To start you must define employee engagement before you can measure it. It’s an abstract concept with rather a broad definition.
Employee engagement is important if a business is to be successful. For some employers, employee engagement metrics might mean happiness in the job. For others, it could be satisfaction with the workload or the salary. Employee engagement might also be how well an employee responds to the company culture, how productive they are from day to day, or their commitment to their key performance indicators (KPIs).
Of course, when you consider that each person is unique, with their own home life, own family, own burdens, dependants, ambitions, motivations, and fears… all of a sudden a lot more factors could affect employee engagement. What if they’re exhausted when they clock in because of an ongoing family matter? What if their salary no longer satisfies their demands, now that they have a child and a mortgage? Their employee engagement is suffering despite no wrongdoing by you or your business.
As their employer, it’s not your fault that their salary doesn’t meet their demands anymore—their circumstances have changed. However, you’re the person who will face their request for a salary review. You’re the one they’ll hand their resignation letter to if they find a job willing to pay them more money—and you’ll have to decide whether or not to offer them improved terms to keep them in the fold or let them go and expend time and money on hiring and training a replacement.
If their demotivation has led to their productivity falling, your business will suffer.
So, with varying interpretations, and many potentially mitigating factors, how should you measure employee engagement?
Here are three methods you should use.
A prospective candidate can find your company on the internet in a few seconds. They can read reviews of your company—reviews that your customers have written, and just as critically: reviews that your employees have written.
Clarify in both your company’s employee handbook and your intranet (if you have one) that you welcome employee reviews. Set up accounts on websites such as Glassdoor, and invite your staff to review your business. Do the same with social media pages such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and more.
Ask them to be as thorough as possible in their review. You want to know how they feel about their workload, their working conditions, management conduct, their colleagues, opportunities for progression, and more. Of course, advise your employees to keep comments clean of profanity.
Make a point of responding to all reviews. If you receive a negative review, you must respect that one of your employees is expressing concerns for particular reasons. By investigating these reasons, you might find a solution that improves your company and increases that employee’s loyalty and engagement.
Think about incentivizing participation by having a raffle for a luxury item, or reward all employees with something small like a lunch voucher.
An exit interview is a chance to sit down with an employee and end on positive terms before they say their goodbye to your business.
However, since one factor or another has led your employee to resign, it’s worth treating exit interviews in a serious manner. For an employee to want away, it’s likely that their employee engagement was low for some time. It’s an opportunity to learn what you could do better.
Ask questions like:
- What would you change about the business?
- What would you change about your workload or your working conditions?
- Do you believe your salary matched your job?
- What else do you think needs to improve?
You might not like these answers, so you must leave your ego outside. Remember, no business is perfect, and each employee is different.
But the opinions of your employees are critical. The more satisfied they are, the more engaged they are. The more engaged they are, the more productive they are. Then, they bring in more revenue.
It’s your job to respect all reviews and to scrutinize your business—continuously. Your senior management, the salaries you pay, the equipment and software you use, and all other aspects of your business.
Never be satisfied—always be looking at ways your organization can be better tomorrow than it is today.
Of course, there are restrictions—for many the biggest restriction is budget. Be realistic. When you identify a problem, set improvement goals that are within your operating limits.
On a side note, always thank the outgoing staff. Wish them well and offer them a reference.
Employees leaving your business is part of a business’s life cycle, and you can learn about low employee engagement via your outgoing staff.
But many staff choose to stay at your company for another month, and then a year, and so on. Their engagement might rise and fall over their employment, but they’re convinced that working for you remains a wise move for both their career and their wider life.
So, it’s worth conducting stay interviews from time to time. You could do this once a year per employee.
Questions like these will help you measure both their engagement and their reasons for staying:
- What do you find challenging in your role, and how do you tackle these challenges?
- Which parts of your job do you enjoy?
- Name three things about the business that you like.
- What are your career ambitions?
And, ask humble questions, too. You want these staff to stay, after all, so canvas their opinion.
- Do you have any concerns about your job role, or your colleagues, management, clients, etc.?
- Are there any changes or enhancements you feel we need to make to your workstation, equipment, etc.?
- How would you improve your work processes?
- How would you improve the business?
You need to ask sharp questions—you want to get to the rich answers. Don’t conduct these interviews simply to tick a box. By learning why an employee doesn’t leave, and updating your knowledge of their opinions, you can find out the current state of their engagement.
Remind all staff that your door is open. An open door policy illustrates that you’re approachable and it encourages employee-employer transparency. Transparency is essential for a business to succeed.
Communicate With Your Employees
Decisions that you make as an employer can affect employee engagement. And often, the circumstances that force you to make decisions are out of your control. A good boss is adaptable, pragmatic, and attentive.
Increasing an employee’s engagement at work can improve productivity, reduce turnover, and lead to the growth of your business.
Whenever you receive feedback, review it. If you decide to improve the business in some way because of feedback you’d received, thank your employees for their honesty and support.
An employee wants to feel valued, but valuable employees realize that when the business succeeds, they succeed, too.