Vensure Coffee Talk Webinar
Employee Engagement Messaging Best Practices and Measuring Success
June 26, 2023
Beatrice Runyan Hello, good morning and good afternoon and thank you for attending our Coffee Talk entitled Employee Engagement: Messaging and Measuring Success. As a housekeeping note, we will have time at the end of the session to answer a few questions if you want to put them in the Q&A, and any that aren’t addressed during the session will be responded to after the session is over. We’ll also be sending out a link to access the presentation and the slides. And now I would like to introduce to you Abraham Gonzalez-Pollick. He is the VP of Client Development for VensureHR. He has more than 20 years of client service and product management leadership experience, 15 of which have been spent in the PEO space. Welcome and thank you, Abraham.
Abraham Gonzales-Pollick Thank you, Bea for that introduction. Hello, everyone, and thank you for giving us your time today. You know, I’m really excited about today’s topic. A couple of weeks ago, we kicked off our content talking about employee engagement and employee engagement initiatives: how to build the program, how to strategize. And we decided that we would break this topic into two parts. And so, this is our second session. And if you’ve missed the first session, you can always find that recording on vensure.com and we will share the link with you at the end of the presentation. Today’s topic is really about messaging through action and talking a little bit about how we measure success with our strategic plans. We’re going to take a little bit of a unique approach to that topic.
Now let’s go ahead and dive in. You know, we started out our engagement topics here, leading with this message from Gallup, you know, as they define employee engagement and why it matters, you really talk about how you achieve organic growth or persevere through disruption. Organizations are needing more than just sufficient work. They’re needing exceptional work. And how do we get that exceptional work? Studies have shown that through engaging employees, organizations can really improve performance, really encourage higher performance, which ends up having a result, a good, positive result on the business. But what is engagement, really? You know, when we think about engagement, is it is it a wellness program within our organization? Is it a fun event? Is it a food truck event or company swag? Is it the onboarding program? Now, what really is engagement? And when we think about engagement, we think about it as being a puzzle piece to the bigger picture, right? The whole employee experience that is happening not just at any one point in time of that employee lifecycle, but the experience throughout from the very first conversation with the employee during that recruiting process, and even before that, to, you know, the exit. So, when we think about engagement, we think about it falling into two really specific categories, if you will, at high level.
Let’s talk about this with engagement activities, these puzzle pieces, they look and feel different. Some forms are quick events, and in some forms they’re more stable events. Quick events are something that could be like a wellness program or a fitness challenge or even a volunteer day that you’re planning within your organization and in your community. Staple events can be looked at as performance management programs, learning and development programs, mentor mentee programs that you roll out, so on and so forth. Both require a tremendous amount of planning and both can be really transformational to your organization, whether some are more transformational than others. But both require a lot of strategy and creativity as you bring them to life. So when we think about employee engagement, there are a lot of ways to approach employee engagement strategy.
And so let’s dive deeper into our topic today and talk through messaging, and how we message back to our employees the work that we are doing to create employee engagement initiatives. When we think about messaging, it really is beyond the communication aspect of it. It’s beyond just sending out a company communication to say “We believe in employee engagement. Employee engagement matters, and here are a couple of activities that we’re doing this month for your engagement”. And messaging is really about the actions, right? And those actions are telling a story. What we say about our brand culture or our company culture, what we say about how we approach strategy, collaborate, respond to feedback, respond to survey feedback, all those actions are steps that we take to tell a story.
So let’s dive into an example here. So, you know, while there’s no one blueprint that works universally for every single organization or industry, there are a lot of ideas out there. And let’s look at a couple of examples here. There are endless possibilities, and organizations should be thinking about “Do we do all of these activities, or do we do some of them? How much effort do we put in one activity over the other?” So when we’re thinking about employee engagement initiatives, building initiatives in response to feedback, and in response to surveys, or in response to having to pivot in our product relevance or our consumer or customer experience. You know, here are some examples, right? You know, “Is it that we dive into belonging groups? Do we create belonging groups? Do we set aside budgets for each team? How do we create listening sessions and listed on this page or just a lot of possibilities for an example to say, do we do all these things in response to our one problem? Will more engagement initiatives solve the problem?”
