Understanding Your Employees And Establishing Clear Goals And Objectives

Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 9 June 2015

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This is the second submission in an 11-week series on how to launch an employee engagement program. Last week I spoke about finding and securing a budget. In this post I will discuss due diligence and the necessary steps for discovering and establishing clear goals and objectives.

The first step is getting your hands on all relevant research that may have been conducted internally among staff. This research could take many forms; including formal employee engagement studies, employee satisfaction studies, exit interviews, employee benchmarking, quantitative measurement surveys, one-on-one interviews, and/or internal focus groups.

If you don’t have any formal quantitative data, consider undertaking some form of benchmark engagement research such as our own employee engagement tool, ChangeFX. It is fast, inexpensive, easy to leverage, and prescriptive.

If money is tight, at the very least conduct some informal qualitative research through focus groups or in-depth interviews. Prepare a discussion guide that covers topics such as understanding how the company works, knowing and understanding the mission/vision/values of the company, communications frequency and effectiveness, recognition/rewards, and understanding how everyone’s role contributes to the company’s overall success. Ask them if they would recommend the company as a good place to work to friends, and if they see themselves working here in the long term.

When the data/findings are retrieved in either quantitative form or qualitative form, it should be analyzed by demographic and ethnographic dimensions. Examine and analyze the gaps, differences, and common areas to better understand the most appropriate types of messages and tactics. Research will provide insights on employee satisfaction, and whether they have a clear line of sight to the correlation between their work and the company’s strategic goals. Do they view their roles as just a job, or as a meaningful and valuable experience? Are they fans and advocates of the company, or are they saboteurs? Do they understand how their role and engagements impact the customer experience?

With the results and findings in hand, meet with department heads to figure out why gaps exist and brainstorm ideas about what can be done to raise authentic engagement. Report the findings broadly to the staff and share what prescriptions are being planned to address gaps and obstacles. Select the priorities that will have the greatest and broadest impact against the entire employee population. Think about how the findings will be communicated and cascaded from headquarters, to regions, to local facilities, outlets, and offices. Make it simple to understand and always try to address “What’s in it for me” questions honestly.

In the next installment, I will address identifying a clear employee engagement strategy and goals. If you would like to discuss ways to gather research, conduct due diligence and discovery or ChangeFX, please send me a note.