In our most recent edition of FocusED, we discussed how critical employee engagement is to productivity, particularly for managers that set the tone for their staff. When managers are engaged, they’re far more likely to have an engaged team.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of employee engagement for the hospitality industry, especially in an environment with slowing revenue growth and rising labor costs. Engaged managers – and, therefore, their people – are more productive, less likely to leave the company, and are motivated to provide excellent guest service.
Put another way, when the margin for error is razor-thin thanks to the economic stresses on the industry, employee engagement can be an essential differentiator between successful owners & operators and everyone else. But talking about the importance of employee engagement and actually improving it are two very different things. So to that point, while we encourage you to read Engaged Management: The Key to Employee Engagement and Productivity in FocusED, we also wanted to provide some basic best practices to get you started.
Start With Authentic Feedback
You can’t improve engagement unless you know what’s on your employees’ minds. Assuming you don’t have a crystal ball, that’s where a survey and feedback system comes into play. By asking pertinent, targeted questions to your staff, managers have the people data they need to understand what issues exist.
Of course, accurate and timely feedback from as many employees as possible is vital in generating reliable data for managers. Anonymous surveys are beneficial in that regard, giving employees a sense of safety and security from retribution when they provide honest answers. Once employees know their responses won’t work against them, they’ll be more willing to participate as well.
Avoid Survey Fatigue
Employee surveys are just like most things in life – it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Try to find a balance between frequent, well-spaced feedback surveys and overdoing it. Survey fatigue is real and can quickly undermine the reason for conducting the surveys in the first place – to gather the data you need to affect positive change and improve employee engagement.
While you want to educate your staff on the reasons why the surveys and engagement are so important, you don’t want the surveys to become a hassle. Express how your team stands to benefit from the surveys personally, how they can impact the company, and keep your surveys and polls concise and on-point.
Rely on Analytics
Depending on the size of your team and organization, sifting through the survey results can often feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Trends within the workforce and workplace can be very subtle and nuanced, particularly when qualitative forces like emotions are involved. Therefore, it’s essential to choose a survey platform with robust analytics, making it far easier and faster for management to collect, analyze, and interpret the data.
Remember, one of the goals for improving engagement is to take some of the pressure off your managers. Engaged employees are more productive, allowing managers to do more with less. That ability is especially important in a tight labor market with escalating labor costs. If your survey platform only adds to a manager’s workload, then it’s only defeating its purpose.
Ideally, you want to use a survey and engagement solution that automates much, if not all, of the analysis, identifying trends and issues for your managers rather than making them sift through mountains of data. The feedback reports should be easy to read, available on mobile devices so managers aren’t chained to their desks, and provide both high-level and granular perspectives on engagement drivers.
Always Take Action
Building on the previous point, analytics will also reveal where you should devote your attention and efforts for action planning. We cannot stress enough how vital consistent action planning is in improving employee engagement. First, if you don’t take action on your people data, you’re never tackling the issues that inhibit engagement across your team.
Further, a lack of action can actually do more harm than good. If your staff takes the time to participate in the engagement surveys but never sees any real change coming from their efforts, then there will come a time when they simply stop participating in the first place. Once that occurs, you’re left without a reliable source of information to drive engagement.
For employee engagement to truly take root and flourish, it needs to start from the top. Combine the insights from our recent FocusED article, Engaged Management: The Key to Employee Engagement and Productivity, with these best practices for an engagement strategy that encompasses your managers as well as their teams. In conjunction with our STAFFScope survey and engagement solution, you’re providing yourself with powerful labor management tools and insights that can help you optimize your workforce and navigate even today’s challenging labor market.