Simon Shirley Presents: Solving 2 Big Employee Engagement Problems

Engaged, motivated workers who love their work are much less likely to leave the company early, and provide more value as well.In recent posts, we’ve talked a lot about what some of the biggest problems to driving employee engagment are. Today, we here at Simon Shirley Advisors wanted to discuss some methods that you can use to solve the biggest employee engagement problems so that your company can have a motivated, dedicated workforce, and you can meet your goals for keeping your company’s best talents in place and drawing the top talents from other companies to your own.

Employee Engagement Solution #1: Creating a Plan for Advancement

There’s a common question in many new hire interviews: “where do you see yourself in five years?” It gets used primarily as a boilerplate personality question, something to help the interviewer (usually a manager or member of HR) determine the level of ambition that the prospective hire possesses.

In many cases, a new hire fresh from college might not have a clear plan of where he or she will be half a decade from now, while many others may have a very specific vision of where they want to be. In fact, there are many articles on how to answer this question “correctly,” which leads to misleading answers being given from time to time.

However, there’s one thing almost no driven, productive hire will ever say: “stuck in the same job with no prospects for advancement.” Before even applying for the job, many top talents will research your company and the opportunities for advancement. If the prospect doesn’t see an opportunity for advancement, then he or she will move onto the next company on the list.

To attract these talents, and keep them after they join the company, there needs to be a clear, well-established method for attaining advancement within the company for these long-term planners to latch onto. Creating such a plan will, naturally, require close coordination and planning with different levels of management, examining the rate of churn for different positions within the company, and creating contingency plans for when employees leave the company due to retirement or other factors.

One great indicator of opportunities for advancement is the establishment of training incentives and programmes that encourage employees to learn skills that are needed to fill higher-level positions in the company. By doing this, you not only demonstrate that your company supports plans to advance employees from within, you also create a pool of ready-made replacements for if someone in a hard-to-train-for position ends up leaving the company suddenly, minimizing the time that position spends unfilled.

Employee Engagement Solution #2: Ensure Goals are Well-Defined and Achievable

Goals and performance targets need to be clearly worded to avoid confusion. If employees don't know their goals, then it will be much more difficult for those employees to meet their goals.One common problem with employee engagement noted in research cited by a Fast Company article states that “only half of people surveyed have clarity on what’s expected of them.” These employees have no clear idea of what they need to be doing to meet goals, and their performance suffers as a result.

Consistently missing goals because they are vague or unachievable can quickly become frustrating, which leads to disengagement with work as attempts to meet goals become seemingly futile in the eyes of workers.

From time to time, it might be necessary to sit down with upper management team members and review the performance goals being set for employees. During these meetings, examine:

  • Success rate for meeting goals across the company.

  • Clarity and objectivity of goals.

  • Whether or not employees have the tools they need to meet goals.

  • Employee perception of how meeting goals affects the company.

While there are many more metrics you might want to review with management, these ones are important to your performance goal planning specifically. The rate of success for employees to meet goals helps you determine whether or not there is a significant problem with your goals in the first place.

If goals aren’t being met consistently across the majority of the organisation, a reevaluation of goals may be necessary. Reworking goals so that they are based on hard performance figures can do a lot to improve results, as such goals are clearer and employees will be better prepared to try and meet them. Goals not based on performance metrics such as “improve communication with team leaders,” while certainly a good idea, are hard for individual employees to act on and demonstrate, or relate to business goals.

After re-examining employee goals, how are employees equipped to meet these goals? When employees lack the training, tools, and support needed to meet goals, they may feel that they were set up to fail. Ensuring that employees have the training and the tools necessary to meet goals consistently helps them produce value for your organisation and keeps them motivated and engaged.

Learn More Solutions from Simon Shirley Advisors

The potential obstacles to gaining complete employee buy-in to your company’s goals are legion, and there are many possible solutions which might work in one situation, but not for another. To get more solutions to common challenges in driving employee engagement so that you can retain your top talents and make them more productive, contact Simon Shirley Advisors today.

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