7 ways to bring meaningful engagement to your business

Mar 16th

It’s a big ask. Chief executives are suddenly recognising that ‘effective engagement of our employees’ is the key to increased productivity, to profitability, to the successful implementation of strategy, the retention of key talent and thus the key to competitive advantage. They instinctively know it’s important to ensure employees want to follow through on delivering the strategic intent, yet there is much confusion about what it is, how you create it, whose job it is to make it happen and how you measure it.

In reality it’s about getting people involved and inspired about something important and then contracting with each other to do something different as a result. Our conclusion is that employees in today’s world recognise they have choices and are not going to blindly follow commands from their leaders; they want to be engaged in a way that is meaningful to each of them and only then will they give their discretionary commitment and energy to take action .

So how exactly do you go about it? Here are seven key learnings for meaningful engagement:

1.  Start with the business case for engagement – what are you trying to engage people with? What will the benefits be?

2.  Define engagement in language that is meaningful in your particular organisation context and to your key audiences (avoid the off-the shelf frameworks)

3.  Convince your colleagues that engagement is more than a one-step process – it is a planned series of linked actions and supporting activities – for which leaders need new skills and confidence to use them

4.  Clarify who’s responsible for making engagement work – CEO, top team, leaders, Communications and HR (all of them)

5.  Use internal stories of successful engagement that have lead to measurable benefits and outcomes to illustrate what you mean by engagement – and to draw out the lessons of what works and what doesn’t

6.  Use the power and influence of people who have been involved in those successes to convince others of the benefits of a more thoughtful and planned approach

7.  Introduce regular ‘leading’ indicators of engagement so that you can use the data to prioritise the right activity that will deliver the results you want – before it is too late. Get these ingredients in place and the results will follow.

What does meaningful engagement mean in your business?

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