Employees are the most important resource of any company. Each employee holds immense potential that they can offer your organization – only if you are able to tap into their resources and trust them enough to contribute. In this article, the Head of Human Resources at LoanMe – Charles Rodrigo – talks about the importance of keeping your employees engaged with the company at all times and why you should entrust them with important components of company operations, such as strategic planning.
The workplace has evolved over the years and employees today no longer seek a mere 9 to 5 job. Present-day employees wish to be highly involved with their work and are more likely to care about the organization they work for. As such, it is more important than ever to ensure effective employee engagement in the workplace, in order to increase employee satisfaction and productivity, create a better work culture, reduce staff turnover, build better work and ultimately impact company profits.
What is Employee Engagement and Why is it Important?
Employee engagement refers to the level of commitment that employees have towards their company as well as its goals and values. When employees are engaged, they show up to work and get involved just not because they are paid to do so, but because they really want to and they care about creating value for the organisation as well as themselves.
Studies have shown that organizations that encourage employee engagement are naturally inclined to perform better and produce better results. However, this is not the only reason why employee engagement is important. Employee engagement promotes better employee health as engaged workplaces support employee needs and encourage them to actively care about their health. Additionally, employee engagement does wonders for your company culture and can make your organization a desired place to work for. Not only will this help you retain your best employees, it will help attract great talent for your company.
Engaging Staff in Strategic Planning
Strategic planning is the process of establishing a direction for your business, by setting overall goals and developing a plan to achieve them. Though this process was traditionally conducted solely by the CEO of the company, its senior leadership team or staff at the highest level – this is changing. More and more companies are now seeking to get employees actively involved with strategic planning.
Getting your staff involved with strategic planning is important due to several reasons. If you rely only on your top management to devise your company strategy and expect your other employees merely to execute it, you are likely to run into heaps of execution problems down the line. Not getting employees involved with strategic planning can lead to miscommunications and misunderstandings about your ultimate goals and company vision – leading to all sorts of execution dilemmas. To avoid sabotaging strategic clarity and execution issues, it is crucial that your company strategy is run through your employees in order for it to be executed well.
By getting your employees engaged in strategic planning, you are able to clearly communicate and inform them about the direction that your company is set to take, helping them build their own sense of focus and direction in their work. You will also be able to inspire them into building the motivation and determination that is required to execute the communicated plan effectively. They will also have the company’s best interest at heart and act accordingly in their decision making, to help the company achieve what it has set out to do.
Communicate Your Company’s Vision, Values and Goals:
If your company already has its vision, mission and values clearly identified, make sure your employees are aware about them. Ask them to come up with initiatives and suggestions on steps that the company can implement to achieve these defined goals.
Asking Employees to Share Their Thoughts:
The best way to do this is to start small. Have a few sessions with your employees where you put up a strategy map and later post it in a common area of your office, where it can be readily accessed by everyone. You can ask your staff to place sticky notes on the various components of the plan in order to share their thoughts and suggestions related to the long-term strategy of the company.
Another way to keep staff engaged is by grouping your staff into a number of teams and assigning each team a selected number of company goals. Each team can then focus solely on the goals assigned to them and provide suggestions on what can be done to achieve them.
Offer Plenty of Feedback and Recognition:
Your top management also needs to frequently review the ideas provided by employees and analyse how each idea can be of use. It is also important to provide feedback to employees and let them know your response to their ideas in order to make them feel valued.
Have One-On-One Conversations:
You can also ask your staff to create their own personal strategic plans for the company and to submit them periodically. Your top management can then review these plans and discuss them so that your staff knows the company’s response and exactly what steps will work and what won’t work. Make sure these plans are not forgotten or that they simply end up on a shelf or in your inbox forever!
Don’t Tell Your Employees How to Execute the Strategy:
Let your employees come up with their own action plans for the company’s clearly-defined goals and objectives. This will provide them an opportunity to come up with practical approaches that they deem best for the company, in a way that makes the most sense for them. Doing this helps you reduce execution problems later on as you are able to get a better idea of your employee’s perspectives on the practicalities of what will work and what won’t work.
Measure Progress and Celebrate Achievements:
Last but not least, make sure your employees are kept up-to-date on the progress of the company’s performance at all times. You can do this by providing them quarterly performance updates or even in the form of a real-time performance tracker if possible. Celebrating achievements and mini-victories is essential to make employees feel that they were a part of the company’s success – which will in turn inspire them to continue their commitment to the achievement of the company’s goals.