How workers show up each day directly shapes your culture. To be an engaged, safe, productive culture, we want our people highly involved and deeply committed to the company mission.
No doubt that today, many organizations are seeking to create and sustain this kind of engaged company culture.
That’s why we’re taking a closer look at just a few of the top ways we can ensure that the systems, the processes, the values, and the norms of your organization all help to improve the employee experience.
Keep reading to learn a few strategies you can embed in your culture so you can conquer employee engagement. The work is truly never done, but these strategies can help you put together pieces of the puzzle.
Make accountability a high priority
A positive safety culture is one where someone feels safe enough to say to a colleague, “I noticed that you’re not wearing your safety glasses.” In turn, that colleague respects the other person enough to respond positively and change her behavior.
The values of the team, in such organizations, reinforce constructive accountability.
Workers look out for one another, and they have the ability to communicate to one another in a positive way that upholds values of the company. That might be safety, or it might be something else like an approach towards customer service.
Individual and team accountability also helps work against over-confidence or complacency that can happen over time, despite how “engaged” a worker is. The formula for accountability is one part communication, one part trust, and one part ownership.
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Give workers the right amount of authority
If you want to drive accountability, you also must match that with authority. Authority—matched with trust—is often what gives workers a sense of empowerment and true ownership in a role or project.
If and when authority is missing, workers can easily get disengaged because they don’t feel like they can truly impact the desired outcome. Just think: if you ask a high performer to complete a project, but they lack the resources (time, talent, equipment, etc.) that’s a real disconnect. That’s exactly the kind of scenario that can result in a high degree of stress.
To support giving your employees a true sense of authority, make sure:
- The authority given aligns with the outcomes you want to see
- You show you trust workers with that responsibility and authority
- Workers clearly know what is expected of them, given their role and responsibilities
- Workers have the resources and/or equipment in order to do the work the right way
Get workers as involved as possible
Provide ample opportunity and space for workers to be involved as possible at work…that in safety-related efforts, but in other areas, too.
Make sure you have a structure that can allow them to give suggestions and feedback as to how safety can be improved. It’s important to not only provide the opportunity for suggestions but demonstrate that action will be taken to address those suggestions, too. That way, people feel empowered and have a greater sense of ownership. Plus, workers will feel like they have a stake in the outcome and in shaping the environment at work.
Look at the employee experience from end to end
Can you confidently say that the organization is showing it holistically cares for employees throughout their entire experience they have with you? That experience starts even before a worker is hired!
Start thinking of the “employee experience” in terms of every interaction a worker has with your organization, from recruitment (or even before that) until the day they may exit the company.
Just to name a few, that can include:
- The recruitment process
- The hiring process
- The onboarding once they are hired
- The environment(s) they are in on the job
- The processes you provide
- The career path or learning opportunities provided
- The ongoing communication (informal and formal) provided
- Coaching sessions or mentoring sessions that are a part of the job (informal or formal)
- The ways input and feedback are collected and acted upon
- Incentives and/or compensation
- The opportunity for training and ongoing education
- Employee recognition programs
- Exit surveys and exit process in general
The list goes on and on. The point is that the employee experience starts when they first interact with your organization and continues on until they potentially leave the company.
Rather than merely a buzzword, you want to do your best to foster trust in each of these stages. That way, workers deeply care about their role and their impact on the company, no matter where they are at in the so-called “experience.”
Don’t be afraid to challenge the way things have always been done
Have you always had a certain type of safety meeting? Or do you hold a weekly safety meeting no matter what…even if you don’t necessarily have a pressing topic to cover?
Be open to challenging the “norms” in your culture to fight complacency and boredom. Being open to changing things when needed can boost creativity and engagement.
Create an environment where you can measure attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors
So much of work is about discretionary effort, and so you want to be sure your company is measuring and monitoring levels of engagement in some way. That way, you can be aware if—or when—a problem or issue arises within a culture.
The reality is that if employees don’t feel safe, accepted, or listened to—for whatever reason it may be—they probably aren’t as engaged with their work. In other words, generally speaking, if people don’t feel like they can be themselves at work and they don’t feel comfortable, it takes away from their ability to do their job optimally.
Recognize and reward the right values and practices
Companies with safe, productive, and engaged cultures look for opportunities to make the right behaviors as visible as possible, which serves to model and reinforce these behaviors in employees.
Focus on intentional positive reinforcement, appreciation, and praise. Every company is different, so build a recognition program or process that works for your organization. Not only does that keep workers feeling appreciated, but it can show you support your company values.
Invest in learning and development
Does your organization support informal and formal mentoring? What about coaching? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone about their progress?
A critical component of short-term and long-term engagement is developing your leaders in a variety of ways. That includes training, leadership development, coaching and mentoring, skill development, and helping to forge a path for career growth and advancement. Don’t neglect investing in your employees since it’s a powerful tool to help them advance their skills and to keep them engaged and satisfied in their work.
iReportSource: Helping You Support Employee Engagement
You have a lot on your plate. With iReportSource, you can also easily collect the data you need to understand where safety and engagement metrics are at today—and where they are headed tomorrow. That way, you can understand your highest risk areas and areas of opportunity, too. After all, the data is part of the picture, but you also want to take meaningful action to prevent future accidents and to improve engagement.
Move from a fault-finding environment to a fact-finding environment in a collaborative, safe, and healthy workplace: Learn more about iReport today.