Employee engagement is the critical aspect of workplace happiness, regardless of internal and external circumstances. It’s not a fading trend or a buzzword; employee engagement is a critical part of a comprehensive business strategy.
High engagement levels indicate a great employee experience and result in profitability boost, increased productivity, higher customer satisfaction, and better retention. Because of that, business leaders and HR professionals should continuously strive to create an environment and employee experience that motivates workers to focus. To really immerse themselves in their assignments.
This especially applies to startups and companies in industries that have been particularly affected by the economic downturn caused by Covid that are scaling up operations and hiring again. Yet, there is some evidence that a very low percentage of employees are engaged.
Fifteen percent are actively disengaged, an increase compared to June 2020. Companies that are rapidly growing must avoid turnover at all costs. They can’t scale up successfully without efficient and productive workers ready to help new coworkers integrate into the workplace.
Here’s what you should know about how to maintain employee engagement levels high if you’re scaling up your company.
What challenges do companies encounter when rapidly growing?
Scaling up requires a thorough strategy and preparedness to react to unexpected circumstances fast. When a company undergoes fast growth, its structure typically changes.
That often means new control mechanisms and hierarchies, resulting in decreased flexibility and agility. Thus, introducing new departments, teams, employees, and stakeholders can cause reporting and chain of command to become messy and inefficient.
..employee engagement is a critical part of a comprehensive business strategy.
That tends to affect overall motivation and performance in the workplace. Because of that, it’s crucial to be mindful about scaling up and identify strategies to engage the staff and make them feel comfortable with the scope of ongoing changes.
But despite how much you plan, issues will inevitably happen.
Here are the top three employee engagement-related challenges you can expect when you start growing your business:
1. Recognition – A Low Risk High Reward Investment
People will probably be proud to work for a growing company because that also means additional possibilities for them. But with time, they may start showing dissatisfaction because they can’t keep up with the change, new coworkers disrupt the team dynamic, or they feel you forget their needs.
Moreover, company culture will likely transform (adapting to business growth,) making it difficult for your longest-standing hires to fit in.
2. You Might Recruit and Hire Too Fast
Budget approval for team expansion is exciting, but you should avoid rushing the process. You may hire new employees too fast. Instead of increasing in team size, ensure you’re recruiting and hiring the most compatible workers that fit the role.
If you overlook details, you risk hiring people who aren’t the right culture fit or lack critical skills. As a result, team cohesion could suffer, affecting the overall productivity and engagement levels.
3. Communication Could Become Messy
Before scaling up, your meetings likely meant that all departments and team members would sit together and discuss projects, plans, and announcements. But when a company grows, most units have their own meetings, creating data silos and affecting collaboration.
If employees are unaware of what the other departments are doing and have no access to information they need for their assignments, they could become demotivated and unproductive.
5 Tips on How to Maintain Employee Engagement Levels High When Scaling Up
1. Set Clear Objectives and Expectations
It’s crucial to have a sense of direction while scaling and determine what has changed with business goals in the future. Be transparent about new expectations. Discuss how new departments, team members, and stakeholders will affect the job roles and responsibilities.
Ensure that nobody feels confused about their position in the workplace and knows what to expect. Otherwise, your earliest employees could start losing motivation, questioning how much will the scope of their work change. Questioning if their jobs are becoming redundant.
Because of that, you should track their daily needs and potential. Set SMART objectives for your staff as that helps them strive towards achievable results and understand their assignments.
2. Provide Regular Feedback
Everyone likes to know that their effort contributes to something bigger and isn’t pointless. Because of that, employees need regular and constructive feedback. It gives them insights into how they can improve and how much they have accomplished.
If that doesn’t happen, they will start doubting that their work is meaningless and that it makes no difference how much effort they put into their tasks. Feedback inspires employees to work harder because it reassures them that their input matters.
For example, 69 percent of workers say they would put in an extra effort if they felt their achievements get sufficient recognition. Thus, highly engaged employees receive feedback at least once a week.
3. Ensure Continuous, Transparent, and Open Communication
Foster transparent communications across all departments and levels to ensure everyone has access to the information they need to perform their work well and collaborate. Discourage gatekeeping information because that prevents employees from completing their assignments and getting the necessary resources.
Regular meetings and data sharing are essential, especially in rapidly growing companies. For instance, 86 percent of employees cite a lack of collaboration and communication for workplace failures.
Invest in stable collaborative platforms and ensure that your teams work efficiently regardless of their location. Establish the necessary tech infrastructure and encourage employees to share ideas with their team members and other departments.
4. Reinforce Company Culture and Values
In a growing business, it’s crucial to reinforce the company culture and remind your staff that there might be some changes, but the essence remains the same. That will reassure employees that the core workplace values, objectives, and conditions will stay the way they were from the beginning.
Company culture was one of the principal reasons employees chose and stay with your organization. Because of that, you must nurture its identity and continue striving towards the original mission.
..despite how much you plan (when scaling,) issues will inevitably happen.
5. Gather Feedback on the Employee Experience and Employee Engagement
Finally, you should track and measure employee engagement levels, regardless of your company size and scaling up ambitions. Otherwise, you won’t know what you’re doing well and what requires tweaks. Making decisions about your strategy, policies, and practices without employee feedback is like a doctor trying to make some heart or lung diagnosis without a stethoscope.
The first place to begin in creating an engaged workforce is to listen to your employees’ needs. Moreover, these insights allow you to engage workers using strategies that work best for your company and staff.
Implement the right metrics and KPIs to track how you are improving the employee experience through your organization development efforts based on this needs analysis. Use engagement, entry, and exit surveys to identify what drives engagement and retention in your workplace and how you can enhance your efforts.
Employee Engagement is of paramount importance for high-performing workplaces with happy employees who feel an intrinsic motivation to go the extra mile. Because of that, business leaders and HR professionals should continuously create initiatives and motivate their staff.
However, it’s also necessary to track and measure the efficacy of your strategies. That requires data-driven approach and relevant analytics that tap into employee engagement.
-Brandon Jordan, Workforce Lifecycle Analytics