Action Planning for Employee Engagement

In early May 2020, Gallup found that a record-breaking 38% of employees were actively engaged in their workplace (meaning they are involved, enthusiastic, and committed to their work). Only 13% of employees were actively disengaged, a number matching the record low.

How can organizations and their leaders keep this employee engagement number at record levels? 

Creating an action plan for your organization based on employee engagement data is a great way to improve areas of opportunity and ensure that engagement stays elevated. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to create your company's action plan for employee engagement. 

Analyze Your Data

Take the time to sift through the data you collected (with the help of experts in analyzing data, if possible). It's best to get a few sets of eyes on the data, so make sure you get a diverse group together from throughout the organization. 

Many companies collect employee engagement data directly from their employees in annual surveys, but there are a number of other data points you can collect. You could meet with small groups and use the Appreciative Inquiry approach to give employees the opportunity to impact their future with the organization.  If you collect any metrics on productivity or retention, these data could be helpful. Data collected from exit interviews and performance management could also be useful. 

Celebrate Your Wins

To keep the action planning process from feeling like you're focusing only on the negatives, point out what strengths the data show. What are the areas in which you excel as an organization? How can you keep that momentum going? What does your employee feedback say? When you brainstorm action ideas, you can include ways for your company to celebrate success.

Identify Areas of Opportunity

Choose 3-4 areas of opportunity to focus on. These don't necessarily need to be the lowest scored items on a survey. They could be areas you feel that would have the greatest impact if improved for your employees. For example, employees may have rated facilities low on a survey, but if you have a distributed workforce, this may not be the best area to place focus. 

Brainstorm Action Ideas

Hold an "anything goes" brainstorming meeting where you come up with action items based on the areas of strength and opportunity. Remember to consider short-term wins as well as improvements that would take place over a longer period of time. At the end of your brainstorming session, categorize the ideas in a way that makes sense. Then, prioritize the ideas based on what you think is most feasible and will have the greatest impact. The number of ideas that turn into your action plan depends on the resources at your organization. Consider how you will measure the impact of the action items; what constitutes success?

Structure an Action Plan

Once you've decided which ideas will form the action plan, it's time to outline the plan. Create a timeline for when each of the ideas will take place and commit to deadlines for having work done. List the resources needed and people responsible for enacting each idea. Create clear objectives for each item as well as ways to measure their effectiveness. Run your plan by any stakeholders who may need to sign off.  

Measure the Results

Find ways in the short- and long-term to measure the results of your action plan. These could be the data points discussed earlier or they could be more deliberate measures, such as a reduction in turnover after you implement a new learning program. This is the point where the process goes back to the beginning, to analyzing the data, to ensure that you are continuously improving as an organization.