How HR can help get Employee Engagement back on track
What happens when you either join a company or a department where the employees are not engaged and there is not a great culture in place? As the Human Resources leader, there are steps you can take that will reestablish trust in the company and build engagement.
Before you even take the first step, you need to establish a partnership with the business leader or CEO to ensure that they will support you in your actions, and ensure that what you are doing supports the business goals of the company or department. Once you are in alignment, here are five steps you can take to build or rebuild the culture.
1. Cover the Basics. In a small to medium company, this might mean more tactical issues like payroll and benefits. Get them paid on time and correctly. Make sure they know how to use their benefits and can access them. Address concerns about safety or environment, when possible. Think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and make sure you are taking care of the most basic needs of your team.
In a bigger organization, the basics might mean making sure people have the resources needed to do their job, or making sure the work environment is safe and free from harassment. Either way, you want to be seen as someone who makes sure people have what they need to be successful.
2. Ask and Listen. Find time to have a one-on-one with every person on the team. Ask them the following question- ” I’m new here. What’s the most important thing you think I should know about our company or department?”. Then keep quiet and let them speak. Take notes so you do not forget. Review the feedback with the business leader of your group, and call out the top common issues that came up in your conversations.
Pick the low hanging fruit that you can respond to, and take care of that. If they need new trash cans, see if you can get those purchased and distributed. If the internet connection is slow, see if you can work with your IT person to get it faster.
Then, most importantly- tell people what you have done to address their needs and concerns. “You asked, we listened”.
Don’t be concerned if people do not trust you on the first round of conversations Trust will build, and people will become more open as times goes by.
3. Follow up. Nothing will erode the trust people have in you, at all levels of the company, if you do not have effective follow through and follow up. If you say you are going to do something, do it, and get back to the people you promised.
If you are struggling with time-management, rethink how you prioritize what you need to do. There are plenty of great books out there that can help you organize your time and allow you to improve your follow through.
4. Learn the business. It doesn’t matter if you are with a small company or a big company, the sooner you learn how the business operates and what the business goals are, the more effective you will be.
How does this drive a more engaged culture? One of the biggest ways you can drive is to get the right people in the right place. That is very difficult to assess if you don’t understand how the business operates and the strategies that are in place to achieve the business goals.
5. Surprise and Delight. It used to be that Human Resources was thought of the “party-planner”, and we do not want to go back to those days. But, the reality is that the HR Leader in a small company or department can become the heart and soul of your work group.
Develop a creative process for recognizing work anniversaries. Recognizing the longevity of your employees reinforces that they have value, and helps retention. Come up with a fun way to recognize little and big accomplishments. Arrange for fruit or candy deliveries. These may be small things on their own, but the little things add up.
Employees want to feel like they are part of something they can support and believe in. They have to feel there is a two way street between the company and them, and that they are not just a cog in the machine. HR can be the catalyst that makes that happen.