- January 1, 2015
- Posted by: Hillary Feder
- Category: Employee Engagement
Transforming Change into Employee Engagement
“Change” can be a scary word that makes employees quiver with doubt, insecurity, and questions about their roles and responsibilities as well as the future of their company. I view change as an action taken in response to internal and/or external variations in the business landscape. For instance, changes can be made to:
- Improve results of a key asset, such as people (performance)
- Make work easier, streamline workflow with new business tools (operations)
- Enhance overall business performance (financial)
When organizational leaders explain the rationale for change, employees are able to frame it appropriately and accept it.
In my book, these events are real opportunities to strengthen the fabric of the organization—employee engagement. How so? It goes without saying that every new product, enhanced work environment, staff expansion, etc. invariably involves additional employee commitment in discretionary time and work.
When employees are asked to “go above and beyond” their normal routines for an extended period of time, there’s a natural opportunity to express gratitude for and recognition of their sacrifices and extra efforts. The best way to explain is by sharing an example of a client that took advantage of the opportunity to bolster employee morale, pride and engagement.
One of our clients added a new wing with an open work environment to their building. Due to the nature of its technical testing/clean room environment, this was no small feat. The laborious process of planning and collaborating to build this wing demanded many months of employees working especially long hours and enduring many disruptions before completing the move.
At the same time, the company launched a new logo and a new way of talking about the organization.
Anticipating the frustration and tension that can accompany these types of events and understanding that these feelings wouldn’t magically disappear, our client asked us to develop a plan designed to keep everyone informed, create buy-in and maintain morale. We responded with a comprehensive and carefully considered plan that integrated both digital and in-person communications (intranet, meetings, emails), and tangible recognition for extraordinary efforts)—all precision timed to generate intended results.
Timing is Critical
In fact, abundant employee accolades attested to the plan’s success. They freely expressed just how much they felt the company really cared about them. This kind of result doesn’t happen by accident, but rather through critical timing of each touch point. Instead of a barrage of one-sided meetings and emails, the plan invited two-way communication by allowing enough time for employees to marinate about decisions and information and share their thoughts.
Quenching Thirst for Recognition
To thank employees and bring a new brand to life, the company provided employees a toolkit filled with practical products that demonstrated quality over quantity.
Here are a few key elements of the plan:
- Lunch-and-Learn gatherings focused on discussing the new brand: the rationale behind it, how it differentiates the company, and the role of employees in bring it to life.
- An employee toolkit featured pride builders for the new brand that were practical for supporting employees in their new open work environment: Well-crafted products made employees feel special in recognition of the long hours they had been spending at work. For example, the vacuum insulated hydration bottle that featured the employee’s name supported a key touch point—personal employee wellness. The product was so adept at keeping cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot far longer than other bottles that an informal contest began to ripple through the organization: How hot is your coffee after six hours? How cold is your water after eight hours?
- A gift for employee spouses, partners, and families was mailed to each home. Expressing gratitude for supporting their employee during an exceptionally challenging time, the message acknowledged that work demands can place extra pressure on home life. Needless to say, this gesture made a huge impression on recipients as well as their significant others.
Remembering that employees are people first is key to a people-centric organization build on the tenants of engagement. All it takes is a little empathy and planning to help employees through more demanding times of transition. A small investment can make a huge stride in efforts made by employees to make your company successful.
Do you want to share how your organization introduces change to your team? I would love to hear about it. Call or drop me a note.
If you’re looking to be intentional about shaping the culture in your workplace, we have creative ideas. Let us help you implement down-to-earth strategies that are aligned with your company objectives, brand, message and voice. Call us.
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