Employee Engagement - Capturing the blend

13 September 2016

JLT Group announcement 14 Nov 2016

Employee engagement is a workplace approach resulting in the right conditions for all members of an organisation to give of their best each day, committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, with an enhanced sense of their own well-being according to Engage for Success.

Once upon a time a poster in a staff room would have notified employees of changes and upcoming news they needed to be aware of. If a change was deemed important it would be put in a letter and posted to the employee’s home address.

This approach was fine in the days when the blue collar industries were the biggest UK employers and staff would be based in a single location arriving at work at a set time on a set day. At this point they might have a glance at the staff noticeboard and see some news relating to the company’s annual Christmas Party or the next charity fun run.

In the post-internet revolution things have moved on. Not only has the demographic changed but so have working patterns. Employees are no longer chained to their work site 9 – 5, instead they have the freedom to work remotely from any location..

Just like any revolution, it is driven by the people and the people in charge need to move with the times.

We all know that strong employee engagement is the key to a successful employee benefit strategy. ’. If you ask 100 employee benefit professionals to name the best way to engage with staff you will probably receive 100 different answers. There are endless articles on the internet about the benefits of companies simply throwing money at staff engagement technology. While technology is undoubtedly important, before any money is spent it is key to understand the employee demographic and go with an approach which is fit for purpose.

Hold fire, do your research

Look at the statistics, look at the demographics and look at the locations and age groups of employees. How are they currently notified of changes to their pension or benefits? How do they receive their payslips? Are these electronic or physical? How do they find out about staff training and events?

These are some examples of questions to ask before implementing an employee engagement strategy. Perhaps the answer is simple; if you are sending out paper payslips to employees then a simple method of communication could be a simple insert. If employees are logging onto an intranet regularly then perhaps updates online could be the best way. Perhaps, a mixture of the two.

The answer could be that we don’t know the answer and asking employees directly could be the best way to get a steer. Employee pulse surveys are often the best measure of willingness to engage. Nobody knows your employees better than they know themselves. Just ask the question. Speak to your benefits consultant to find out the best ways of measuring the temperature.

Total Reward Statement

Total Reward Statement (TRS) is seen as a one-stop solution for engaging with employees about employee benefits that are not always visible to them day-to-day.

Whilst TRS has its place in the communications suite it needs to be used in conjunction with other methods and timing is everything. If a TRS is updated only once a year then where is the motivation to for an employee to engage multiple times? There needs to be other reasons. Investigate your reward and recognition strategy for new ways to engage. The employee, much like any other customer, is motivated by receiving a reward for engaging. One employee will be more likely to look at their TRS if it is linked to a reward and recognition platform, another might be more likely to do so if it is linked with information regarding their pension.

In the end it all comes down to demographics and difference. It is a question of ‘blending’ different strategies rather than just promoting one method of engagement. The employer just needs to find the best recipe.

Employee engagement, just like benefit selections, no longer has to be a once a year event and there can be many reasons for an employee to engage with the employer. If employees are located across multiple locations then perhaps use social enterprise networks and collaboration tools to monitor the mood.
The internet has changed the world and shown the effectiveness of peer to peer conversations. Take a look outside the box and see the way political parties engage with the electorate online in order to drive up their support.

Summary

In this blog we have thrown around many different ideas and suggestions about different engagement strategies. We have tried to be innovative and not simply write another article about the benefits of engagement because there is simply not one answer.

You can’t go to war without a strategy and you can’t develop a strategy without doing your homework. Your benefits consultant is there to help in all aspects of engagement so make the most of their knowledge and expertise. The answer to good employee engagement might not be in a single solution but in the right blend of answers.

Next Steps

To find out more about how to improve employee engagement please speak to your usual benefits consultant or Ashley Finn.