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Easy tips for creating an employee engagement action plan
Illustration by Maya Ramadhina

10 min read

Easy tips for creating an employee engagement action plan

Learn how employee engagement action plans help assess, set objectives, develop strategies, and monitor progress for a motivated and committed workforce.

They say that people who are happy about their jobs are better workers. In fact, an Oxford University study once said that happy workers are 13% more productive. Happy workers are also more engaged, and those who are engaged have a commitment that typically runs deep. A commitment that won’t be broken when circumstances aren’t positive — or happy. 

Does your organization have an employee engagement action plan? 

What is an employee engagement action plan?

An employee engagement action plan is a structured strategy or set of initiatives that’s designed to improve the level of employee engagement within the organization. Employee engagement refers to the emotional and psychological commitment employees have to their work, their colleagues, and the organization itself.

In addition to the high level of commitment, engaged employees are typically more productive, motivated, and satisfied with their jobs. All of these can lead to improved overall organizational performance and a positive work culture.

A well-crafted employee engagement action plan would include the following elements:

  • Assessment and measurement: First of all, it’s necessary to assess the current level of employee engagement. This could be done with surveys, feedback sessions, or other assessment tools, anything that could help identify areas that need improvement.
  • Clear objectives: Establish clear and specific objectives for your action plan. What do you want to achieve? The answer to that will differ from one organization to the next, but some objectives might include increasing overall engagement scores, reducing turnover, or improving any specific aspect of the workplace.
  • Actionable strategies: Develop specific strategies and initiatives that address the areas of improvement you’ve identified. This could include training programs, changes in leadership practices, better communication, recognition programs, and a variety of other things.
  • Ownership and accountability: It’s important to have clear accountability for implementing and monitoring progress, so assign responsibility for various aspects of the plan to individuals or teams.
  • Timelines: Establish timelines for each initiative for action. This ensures the plan is executed in a systematic and timely manner.
  • Resources: Allocate the necessary resources, such as budget, staff, and technology. This will all help to support the plan’s implementation.
  • Communication: Clearly communicate the plan to every employee so they understand all the objectives, initiatives, and their own role in the process.
  • Feedback and evaluation: To measure the impact of your plan, it’s important to regularly collect employee feedback and then use it to adjust the plan as needed.
  • Recognition and rewards: Be sure to have a way to recognize and reward employees for their engagement and contributions to the organization.
  • Continuous improvement: Since employee engagement is an ongoing process, you need to continuously review and update the action plan and adapt it to changing circumstances, needs, and feedback.

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Benefits of an action plan

You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that sounds like a lot of work. It is. But the benefits are worth it. To give you an idea, here are just a few:

  • Improved productivity: Let’s mention this one again. Engaged employees are more committed to their work and the organization they work for, and this leads to higher productivity and better job performance.
  • Better employee retention: A positive and engaged workplace can reduce turnover rates, resulting in fewer recruitment and onboarding costs for the organization.
  • Reduced absenteeism: Engaged employees are more likely to show up for work, leading to better consistency and productivity.
  • Talent attraction: If your organization is known for its commitment to employee engagement — you have a positive employer brand — it can be easier to attract top talent.

Steps to creating an employee engagement action plan

We talked above about the elements of a well-crafted employee engagement action plan, so let’s dig a little bit deeper into some of the steps:

Step 1: Assess the current state of employee engagement

This is your foundational step since it involves gathering all the data and information you’ll need to understand the level of engagement within your organization.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Collect data using surveys, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, or a feedback mechanism of your choice
  • Make sure you understand what factors influence employee engagement within your organization
  • Analyze your feedback, looking for patterns and trends

Step 2: Define clear objectives and goals

Now that you’ve assessed the current state of employee engagement, you want to set clear and specific objectives and goals for your employee engagement action plan. This will help you provide direction and focus for your initiatives.

You can do this effectively by:

  • Aligning your objectives with broader organization goals
  • Basing your goals around the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) framework
  • Making sure your targets are realistic

Step 3: Identify key areas for improvement

Now that you’ve established clear objectives and goals for your employee engagement action plan it’s time to identify the specific areas within your organization that require improvement. This is crucial if you want to target your initiatives effectively.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Analyze the results of the surveys and interviews you conducted in Step 1 and identify trends and areas where engagement is lacking
  • Prioritize the most critical areas of improvement that were identified
  • Look to your stakeholders, such as HR, managers, and other employees, to help identify key areas for improvement

Step 4: Develop strategies and initiatives

Now that you’ve identified the areas that need improvement it’s time to develop actionable strategies and initiatives to address these areas effectively.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Go back to Step 3 and review any areas of improvement that you identified, then focus your strategies and initiatives there
  • Ensure that all strategies align with the objectives and goals you set in Step 2, making sure that each of them contributes to achieving one or more of your objectives
  • Consider brainstorming sessions to help generate ideas for addressing areas of improvement, encouraging anyone who participates to think creatively and explore innovative solutions