And so if we’re thinking about our messaging telling a story, sometimes if we dive into too many initiatives, it might hurt us more than it will help us throughout the organization. Yeah, but how do we get in front of that? So the idea of messaging, how do we really get in front of our messaging so that our actions will tell the story that we really needed to tell? Well, here’s how, here’s an example. This is not the only example. We really believe in getting the right people in the room, starting with collaboration. And here’s why. When we collaborate cross-functionally, we’re able to create more focus groups. We’re able to create subcommittees that focus on certain parts of the data analysis. We create teams that are just focused on a strategy. We are bringing the right leaders and again, the right functional decision makers. So important to have those functional decision makers because while we are managing the large organization or the larger part of the organization and the larger organization has business objectives and it’s important to create common threads and themes of how we address opportunities throughout the organization.
But what’s equally as important is that these functional areas also create their own objectives and their own initiatives to drive engagement. Not all functions will do the same things, and that’s okay. Not all functions will approach engagement initiatives the same, but all functions are tied up into that common theme of the business. And so it’s critical to have the right people in the room because how the jobs are getting done look different. The talent, the workforce looks different from a financial team, looks different than a project management team, looks different from a marketing team, for example. And so as you’re bringing the right people to the table, it’s important to also set goals, guardrails and accountability measures. What will these people sitting at the table strategizing on engagement initiatives, what will we put as part of their responsibilities here? It’s important, as you are collaborating, to really narrow down the initiatives and weave critical themes together.
And another important piece of strategizing on your employee engagement initiatives is to really calendar out your events, big or small, throughout the entire year and to look at all the other movements that need to happen throughout the business at those points in time. At that point in time of the year when you are organized and you are getting the buy-in that you need from these across functions, you’re now really demonstrating back to your employees that not only are you listening to their voice, but that you are responding to the right things at the right time that’s going to continue to make their overall experience in the year stronger, more thoughtful. And so, again, this is just one way to approach your strategy. One way to approach a strategy around how you message your engagement initiatives.
Now, let’s pivot a little bit. Let’s talk about “How do we measure the success of it all?” You know, whether we’re putting out really great questions on a survey, whether we’re looking at a lot of information so that we can dive into a stronger analysis or whether we’re starting programs. It all has to be measured, right? The investment of time, money, resources has to have a strong return back to the business and it has to connect. So let’s talk about how we measure success. Now, there are a lot of schools of thought that say, well, if our turnover decreases, we’ve been successful. If we have more market share, if we’ve grown the business, if we’ve acquired more customers, if we’re hiring or promoting more talent, then we’re successful. Our initiatives were working well. All really important, right? And really great ways to measure whether or not your programs are successful. But here’s a different perspective, right?
Another way to measure how successful your programs are is to really look at your process and seeing if you’ve moved the needle within your process. Now, when we think about employee engagement initiatives, big or small, and if you recall in our first couple of slides, we talked about quick events and other transformational events. Staple events all require some type of project management, some type of team collaboration. And so here’s another way where you can see if you were successful in these areas. Let’s look at these categories. Let’s look at project management. If you were to say we’re going to measure the success of our initiatives, we’re going to measure it through how well we were organized, or did we get all the buy in that we needed, and did we have forward momentum. If you can if you can demonstrate that, then you can say, yes, we’ve had a successful program. Now let’s look at it and team collaboration. If there was representation from many departments, work groups and people diversity, that’s another really great way to measure whether or not your engagement strategy or initiatives were successful if we look at it from the front through the lens of your intentions. And you think about, well, who needed to experience these engagement initiatives? Did they experience it? How do we know that they experienced, you know, these initiatives? That is another really great way to measure the success of your programs, right? So sometimes it’s not just about that end outcome, but what was happening along the process and the journey.
Here are some other key areas to consider as you’re thinking about what goes into your strategy from your communication to your vendor and sponsor partnerships, the logistics of your programs. Did everyone experience something in the engagement initiative? Budgets, and how you follow up on the initiative, and how you differentiated your engagement initiatives, these are all factors that go into creating your engagement strategy, and these are all factors that you can measure individually and whether or not your engagement strategies or programs are a success. And again, not just in the end result.
