One of the biggest competitive advantages you can have is an engaged workforce.
Why? Because it’s ridiculously rare.
Fully engaged employees give you their best work. They have a hunger to improve and solve problems, and your entire organization reaps the benefits of their full attention.
But according to a Gallup report, only 36% of employees are actually engaged at work.
And while that number is surprisingly close to the highest it’s ever been, that’s barely over a third of all employees.
This means a huge majority of your employees, statistically, are likely to be disengaged. And disengaged employees tend to have low performance, low loyalty, and a toxic effect on your culture.
How are you supposed to work against these types of odds?
By perfecting the art of creating employee engagement action plans. When done right, these action plans can help you reengage your staff and keep them invested.
And you can reap the benefits for years to come–seeing engagement numbers 2x or even 3x better than average.
This leads to higher productivity, lower turnover, and a higher bottom line.
In this article, we’ll show you how to make a foolproof action plan to get all these amazing benefits.
What Is an Employee Engagement Action Plan?
An employee engagement action plan is a strategic document that lays out the steps you plan to take to improve the level of engagement and satisfaction among your employees.
It’s essentially a roadmap for creating a positive and fulfilling work environment.
Companies looking to create one will first gather information from their employees about what can be improved and what is working well within the organization–think of things like the overall culture, compensation, benefits plans, etc.
This information is then used to develop a strategy and course of action for making employees feel desired, respected, and taken care of.
How to Create an Employee Engagement Action Plan in 7 Steps
1. Determine your desired outcome.
As with any strategic plan, the first step is determining what you want and why.
You need to be specific–and ultimately pick a single goal you have in mind.
This is where things fall apart for most companies. They try to knock out all of their goals with a single plan. In trying to accomplish everything, they don’t accomplish anything.
Resist this temptation.
It’s possible to see several improvements in different areas from an employee action plan but stick to a single goal.
This is where it’s vital to define what “employee engagement” actually means to you as it relates to where your organization is right now. It likely will be defined by where you see the biggest gaps in your organization.
For instance, “engagement” might actually mean one of many different things:
- Attention to detail
- Commitment to the mission
- General happiness
Define what the ONE thing is for your organization right now. Be as specific as possible.
Starting with a single desired outcome sets the rest of your work up for success.
2. Actually talk to your employees (DON’T SKIP THIS).
At this point, most leadership teams run straight into sending out employee surveys.
But that can be a deadly mistake.
Unless you and your managers are actually talking to employees on the front lines, you’re going to have absolutely no idea what kind of questions to ask in a survey.
Even worse, your survey may come across the wrong way if employees think you don’t understand what their day-to-day is like–their problems, successes, and desires.
That’s why it’s critical to “walk the floor”.
This means actually interacting with your employees on a regular basis to develop relationships with them and get direct feedback.
The specifics of what this looks like will vary, but the principle remains the same regardless of your circumstances.
Make an effort to talk to your employees and hear directly from them about things they deal with in their day-to-day.
Try to hear from employees in every department and at every level in your organization to see if there are any trends that impact everyone in your company.
You don’t necessarily have to talk to everyone–just make sure you get a proper sample size of your organization.
This step will provide some of the best insight into employee engagement you’ll ever get.
3. Send out an employee engagement & satisfaction survey.
Your employee satisfaction survey has the power to single-handedly determine if your efforts will be a success or failure.
Because the quality of your questions directly impacts the quality of your feedback. And you’ll build your entire plan on the data you receive in this step.
This is a big deal. That’s why you need to take your time to think through what questions you can ask to get to the root of what’s causing engagement issues.
And you can brainstorm great questions by keeping these surveying principles in mind:
1. Every question should be related to your goal.
All questions should be judged based on your ultimate goal from Step 1. You only have so many questions you can ask, so each one needs to provide insight into the issue you’re exploring.
For example, if your main goal is to improve employee productivity, you should only ask questions that dig deeper into how motivated the employees are, how they feel about procedures, whether they’re in too many meetings, etc.
This could include questions about whether they’re satisfied with their compensation because that could directly influence their productivity.
But such questions might not be necessary if your main concern is to improve your team’s commitment to your organization’s mission.
There isn’t a right answer here–it’s up to you and how much you know about your organization.
2. Use different question styles.
Incorporate a mix of yes and no, rating scale, and open response questions to get a wide range of feedback. These different types of questions will provide more context to your employees’ answers.
3. Keep your survey as short as possible.
The longer your survey is, the fewer responses you’ll get. Condense your survey to only the most critical questions. Try to make it only 5-10 minutes to complete.
4. Make your questions as clear and concise as possible.
Keep your questions clear, direct, and short. This makes them more effective. You also only have so much time and there are almost always ways to ask questions with fewer words.
5. Always give your employees a heads-up.
Finally, always make sure your employees know beforehand that they need to fill out a questionnaire. It’s your chance to explain why it’s important, give them your expectations, and tell them it will only take about 5-10 minutes. This will increase your response rates.
