Employee Engagement Plan (How To + Free Template)
Employee engagement isn't some fairy dust, but it sure brings some magic and happiness to your organization.
So, are your employees engaged at work?
If you scratched your head and couldn't come up with a resounding "Yes!" it may be time to build or revise your employee engagement plan.
Engaging your employees is an important business strategy.
After all, engaged employees are highly invested in their jobs, care about the success of their teams, and happily contribute to a company's growth.
According to Gallup, engaged employees are more productive, focused on their goals, overcome obstacles, and perform with excellence. Yet, surprisingly, only 40% of organizations have an employee engagement program.
A lot of companies run employee engagement surveys. They collect results.
And that's it.
But identifying your employee's challenges is only the first step. You'll also need to create a strategy to address them.
Your engagement action plan should address the feedback you collected from your surveys and follow up with a timeline to convert the actionable information into positive change.
Read on for a thorough guide and downloadable template you can customize to fit your organization's needs.
💪 What is employee engagement?
Employee engagement measures the level of dedication and enthusiasm an employee has towards achieving company success.
A truly engaged employee doesn't just go through the motions of work and count down the time to receive their paychecks.
Instead, they care about their jobs and focus on making a meaningful contribution to the organization they work for, thanks to the outstanding employee engagement experiences the company provides in return.
The people make up an organization and determine the organization's quality and its future. This is why many corporate leaders have come to realize that engaging employees goes beyond talent acquisition and recruitment.
Today's employees want to work with companies that understand and implement policies throughout the entire employee cycle.
"Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.
Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability." Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox.
Anne's insights are a great reminder that while employees spend most of their time at work, it is essential to see them beyond their working hours.
They are humans first, before becoming employees.
Employees flourish when corporate leadership recognizes them as human and acknowledges all the influences in their lives. Not just what happens at work.
Lower employee engagement means:
- lower productivity
- reduced team spirit and performance
- increased workplace stress and burnout.
All of which can reduce a company's profit margin.
It's a downturn that stems from the inability to truly manage human capital, or more specifically, the inability to grasp employee engagement fully.
🎬 What is an employee engagement action plan?
A Zenefits research showed that 63.3% of companies found it easier to hire their employees than retain them.
While employee engagement is important, this statistic shows that achieving a high employee engagement rate is no easy feat.
This is where an employee engagement action plan enters the equation.
An employee engagement action plan comprehensively explains or outlines the strategies for keeping your employees fully engaged.
Remember, a survey alone doesnot create positive change.
An employee engagement plan identifies the major factors that influence employee engagement by uncovering employees' pain points and creating personalized initiatives to address them.
Depending on the employees' identified pain points, these initiatives can be quick and easy changes or long-term ones.
What should your engagement plan include?
Your employee engagement plan should provide an outline of the following:
- 📏 Method(s) for measuring employee engagement – whether you'll use tools such as employee engagement surveys or variables such as productivity, turnover, and absenteeism.
- 🥅 Specific goals for improving the metrics above.
- 💰 Your budget for implementing employee engagement activities.
- 📝 Clearly-defined actions for improving employee engagement.
Examples for goals and actions to include in your engagement action plan
- increasing employee autonomy;
- providing clear communication of company and team-wide goals;
- getting to know and spending time with your employees;
- trusting them to get their jobs done;
- developing clear career progression plans and mentorship opportunities;
- creating an inclusive environment that goes beyond basic DEI initiatives;
- providing a transparent work environment;
- creating a psychologically safe workplace for your employees to prosper;
- offering learning and development opportunities;
- fostering a sense of community and team building, etc.
❗️ Why should you create an employee engagement plan?
According to Gallup, simply measuring employees' satisfaction doesn't improve business outcomes.
Instead, approaching employee engagement as a business strategy yields better organic results.
1. Enhanced customer satisfaction
According to Gallup's State of the American Workforce Report 2017, engaged employees are more likely to consistently show up to work and commit to providing the best customer experience.
This same report also emphasized that engaged teams have:
- 10% higher customer ratings;
- 21% greater profitability;
- 17% higher productivity;
- 28% less shrinkage;
- 70% fewer safety incidents;
- 41% less absenteeism.
2. Improved employee experience
"Talent branding is the fulfillment of a promise of the employee experience. It is informed with every interaction by employees in the organization, from pre-employment vetting to post-employment separations. It is the dialogue of that experience, owned by every past, present, or potential employee, and visible everywhere." Jody Ordioni (The Talent Brand).
Employees are a business's first customers. Therefore, an organization needs to treat its employees well and make them feel valued, as would be done to customers.
