The secret to getting company-wide buy-in for your employee engagement program
Did you know that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the organization than disengaged employees? Or that the total cost of replacing an employee is about a 200% of his/her annual salary. When you consider employee engagement and retention from a financial perspective, it’s hard to ignore the impact that both can have on your company’s bottom line—not to mention the impact on company productivity and future success.
No one needs telling that there’s value in an employee engagement program, but whether you’re already running one or you’re just beginning to research best practices, company-wide adoption and executive buy-in can become major hurdles to your success.
So what’s the secret to overcoming buy-in and adoption challenges? Unfortunately, there really is no secret, but there is a strategic way to get buy-in and spread adoption of employee engagement initiatives across your org. You’ll want to start by modeling the potential impact of your program and giving each key group a sense of ownership.
We’ve broken down the key messages to help you demonstrate the value of your employee engagement initiatives to each stakeholder in your company.
Getting company-wide commitment for your engagement program starts at the top. In fact, without a committed executive sponsor, developing and maintaining any concerted employee engagement initiative will prove difficult.
To get buy-in from your company’s executive team, you’ll need to message the value in the format they understand best: an executive summary.
In a recent study a group of student interns from Brigham Young University found that the majority of executives would invest in an employee engagement initiative if they were given a summary of potential action items with direct ties to the company’s bottom line.
As you create your executive summary, try to address each of these questions:
- What is driving engagement in our organization?
- How does engagement impact our bottom line?
- How do we measure up with competitors?
- What are my employees saying, and why does it matter?
Your managers are perhaps one of the most critical elements of a successful employee engagement program because they have have the ability to drive change with direct reports even more than an executive might. But one of the biggest challenges for companies both large and small, is getting managers to feel involved in and act on employee engagement data and initiatives. To get buy-in from your company’s middle management focus less on the financial impact and demonstrate how engagement and pulse data should be used to drive change and take continuous action within their teams. Robust dashboards and action planning tools can help managers identify engagement drivers and then track progress over time as they take action to improve.
Managers have responsibilities to both individual employees and the business’ overall financial goals, so clearly communicating company vision, goals and metrics that matter will help drive more involvement in your engagement program.
As you craft the “big picture” for managers, keep the following questions in mind:
- How will a higher level of employee engagement improve service quality, support revenue growth and business outcomes?
- How could my program influence organizational culture?
- Will greater engagement increase team productivity?
Your company’s employees are the group with the most stakes in the game. Research shows that if an engagement initiative starts but does not succeed, engagement rates fall to lower than they were before the unfinished initiative started. This means that if your program is to succeed at creating real cultural change, you need to build trust so employees know their candid and open feedback will actually make a difference. To build this trust, open communication is critical.
Your team can use several methods to communicate with employees about the program and to collect feedback on the program’s goals and strategy:
- Team meetings
- Open company forums
- Internal social media site
- Web conferences
- Web/mobile surveys
Choose a communication method that works best for your company’s culture and employees. As you set your program’s strategy and begin collecting employee engagement feedback, remember to provide ongoing training for each group involved, keep information flowing, and stay focused on keeping your program sustainable.
Once the results of your engagement or pulse surveys come in, be sure to share the results and communicate the actions managers and leaders will take as a result of the data. Of course, some engagement data may be sensitive and sharing the dashboard with everyone in the company isn’t necessarily appropriate. However, by communicating action plans and measuring success of the action plans with pulse surveys, employees will recognize the value of an engagement program.
Learn how to drive change within your organization with Qualtrics employee engagement solutions. Schedule your free demo today.