Now, more than ever, the demands on leadership’s time are many and varied, and many urgently need to find ways to free themselves up from reactive firefighting to proactive leadership that’s focused on the future. However, the reality of the day-to-day pressures of the business means that many leaders find themselves stuck in a reactive posture. The key to breaking free and gaining a more proactive footing: get your organisation’s emerging leaders involved.
Stretch goals and cross-functional projects are common elements in many leadership development plans. To give both your organisation and your developing leaders a boost, consider delegating the responsibility for some of your employee engagement strategies to up-and-coming leaders.
Resolve timely organisational challenges & build better leaders
Your organisation can realise a multitude of advantages by involving its new and emerging leaders in the development and implementation of employee engagement initiatives. These advantages include:
- Supporting succession planning and leadership development: Satisfies and develops a leadership mindset among high performers when there are no leadership positions available.
- Developing an engaged leader mindset: Providing a framework for good management practices that will hone the leadership skills of your high performers and future executives.
- Inculcating a sense of belonging: Supports cross-functional and departmental collaboration by bringing leaders and teams together – reinforcing a sense of belonging.
- Creating ambassadors and champions that will move the culture forward.
In short, you will build better leaders while also tackling pressing issues like employee turnover, burnout, declining morale, and fraying culture.
Employee engagement surveys are the perfect starting point: they provide an in-the-moment snapshot of where the organisation stands, and which areas need some focused attention. The resulting feedback usually offers leaders a variety of opportunities, ranging from quick wins to initiatives that will require more time to develop and implement. Realistically, there’s a limited number of initiatives that existing leadership have time to take forward immediately. Your team of emerging leaders can help by either taking on those initiatives not currently being managed by senior leadership, or by providing additional bandwidth for larger-scope initiatives the group has undertaken. Either way, you’re nearly guaranteed to accelerate the implementation of your engagement strategy while also improving organisational awareness and alignment when you invite more people to be part of the solution.
Selecting engagement initiatives – don’t do it all at once
Once an Engagement Multiplier employee survey is closed, leaders can easily identify the one or two key areas where focused attention will have the greatest impact. It’s at this juncture that you can decide how much (or how little) you want to take on over the next 90 days.
You may decide that the engagement scores or anonymous from a particular department or team are concerning, warranting attention from senior leadership. In that case, you may wish to address one or two smaller, easier-to-achieve initiatives that your emerging leaders can take on. It’s a question of balance, and we recommend that you focus on addressing one or two opportunities or initiatives each quarter. You can achieve near-immediate improvement in employee engagement by simply fielding the survey, sharing the findings, and then following up tangibly. Greater success will be achieved when the organisation develops a measurable cadence of gathering feedback and responding to it over time.
Involving a wider cohort of your organistation’s leaders will help the organisation resolve issues and capture opportunities more quickly, and more completely. Additionally, by raising awareness of the factors that lead to the issues the team addressed, you will be insulating the organisation against them in the future.
Sustainable high performance
Organisations that are engaged (or are near engaged status) present wonderful opportunities for leaders and are on the cusp of moving into the realm of sustainable high performance. When an organisation rounds the corner from disengaged to engaged, a new world of possibility opens up by leveraging the Kaizen effect of consistent improvement while freeing up leadership to focus on other areas of the business.
It’s at this stage the organisation can build on its engagement and create new energy around ideas, innovations, and improvements, such as:
- Next-level efficiency, and speeding implementation of business enhancing ideas and innovations for continuous improvement.
- Fostering the innovation mindset, as the wider team sees more and more of their feedback being implemented.
- The collective impact of continuous positive change quickly becomes transformational. Imagine the impact of implementing three new ideas every 90 days on your business and your team, each representing an improvement, efficiency, or innovation. That’s the foundation of transformational change.
Successfully delegating engagement initiatives to emerging leaders
Your organisation may have already identified its emerging leaders or high performers, and if so, these groups are the obvious choices. Smaller organisations or those that don’t have defined leadership development programmes in place can look to their managers. The insight and experience they will gain as they focus on measurably improving employee engagement will pay dividends in their individual performance and growth.
Step 1: Identify your engagement leaders, and introduce them to the initiatives they will be responsible for over the next 90 days. Provide them with briefing and clarity around what needs to be true when the project is finished.
Step 2: In your regular post-survey communications in which you share your engagement scores and feedback.
Step 3: Have the team report back with an action plan for leadership to approve – and then they implement providing regular check-ins. Encourage them to utilise Engagement Multiplier’s On-Demand capability to gather additional insight and enhance project effectiveness.
Step 4: Before you run your next quarter’s Benchmark Assessment, be sure to have your Client Success Manager add a few custom questions to your survey relating to the engagement initiatives. (We can help you develop those if you need a hand.) Those answers, plus the insight from the survey itself, will provide a clear view of the progress made.
Step 5: Acknowledge and celebrate successful projects in company-wide communications. This reinforces the business’s commitment to engagement, recognises the engagement team’s efforts, and, as a by-product, encourages others to play a more active role.
There’s a remarkable advantage to be gained by using employee engagement initiatives as challenge projects for emerging leaders. In addition to accelerating the implementation of initiatives derived from your engagement data, you’ll also be developing an engaged leader mindset among your next generation of leaders, setting them – and the business – up for future success, and creating champions that will move the culture forward.