A successful employee engagement strategy is centered on utilizing employee feedback to uncover meaningful insight, make positive change, and create a better employee experience. But why do we insist on collecting employee feedback only after we’ve developed said engagement strategy? Why not ask employees for advice on how to best communicate our plans, drive and promote the initiative, and follow-up after a survey?
That’s where Engagement Ambassadors – the backbone of the most successful employee engagement strategies – come in.
An Engagement Ambassador is an internal advocate of your employee engagement strategy. Ambassadors are passionate about the employee experience and truly believe that organizational improvements depend on feedback from employees. They have their own ideas on how to optimize your current strategy and have influence to rally teams and colleagues around the initiative.
Train them on engagement. Make sure your Engagement Ambassadors understand what employee engagement really is and how it impacts your organization. This is a team of advocates for the entire organization and they need to be able to speak intelligently about engagement.
Schedule regular meetings to discuss the engagement process. Ambassadors should be involved throughout the entire engagement process – from survey design to communicating results to commitment planning. Having them involved every step of the way ensures that your strategy mirrors what employees need.
Listen to their feedback. Have Engagement Ambassadors share any questions or feedback they hear from colleagues about your employee engagement efforts. Is there enough communication around the initiative? Is it clear? What did they think of the survey? What commitments and follow-up plans are they excited about? What’s not working?
Start recruiting ambassadors for your engagement strategy about eight weeks before your survey launches. Depending on the size of your organization, you’ll want 10 to 20 people from various levels, departments, tenure groups, age groups, cultures, and geographic locations. You want a variety of perspectives, and you want advocates in all pockets of the organization. Here a few keys to getting employee buy-in for your engagement survey.
Prioritize survey design six weeks before launch. Lean on Engagement Ambassadors for help in survey design, including which topics to address, specific items to ask, and demographics that would be most valuable to track.
Look to your Engagement Ambassadors to help design and carry out your communication plan. Ask them for advice on how, when, and where to communicate so you can effectively inform the entire organization of your engagement strategy and upcoming survey. Work with them to create communicate templates for managers, HR, and executive leadership.
4. Launch & Close
While your survey is open, your Engagement Ambassadors should promote the survey and use their influence to increase employee participation. (This shouldn’t be difficult for them since they’re believers in the process!) This is also a great time for Engagement Ambassadors to hear real-time, genuine feedback about pre-survey communication and the survey itself while it’s fresh in employees’ minds.
You should receive your survey results within a few days of survey close, at which time HR and executive leadership begin analyzing the data. Within four weeks, leadership should identify key findings to address and strategic areas to improve up. Hold meetings with your Engagement Ambassadors to ask for advice on how to address results with the rest of the organization and generate plans and templates for smaller focus groups.
6. Commit & Follow Up
Commitment planning and survey follow-up are ongoing practices that put the insights gathered from your survey data, brainstorming sessions, and focus groups into action. Engagement Ambassadors should encourage managers or direct reports to review their team’s survey results and develop customized commitment plans. Ask them to record commitments, track progress, and check in with other teams to make sure each manager, individual contributor, and full team is held accountable.
Before next year’s survey launch, prioritize reviewing the current year’s process. Hold “after action review” sessions with Engagement Ambassadors to identify what went well and what can be improved upon for next year. Was the survey process seamless? What barriers stood in the way? Did commitment plans target weak areas? Were they implemented effectively?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – Engagement Ambassadors are the backbone to a successful employee engagement strategy. Use our seven tips above to leverage your internal employee advocates, optimize your employee engagement program, and truly improve the employee experience.
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