Organisations often experience a rollercoaster effect when implementing organisational changes. During change programmes employees need to be motivated and engaged more than ever alongside the organisation continuing to focus on increased productivity and profit margins. It can be tough on employees to roll with the many changes that may be required to keep organisations current and meeting the demands of stakeholders. However, organisational research suggests that many employees resist change. So it is vital to understand what can be done to improve levels of employee engagement to get the ‘buy-in’ needed to make change a success.
Essentially, the first step in any change programme is to talk; this sounds like a cliché but it is of crucial importance. Communication needs to be at the forefront with management teams not only providing regular and informative updates on what is happening or going to happen but also listening to the views and ideas from their employees. It is not surprising therefore that analysis of the extensive Employee Feedback database shows that companies with higher levels of employee engagement usually display highly effective two way communication too.
Employee surveys can often provide a springboard for strengthening communications both vertically and horizontally. Initially, communication is often kick started when the survey needs to be rolled out. Depending upon the approach that is taken, focus group research may be used to gather views and ideas from various groups of employees to ensure that the survey is relevant to the organisation and taps into the areas of concern. During the employee survey communication is often continued to keep employees updated. However, communication should really be stepped up and sustained when the results are delivered and during the following period when the insights from the employee survey are turned into actions. The Employee Feedback Map, which pinpoints precisely where efforts would be most successful and where more needs to be done to create an engaged workforce is an example of an effective communication development tool which can be used to provide a basis for communicating with employees on the issues that are key to them.
Research on engagement from Roffey Park Institute suggests that it is the equitable relationship between employees and employers, where both trust and respect is exhibited, that is the key to developing and maintaining employee engagement. It is on this basis that the employee survey can really make a difference as when communicated properly this can help to promote the trust and respect needed to really obtain ‘buy in’ from employees required to build better organisations.