When this doesn't happen, The Engagement Institute reports that disengaged employees cost organizations an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion every year in the United States. The report also noted that about 95% of workers claimed to know when they're becoming disengaged.
Therefore, now more than ever, organizations must provide and maintain a positive employee experience to increase employee retention rate and lower turnover, enhance employee motivation and happiness, and ultimately increase the company's revenue.
3. Improved employer brand ratings
86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings to decide where to apply for a job.
68% of Millennials, 54% of Gen-Xers, and 48% of Baby Boomers acknowledged visiting a potential employer's social media channels specifically to assess their employer brand.
These statistics show that positive employer branding can make you stand out from the sea of competitors.
It is why companies like HubSpot, Google, and Salesforce "do not pick talents, as talents pick them."
Creating a unique employee engagement plan is the first step toward building a strong employer brand and enjoying benefits such as attracting top talents, streamlining the hiring process, and reducing recruitment costs.
4. A rewards and recognition culture
Your employee engagement plan contributes to strengthening relationships with employees by publicly recognizing them for their contributions to the company's success.
An Achievers Solutions Inc. Engagement and Retention report showed that approximately 92% of employees claimed to repeat specific tasks in the future when they're recognized for it.
Recognition makes employees feel valued and motivates them to give their all.
➡️ Are you short of employee recognition ideas? Check out our 42 meaningful employee recognition ideas to boost engagement.
📝 Employee engagement action plan template
Keeping employees engaged means making them feel valued as a member of the company and as part of a community. The more your employees feel engaged, the more they will go the extra mile in their jobs.
➡️ Take the shortcut and build your own engagement action plan with our template.
🔍 Employee engagement action plan examples
We created 3 distinctive employee action plan examples addressing 3 engagement challenges.
- Employees do not feel they have opportunities to participate in decisions that affect their work.
- Employees do not understand how their individual contributions impact their department's success.
- Employees do not feel that recognition is fair or consistent.
✍️ How to write your engagement action plan
1. Identify your organization's employee value proposition (EVP)
Why should you identify your company's employer value proposition?
The war for talent is increasingly fierce, and today's candidates won't settle for less. Identifying your EVP helps sharpen your company's identity and culture, bolster your employer brand ratings, and improve your recruitment process.
Your EVP should strike the perfect balance between attractive and realistic to attract top talents.
Tip #1: While buzzwords might sound pleasing to your ears, today's candidates want simple and easy-to-understand words that clearly communicate what you want from them (via job ads) and what they stand to gain in return.
Your EVP should contain:
- What the competition is already offering.
- What your organization can offer.
- The experience a new hire should and will encounter on their first day of work.
Tip #2: Since engaged employees are known to feel closely connected to an organization's values, mission, vision, etc., it only makes sense to create an EVP that your employees can passionately explain even in their sleep.
2. Find out what works and what doesn't
"If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution."
- Steve Jobs
Constructing a house doesn't begin from the roof — you start by building the foundation at the bottom.
The same principle applies to writing your employee engagement plan: You use pulse surveys to ask employees about the company's weaknesses, strengths, and areas of improvement.
Armed with this feedback, analyze the data to determine what drives employee engagement (or lack thereof) and what can be done to boost employee engagement.
A good rule of thumb is to consider the following variables as they're known to influence employee engagement rates highly:
- Parental leave policy;
- Work flexibility;
- Learning and growth opportunities;
- Preboarding and onboarding experiences;
- Promotion formula(s);
- Communication methods and practices;
- Meaningful and challenging work;
- Employee enablement;
- Type and frequency of employee rewards and recognition;
- Positive culture and supportive work environment;
- Psychological safety at work.
- Focus on honest employee feedback rather than on the scores.
- Identify recurring themes or trends and coordinate with managers to discuss the findings with their teams.
- Remember that the goal of the employee engagement surveys is to help the company improve employee engagement and not make the organization feel or look good.
3. Decide on the changes you want to implement
Review the data and identify the areas of improvement.
Arrange the solutions according to the order of importance and identify two to three focus points.
Consider the following:
- What themes or trends from the survey have the biggest impact on employee engagement?
- What areas had the lowest scores?
- What areas can you quickly allocate existing resources to fix?
- What areas would you be able to improve with just a few changes?
4. Identify solutions
You've identified your employees' pain points and recognized areas of improvement.
Now is the time to breathe life into them. Alongside your team, discuss the feedback from the data and build focus groups for each of the themes identified.
Brainstorm ways to improve each focus area by creating a list of as many ideas as possible, and then prune it down to the ones your team prefers.