4. Determine the biggest 3-5 trends.
As you analyze your survey results, try to identify a few of the most common patterns. You’re looking for a few specific trends here because you won’t be able to fix every single problem for each employee.
You can spot these big-picture patterns by getting summary statistics for your quantitative and qualitative questions.
For example, try to find stats for your quantitative questions like:
- The % of employees who actually took the survey
- The % of employees who started the survey but didn’t finish
- Average engagement scores
- Average scores on the effectiveness of meetings
- Average scores on the effectiveness of current employee benefits and general compensation
These will be easy to produce and will help you avoid wrangling 100s of singular data points.
For qualitative questions, there are tons of great natural language processing tools that can visualize open-response data.
The idea behind them is to highlight the main words and phrases used. This helps you spot any trends in the reasons people are or aren’t engaged in their roles.
Getting summary data from your employee engagement survey is critical to spotting the main trends that you’ll begin to address in the following two steps.
5. Brainstorm solutions
Take the few big-picture trends you uncovered from your analysis and begin brainstorming solutions based on your employee feedback.
Go trend by trend and treat this as a true brainstorming exercise.
Don’t think of an idea’s feasibility or measurability yet.
The only true guideline at this stage is keeping your ideas centered on addressing the main patterns and trends you uncovered.
Get as many ideas down as possible, then move into formulating your actual initiatives.
6. Determine your initiatives (and get feedback).
After brainstorming solutions, move into formulating a few specific initiatives you want to pursue.
This is where you scrutinize each idea you brainstormed to find the ones that actually could work.
Parallel thinking structures like the 6 Thinking Hats can work wonders here.
Start walking through how each remaining idea would be implemented, its likely impact, and how it would be measured. Setting OKRs for each initiative can be a great exercise because it forces you to define a clear objective with measurable results.
If you aren’t able to set OKRs for certain initiatives you’re considering, that can be an easy way to weed out ideas.
Only a few ideas should remain at the end of this process.
Once you have a few key initiatives you want to focus on–with clear goals and objectives–take them to your team.
Because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who this entire action plan will be designed for. If they don’t think it will help employee engagement, it probably won’t.
Getting their feedback on the plan before it goes live helps you avoid catastrophe and also promotes buy-in from employees because they feel like they get a say in what happens.
7. Test & iterate.
Improving employee engagement is an ongoing process. You never “arrive” at a 100% engagement rate (and even if you somehow did you wouldn’t stay there by resting on your laurels).
Your company is constantly changing. The industry you’re in will constantly change. The way you do work will constantly change.
And with this change comes new employee engagement challenges to overcome.
That’s why it’s critical to approach this with a testing and ongoing improvement mindset.
Employee Engagement Action Plan Examples
The specific initiatives you should pursue depend completely on the feedback you get during the research process and the dynamics of your company, but here are a few employee engagement action plan examples you can use for inspiration.
1. Employee perks program.
Implement an employee perks program, like Abenity, which offers discounts, special offers, and other perks to employees for a wide range of products and services. Perks programs help employees save money on everyday expenses, which can improve their financial well-being and reduce stress. This can include discounts on things like travel, shopping, entertainment, and wellness services.
2. Recognition program.
Create a recognition program that acknowledges and rewards employees for their achievements and contributions to the company. This can include awards, bonuses, and other incentives.
3. Career development opportunities.
Offer career development opportunities to employees to help them grow their skills and advance their careers within the company. This can include training programs, mentorship opportunities, and job shadowing.
4. Employee feedback mechanisms.
Establish regular mechanisms for employees to provide feedback on their work experiences, such as focus groups or employee surveys. Use this feedback to make improvements to company policies and practices.
5. Work-life balance initiatives.
Implement initiatives that promote work-life balance, such as flexible work hours, telecommuting options, and wellness programs.
6. Employee empowerment.
Empower employees by giving them more decision-making authority and autonomy in their work. This can include giving them greater responsibility for projects, encouraging them to take on leadership roles, and involving them in decision-making processes.
7. Communication and transparency.
Increase communication and transparency within the organization by regularly communicating with employees about company policies, goals, and strategies (everything from operations to sales strategies depending on the department). This can include regular updates through company newsletters, town hall meetings, or one-on-one meetings with managers.
8. Team-building activities.
Organize team-building activities to foster stronger relationships and promote collaboration among employees. This can include social events, team-building exercises, and community service projects.
9. Incentives for employee referrals.
Offer incentives to employees who refer qualified candidates for job openings within the company. This can help to attract top talent and create a more engaged workforce.
Employee Engagement Is Key to Your Success
Engaged employees work harder, are more loyal, and help you move your organization forward.
That’s why creating an employee engagement plan based on feedback and insights from your team can transform your company.
When done well, it can completely transform your culture–and your profits will follow.
Interested in seeing how implementing an employee perks program can be a cheat code for quickly and drastically improving employee engagement?
Click here to book a quick call with one of our perks experts who can show you exactly how Abenity can improve your employee engagement and play a huge role in your action plan.