Nobody likes change, but it’s something sales teams have to deal with every day. Sharlene Dozois of Cision talks about employee engagement ideas that help everyone navigate change.
In this article:
- Why Employee Engagement Matters in Times of Change
- Over-Communication Is the Key
- The Over-Investing Paradox
- Employee Engagement Ideas to Retain Key Players
- Boosting Your Employee Retention Program
- Why Regular Feedback Matters
Employee Engagement Ideas | How to Engage Your Employees in Times of Change
Sharlene Dozois is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Client Experience at Cision. Cision is a Montreal-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company focusing on the communications field.
She has held sales and marketing leadership positions in various companies for the past 15 years. Outside of work, she’s a Marvel franchise aficionado.
Why Employee Engagement Matters in Times of Change
A lot of company growth doesn’t happen by developing products. A lot of times, this growth also happens through mergers and acquisitions.
What is a Merger? A merger happens when two or more business entities join to form a new entity with a different name. All parties during a merger each have a share in control, ownership, and profits.
What is an Acquisition? An acquisition occurs when one company purchases at least 50% of another company’s assets.
Mergers and acquisitions create a lot of change. This, in turn, creates a lot of insecurity within the low and mid-level staff, as oftentimes, they’re not sure where they fit in the company’s goals.
It also creates uncertainty in the product marketing strategy.
Over-Communication Is the Key
When these types of changes happen, there’s no such thing as communicating enough. First things first, you need to have a clear-cut vision of what you want to achieve through this merger or acquisition.
A lot of times, companies jump right into cutting employees without having a clear idea of how it helps the big picture. Being able to communicate that vision is one of the challenging things that helps to stabilize employees.
How frequent this communication also matters. Sometimes, you can’t share all the finer details (due to timing, competitive advantage, etc.), and that’s fine. What’s more important is that all employees need to have a good idea of the direction the company is going and how this impacts day-to-day operations.
If you keep things at too much of a high level, people lose where they fit in the picture. They’ll always ask: What does all this mean to me and my job?
The Over-Investing Paradox
People always talk about cost in times of change, and especially in the context of laying off or keeping employees. Whether it’s a merger, acquisition, or even just launching new products, there’s always an economy of scale.
What is an Economy of Scale? These are cost advantages a company gains from efficiencies in the production line.
One of the things we all know as sales leaders is it’s difficult to hire.
You have to go through the onboarding process and train your new employees first. It takes time to get them up to speed so they’re performing at the level you want them to be.
Sometimes, companies immediately try to cut costs without getting a full picture of its implications.
The key to managing change is to over-invest in certain areas. It’s not just from doing less, but it’s actually from doing things more efficiently.
Think of it this way: would it make sense to lay off employees only to re-hire replacements nine or so months later? In the end, you lose the sense of how much it costs to bring new people on.
It’s so costly to lose good employees, and leaders need to know that.
Sometimes, there are situations where you know it’s definitely out of your control. However, showing the metrics of how much revenue a person can generate over the course of a year can be enough to shift the conversation.
Employee Engagement Ideas to Retain Key Players
When big changes like these happen, you’d want to keep your good employees.
When a change happens, a domino effect starts, and you’ll have more disengaged employees. Some of those people you wanted to stay end up going.
Here are some employee engagement ideas you can use to retain your key people:
- Identify the employees you want to keep and let them know they’re a key player.
- Let them know you appreciate them. Management tends to forget to provide feedback and appreciation.
- Make them feel that you’re going to navigate the change together. Don’t leave them in the dark.
People join companies and leave managers. Do your part in being one for the team and make sure you walk the talk.
Boosting Your Employee Retention Program
You’d need to have a solid employee engagement program even for your best employees. Here are some aspects you can improve on to improve employee engagement and morale:
- Compensation is always a big factor, and there’s no going around it. Make sure the compensation structure aligns with what the company is trying to achieve.
- Invest in training and development. All employees look for opportunities to develop and learn.
- Set regular periods for recognizing employees and getting feedback from them.
When it comes to engaging employees through training, make sure there’s a practical component that employees can apply in their work.
In Cision’s case, they combined online training with a hands-on component conducted by actual users of a particular technology. The employees can then show other people how they applied those concepts.
Why Regular Feedback Matters
Communicate clear objectives right down to the frontline employee. Make sure they understand their role and what you want them to achieve in a particular quarter or year.
Set a regular schedule (usually through your 1-on-1s) and treat that as sacred whenever you can.
In times of big changes, it’s easier said than done, but these feedback periods are so critical in times of change. Your team needs that feedback, and they want to sit with you to discuss it.
These are some employee engagement ideas you can put in place to retain key employees in times of change. With the right management and communication strategies, you can ride the waves and survive.
You can connect with Sharlene Dozois over at LinkedIn if you want to keep in touch with her or to continue the conversation. Refer that you’ve connected through Sales Secrets, and she’d be happy to chat with you.
What employee engagement ideas have you done to retain your best performers? What challenges did you encounter along the way? Share your experiences in the comments section below.