Today we kick off a multi-part blog series on employee engagement. This is a topic that is certainly near the top of the list when it comes to leadership priorities for the workforce and an area that we look at closely with our clients here at Smart HR. Over the next few weeks we’ll tackle these strategic topics within employee engagement:
- How Engaged are Your Employees? Take the Pulse
- Employee Surveys 101: Do it Right
- Who’s in Charge of Employee Engagement? Driving the Train
- Will Your Engagement Strategy Work? 5 Questions to Ask
- A La Carte Idea for Employee Engagement: Tips, Tricks and Ideas
Before we get too far along however, it’s important to lock our focus on the end goal. What is it we’re ultimately trying to accomplish, or, to ask it another way, what is the problem we’re trying to solve? Let’s not overcomplicate the goal. The end game is to have employees at your organization that are “engaged,” aka enthusiastic, committed, positive, growing, challenged, and reaching their potential. While these concepts can appear abstract or lofty, there are a series of questions leaders can ask to get the ball rolling:
- Regardless of actual engagement level, is there a strategy in place?
- Is the level of engagement accidental or in direct response to specific initiatives?
- What’s the tone of conversation around the office? Stressed? Excited? Indifferent?
- Is there clarity of mission, productivity, and respect for peers?
- What do people say about their relationships with management?
- Do your employees watch their clocks closely?
- To what degree do employees have freedom in their work styles?
- Are there scathing online reviews of your company or negative social media chatter?
- Are there perceptions of mistrust within your company? Explicit or through behaviors?
- Are there clear pockets of employee-driven innovation?
- Do employees feel like they have real ownership?
These are the kinds of questions to ask when it comes to exploring different areas of engagement. Here’s the straight story however: For all of the assessment and analysis above, if employees aren’t engaged, you just know it, although some of the specifics may be a bit foggy. If your employees are disengaged and disconnected, it will be obvious to anyone and you’ll feel it in the air. Yet even if your organization enjoys a positive work environment and culture, engagement is something you can’t put on autopilot, especially as today’s workplaces shift and change so rapidly.
So how can an organization get a reliable read on the level of employee engagement and areas where they could improve? A great place to start is with a well-crafted employee survey.
In part 2 of this series on engagement we’ll take a strategic look at employee surveys and talk about what it takes to implement one at your organization. The results can be surprising, shocking, or reassuring but the point is this: It’s a tremendous benefit to obtain feedback straight from your employees and a survey is a great tool to accomplish this.