🎯 Employee engagement action items examples
- Are people unhappy with remote situations? → Launch a coffee roulette.
- Are your employees unhappy with career opportunities? → Set up a career pathway framework.
- Do people lack structure and or excitement? → Improve preboarding and onboarding process.
- Low motivation? → Check out these tips for improving employee motivation.
- Are employees tired of the rigid learning schedules? → Customize a one-size-fits-one L&D schedule that allows them to choose when and how to learn. Plus, ensure your employees can learn in the flow of work.
- Are employees dobtful that the last employee engagement survey led to positive results? Over-communicate the changes that have occurred from the last survey. Use during organizational meetings, newsletters, staff meetings, and on the organization’s knowledge base to share key results. And as a bonus tip, make sure thatyour engagement report is accessible to employees at all times.
📈 5 Best practices for your employee engagement plan
1. Communicate your employee engagement plan
The success of your employee engagement plan largely depends on how well all of your employees understand it.
This is your chance to make them feel heard.
Imagine the irony of an unclear plan alienating colleagues and ultimately even lowering engagement.
The following components should be part of your transparent communication:
- What were the survey results?
- What is the plan, and what does the organization hope to gain from it?
- How can it convey the organization's employer value proposition (EVP)? How does this fit into the bigger picture?
- What will be the metrics for success? Net promoter score (eNPS), customer satisfaction and engagement, employee retention rate, employee turnover rate, productivity?
2. Identify SMART goals
S.M.A.R.T. goals help concretize your goals and be more accountable in the long run.
Zig Ziglar, American author, salesman, and motivational speaker, once said, "A goal properly set is halfway reached."
And if your goals aren't SMART, well, they're superficial.
Think of goal setting as a compass that guides your company to achieve its goals and steers it in the right direction, should it (want to) veer off the course.
Keep in mind that the goals you set must be:
In other words, SMART.
➡️ Are you having a hard time setting SMART goals? Zavvy has you covered. Our learning science experts have created a ready-to-use training journey.
3. Identify action areas
Without identifying areas to measure and improve upon, it's almost impossible to create a great employee engagement plan, much less implement strategic employee engagement-related programs.
Rather than focusing on all facets of employee engagement, identify the critical variables of employee engagement (in your company).
Tip #1: We recommend to keep in mind 3 guiding principles when action planning for engagement: make sure you understand your data, involve staff for fully understanding any underlying issues, start small.
Tip #2: It would be unrealistic to believe that you can fix all your employees' issues in one go. Look out for the most pressing issues, those that would make the biggest difference for the employee experience.
Tip #3: Consider which action items you could easily and quickly implement with existing resources. Resource planning can either make or break a good employee engagement plan.
4. Put action plans in place
Once your goals are in place, preparing your action plan is the next step.
You'll want to allocate resources and define your KPIs to measure progress at this stage. Remember that your action plan's success rests on the buy-in of your employees' direct supervisors.
Employee engagement rates are known to increase when managers fully understand the role and purpose of your employee engagement plan.
It enables them to effectively distribute positive results across all departments and even propose future initiatives that can be incorporated.
5. Ensure continuity
A good employee engagement action plan should also contain strategies for sustaining engagement rates within the company as it continues to scale. Strategies for ensuring sustainable development include:
- Involving both company leadership and employees to meet midway and achieve better collaboration.
- Building a long-term employee engagement plan that goes beyond using only surveys.
- Consistently measuring and optimizing until you reach the desired numbers.
- Aligning your employee engagement plan with the business goals to ensure overall consistency.
- Sharing regular updates on progress. Your goal is to ensure that your people know their feedback counts, and that youare taking steps to address their challenges.
Tip: The results of an effective employee engagement plan don't come in after a day. It takes commitment and consistency to achieve remarkable results.
➡️ Boost employee engagement with Zavvy
No one likes employee disengagement or dissatisfaction. It's bad for business.
And while achieving 100% employee engagement in an organization seems impossible, it actually isn't — if you're ready to put in the work and listen to your employees.
Employee enablement is our approach to following survey results with actual measures.
At Zavvy, we know how important it is for your company and teams to focus on developing your people.
That's why we created an enablement solution where you can easily run engagement surveys, analyze the data, communicate the results, and create action plans for continuous improvement, all in one convenient location.
- Identify where you stand with your people with regular engagement surveys.
- Identify your employee's pain points with our advanced people analytics.
- Take relevant actions beyond measuring results: employee development plans, training for managers, recurring check-ins and so many more.
Are you ready to improve employee engagement and enable your employees to be the best version of themselves?
See with your own eyes how Zavvy can help in a free 30 minutes demo.