Engagement, It Starts at the Top

June 1, 2016 Brooklyn White

In most corporations, senior leaders are the visible face of the organization. But, that isn’t always the case for members at health and wellness associations. Many times the only contact members of those facilities have is with front-line and wellness staff. That’s why it is vital that senior leaders take the time to define and champion the engagement strategy throughout the organization.

Senior leaders and board members are charged with setting the strategic direction and cultural goals for most associations to steer non-profits in the right direction and achieve their vision. We’ve all heard that positive attitudes and actions are contagious and can build a culture of engagement that involves and inspires all employees. According to Dan Dummermuth, CEO at the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, “I think a lot of it is the sheer volume of people coming through our doors. What happens a lot of time on the engagement side of things is the capacity of the staff is tested. We already ask staff to do so much, and taking a systematic approach to engaging members is one more thing. So as leaders we have to take a hard look at that. If engagement is going to be a priority, if we really want to help people–and grow revenue by adding members and stem attrition by keeping members– we have to make engaging them a priority. Sometimes we may have people in the wrong roles, or lack adequate training to make engagement successful. So that’s something to evaluate too.”

3 Ways to Measure Staff Engagement

  1. Anonymous surveys – Be sure to stress that employees should be open with their feedback to allow real change to take place
  2. Team Huddles – Organizations with successful engagement strategies often huddles each day to share what was successful and what was not so successful with member engagement. This is also a great way for staff to keep an open line of communication with their team leads
  3. Be present – If leaders make a point to be visible and approachable it sets a tone for the whole organization. Making culture a focus is easier when senior leaders can be seen by everyone in the organization

Senior leaders are responsible for setting the tone for the organization and defining appropriate goals. Setting the tone for all interactions with all levels of staff helps set the tone with how your staff will engage with your members.

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Engagement Insights Report 2015
Engagement Insights Report 2015

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Customer Story: YMCA of South Hampton Roads
Customer Story: YMCA of South Hampton Roads