The better question might be, "Do you know how to measure employee engagement?" Too many business owners and managers try to gauge employee engagement by walking the halls and making judgments about what they see. But monitoring water cooler activity or the number of cars in the parking lot after 5 p.m. or how long employees are taking for lunch doesn’t always cut it.
I think the answer is part psychology, part productivity. First, you must understand what makes your employees tick and the type of work environment that keeps their head in the game.
What does “everyone humming along, feeling like their work matters” employee engagement look like? The Gallup Organization’s Q12, a 12-question survey that identifies strong feelings of employee engagement, can help you peel back the layers.
Consider how your direct reports, your team, your department might answer these questions:
• Do you know what is expected of you at work?
• Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your work right?
• At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
• In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
• Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
• Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
• At work, do your opinions seem to count?
• Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
• Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
• Do you have a best friend at work?
• In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
• In the last year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
A negative response to any of these questions could reveal gaps – and of course, opportunities for improvement - in the areas of training and development, performance management and motivation and recognition. What deserves more attention from your managers and leaders to turn these negatives into positives?
After psychology, there’s the matter of productivity. Assuming employee engagement means more is getting done, you need a way to measure that output. Businesses small and large are well-served by systems that allow them to evaluate real-time productivity and key business performance analytics. This type of information can provide a much clearer snapshot of employee engagement and performance than laps through the building to see who has his nose to the grindstone and who is lingering too long at the coffee machine.
Again, having the ability to review division, department and employee performance data helps HR managers and company leaders identify areas of strength and weakness. Top performers are easier to identify (and ideally, be recognized and rewarded) and weaker employees can be given a chance to improve.