Communication and collaboration are two of the most important actions for engaging employees. Start by identifying a project or decision where employees can bring a unique perspective and experiences to the situation. Be sure you’re willing to collaborate with them. If so, communicate the opportunity and find out if they’re interested.
Results for Customers and Learning All Around
As I mentioned in my article on voice of the employee, frontline employees often have great insights about what your customers need.
In one project I worked on, the client was looking to move some services online to improve service for customers and make better use of resources. To ensure they were making the right decision, we not only consulted with customers, we also reached out to frontline employees. I developed an approach and facilitated sessions with employees, where we were able to identify:
- The work that was high-value and complex and benefitted from direct contact between customers and service staff
- The work that was more transactional in nature and lent itself to online delivery
The results went beyond making better decisions. They gained employee support for changes that might otherwise have made them feel threatened. At least as importantly, those leading the project developed a better understanding of their customers and the work of frontline employees.
In keeping with REAL Employee Engagement™, they learned from one another while working on results-oriented planning.
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Authentic and Empowering Engagement Builds Through Change
When the company I was working with doubled in size as a result of a merger, there were many changes to be made. Both companies had strong cultures and loyal employees, making integrating the two a challenging prospect, but one with potentially great pay-offs. Employee communication and engagement are often cited as key factors in whether or not a merger succeeds.
The leadership team identified where employees could not only be engaged, but also be empowered to make decisions. Creating one go-forward benefits package from two different ones presented an interesting challenge. In keeping with the value the company placed on employees, we created employee teams, provided them with HR experts and parameters, and then let them decide. The company provided the same budget for the overall package, allowing employees to determine how to distribute it.
The approach embodied the principles of empowering and authentic engagement. The company implemented the results of that work. What’s more, a situation that could have created division within the company instead helped build bonds across the two sets of employees. It was a step toward building a new, combined culture.
If you are interested in identifying actions to engage with your employees, contact me to discuss my new workshop for managers Lead Through Employee Engagement. In a half-day, they’ll learn more and begin to plan for action.