companies with a high level of engagement are companies that are successful in the market because, in a world where access to information and technology is common, they have a rare competitive advantage – committed and driven people!
Recent research by Constellation research shows that 67% of transformation leaders say culture change keeps them awake at night, more than any other factor, and according to PwC research, 65% of C-suite leaders say organisational culture is more important than an organisation’s strategy or operating model.
These are staggering numbers when you consider how few leaders prioritise culture and engagement. Why is this?
Leaders are increasingly short-term oriented and do not believe culture and engagement can be fixed quickly. In recent redpill consulting research 64% of CEOs and HRDs said they would prioritise culture & engagement if they thought they could show real progress within a year.
Culture & engagement progress within a year is definitely possible but requires a disciplined process, something like this.
- Define your business strategy and goals for the next 3 years
- Understand what culture is required to enable execution of your strategy
- Identify the gaps between the ‘current’ and ‘required’ culture
- Demand that your leaders are good examples of your required culture
- Ensure your employees understand the strategy and what is required of them
- Listen to employee feedback regarding what development & support they need to deliver the plan
- Recruit people who share your cultural beliefs
- Track culture and capability progress using an engagement tool at least 3 times a year
In 2018 redpill consulting built a digital toolkit that guides leaders through these 8 steps and provides insight at every stage, enabling businesses to stay focussed on priorities but also ensuring flexibility for teams to customise the system to their specific needs. We call it our HR tookit.
If you want to start to make culture change happen in the next 12 months we expect to hear from you very soon!