How to develop an employee engagement plan [with free template]
Employee engagement is the rocket fuel that powers every successful business. According to Gallup, engaged employees are more productive, have lower absenteeism rates, and are more invested in the company’s success.
However, despite the evidence, only 40% of organizations have an employee engagement program.
An employee engagement plan is a great vehicle for kick-starting employee engagement in your organization. It helps you to turn strategy into action.
If you are struggling to get an employee engagement plan off the ground, then help is at hand. In this post, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to create an employee engagement action plan.
As well as that, we’re also giving you a free downloadable employee engagement plan template. Fully customizable, all you need to do is adapt the template to fit your organization’s needs.
Employee engagement can sometimes mean different things to different people. So, let’s get started with an employee engagement definition.
What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement describes the emotional connection employees have to the organization, including the culture, mission, and goals. A strong emotional connection is what drives employees to go the extra mile in their jobs.
Four steps to develop an employee engagement strategy
1. Set the overall objectives for your employee engagement plan
The first step is to set an overall vision for your plan. What is it you want the employee engagement plan to achieve? Each business is different, but possible goals include the following:
- Lower staff absenteeism
- Better employee retention rates and lower turnover
- Improved productivity
- Enhanced employee motivation and happiness
- Increased customer satisfaction
- More positive organizational culture.
Try and identify one or two main objectives only, so that you maximize the chances of success. An overall purpose will provide a focus for the plan’s detailed action points.
2. Determine where you are at with employee engagement
The next step is to involve staff in determining where you are at with employee engagement. Use employee pulse surveys, focus groups, and team meetings to find out how well you are currently doing. Ask workers for their views on what needs to improve. And also explore with staff what the key drivers are for employee engagement in your business.
According to a survey by HR.com, the top five drivers of employee engagement are typically as follows:
- Trust in leaders (77%)
- Relationship with immediate supervisor (74%)
- Organizational culture (73%)
- Belief in the organization (67%)
- Opportunities for career growth (66%).
It’s important to fully understand the current state of health and key drivers for employee engagement in your business. This vital step will help you identify the detailed priorities for your plan.
3. Identify targets and actions that will make your engagement plan a success
Now that you know the priority areas, it’s time to work up the plan’s detailed actions and targets. These are the solutions that will help you achieve the overall objective.
The targets in your employee engagement plan should be clear and well-defined. In this context, the SMART framework is a useful tool. SMART is an acronym that stands for the following:
- S = specific. Try to set clearly defined targets, so there’s no room for misunderstanding.
- M = measurable. Be clear about how you will measure success.
- A = attainable. Stick to targets that you know you have a reasonable chance of achieving.
- R = relevant. Make sure targets are consistent with team and company objectives.
- T = timebound. Set a timeline for completion. It’s also a good idea to assign ownership, so it’s clear who is responsible for delivery.
Try to include a mix of short and long-term goals. If this is your first employee engagement plan, then the workforce will expect some fast results. And a few quick wins is a great way to get staff on board with the plan. Plus, it signals to employees just how serious you are about employee engagement.
4. Incorporate review mechanisms for your plan
All the best plans include regular opportunities to review progress. Things can and do change, so you want to ensure you remain on track.
Get the senior management team involved in reviewing performance at least quarterly. Again, this will reinforce the priority you attach to employee engagement.
Review what’s gone well and what aspects could be improved. And be sure to share any lessons learned throughout the organization.
Most important of all, find ways to report back to staff on progress with the employee engagement plan. Use all internal communications channels to update employees, including employee communication platforms and internal social media, plus newsletters and team briefings.
The company’s credibility is on the line with employees, so don’t compromise on this crucial step.
The free employee engagement action plan template from Workvivo
Are you ready to take the next step? Then download Workvivo’s easy-to-use and fully customizable employee engagement action plan template. And when it comes to developing the targets, here’s a summary of the essentials:
- Make sure your targets are clear and concise
- Include success measures
- Identify who is responsible for delivery
- Set clear timeframes for completion.
Employee engagement action plan suggested targets
Recognizing and rewarding employees that do a great job is a target many businesses have in common. And so, here’s a sample target to get you started on developing your employee engagement plan using our template.
Employee engagement plan made easy
Don’t put the development of an employee engagement plan in the “too hard” basket.
Use the steps we have identified here and Workvivo’s free downloadable employee engagement plan template to make it as easy as possible.
And remember, low engagement rates are estimated to cost US businesses up to $550 billion annually. Therefore, developing an employee engagement plan is well worth the investment of time and resources.