Having employees who love coming to work and are good at their jobs isn’t just a matter of pride. Multiple studies show that businesses with engaged employees are more profitable, they have less turnover and they’re more likely to gain an advantage over their competitors.
Unfortunately, though, many businesses still aren’t at a place where they can effectively track employee engagement at all. They’re either not asking employees whether they’re engaged at work, or if they are, they’re only doing so once or twice a year – not enough to determine any significant patterns or drill down on problem areas.
As businesses know very well, non-engagement leads to resignations, which leads to unnecessary cost and delays. When staff leave, a whole lot of talent and opportunity leaves with them.
So how do you actually measure engagement? What types of questions should you be asking your employees to determine whether they’re actually involved and dedicated to not only their specific roles, but the goals of the company?
What should you be doing?
Although businesses need to make sure they’re measuring engagement on a large scale, the process really starts with individual managers.
Every week, managers and leaders need to know that asking after people in their teams isn’t just an extra bit of work on top of their usual responsibilities, but that activity is actually part of their important work.
Marcus Buckingham, the author and management expert who has spent years on ground-breaking research to determine how employees and leaders can harness their strengths, says this needs to happen frequently – as much as once a week.
In research conducted with Deloitte, Buckingham found that there is a “direct and measurable” correlation between the frequency of these types of conversations, and whether team members are engaged.
It seems simple, but most managers don’t do it – the busyness of work gets in the way. But as soon as you start engaging with team members weekly, they become more willing to disclose problem areas and you can discuss plans to succeed.
Buckingham also says these conversations boil down to two main questions, asked by the employer’s leader:
- What are your priorities right now?
- How can I help?
Just having these conversations creates a space in which employees feel as though their contributions are valued. That’s enough to create engagement on its own.
What else can you do about employee engagement?
At scale, a business implementing these types of policies will see change. But how else can engagement be measured?
Online surveys are a great tool to get regular feedback from your employees. These don’t have to be extensive, but they do have to be distributed regularly. Make sure you question employees regarding their engagement no less than once a month so you can start to see any problems before they occur. Employee engagement is a film not a photograph. It is dynamic and constantly changing.
There are already thousands of businesses using SurveyMonkey to send surveys to their employees in order to measure engagement. They’re taking the first step to making sure their workforce is the best it possibly can be.
But real change starts at the micro level. Start equipping your leaders to have open conversations with employees about how they’re doing, and what they need help with. Even just asking the question will make your employees feel valued – and then, they’re more likely to give their best.
Tony Ward is the Managing Director ANZ, Survey Monkey.