An action plan helps you take a strategic approach to addressing employee engagement issues in your organization and improving the employee experience. In this article, we walk you through how to create an effective action plan for employee engagement. We also share employee engagement action plan examples and a free template to get you started.
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Developing an action plan for employee engagement is the best way to create a supportive, inclusive workplace where your employees feel valued and motivated to do their best.
But preparing an action plan can feel daunting, especially when it comes to setting measurable goals, choosing the right initiatives, and ensuring it’s sustainable for your business.
To help you out, in this article, we explain how to create an effective engagement action plan, including using employee engagement surveys to gain deep actionable insights.
We’ve also included a handy template to help you create your action plan today.
- An employee engagement action plan is a roadmap detailing how your organization will address issues affecting engagement levels.
- It sets out your goals, the specific actions you intend to take, the person or team responsible for them, and timeframes for measurement and completion.
- There are 6 steps to creating an employee engagement plan. These include reviewing your employee engagement surveys, putting your plan in writing, and communicating it to your employees.
- A template is an easy way to start preparing your action plan for employee engagement.
What Is an Employee Engagement Action Plan?
An employee engagement action plan sets out the steps an organization will take to improve employee engagement. It typically addresses issues revealed by results of annual employee engagement surveys or otherwise identified by management staff. These may include complacency in the workplace, excessive absenteeism, or a general sense of disengagement among employees.
Businesses use engagement action plans to identify employee engagement issues, prioritize them, and detail strategies and actions to implement at the organizational, management, and employee level to address the problems.
HR departments or managers are typically responsible for developing an employee action plan, though they work closely with management to do so.
Why Create an Employee Engagement Plan?
To improve employee engagement
When done successfully, implementing an engagement plan will, of course, increase employee engagement in your organization. By taking a strategic approach, you can identify underlying issues affecting engagement and take proactive steps to address them.
Improving engagement levels in your organization offers many benefits to your employees and your business. Engaged employees are more loyal and likely to stay longer-term, reducing costly employee turnover.
Boosting employee engagement also contributes to a positive work environment, improving morale and the well-being of your employees. It helps create an atmosphere of collaboration and inclusion where employees feel supported to do their best.
🧠 Did You Know?
According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report 2022, only 21% of employees are engaged at work, costing the US economy a staggering $7.8 trillion a year. This is one of the many reasons why employee engagement should be a priority for every business.
To attract top talent
Developing an action plan demonstrates that your organization prioritizes employee engagement. Companies that do this generally have a more positive work environment, better career development opportunities, and a culture of recognition—all factors top talent look for when considering a new employer.
Engaged employees are also more likely to speak positively about your organization. Not only does this help build your brand generally but it also helps attract the best talent.
To measure the effectiveness of engagement strategies
An action plan acts as a roadmap to implementing engagement strategies. It sets out key milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) and provides for regular employee feedback, analysis, and reporting.
These features help you gauge the effectiveness of your approach to employee engagement. and identify which actions make the biggest impact. They also highlight measures that aren’t working so you can amend your action plan.
This ensures you are getting a good return on the time and money you’re investing in employee engagement.
How to Create and Implement an Employee Engagement Plan
Identify your goals
Before diving into the details of your engagement action plan, it’s useful to understand its broader context. To do this, you need to identify the goals of the plan—what do you want to achieve when it comes to employee engagement in your organization?
Identifying these goals helps guide the scope of your action plan and the strategies you choose. It also helps you later measure whether or not your plan is working.
If the executive level of the organization isn’t involved in the action plan, it should be involved in the discussion about the plan’s goals. This ensures the engagement action plan aligns with your organization’s broader objectives.
The goals for your action plan depend on the nature of your business, the current level of employee engagement, and your engagement priorities.
Examples of some engagement-related goals include:
- Increasing employee retention by 15%
- Boosting employee morale so that during the next engagement survey, the majority of respondents indicate they are “happy” or “very happy” at work
- Reducing absenteeism by 10%
💡 Pro Tip:
When setting goals, use the SMART method. Make sure each goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. By considering each of these factors, you’re more likely to succeed at reaching your goals.
Review your employee engagement surveys
Next, closely review your most recent employee engagement surveys. These surveys are useful for gauging the current level of engagement in your organization and identifying what strategies are and aren’t working.
When reviewing these surveys, look for common themes or recurring issues your employees raise. For example, employees may report feeling overwhelmed by their workloads, burnt out, or unsupported by their managers. They might indicate a desire for more training and development opportunities or more autonomy when working on their projects.
Once you’ve identified the issues, rank them in order of priority. To do this, ask questions like:
- What are the most common issues that come up in engagement surveys?
- What issues can be addressed to make the biggest impact on engagement?
- What changes are easiest to make that will have a significant impact on engagement?
This will help you isolate 2 to 3 main issues to focus your engagement action plan on.
🧠 Did You Know?
Connecteam is the best all-in-one employee management software solution that gives business owners and managers powerful communication and HR tools to keep their non-desk workforce connected and engaged right from their mobile phones.
