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Questions and Answers with an Employee Engagement Guru

Monday January 25th, 2021

Estimated time to read: 4 minutes, 15 seconds

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After a year of disruption for much of the workforce, employee engagement is taking new precedence in 2021 as employers try to keep their workforce connected during a time of social distancing.

Employers, however, aren’t the only ones focusing on engagement. Employees are also prioritizing their experience at work, with the majority of respondents in isolved’s 2021 HR Trends survey identifying employee engagement as the top area of improvement at their workplace. 

Internally at isolved, our team uses our own technology to stay engaged and collaborate. In addition, we have a team member dedicated to overseeing and improving the employee experience. In the Q&A below, isolved Employee Engagement Manager Dustin Stipanovich shares his insight on the impact employee engagement has on an enterprise:

1. What does your role as Employee Engagement Manager entail?

Every day I am focused on what makes employees wake up in the morning and get excited about going to work. This can be a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts, continuous learning, employee recognition or feedback. It’s also important for me to build relationships and trust throughout the organization so employees know that their voice is being heard when they provide feedback, or discuss their needs and wants. 

2.What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?

One of the biggest challenges as an employee engagement manager is really understanding the needs of over 1,000 employees and making sure employees don’t feel unheard. To make a true inclusive working environment, it not only takes time, but it also takes building high trust relationships with employees so you can more fully understand their needs. Every employee is motivated by different things and it’s important to understand those needs.  

3. What is the most rewarding part about your role?

Nothing is better than when your employees know that they have an advocate standing behind them in support. This can be anything from an employee reaching out to one of our DE&I groups for real life advice and struggles, to creating a culture of empowered employees that feel encouraged and enabled to grow with our company. People are unique and strange and amazing creatures, all with their own unique personality and take on their own reality. Positively contributing to their employee experience is just one way I can help improve a persons’ overall well-being, and knowing that, is worth it.  

4. Why is employee engagement important and how has the pandemic impacted the need for companies to prioritize employee engagement?

Now more than ever we have seen increased risk for employees to struggle with mental health issues. As the employee engagement manager, it’s my duty to provide outlets for employees. Work needs to be a safe place and there needs to be an awareness on how mental health may impact working experience. It’s an enhanced focus on one's personal well-being that is extraordinary change. Wellness programs that focus on mental health are important tools that employees need and want more than ever, such as virtual yoga and meditation classes, can be beneficial when offered. 

5. How can technology be used to foster engagement with a remote workforce?

Over the past year, company culture and engagement has evolved a lot. Our DE&I groups have leveraged isolved’s Share & Perform platform to keep employees connected. Our teams have also created virtual platforms, like panel and open discussions, for our employees to engage and let their voices be heard. Technology has made it possible for these initiatives to continue despite not having these committees together in an office or a meeting room.

6. Why is it important for companies to create positions that are dedicated to bolstering employee engagement initiatives?

One of the reasons I was drawn to this company/position, was knowing they invest in a dedicated leader to focus on employee engagement. Employee engagement encompasses a variety of key elements that are extremely important to all employees. No matter if it’s continuous learning, DE&I, wellness, or overall employee experience, it matters. 

7. What should businesses look for in candidates when hiring an employee engagement manager?

One word “PASSION.” Passion for positive change, passion for people, passion for education, passion for growth, passion for enablement.

The employee engagement manager needs to have a passion for making positive change no matter what they are trying to accomplish. They also need to be able to keep that passion even when things are not going their way, or they feel that the positive change is a slow process. 

8. How do you come up with new ideas to engage employees?

We get a baseline of new ideas from our employee engagement and pulse surveys that we roll our quarterly. This helps us understand different goals in each department and how we can help from an employee engagement standpoint. Additionally, meeting with executive staff and key department stakeholders helps us understand what team members are talking about and requesting. Our employees are the number one priority and the ideas should come from them.

9. What should businesses know about the impact employee engagement can have on a brand?

When you invest in your people first as your main priority, you will have a significant impact on your brand as well. Employee engagement increases your brand by building internal advocates for your company and highlighting key initiatives focused on people. 

10. How do you measure success for employee engagement initiatives?

I think some of the most important things to look at is our employee engagement survey results and if they are trending in a positive way. As well as having our retention rate improved from key initiatives and areas of focus. 

It also isn’t a surprise that happier employees perform better and make customers happier. Employee engagement should be at the forefront for each goal and objective for all departments. Happy employees make happy customers and happy customers make an incredible business.

11. Why is it important to leverage technology to support employee engagement initiatives?

Technology helps us obtain feedback and create conversations. With isolved’s Share & Perform, we have tons of ways to do that. We can use our survey function and suggestion box, which helps us collect feedback throughout the organization. The platform’s group functionality also allows our employees to collaborate and provides a safe place where they can have open dialogue, share best practices and ideas. Having a digital space where employees can post and share has been awesome. It has allowed our team to run contests and get to know each other during a time of social distancing.  

12. What advice would you give to an HR team looking to boost engagement within their organization?

I would say that action must be the number one goal for them. Surveys, conversations and feedback sessions will only take the employee engagement so far. If employees feel that every time those conversations happen it fades away, they will stop sharing their opinions and that will make for disengaged employees. Even if it is one step or one goal at a time, make sure you always follow up with those key action items. 

Find out how isolved can help your organization transform its employee experience by requesting a demo of our Share & Perform solution now.