Step 5: Implement and communicate your action plan

Now you’re ready to put your employee engagement action plan into action. Effective implementation and communication are essential if you want to achieve your desired results.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Make sure that senior leadership and management are fully on board and aligned with the action plan since their buy-in is essential for its success
  • Make sure every employee or team fully understands their roles and responsibilities for each initiative and that they’re committed to carrying them out
  • Make sure all the necessary resources – budget, personnel, technology — have been allocated and are available to successfully execute each initiative
  • Clearly communicate the objectives, initiatives, expected benefits, and how you expect each employee to get involved or provide feedback

Step 6: Monitor, evaluate, and adjust the plan

To ensure the long-term success and effectiveness of your employee engagement action plan, you’ll need to monitor, evaluate, and adjust it as necessary.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Continue to collect data on engagement through surveys, feedback sessions, and other assessment tools to help measure the impact of your plan and identify areas that still require improvement
  • Have a schedule to regularly review the progress of your plan
  • Use metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) to help measure progress and success
  • Benchmark your organization’s engagement levels against industry standards or similar organizations
  • If any initiatives aren’t producing the desired results, consider adjusting or discontinuing them
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Employee engagement action plan examples

Here are three examples of employee engagement action plans:

Example 1: Employee recognition program

  • Description: This action plan is designed to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions and achievements of your employees, which will promote a positive and motivating work environment.
  • Initiatives:
    • Recognition awards
    • Employee of the month
    • Spot awards (on-the-spot recognition)
    • Anniversary celebrations
  • Time frame: This is an ongoing initiative with specific activities that could occur on the following schedule:
    • Quarterly recognition awards beginning in the 2nd quarter
    • Employee of the Month starting month 3
    • Launching spot awards in month 2
    • Implementing anniversary celebrations from month 1
  • Project owners:
    • HR should oversee the overall management, coordination, and communication of the plan
    • Department managers participate in implementing spot awards and employee of the month
    • A cross-functional employee recognition committee should be formed to assist with quarterly award programs
  • Benefits:
    • Increased employee morale
    • Improved retention
    • Enhanced productivity
    • A positive work culture
    • Peer recognition

Example 2: Mentorship and career development opportunities

  • Description: This initiative is aimed at providing employees with the tools and support they need to grow professionally. It fosters a culture of continuous learning and development.
  • Initiatives:
    • Implementation of a mentorship program that provides less experienced employees with guidance and support
    • Employees should be encouraged to create Individual Development Plans (IDPs) that outline their career goals and development needs so that HR can provide the appropriate guidance and resources
    • Training workshops
    • Job rotation
  • Time frame:
    • A mentorship program should launch in month 1 with quarterly reviews
    • Employees should create and review their IDPs annually
    • Training workshops should be scheduled on a regular basis
    • Begin implementing job rotation in year 2
  • Project owners:
    • HR should coordinate and oversee the program
    • Department managers can participate in the implementation of job rotation and training workshops
    • Appoint a Mentorship Coordinator to facilitate and manage the program
  • Benefits:

Example 3: Flexible work arrangements

  • Description: The goal of this initiative is to enhance employee engagement by providing flexibility in how and where their work is performed. This supports work-life balance and accommodates individual needs.
  • Initiatives:
  • Time frame
    • Launch a remote work policy in month 2 and then review annually
    • Implement flexible hours in month 3
    • Initiate a pilot program for job sharing in year 2
  • Project owners:
    • HR will be responsible for developing a remote work policy and providing guidance
    • Department managers will need to work with employees to implement flexible hours and job-sharing arrangements
    • The IT department will need to oversee the implementation of any technology necessary for the above.
  • Benefits:
    • Improved work-life balance
    • Increased productivity
    • Attracting new talent
    • Employee satisfaction
    • Cost savings

Conclusion

Implementing an employee engagement action plan is a both strategic and essential for any organization that would like to create a motivated, satisfied, and committed workforce.

To recap, here are the steps needed to create your plan:

  1. The foundation of your plan is an assessment of the current state of employee engagement within the organization. This involves collecting data and feedback.
  2. Next, you need to establish clear, specific, and measurable objectives and goals that align with your organization’s mission and values.
  3. Identify any specific areas that require improvement and then align them with your objectives and address the key drivers of engagement.
  4. Create actionable strategies and initiatives that target your identified areas for improvement. They should be practical with assigned responsibilities and a clear timeline.
  5. Execute the plan and ensure effective communication with all your employees, always maintaining transparency and engagement throughout the process.
  6. Monitor and evaluate the progress of your initiatives and their impact. Then review and assess how well your plan is doing.
  7. Adjust, refine, or add to the action plan based on feedback results. Employee engagement is an evolving process that requires adaptability.

And let’s not forget the benefits of creating an employee engagement action plan:

  • Increased productivity and performance
  • Better retention of talent
  • Your organization is more attractive to new talent
  • A positive work environment

An employee engagement action plan is an investment in your employees, your culture, and the future of your organization.

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