Treat Employee Engagement Like a Romance

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 10 March 2015

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Employee brand engagement with employees is a lot like a romance that takes place with your significant other. You can’t just go up to someone after the first date and say, “marry me”. It takes time and patience, understanding and listening. Commitment toward each other. Ultimately after a number of months or even years you pop the question and the response is “Yes!” And you are off on bliss for the rest of your life.

Employee engagement is no different. Our research shows that when leaders ask their employees to change their behavior without the explanation as to why it’s good for the company or why it is important for the individual and specifically explain what new behaviors they want them to embrace, the results are nearly disastrous and nothing changes. It doesn’t matter whether it is a new software implementation, launching a new brand, post-merger integration of two divisions or an acquisition of an entire company. Leaders must explain to employees why the company is making these moves, why it is important to every individual employee and what behaviors are necessary in order for the change to come to fruition. Leaders must be honest and transparent and devote significant time and energy to make this happen.

Employee engagement is not a deliverable; it must follow a sequential process that is nurtured over the years as part of the corporate strategy. The first step in this process is building awareness for why the initiative is important to the company through senior leadership communications. This is then followed by training/education and often gamification platforms that explain why this change is important to individual employees and what it means to them in their careers. This phase is then followed by steps to build commitment through peer-to-peer communication that encourages employees to change their behavior. The best communications at this stage take on a viral life of their own. Lastly, once change occurs employees should be recognized and rewarded for changing their behaviors in accordance with the company objectives.

Often instead of treating employee engagement as a process following this framework, leaders treat change as a deliverable without any romance or sequential order, which means it often fails. Leaders must remember that employees are emotional assets who seek to be valued, have a voice and want to feel appreciated for their contributions. Establishing an employee engagement sequential framework and process raises the caliber and longevity of employee engagement, which ultimately has an impact on productivity, return on investment and substantial shareholder value.

If you would like to see more information on our Inward Dialogue Marketing® sequential process please visit our website and contact us to receive a copy of our “Building the Case for Employee Brand Engagement” presentation.