Let’s go a little deeper. As you think about measuring the success of your engagement programs, there are other, deeper categories to look into. Are you reaching the right audience? Are you reaching as many people within your organization or are you considering programs that respond to age, culture, gender and subculture differences? Is there something in there for everyone? Another way to measure successful programs is: is it tying into your organizational value? Can you, through those initiatives, be able to tell what the brand is? What is the story back to your community or your customers that you serve? Is your program or are your programs solving for the opportunities? Truly solving for the opportunities that you’ve identified in either survey results, or let’s say you’re looking for more brand awareness or you’re looking to bring in more brand promoters.
Perhaps maybe your focus is becoming a great workplace. So are the programs that you have in place addressing these opportunities specifically? Another great way to measure the success of your programs is by looking at the business objectives and saying, did these programs tie to the business objectives of the specific function within the organization and or did they connect to the overall objectives of the business? Are these programs aligning with our purpose? And you know, what is the play we’re trying to make here? Is our purpose to transform culture, rebrand, change our communities, or change this industry. And lastly, another really great way to measure the success of your programs is, again, going back to “What are we solving for?” If you can correlate that, then you have you have a successful program that you can speak to and it tells a story back to your employees.
And one of the last things that we built here for you, for this coffee talk, is just a little bit of a road map. So for some of you that are looking to dive into creating an engagement strategy in a program and you’re factoring in some of the topics we covered today and perhaps in our last session, if you had the opportunity to join, you know, it’s always important to start by identifying your audience, right? Being inclusive and considering who is going to experience your programs, be it be at a staple event or quick event. It’s always important to also to align them with your values, right? And not doing things that are so out of character to your specific values of your organization. It’s important to really identify the opportunity, what you’re solving for. So when you are bringing the right people to the room, that you are really addressing the right opportunity and trying to stay focused to that versus trying to do everything and not doing everything well, right. Also important as part of your roadmap is to connect it to the business objectives, then, will it propel the business in meaningful ways forward?
In another part of this roadmap that we’ve created for you is definitely dialing in the budget, and things do require a budget. Write a soft and hard costs, or direct and indirect cost. Every minute that is spent on projects is part of the spend. Anything that you bring that’s tangible to these initiatives is part of the spend of vendors and other tools and resources that you have to purchase, like learning and development programs. It’s important to dial in the budget and to plan for the future of that budget. Another part of this roadmap to consider is, again, your purpose, right, and how you’re bringing people along, how you’re inspiring everyone to play a role beyond just saying that they support engagement initiatives. It’s also important to consider all areas of your employee lifecycle, right? If you’re focused perhaps too much on the onboarding experience and not enough of what happens after the onboarding experience, for that five-year tenure employee, you could potentially have a gap here, right? So it’s important to think about all your initiatives and then play it out as it pertains to every point in the lifecycle. And again, always remember that our actions do send a message and every everyone is in the spotlight, and when we think about engagement, it really should be everyone’s responsibility.
And so that is it for our coffee talk today and that is what we had for you at a really high level, and very specific. But if you’ve missed anything, we have out other webinars and we go deeper into other topics. We’ve put all of this information for you on vensure.com in our resources tab. Here is the link below if you’d like to learn and continue to learn more with us. In July, we’ll be talking about how we nurture symbiotic relationships in the workplace and cultivating talent and celebrating achievements. Really great content there. And if you want to learn more about how we can help you, please raise your hand and connect with us. So with that being said, Bea, that’s all we have today. Thank you for inviting me to come and present here today.
Beatrice Runyan Absolutely. Great, thank you so much, Abraham, for this really great session on different ways that we can engage our employees. I want to thank everyone for attending this webinar. And to Abraham’s point, please go and check out vensure.com. There are a lot of great resources. Within the next day or two, we will also be sending out a link to have access to both the presentation, the recorded presentation, as well as the slides that you can utilize. We thank you for your time and we hope you have a great rest of your day.