How to improve your employee engagement scores

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Disengagement is distrust. So, if your scores need some improvement, this is always where we start.

Distrust is one of the five root causes of disengagement in any organisation. The other four are; line manager skills, employee experience and lifecycle misalignment, lack of strategic narrative, and inconsistent communication.

To really improve those numbers, you need to get to the root cause of the issues. Reviewing employee engagement survey data is often part of the diagnosis phase of The Field Model™ and holding focus groups or 1:1 interviews is often the next step to find out a bit more about what’s behind those numbers.

We can spend so much time focussed on the number and trying to move it, that we don’t delve into the core things that are likely to be causing it. Some of the reasons are a little uncomfortable so to help, here are a few actions you can take to overcome the five issues causing the low results:

1. How to rebuild trust

There are four steps to take to rebuild trust inside the organisation. Importantly, both parties have to want to. You can read more in our blog post about rebuilding trust or you can listen to our podcast episode about it.

The four steps are: making sure you’re doing what you say you’re going to do, be accountable for decisions, be genuine about what you can and can’t do, trust yourself before you can trust others.

2. Improve line manager communication skills

Line managers are often promoted because they are excellent at the tasks or the work, but they don’t necessarily have the communication skills required to lead. They need to be given space and time to develop skills to help them understand some of the fundamentals of being human. Communication strikes at the core of human relationships and when you’re leading others you need to know some of these things to improve relationships.

3. Align the employee experience with the organisation

We know that for every six employees you have, one is actively working against you. This is often linked to alignment between expectations and reality. This requires work around the brand promise, the transactional contracts, and the employee’s psychological contract based on communication and relationships.

Alignment needs to flow through the employee lifecycle stages which typically include:  Attraction, recruitment, onboarding, development, retention, and separation. At each stage, for each individual, you need to focus on the elements that cover the relationships, the tools and processes internally, and the environment (physical and virtual).

You can read more about the stages of the employee life cycle here.

4. Create a clear strategic narrative

Having a clear narrative has been well documented as a link to employee engagement. This is because it links to meaningful work which we know is a core driver for motivation. Understanding why the organisation is doing what it’s doing and how it’s going to deliver it helps us all know why we are working on certain projects and what the outcome is from doing so. 

5. Get consistent with your internal communication

Inconsistent communication makes people feel unsafe. The reason it has that impact is because the inconsistency leads to people having difficulty in predicting what is coming next or happening in the future. It’s that inability to predict that makes us feel unsafe.

Consistent communication is about messaging, timing, the channel, and bringing them all together. The messaging needs to be consistent. If it keeps changing, people will be confused. If it needs to change, explain why. The timing should be predictable. If there is a newsletter that is published on a Thursday at 10 a.m., make sure it is always on time. Don’t muddle your channels. If someone is used to reading something but the next week it comes in a meeting format, people don’t know where to go for what.

I’d encourage anyone to spend the time listening to employees to explore more about what the numbers really mean in your survey.

If you’re looking at how to improve your employee engagement score, these are the four areas to look at: trust, line manager communication skills, your strategic narrative, and inconsistent communication.

And of course, if you’d like some help, just drop us an email at info@redefiningcomms.com

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Join our community

Subscribe to join our community and we’ll be in touch with helpful advice and updates about how we can take your organisation from chaos to calm. Our community gets invited to a quarterly 90-minute Ask Me Anything online session with Jenni Field, as well as early access to events, discounts and research.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.