Getting real: the serious side of employee engagement

Nobody would argue that employee engagement is important and brings many benefits in terms of motivation and performance, but rarely is it seen as a meaningful strategy to drive tangible business results.

This is because for many organisations, “engagement” is about having a tick list of tactics and a set of expectations that results will follow as a matter of course. Any positive outcome is considered an almost incidental boost to motivation and productivity.

In reality, when correctly implemented and supported to deliver their full potential, these strategies can achieve so much more.

Paying its way

At a time of economic challenges, budget restrictions and pay freezes, solid reward schemes can provide a welcome compromise for your employees. However, this also means that they must deliver maximum ROI for your business.

A successful engagement strategy will have the biggest impact if it is aligned to people’s core roles and competencies in order to drive performance and encourage efficient behaviours, regardless of department or discipline, with a clear process in place for sales target and KPI measurement and a focus on ‘right first time’ operational excellence.

In terms of budget allocation, any scheme linked to sales performance, whether that be tactical or as part of a longer-term reward programme, needs to be in proportion to the results it is aiming to achieve in order to deliver real change for the business.

The importance of leadership

As a tool for engagement, a reward scheme can be very effective - but it won’t run itself, regardless of the fanfare supporting its launch. A manager needs to invest time in driving the scheme and engaging with colleagues to maximise its potential.

Evaluation and adjustment of the scheme on an ongoing basis helps to stay on track. Applying SMART objectives is one of the single best ways to review any programme designed to drive performance, with clear communication from managers before, during and after the incentive period.

Feedback about what employees feel is and isn’t working should be incorporated so changes can be made accordingly. Equally, positive performance feedback should be provided within the clear parameters of the reward scheme. This in turn drives self-esteem, employee satisfaction and a direction in their work, which are all linked to performance improvement.

Ultimately, determining and benchmarking the results is critical, particularly for sales and performance improvement incentives.

Reward for today’s employee

The more individual and relevant the reward, the more effective it will be. Take into account as many personal characteristics as is reasonable, e.g. cultural and religious beliefs, age and interests and above all, provide choice. Multi-retail vouchers and prepaid cards allow the recipient to choose where and how they use their reward, which feels like a sincerer gesture.

For the managers of the scheme, simplicity is key. They want control of the process at their fingertips, with real-time visibility and reporting. A self-service incentive management application that allows the distribution of rewards within a personalised and branded email template is ideal for this – administration and cost is kept to a minimum through the scheme’s ease of use and the recipient benefits from being able to choose from a wide range of rewards to suit their own personal needs.

This will ensure the reward is relevant, cost-effective and delivers against overall business objectives.

What about the customer?

An engaged employee will naturally have a positive impact on customer engagement but how can you build on this even further?

Marketers can generate demand with incentives and promotions to influence customer action and drive engagement. Customer acquisition campaigns will drive sales growth and can significantly reduce the cost of acquisition. 

Similarly, incentives can change customer behaviour, for example, encouraging early adopters to switch to new order system or adopt new products delivering internal operational efficiencies, cost-savings and securing market share.   

In summary, ‘engagement gets real’ when you apply the right combination of investment, administration, communication and incentive both internally and externally, with consistent management adoption to realise the full potential of your strategies.

Author: Andy Philpott | Category: Blog | 06/07/2017 | 0

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