Employee engagement is getting up in the morning thinking, “Great, I’m going to work. I know what I’m going to do today. I’ve got some great ideas about how to do it really well. I’m looking forward to seeing the team and helping them work well today.” Engage for Success.
We all know that we should be making a real effort to “engage our employees.”
Happy workers are more productive, positive and passionate. Unhappy workers are more likely to underperform, become toxic and eventually leave.
And there are loads of resources out there to help you achieve a good level of employee engagement.
But how can you tell whether your efforts are actually making a difference?
How exactly can you measure employee “engagement?”
As always, the simplest way to get information is to just ask for it!
Employee surveys (preferably anonymous) are the best indicators of employee engagement and they come with an added benefit; they actually help your employees feel more loved (and engaged)!
Because you’re listening to what they have to say.
How do these employee engagement surveys work?
The most common form of survey used to be the annual review, but not anymore.
More than one-third of US companies have now scrapped them altogether in favour of regular employee engagement assessments, according to the Harvard Business Review.
The trend has now moved towards regular, informal one-on-one sessions, quick pulse surveys and exit interviews that offer brutally honest insights into why an employee is leaving.
So, ditch the old-school, once-in-a-while employee satisfaction surveys and start focusing your energies on something more substantial.
Check out this blog – how to create an employee engagement survey – for some guidance on this.
Can someone do it for you?
There are a few off the shelf programs that’ll do the hard work (creating, implementing and analysing the survey) for you.
These can save you some serious time and help you mix up the format to keep them fresh. They can also benchmark your employee engagement against your specific industry standards.
The best packages include:
Boston Consulting Group – Bespoke pricing.
OfficeVibe – It’s cheaper and costs from just £58 a month for a small business with less than 50 employees through to £257 per month for enterprise level. It also comes with a free trial.
Gallop G12 – It’s the industry standard, but it’s expensive at £11 per employee.
The Gallop G12 software is based on tried and tested questions that Marcus Cunningham and Curtis Hoffman came up with all the way back in 1999.
Cunningham and Hoffman conducted more than 80,000 interviews in more than 400 companies to come up with a list of employee engagement questions that they published in their definitive book:
So, technically you could just pinch them and use them for your own survey:
- Do I know what I have to do at work?
- Do I have the equipment and training I need to do my job?
- At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best?
- In the last week, have I received recognition or praise for producing good work?
- Does my supervisor, or other manager, seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
- Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
- In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
- This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
But if you do it yourself then you wouldn’t benefit from the system’s ability to quantify and analyse answers, comparing them to others in your industry.
Recruiter Pro Tip.
If you don’t want to spend money on these kinds of surveys, you could just be a bit cheeky, pinch the questions above and ask employees to answer them using the Likert Scale:
- Strongly agree.
- Strongly disagree.
Then, attribute a score between 1 and 5 for each answer. You’ll have to use your own preferences to decide what a “good” (or bad) score looks like.
Also, packages like Bridge or Qualtrics can help you to actually run the survey.
What if you want to be clever?
Want to focus on different areas using a bespoke set of questions?
The key is to ask as few questions as possible. Then you can make sure your employees stay engaged with the engagement assessment, which isn’t as ironic as it sounds.
BCG analysed their own survey in 2012 and found that their most fruitful questions were:
- Do the leaders of this organization care about their employees’ wellbeing?
- Am I valued in this organization?
- Do I have confidence in the leadership?
- Is my pay fair for the work I produce?
- Can I trust what the organization tells me?
- Is the work/life balance right?
- Do I have great relationships with my peers?
- Am I satisfied with the personal and professional growth?
So, if you do want to use your own questions, then focus on these areas, stick to the Likert Scale and steer clear of essay answers unless you want to wade through reams of text.
Consistency helps highlight trends.
In an ideal world, you want a consistent set of surveys, including:
- Pulse surveys.
- Exit interviews.
- Regular one-to-ones.
That way you can build up your own library for comparison over time and you can make your own internal database that shows employment engagement trends.
You can measure changes in employment engagement across the company as well as make quick comparisons between departments.
Run these surveys regularly and mix and match the format, to make sure you have covered all the bases.
Follow up with action.
All the employee surveys in the world won’t make a difference if you don’t do anything with them.
Employee feedback has become a running joke in some companies and it’s not hard to see.
Take the feedback seriously. Look for areas to improve, take action and then let your staff know it’s a direct result of their comments.
This will boost engagement on its own and will ensure that they actually look forward to the next survey you send their way.
Employee engagement can make or break your company, so you simply must measure and monitor it.
For many companies, it makes sense to cough up and use an automated service, rather than going it alone and sifting through all of the data.
But if you would prefer to do it your way, then just make sure you stick to these rules:
- Keep it consistent.
- Keep it relevant.
- Ensure it’s short and engaging.
- Be transparent about the outcome.
- Be sure to take action.
If you’d like to receive a weekly update with our latest blog on employee engagement, leadership, recruitment or HR, subscribe to our blog today.