How do you know when your organization is meeting its employee engagement goals? If your management team doesn't have a clear model for measuring the health and success of your work environment, you're likely to overlook factors that drive away talented employees and job seekers. Take these steps to define employee engagement in your organization and foster conditions that improve passion and productivity.
1. Outline Employee Engagement Goals
Everyone in your workforce has different ideas about what it means to be satisfied and motivated at work. Senior managers might think of high productivity as engagement, while employees value professional fulfillment or supportive leadership. In reality, these conditions are all byproducts of a positive work environment, and coming up with a unified definition can get employees, managers and executives on the same page.
Discuss the qualities and behavior engaged employees bring to the table. Are your ideal workers passionate, curious and creative? Do employees put in extra effort to meet company goals? Are engaged employees committed to delivering great service?
2. Get Anonymous Feedback
Send out employee satisfaction surveys to get timely feedback about the company's biggest strengths and weaknesses. Anonymity encourages your workforce to be honest while helping you spot good and bad trends. Employee satisfaction surveys are most effective when you're able to translate data into structured metrics. Use a ratings scale with options such as "strongly disagree" and "mostly agree" to weigh responses from your workforce. An employee engagement scale makes it easier to measure degrees of dissatisfaction, so you know how to prioritize.
3. Ask Qualitative Questions
Andrew Sumitani, head of marketing at TINYpulse, recommends asking qualitative questions to get detailed feedback. Imagine receiving a lot of negative responses to the statement, "I have clearly defined responsibilities and goals for my job." Some employees may believe the company doesn't provide enough training, while others are struggling with a manager who isn't transparent. Newer workers may feel turned off because their job duties don't match their expectations. Similar responses don't always stem from the same issues, so use open-ended prompts to understand the dynamics at play in different workgroups.
4. Hold Follow-Up Conversations
Compile a list of high-priority topics to address in one-on-one discussions. Providing a safe, honest environment for employees to talk about their goals and concerns can reveal what's important to them. Find out what workers value from an employer and negative factors that motivate them to look for jobs elsewhere. In-depth conversations offer opportunities to rebuild relationships with disengaged employees.
5. Create an Engagement Plan
Use the information you collected to outline key environmental and leadership conditions that improve employee engagement. Consistencies in workforce expectations and complaints should provide a framework for policies and leadership behavior that need to change. Work from the top down to develop metrics for achieving these results. For example, if employees feel undervalued, make plans to provide mentoring and career development. Show recognition through low-cost rewards, such as extra vacation days or a feature in the company newsletter.
Employee engagement can rise or fall naturally as an organization faces new challenges or slows innovation. Being proactive and regularly seeking feedback from your workforce is the best way to identify issues before they grow and cause widespread disengagement.
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