Employee engagement used to be just a buzz phrase, a panacea for all the maladies and ills of the corporate world. If you are not meeting your targets, then you do not have an engaged workforce. To succeed in business, you need engaged employees who will bring high levels of productivity and quality which leads to high customer satisfaction, improved sales and increased profits. Therefore, you need to engage your employees at work. But before you can do so, you must first understand what employee engagement is.
A lot of managers take employee engagement synonymously with employee satisfaction and employee happiness. While there are some similarities between these phrases, there is a thin line that distinguishes employee engagement from employee satisfaction and happiness.
A satisfied employee is just that – satisfied. He is okay about reporting to work at 9am and clocking out at five, but he might not be counted on for exerting extra effort to finish a task outside of work hours. He is satisfied at work right now, but satisfaction does not guarantee that he will not turn in his resignation as soon as he sees a better offer elsewhere. In a similar way, a happy employee can just be happy at work – maybe he has a lot of fun with his colleagues, or he likes the benefits he gets, but this does not mean he would go the extra mile to finish a deliverable.
An engaged employee, on the other hand, is not just happy and satisfied; he is also committed to his work and cares about the company. He does not just work for the pay or show up at work because he likes the friends he has made there. He goes to work every day because he believes in the company, and is committed to help the organization reach its goals.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
Of course you want your business to succeed, which is why you go to great lengths to ensure that you have a happy and engaged workforce. But how do you know that your employees are happy and engaged? What can you do to measure employee engagement? Again, most managers err by making employees take employee satisfaction surveys about benefits, management and overall job satisfaction. While these factors are important, they do not really show how engaged employees are.
According to Gallup, more than the pay and the other benefits, employees look at what is expected of him, what value he brings to the company and how the company would help him further his growth. Generally, employees look for a clear company vision, a sense of purpose and great relationships at work.
Learning from Your Employees
Companies like yours can benefit from observing employee behaviors. Harvard Business Review offers the following tips on how to measure employee engagement:
- Analyzing the extra time employees spend working. Are your employees working extra hours or are they out the door as soon as the clock strikes five? This is an indication that employees are exerting extra effort.
- Observing the connections employees make outside of their respective departments. If your workers have been networking outside of their immediate teams, you can safely say that they are engaged at work.
- Looking at employees’ participation in ad-hoc activities and initiatives. High involvement in these little initiatives also indicate that your employees are engaged; on the other hand, participation only in high-level and recurring initiatives shows that your employees have low engagement.
However, you cannot directly observe all your employees to measure their level of engagement. Fortunately, you can measure employee engagement by designing questionnaires revolving around Gallup Q12 index composed of the following items:
- I know what is expected of me at work.
- At work, my opinions seem to count.
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
- The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
- At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
Your customized questionnaires can then be loaded onto the DeskAlerts Survey Tool, which you can use to gain insights into your employees’ engagement levels. Fully customizable, the survey tool can be used to make surveys with multiple answers, open-ended questions, and even conditional and situational questions.
By using the DeskAlerts survey tool, yu can gain the feedback you need from your employees, so you can make changes and improvements that will not only increase employee engagement and buy-in, but also improve productivity, efficiency, customer service and profits.