Employee Engagement HR Strategy

Your 9-step guide to developing an employee engagement strategy plan

employee engagement strategy plan

Tailoring an employee engagement strategy plan in the midst of a year that has seemingly been screen written by Stephen King and directed by Quintin Tarantino can feel like closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. 

Fortunately, this is not the case...

Far from it, in fact. The companies that will emerge from the COVID-19 crisis to fight another day are those who know what’s what when it comes to employee engagement. 

There are plenty of eye-opening statistics to back up that statement. Here are a few numbers to whet your appetite: 


  • Retaining your top employees is vital if you want to keep your company on an even keel during a crisis, and in a recent poll, 63.3% of companies said retaining employees is harder than finding and hiring them in the first place. Employees working at the Best Places to Work in Africa stay because their companies offer exciting career prospects, provide best-in-class learning, development programs and tools, as well as attractive employee conditions.
  • 84% of employees who work for the much-lauded Fortune Best 100 Companies to Work For actively looking forward to going to work each day.
  • It also has a direct impact on rand-and-cent profits! Overall, companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable. 
  • A major longitudinal study that was conducted over the course of 11 years also showed that companies with a culture underpinned by strong employee engagement saw their revenue increase by 4 times more than companies that don't have a thriving culture. Here’s another study on the subject to look into if you’re feeling particular studious **polishes monocle, adjusts cravat**. 

Suffice it to say, there is no getting around the fact that employee engagement is no longer a cute little addition to your management style - it needs to be central to the way you approach everything from hiring and onboarding, to staff development, business planning and more. 

READ MORE: Where we’ve been and where we are: the evolution of employee engagement

Here are nine steps to developing an employee engagement strategy plan that will help your team to weather the storm that is 2020:


1. Understand that you need a holistic approach 

Employee engagement has three distinct facets, namely physical (energy to perform tasks), emotional (strong emotive involvement and a sense of purpose), and cognitive (the ability to become fully engrossed in daily tasks and processes). 

All these boxes need to be ticked for your employees to be personally invested in the work they do and maintain a strong psychological connection with managers, mentors and peers.

Employee recognition is the key and we have a full-proof guide to help you get it off the ground today. Click here to grab the PDF version


2. Gather data to use as a starting point

Survey your employees to gather data on employee engagement areas you need to address. The idea is to get a feel for company-wide initiatives to employ over a longer period of time, as well as smaller, quick wins that will give your team some momentum to get the ball rolling. Once you know what your employees need, it will become easier to plot out a plan to get where you need to go. 


3. Start smaller than you want to

Rolling out an employee engagement initiative is an exciting thing to do.

As such, many HR managers and team leaders make the mistake of going in with all guns blazing. However, if you start smaller and take the time to learn from your mistakes, you are far more likely to enjoy success in the long run.

Our advice is to target a limited number of lower-performing units on which to focus. Work with business leaders to draw up an action plan for each unit to address priority issues and involve employees in finding solutions (anonymously if possible). 

We wrote an in-depth guide with an entire chapter dedicated to choosing the right your program for your business. You can download the PDF version here


4. Get your A-team on board

If you want your plan to work, you need your team leaders and managers on board. Gather everyone around and be sure that you have buy-in from your key roleplayers before you proceed. If anyone has any misgivings, it’s best to address them before you start rolling out your plan and find a way to get all the heavy-hitters on the same page from the word go. 


5. Set clear objectives

‘We want our employees to be more engaged’ is not a clear objective.

You need to get really specific so you can measure your progress.

Here’s an example of a clear objective: "reducing absenteeism and addressing late arrivals." 

Chapter 4 of our eGuide provides greater insights into setting objectives that are aligned to your business and it's growth goals. You can download the guide here

When you start boiling down operational issues to its essence in this way, you can start to untangle the web of cause and effect, e.g. by experimenting with flexi-time or remote working.  


6. Launch with strong communication 

Tell your employees what you’re up to. Explain what you wish to achieve and how it will benefit the business. Focus on the individual benefits they are bound to enjoy as well. In larger businesses, these roll-out processes may need to be tailored to each department individually. 


7. Establish milestones and checkpoints

Treat employee engagement like any other operation project within your business by putting checks and balances in place. Establish timelines and regular check-ins to keep your team focused on schedule. When employees feel attuned to the decision-making process they are far more likely to come to the party. Play open cards about your plans, discuss areas for improvement and explain your course of action in detail. 


8. Measure and keep measuring

Use regular surveys (in person or on paper) to measure the effectiveness of your plan. Quarterly surveys are the norm, but quick pulse surveys can also do wonders to keep you abreast of any niggling pain points or wins you may not have noticed on the surface of things. Poll your people regularly and use this feedback to hone your approach.

READ MORE: Why pulse surveys are all the rage right now


9. Don’t be precious about your plan

The way to shiny, happy employee engagement is paved with good intentions. Be aware that not everything you try will work and don’t be afraid to change course when your regular check-ins and measurements show that your initial plan is not effective. Stay nimble, stay loose, communicate with your team and keep working towards solutions that work for everyone involved. 

You can build a better workplace and it starts with employee recognition. Your 10-step guide to boosting employee morale is a click away 👇

employee recognition