Employee Engagement Goals: Make Engagement a Two-way Street

January 17th, 2023 – SkillCycle

“Ultimately, what matters in engagement is that employees who feel they have a stake in the outcome care more about that outcome,” says Hibschman. “And they care more about their input into reaching it.”

While employee engagement can be a critical driver of business success, it’s not solely the responsibility of leaders, managers, or even HR teams. To reach employee engagement goals, you’ll instead need contributions from everyone on your team, including your staff.

Employees who make a commitment to contribute their best work and improve their performance are an important component often overlooked when companies evaluate what drives employee engagement.

“As an employee, I want to feel like I’m invested in the process because change or impact will come from my contribution,” says Andrew Hibschman, VP of Customer Success with SkillCycle. “As an employer, I’d want to know that my staff feel a part of things and that their feedback matters.”

Exploring all avenues to boost engagement from your workforce can drive results across critical areas that will keep your business growing. Companies with high engagement levels enjoy 23% higher profitability, 81% less absenteeism, and 10% higher customer loyalty, according to Gallup

In this article on employee engagement, we’ll look at:

  • Why everyone has a role to play in reaching engagement goals
  • How to encourage team members to nurture their own engagement
  • The connection between performance management and employee engagement
  • Measuring your progress toward employee engagement goals  


Why everyone has a role to play in reaching engagement goals

Building a culture where employees are supported in their growth and given opportunities to learn and improve is incredibly important, but isn’t a standalone solution.

“It has to be a two-way street, because if an employee doesn’t feel like they’re a part of their performance management process or growth process, why would they care?” says Hibschman. 

Great performance takes effort from everyone involved. It’s important for organizations to support employees in career and skill development, but it’s also vital for individuals to demonstrate drive and take responsibility, according to HR Magazine

Instead of viewing engagement as something a company can provide, looking at how you can create environments that support and welcome higher engagement levels from your teams is more helpful. Employees who say they have a positive experience at work show 16 times the engagement levels of workers who report having a negative experience at work, according to McKinsey.

Within these healthy structures, employees are encouraged to commit to their own growth, set meaningful goals, and contribute to achieving them. Managers and teams can work together to be clear about needs, obstacles, and enabling success.


How to encourage team members to nurture their own engagement

Employees have choices in how they show up at work; in some areas, their thoughts and behaviors will drive specific outcomes. Involving your employees in open discussions about career pathways and how their work contributes to company success can help influence their choices. 

“Ultimately, what matters in engagement is that employees who feel they have a stake in the outcome care more about that outcome,” says Hibschman. “And they care more about their input into reaching it.”

When employees see that their work helps drive company growth, which in turn results in investments in their development, their willingness to commit to that cycle can increase faster. 

Looking for employee engagement ideas that will help empower your staff to engage more fully at work? Try building these practices into your company culture.

  • Collect feedback regularly
  • Welcome open dialogue regarding challenges
  • Ask employees to brainstorm solutions
  • Remove consequences for sharing feedback
  • Involve employees in goal-setting
  • Act on employee feedback
  • Have leaders model ongoing learning and growth

Ideally, you’ll implement strategies and routines that empower your employees and allow them the autonomy to choose how they approach situations. This gives your team members the opportunity to clarify relevant goals, understand why their work matters, and invest in positive outcomes. 


The connection between performance management and employee engagement

Improving performance can take a combination of learning, practicing new skills, consistent feedback, and commitment from team members to apply what they’re learning. 

“Performance management should always be done for employees, not to them,” says Hibschman. “Companies need to take steps to loop employees into the process, which then improves their input — and the outcome.”

There will always be an element of managing performance that requires reciprocal effort from employees in order to create healthy cycles of learning, actionable feedback, and applying that feedback to work responsibilities. 

“Companies should be asking what employees need for growth and acting on that feedback,” says Hibschman. “The output of a good performance review should be meaningful, actionable data that lets the whole organization and everyone in it improve.”

If you’d like to see better company performance, it may be time to evaluate the employee engagement ideas you’ve been testing. Getting buy-in from your team is a necessary element to support your organization’s ability to grow and reach desired outcomes.


Measuring your progress toward employee engagement goals

Discovering what drives employee engagement and improved performance in your company is essential, but how can you tell if you’re on the right track? Look for signs that open communication is well-nurtured between managers and employees, with healthy doses of both recognition and difficult conversations

“You’ll be able to measure success by how often individual contributors go to their managers with challenges,” says Hibschman. “Do they feel comfortable seeking support or sharing struggles or failures? Employees who feel supported want to get help to perform their best.”

Another clear sign that your employees are invested in their development and performance is measuring their use of your resources. If you provide access to coaching or learning modules or other ways for employees to overcome challenges, which are widely used by your team, it’s a good sign that your staff members are invested in improving their performance.

The final indicator of healthy participation from all parties is the existence and ongoing development of a continual feedback culture. Growth happens when leaders, managers, and employees regularly discuss how work is progressing and what else might be needed to achieve their goals. 

SkillCycle can support both you and your employees to boost engagement. Book a demo to learn more today. 


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