Employee engagement—How do you design a high impact strategy?

Most organisations have programmes to measure engagement, but many still struggle to improve their engagement levels. What are they doing wrong, and how to put it right?

Employee Engagement—How Do You Design a High Impact Strategy?

19 Aug 2016 by  Saurabh Gahrotra

The Aon Best Employers study in India shows that more than 90% of organisations have implemented programmes to measure engagement, but many still struggle to realise meaningful change in their engagement levels. Typical comments from these organisations include:

We measure engagement every year but nothing really changes.
It’s just something that HR runs and doesn’t have anything to do with me.
We have it in our HR agenda, so we proceed as planned.

The fact is, there is no silver bullet when it comes to addressing engagement. Each organisation has its unique DNA, its own business priorities, and its own constraints. 

However, there are 4 principles for measuring engagement and deriving insights to help you achieve breakthrough impact:

1. Align the measurement process to business goals and talent challenges

Business and HR leaders should spend a significant amount of time at the design stage to establish a clear line of sight in terms of their business goals, ensuing talent challenges, and the areas that they would be willing and able to address. This ensures that your organisation gets buy-in from the business, and can focus on actions that deliver high impact on engagement.

2. Empower key stakeholders who impact engagement 

A high impact approach towards measuring and improving engagement must involve empowering all the key stakeholders in your organisation who define and enliven the employee experience. When appointing an engagement survey partner, ask how their approach enables your Leaders to set the right direction and inspire confidence, how it empowers your People Managers to create an engaging experience for their teams, and how the survey results can translate to actions that enhance the employee experience. 

3. Draw on an outside-in view to build meaningful insights

While each organisation is unique and has its own journey of becoming a truly engaging workplace, it’s always useful to draw on an outside-in view to clearly prioritise specific areas of improvement, Most successful companies incorporate external benchmarking to garner support around change, encourage fact-based discussions, and foster a spirit of enthusiasm to do better than the market average.

4. Engagement is about continuously creating an engaging work experience

Beyond measurement, organisations should focus across on creating an engaging experience across all touch points. For instance, 9 out of 10 Aon Best Employers in India make clear time and resource commitments to support post-survey actions. Their Leaders are also custodians of the engagement agenda and regularly report the progress of action plans to employees. In addition to HR, People Managers and Leaders are also seen as owners of the action planning and implementation process. And consequently, 84% of the employees in such organisations feel that they are treated as valued assets by their Leaders and Managers, compared the market average of 66%.

With these 4 principles, your organisation can take an informed view on the engagement issues that matter to you the most, how to best gather employee feedback on those areas, and take corrective actions for maximum impact. 

As technology enables continuous listening all year round, improved capabilities around analytics become a norm, and the VUCA environment becomes even more fluid, these principles will continue to provide useful input for any organisation to reflect on and reboot its engagement journey and actively drive business strategy.

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If you need help with creating a high impact employee engagement strategy, get in touch with us today.

Saurabh Gahrotra

Saurabh Gahrotra is a Senior Consultant in the Engagement and Culture Practice with Aon Hewitt. He partners with clients to create a highly engaged and productive workforce. He helps them create a compelling employer brand and develop managerial and leadership capability.

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