Identify actions that will improve employee engagement
After selecting the main issues or themes of your engagement action plan, identify the specific actions and initiatives you will use to address them.
One way to do this is to set up a focus group for each theme. Each group then brainstorms all the possible ways to address their assigned issue. This is a good way to quickly generate a large number of ideas.
It also helps to refer back to your employee engagement surveys. They may contain suggestions for improving engagement different from those that HR or management come up with. Your surveys also give you insights into what approaches already work well that you could build on in your action plan.
Once you have a long list of all the potential actions you could take, review them and choose the ones that best address the key issues or themes of your action plan.
When selecting an initiative, it helps to ask the following questions:
- Why has this particular issue come up, or why does our business struggle with this aspect of engagement?
- What hasn’t worked in the past when trying to address this issue?
- How do we want this issue/aspect of engagement to look in the future?
- What methods best address the issue to reach this goal?
Employee engagement action plan examples
The actions in your engagement action plan need to directly address the employee engagement issues in your organization.
For example, if employees identify a lack of work-life balance as an issue, you may decide to:
- Introduce a 4-day workweek
- Review your leave policy to see if you can increase leave entitlements
- Set up one-on-one meetings between managers and employees to discuss workload issues and potential solutions
If employees say they feel underappreciated, you might:
- Implement a rewards and recognition program
- Create an employee feedback system or digital suggestion box so employees can see that their opinions are heard and valued
- Schedule a team lunch to thank your employees for their hard work
If employees express a desire for more training and development opportunities, you could:
- Conduct a training and development survey to identify specific skills gaps to address through an employee training program
- Provide employees with annual access to career guidance
- Set up a mentoring program between junior and senior employees
If employees complain about a lack of transparency within the organization, you may want to:
- Review your internal communication policy to identify and update what isn’t working
- Ensure all company policies and procedures are available via your company intranet, digital knowledge base, and/or employee handbook
- Use an employee chat app to improve internal communication
📚 This Might Interest You:
Looking for more employee engagement strategies? Check out our article on 10 strategies that actually work.
Write down the plan
An engagement action plan should be written down to ensure everyone in the organization works from a final, centralized version.
When writing your plan, explain the steps that will be taken to address the main engagement issues as well as:
- Who (or which department) is responsible for each action
- The timeframe or deadline for the action
- The dates of any progress reviews
- How progress will be measured
Setting out these details encourages accountability and ensures employees follow through on these actions.
To help you get started on your action plan for employee engagement, we’ve created a free, easy-to-use template.
Communicate the plan to your employees
Engagement action plans involve everyone in an organization, from the executive level to individual employees. It’s important to make the plan easily accessible so that everyone in your organization has access to it.
Store your finalized action plan in a central place—such as your intranet or employee handbook—and keep employees updated on any developments around it.
Sharing the details of your action plan shows that you are prepared to be held accountable for it. This encourages transparency in your organization.
Employees are also more likely to support the plan if they understand the process, their responsibilities, and how these actions benefit them.
Measure the effectiveness of your plan
Once you implement your plan, you need to be able to measure it to see whether it’s working.
In addition to regular progress reports to ensure specific tasks are being completed, you should conduct semi-annual or annual reviews to see if the goals of the plan are being met.
The best way to do this depends on your original goals. For example, if your goal was to increase employee retention by 15%, you can calculate the current retention rate at your company and compare it with your previous rate.
Another good way to gauge whether your action plan is working is to send out pulse surveys to your employees. These are quick surveys on specific issues and are a good tool to use throughout the year, rather than waiting to conduct your annual employee engagement survey.
Your annual employee engagement surveys will also offer insights into whether engagement has improved in your organization.
If your comparisons or employee feedback suggests that your action plan isn’t working, you need to review it and make changes to it. An action plan shouldn’t be a static document. It should evolve as needed to help you meet your employee engagement goals.
Action Plans Are a Tool for Change
An action plan helps you identify and address any employee engagement issues in your organization. It enables you to take a strategic approach to engagement—setting out the specific actions to take, who’s responsible for them, and key milestones to hit.
Employee engagement surveys are an important part of developing an action plan. Using an all-in-one app like Connecteam is a great way to conduct these surveys and gain meaningful insights into engagement levels and what is—or isn’t working—for your employees.
By following the steps we’ve outlined above, you can create a detailed action plan that is a powerful tool for change in your organization.
What should be included in your employee engagement plan?
Your employee engagement plan should identify the main engagement issues in your organization and initiatives to address them. For each initiative, you should identify who’s responsible for it, its timeframe, and its measure of success.
What are the strongest indicators of employee engagement?
Employee engagement will look different at every company. In general, though, engaged workers are productive, communicative, on time, rarely absent (without warning), committed to the company’s goals and mission, and willing to collaborate with others.
Useful metrics to gauge employee engagement include employee net promoter score (eNPS), retention rate, turnover rate, and internal promotion rate. Employee engagement surveys are also a useful tool for measuring general levels of employee engagement.