Human resources leaders know all too well that an engaged workforce is vital to the success and well-being of any organization. The responsibility of fostering and maintaining strong employee engagement is a critical tenant of the HR function and one which may require a variety of approaches at various stages within the employee lifecycle.
Over periods of steady growth, you might find your team needing only to make reactive micro-adjustments to keep employees invested. If a metric starts to slip, you’ll be able to address it quickly and with minimal disruption. But when there's a lack of progress, or if your organization is experiencing a period of high growth, it may be time to uplevel your employee engagement action plan.
Let’s discuss how you can reconstruct a more effective employee engagement action plan.
What is an employee engagement action plan?
Your organization likely has a number of long-term engagement initiatives already in place. But if you’re experiencing a specific pain point or persistent problem that impedes employee engagement, a targeted action plan can help you clear those hurdles and build a better relationship between your company and employee base.
Your employee engagement action plan should:
- Have a clear project roadmap with measurable objectives to help you monitor progress.
- Take a data-driven approach that makes use of a variety of data sources to identify and track critical employee engagement metrics. This can include things such as eNPS scores, survey results and qualitative feedback.
- Have clearly defined roles and expectations for all stakeholders, including team members, leadership and the employees themselves.
Benefits of an employee engagement action plan
Clearly outlined steps and objectives give HR leaders better control when it comes to making an impact on employee engagement. Other advantages to a defined plan of action in this context include:
- Generation of measurable and actionable activities and results that provide you with critical insight into both current employee engagement as well as the ongoing efficacy of your initiatives.
- Ability to clearly share expectations with C-suite leaders by demonstrating how your action plan will impact other aspects of the wider organization.
- Greater transparency into what impact your action plan is driving and what implications this bears for your employee base.
How to expand and improve an employee engagement action plan
Let’s take a look at a few moves you can take to build a more effective action plan that supports long-term engagement within your workforce.
Double down on the findings from your existing quantitative and qualitative data
If you’re already tracking the standard employee engagement metrics, you should have a deep cache of data to help you uncover key areas that you should be targeting. Updated surveys combined with historic eNPS data allows your team to look quantitatively at how trends in engagement have changed and why.
You also need qualitative feedback that’s drawn from activities such as interviews and observation. Combined, these deliver more actionable insight and ultimately lead to smart, data-driven decision-making.
To take data collection a step further, consider how you can create more opportunities for open dialog that allows employees to share thoughts, needs and concerns with leadership. For example, hold open forums, or train management on how to effectively collect qualitative information from direct reports to better support engagement initiatives.
Be clear with your action plan objectives
You need to understand how you will know whether or not your plan is effective and if it’s producing the results you set out to achieve. Before you begin to adjust aspects of your employee engagement plan, make sure you have these questions answered:
- What is the objective of your action plan? Be specific.
- What is the projected business impact? What is the projected personnel impact?
- Why is this action plan necessary?
Whether you’re developing a new action plan from scratch or updating aspects of an existing one, having these questions answered is an important step that will help you secure buy-in from relevant stakeholders.
Develop checkpoints and milestones
This step involves the creation of interim goals and metrics as well as other critical aspects of your plan including role distribution, budget, timeline and key milestones.
This is where you outline all of the steps to take and the resources you need in order to reach the goals you outlined in the previous point. Here, you will also need to identify:
- Who is responsible for what in executing the various aspects of your plan
- Which metrics you’re going to track
- What technology you will use
- When you expect to deliver your final report with recommendations and proactive alternatives if you run into blockers
Leverage polls and surveys to gauge action plan effectiveness
A simple poll or survey can provide you with a fast temperature check on how staff is impacted by the changes to your action plan. Consider distributing a short survey or poll at each checkpoint so you can keep tabs on changes in employee sentiment.
Employee engagement action plan examples
Here are a few examples of problem-specific solutions you might add to your employee engagement action plan:
- Access to better training and education opportunities: Lack of growth opportunities is a major reason why people leave their employers. If you notice a dip in overall engagement, it may be time to revisit your L&D strategy to determine if employees are aware of available opportunities and are actually engaging in them.
You may have all of the right training and education programs in place, but if your employees aren’t able to access them or don’t know they exist, it can lead to low morale and general disengagement. Taking the time to re-evaluate your L&D programs and ensure that learning is accessible to all can integrate easily into an employee engagement action plan and provide long-lasting benefits to your greater people strategy.
- Technology to support a modern workforce: Whether your organization is fully remote, all in-person, or somewhere in between, it’s critical that you have the right technology to foster togetherness and help employees do their jobs more efficiently. It can be easy for employees to become disengaged without a clear sense of connection to their colleagues. This can be further exacerbated by frustrating technology that’s outdated or new tech that they never received proper training for. The work that comes with digital transformation is a big undertaking, but it’s well worth the time and resources if it’s going to help your team members connect and be more productive.
- Clear, comprehensive career-pathing: The feeling of being stuck in a job with no opportunity for growth and advancement is one of the primary instigators of employee disengagement. You may already have gone through the process of career pathing, but it could be time to re-evaluate if these career paths are actually being used the way they were intended.
For instance, do employees know career paths exist? Do managers feel comfortable speaking to direct reports about them? By asking and securing answers to these questions, you may find that one point on your action plan may be to re-train managers on how to speak to their direct reports about career advancement and career pathing.
The real impact of employee engagement
Problems with employee engagement are too often met with ineffective, quick-fix solutions such as catered lunches and ping-pong tables. Instead, it’s important to focus your time and resources on understanding why low engagement occurs and taking targeted steps to address it with an action plan.
Continually monitoring and improving your employee engagement action plan empowers your company to gain deep insights into the current status of workforce investment at your company. It also allows you to take data-driven steps to evolve your engagement efforts in a way that mutually benefits both the organization and the employee base.