Can you recognize employee engagement when you see it? It’s not always clear what the difference between an engaged, motivated, or satisfied employee is. Conversely, a disengaged, unmotivated, or dissatisfied employee can be even harder to spot.
Where to find an engaged employee?
A satisfied employee is content doing their work and finds that the days pass by amicably. A motivated employee finds either intrinsic or extrinsic reasons to do the job and they work hard at it. Strangely, both of these types of workers are likely to jump ship when a better offer comes along because they don’t connect to the company. An engaged employee is more likely to stay.
A company can spot an engaged employee when they appear invested in the values, success, and evolution of the company. They don’t work for praise, promotions, or pay rises, though they are byproducts of their commitment and hard work. They want a long and healthy career in this business.
If a business can successfully engage the workforce, that can go far towards guaranteeing business success. Along the way, they need to measure their efforts. Here are some methods for doing exactly that.
Reliable methods for measuring employee engagement
All Together Now: Diversity & Inclusion
Creating a welcoming, inclusive, and friendly company culture is half of the battle in creating engaged employees. Nobody wants to come to a toxic workplace. Nobody.
Introducing diversity quotas helps to create a mixed bag of talented and interesting individuals who can bring a lot to the team. More importantly to you from a business perspective, it’s been found that the most diverse teams are also the most robust in the face of a challenge.
Gender, ethnicity, seniority, and disability are areas that you should begin collecting data on. Once compiled, you should cross-reference that diversity and inclusion data against salary amounts to maintain pay equity.
We’ll talk further about surveys later in this article, but it’s worth mentioning now that inclusion surveys will be more and more popular in 2022. Businesses will be able to run them as frequently as they like in order to track inclusion progress.
No Shows: Absenteeism and Turnover Data
Engaged employees show up, not just physically, but with their efforts, and continually, whenever they are called upon.
- Absentee rate data will give you a good indication of how much your employees want to be at work. Remember to exclude legitimate health events
- Turnover rate data will show you how many employees failed to continue engaging themselves
Of the two data sets, absenteeism is far more important to track, monitor, and try to actively resolve. Turnover rates, on the other hand, only give us information about something that has already happened, and so whilst it’s less actionable, it can be useful as a benchmark figure.
A healthy turnover rate is less than 10% per year, which gives room for those who don’t want to be there to leave, and for those who don’t fit the company’s vision and growth to be asked to leave. Change is inevitable, but too much change and instability can have dangerous knock-on effects and result in inefficient departments.
In fact, the reverse is also true, that the inefficient or inhospitable departments can be the ones that are responsible for the employee turnover. If a disproportionate amount of people leave a specific department, it’s important to get to the root of the problem. There could be managers creating a difficult working environment and who need to start being the solution, rather than the problem.
A proactive way to track absenteeism is to ask the right questions during the hiring phase and learn what motivates individuals. If someone is regularly absent, it may be the case that these motivations are not being met. Alternatively, they might be turning up every day and not doing very much!
Absenteeism in a hybrid workplace
The workplace has changed, in that for many businesses there is no longer a ‘place’. It’s more of a network, a community, or a connected entity. No more commutes, no more watercooler chats, and no more bosses hanging over your shoulder.
Flexible work arrangements typically result in higher levels of job satisfaction, motivation, and engagement. Those positive results also reveal reduced absences and job turnover. Some argue, however, that it’s hard to be absent from a remote working job when you’re already at home.
Here are some other reasons why absences are reduced:
- Less exposure to sick coworkers
- Fewer environmental and occupational hazards
- Can work from home when feeling unwell
- Quicker recovery/return-to-work rates after sickness, surgery, or parenthood
- More flexibility to handle personal life
- Fewer mental health days due to increased happiness
Whilst no data exists yet, some speculate that absenteeism is about one-third less in a hybrid workplace, resulting in thousands of dollars in savings each month.
Just Ask Them! Surveys and Meetings
Sometimes honesty is the best policy, especially when it can mean the difference between success and failure. This is why employee engagement surveys are an important tool when leveraged correctly to glean insights into what employees really think of the company.
How to perform a useful employee survey:
- Send it out regularly
- Include a mixture of open and closed questions
- Promote the concept of continuous feedback
- Ask about discrepancies between expectations and reality
- Ask about their work/life balance
- Ask about how the company supports their career progression
- Ask about how valued they feel
- Ask what the organisation could do better?
- Make it confidential so that participants will be honest without fearing a reprise
Once you have those results, don’t just sit on them. Be transparent about how you plan to use them to improve employee experience and engagement.
If you think that going directly to the answers will provide better results, try the one-on-one approach. Schedule engagement meetings one employee at a time, either in person or online. In fact, online settings are likely to make the participant more comfortable and safe, very poignant for your feedback environment.
Go over key points using positive language. Never ask ‘what things are the organization terrible at?’, instead, ask ‘what aspects of your work experience need the most improvement?’. Ask about positives and areas for improvements, instead of failures and negatives. Ultimately you want the member of staff to feel that they are part of progress towards a better future, and using negative language might alienate them from that idea.
Why Bother? The value in measuring employee engagement
If your boss or manager takes the time to learn about your problems, your concerns, and your views on what can be improved – it welcomes you into the process. There’s value in that alone, and it says a lot about the company culture (as long as they’re taking action on your comments). Once the company starts representing your values and wishes, you are more likely to recommend it, champion the cause, and become a supporter of the mission.
Without realising it, you’d have become engaged.