5 ways your C-suite can boost employee engagement

By Scott Orwig, Senior Manager

There's good news in a recent report by Advisory Board's Survey Solutions team.

According to their surveys of more than 1,000 health care organizations, staff engagement increased from 41.1% in 2013 to 43.2% in 2016, while disengagement declined from 5.5% to 4.7% in the same timeframe.

Yet a closer look at the data shows an interesting trend: While engagement is up for frontline staff (by 2.7 percentage points) since 2013, it's actually down 1.6 percentage points for managers and directors.

Fortunately, there are several best practices organizations can follow to boost engagement for these leaders.

Read on to learn five ways to engage executives in driving employee engagement. Then, join us for a webconference on Wednesday, Nov. 15, where members of the Survey Solutions team will share additional findings from their latest employee engagement survey and how some organizations are rethinking their approach to improving engagement.

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How to instill executive ownership of engagement

Advisory Board Survey Solutions' Sarah Rothenberger told the Daily Briefing that two crucial drivers of both frontline and leader engagement are that these staff:

  • Feel their ideas and suggestions are valued; and
  • Have clear and transparent communication from C-suite executives.

While this may seem like a daunting challenge to tackle for many organizations, small changes to current initiatives can make a big difference.

Executives can improve performance in these areas by making the most of the limited opportunities they have to interact directly with staff, Rothenberger says. She provided five examples from high-performing organizations that allow executives to play a greater role in employee engagement without placing significant burden on their time.

  • Option 1: Executive rounding. Executives round on staff and leaders and ask a targeted set of engagement-related questions. The goal is for staff to see executives as approachable and for executives to proactively surface staff concerns.

  • Option 2: Mobile town halls. Executives host 30-minute town halls for individual units each quarter. The same town hall is hosted for each department, so executives do not need to reinvent the wheel each time. These shorter sessions allow for informal, small-group discussions with an executive about the organization's performance and top priorities.

  • Option 3: Executive-led leader onboarding. Executives teach classes during new leader training and onboarding. The goal is for new leaders to meet executives early in their careers, as well as to demonstrate the importance of their role in the organization.

  • Option 4: Branded informal conversations with executives. Executives host regular “branded” events (like “Bagels with Barb”). The goal is for executives to connect with employees on a personal level and surface concerns and questions.

  • Option 5: Executive blog. Executive team co-authors a blog with the goal of helping staff get to know executives and their priorities.

For more on these strategies, download our research report, "The Data-Driven Prescription for Leader Engagement." Then, join us for a webconference on Wednesday, Nov. 15, to learn more about Advisory Board's engagement survey data and learn how some organizations are rethinking their approach to improving engagement.

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