As we arrive on the other side of the Great Resignation bubble, we find the next challenge organizations are facing is employee engagement. Engagement is more than the number of clicks within the newsletter; the most important driver is usually missing from the pulse and engagement surveys. What is this critical missing piece?
Employee alignment. Think Mission, Vision & Values.
One of the big lessons from the Great Resignation is that employees are confident that they can and will find work that aligns with their personal values. And those values changed a lot during the pandemic. People began to reprioritize so family time and volunteerism increased, and workers now place a higher value on their personal and professional development. Others decided to focus on work they are passionate about within organizations that are mission-driven.
Why does employee alignment matter, and how does it impact engagement?
Whether your team is filled with new faces or your very loyal staff has stayed in place, you will benefit from learning more about what drives them. Understanding the degree to which those drivers align with your business's Mission, Vision & Values will help you increase job satisfaction and recruit the right people.
If, for example, your organization has considered a rebrand or leadership change, those changes impact your workers. If they aren't well informed and expertly guided through this change, they become critical of the change and potentially feel misaligned with the business overall. Where this impacts engagement is a direct correlation to productivity, innovation, professional development, and process improvement. In other words, if your team is ill-informed, misinformed, or struggling to understand how their work impacts the bottom line, they will disengage, and their productivity will drop. Operationally speaking, this is the beginning of a very serious decline that costs a lot of money and reputational capital.
How do organizations learn about employee alignment? Won't employee engagement surveys paint the full picture?
Engagement surveys are a great tool to touch base, but let's be honest, they have limited functionality. The annual engagement survey, or even the bi-annual pulse survey, has a limited scope. To truly understand what drives your staff, you need to get into the hearts and minds of your people. This requires relationship development, interviews, and conversations. Suppose your management layer isn't meeting on a regular basis with each individual within their team. In that case, they are missing critical information indicating alignment and willingness to engage with the organization overall. To create the feedback loop that is 'engagement,' people need to be actively engaged, i.e., they need to be listened to, not just talked at.
The collective outcome of relationship development and 1x1 conversations held between management and team members is invaluable. When it comes to learning about alignment, there is no better tool. If individuals aren't aligned, there is ample opportunity to course correct, educate, mentor, reassign, or include the staff member's feedback. Conversations and bridge-building are worth their weight in gold when viewed from the right lens.
Other than regular direct report meetings, are there other ways to learn about true personal alignment with the Mission, Vision & Values of the organization?
There are many activities and tools to use; however, we like to begin by deploying the Helix Culture Type Assessment. Rather than presenting findings about a specific individual, this tool is designed to show findings about teams and teamwork opportunities or challenges.
When we use this tool, we follow it up with 1x1 interviews to learn not only about the composition of the team(s) but also to find out what internal communications messaging is missing and which distribution channels are most effective. When we have that information, we understand how best to craft and deliver internal communications so they meet the staff where they are. This has the benefit of communicating with teams in the way they prefer to receive information and increases engagement.
Remember, high employee engagement indicates you have a well-informed and aligned team.
What can organizations do to increase alignment among the staff?
- Improve your internal communications by reviewing your Messaging Campaign Model, maintaining a well-curated and up-to-date intranet, and effective distribution channels.
- Create opportunities for conversation where management/leadership asks important questions about personal preferences, interests, ideas, and professional/personal development.
- Learn from your teams. Encourage them to suggest process and workflow improvement so that you can collaborate in a continual improvement program.
- If your organization is large and distributed, make sure that you don't confuse "culture" with "community." For every geographic hub, there will be a culture, and much like a neighborhood; it takes several cultures to create a larger community. Organizations with a distributed footprint are that neighborhood, so remember, culture is not a 'one-size-fits-all.'
- When recruiting, lean into your Mission, Vision & Values so candidates can self-select. If you promote what is important to your organization, you will attract candidates with similar values to work with you.
How can we get employee engagement right with our limited time and bandwidth? Leadership, HR, and Operations are already stretched too thin.
Do not be overwhelmed. Experts in the internal communications field, including L-12 Services, are here to help. With a specific eye toward workflow, process improvement, and culture, we can do the deep-dive assessment and perform the implementation activities needed to create clarity from chaos and bring your high-caliber team back together.
For more details about how we can help your organization retain and attract the right talent, please visit our Services page.