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How to Embed Engagement into Your Change Process

Factors of employee engagement and how to employ them

In 2015, McKinsey & Company published a report based upon five years of studying organizational transformations. Its conclusions included that:

  • Only 26% of transformational change initiatives achieve their goals
  • Where organizations took an action-oriented approach to change, their change project was three times more likely to be successful
  • An employee engagement strategy was a key attribute to this vastly improved success rate

In this article, we’ll explore the factors of employee engagement required to motivate your employees to fully engage in your change project.

Why does employee engagement improve outcomes of change?

To understand why employee engagement is key to change management success, it’s necessary to understand how engagement changes employees. Simply put, engaging employees is how an organization translates individual potential into performance. It is about ‘buy-in’ into the organization’s values, beliefs, and vision.

Engaged employees are more likely to work harder and more creatively. They are more likely to collaborate with others, share ideas and concerns and find solutions as they work toward a collective goal; all the attributes that support successful change.

What factors of employee engagement support buy-in to change?

Many studies have been conducted into both employee engagement and change management. It has been found that effective communication, teamwork, information flow, trust, and creative problem-solving are all common themes indicative of greater success in engagement and change. These six strategies will serve to increase employee engagement and promote buy-in to change.

1.     Commit to positive employee experience

Provide opportunities and support to help employees enjoy their work and develop their careers toward their chosen goals.

2.     Don’t punish failure, encourage calculated risk-taking

Failure is a step nearer success. Instead of creating a culture of risk aversion, encourage people to be innovative with measured risk-taking. Ensure that failures are used as opportunities to learn.

3.     Communicate openly and honestly

Employ feedback as a constructive two-way tool, using it to build an environment of open, honest communication that builds trust. Act on this feedback, and show that views, opinions and experience are all valued.

4.     Believe in the organization’s values, beliefs and vision

Speak positively about the organization’s values, beliefs and vision, and act in accordance with them. Help to create a sense of belonging by showing how the organization’s values match those of employees, and how the vision will help to advance people professionally.

5.     Recognize individual and team contributions

Value each member of staff, and ensure that you discuss with them how their individual contributions enhance the contribution of the team and help build success. Encourage cross-functional collaborations to help people identify their own value to the wider effort.

6.     Ensure that success is a shared experience

When successes are achieved, celebrate them as team successes. Ensure that each milestone achieved is recognized as a step nearer to the collective goal.

When should you employ engagement strategies in the change process?

Improving employee engagement is not an easy task. It requires a 24/7 effort that encompasses attention to individual employees and teams. Introducing the factors of employee engagement into management thinking, and creating an engagement culture, is a strategy that must be adopted throughout the organization.

The time to employ engagement strategies is now. Engagement doesn’t happen overnight, and it cannot be introduced and then forgotten. Creating a culture of employee engagement requires a long-term, constant and consistent approach from senior leaders to the shop floor. If you wait to engage people in change until you want to make change, it will be too late.

Contact Forward Focus today to discover how an Emotional Intelligence course will develop and embed effective personal skills in the workplace, for leaders, managers and employees. These skills will aid the employee engagement, breaking down barriers to communication and collaboration to create an environment ready to accept change.

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