employee engagement graph

How to improve employee engagement

We are honoured this week to bring you an interview with the powerhouse that is Lesley Everett.

Lesley is an international conference speaker, executive coach, TV presenter and author. She is a Fellow of the Professional Speakers Association and Immediate Past President of the Global Speakers Federation.

She created the Walking Tall methodology – which helps people in the workplace to develop their personal brand. Her best-selling book Walking TALL – key steps to total image impact, has featured frequently in national press.

The personal brand of your employees has such a huge impact on how your company’s brand is perceived. This means that helping your team to understand their personal brand is a key ingredient in getting employee engagement right.

With so many of our customers using Customer Thermometer to measure employee engagement, we sat down with Lesley and asked her for her top tips on how to improve employee engagement.

So without further ado… here’s Lesley:

Tip 1: Measure before you start

It’s easy to make assumptions about your existing level of employee engagement. Those who shout loudest are heard first. But they may not necessarily be representative. So it’s important before you undertake an employee engagement project, to take your employees’ temperatures.

Tip 2: Get regular feedback on line management

An employees’ line manager has a huge impact on their engagement in the business. Research shows that employee engagement can be directly linked to pride in that business. So the more proud the employee is to work for you, the more likely they are to be engaged. But a poor or ineffective line manager can get in the way of that pride, leading to disenfranchisement. It’s vital that your employees think their line manager sees them in a positive light.

Find a way to measure your employees’ engagement and satisfaction over the head of the line manager. So long as it happens for all line managers, it’s a process that’s fair and will enable them to manage more effectively. We at Walking Tall use Customer Thermometer for this, as it’s simple, direct-to-employee, trackable and instant, but the results can be easily shared with  line managers before 121s take place.

The “regular” aspect of this is important too. Measuring employee engagement once a year isn’t enough to fine tune the work you’re doing and improve engagement fast enough to make a difference to your superstars.

Tip 3: Tap into strengths to improve employee engagement

Line managers need to be trained not just in their professional field, but in how to improve employee engagement. Line managers must be able to tap into what the strengths, values and skills of their employees are. Too often line managers focus on weakness, which leads the employee to feel that they are not seen in a positive light (see tip 2). Plugging gaps and improving weak areas is part of the line manager/employee relationship but it shouldn’t be ‘what it’s all about’. Employees need to know what they are good at, what motivates them, what drives them and then empowered to work in this way. If they don’t – they can’t feel valued and thus can’t be engaged.

Tip 4: Help employees get to what their brand really is

People buy people. Never has that statement been more true than it is now. You can improve employee engagement by simply helping your employees understand what their personal brand is and assisting them in delivering it better. Authentic employees are more satisfied and deliver a better customer experience.

In understanding how to improve employee engagement, it’s crucial to remember that people are the most valuable part of your corporate brand today. Their behaviours, and the resulting experiences that all of your stakeholders have of your business, represent the messages that get talked about, globally. Social media has made all of this even more critical.

Tip 5: Connect your employees’ brand with your company brand

During a visit to Cape Canaveral in the mid 1960’s, President Kennedy was touring the facility when he met a man in overalls enthusiastically sweeping the floor and asked him what he did. With a big smile on his face the man replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon Mr President.”

My final tip for improving employee engagement is to think differently about connecting your people with what the company is all about. Ask yourself the question, ‘do my employees feel isolated from what the company is trying to do?’ It’s why measuring up front is important. But the question goes deeper. Are you talking in terms of revenue growth, when employees talk in terms of doing awesome things for customers? Are your company meetings focused on terms like ‘sales growth’ when your team are discussing the latest cool customer they’ve been working on? The language, and the engagement that language has, is critical.

Many companies hire brand agencies, and they do a great job focusing on values, ads, customer communications, what the website looks like etc… but they often don’t take it to the level of the individual to express in clear and motivating terms “what does this mean to me?” You need break down the company brand into clear guidance your employees can use to understand how their personal brand fits into yours. Find and communicate your ‘man on the moon’ mission.

Lesley and her team can be contacted via the Walking TALL website.

For a trial account of the Customer Thermometer monthly employee engagement measurement service, just visit this page.

2 replies
  1. John Phillips
    John Phillips says:

    Have to agree with much here. The direct line manager’s role in employee engagement is so often overlooked. It’s a good idea to have a way to keep a finger on the pulse of employees in a way that doesn’t rely entirely on the line managers themselves.

    • Lindsay Willott
      Lindsay Willott says:

      Thanks John, we think it’s an important point. Having a bird’s eye view of total employee satisfaction and engagement on a regular basis can mean you discover pockets of performance and pockets of dissatisfaction across the business.

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