The Importance of Properly Measuring Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is a very critical overall indicator of the health of your workforce. Employees who are engaged will be more productive, satisfied, perform better, and are much less likely to quit. In the past, engagement has been associated with morale or job satisfaction. Higher levels of engagement tend to mean that employees feel more satisfied with their job, which in turn leads to better productivity and performance. But typically speaking, traditional engagement surveys don’t actually accurately reflect employees’ honest engagement levels. There are tools that can be implemented in today’s workplaces that indicate a more accurate reflection of how well employees are thriving within their work environment. But there are a few critical factors that need to be included in an engagement survey to ensure that an accurate measurement is achieved.
Engagement surveys should cover important topics such as psychological safety, strengths, intrinsic motivation, and performance. Determining where your employees lie in each of these areas will allow you to have a thorough understanding of engaged your employees really are. Of course, having a core understanding of overall engagement levels is what allows leaders to determine a proactive approach to helping employees improve in areas where they may be struggling. Additionally, knowing how engaged your workforce is as a whole is a good indicator of the state of your culture and how you might work to improve it. Below are some measurements of engagement that should be carefully considered and included in engagement surveys.
How safe your employees feel at work is critical, but many people think of physical or emotional safety rather than psychological safety, which is just as important. Psychological safety refers to the belief that a person can take interpersonal risks without fear of harm. While it may seem like a bit of an “out of the box” thing to measure on a survey, it’s actually entirely relevant to engagement and, thus, very important. In addition to enabling teams to improve performance, psychological safety has been shown to enhance learning, individual employee performance, engagement, and job satisfaction. Company cultures that put a focus on achieving high psychological safety give employees the freedom to express ideas, ask for feedback, and admit mistakes without fear of reprisal. These are all essential overarching components of engagement. Employees who feel psychologically safe, heard, and as though they matter will likely be much more engaged overall.
Each and every one of your employees have different strengths that should be recognized and leveraged within the work force. If employees feel like their strengths are recognized and, even better, catered to and used beneficially, they’re much more likely to remain engaged. Understanding your employees’ strengths and leveraging those natural abilities can motivate them to do their best. A role tailored to an employee’s strengths can boost engagement and productivity.
However, while strengths are critical, you may find that very few of your employees are actually able to determine their own strengths. This can be problematic, so as a leader, you should take the time to work on this with each employee individually. After all, employees must know their strengths in order to improve them and use them within the realms of their jobs.
External motivation can only do so much for bolstering employee satisfaction, performance, and engagement. Intrinsic motivation is what really matters, and it’s what will keep employees engaged in the long run. Intrinsic motivation refers to a type of motivation that’s more deep and personal. It’s one that comes from within rather than an external source such as a reward or raise. A rewarding and interesting job is the source of true motivation, so employees need to feel intrinsically motivated in order to be as engaged as possible. What’s more, performance is more likely to improve when employees are intrinsically motivated.
One of the best ways to ensure intrinsic motivation is to take the time to learn about what empowers, drives, and inspires your employees. Find out what matters to them, and then align that with the purpose of your company. If employees can see how their job fits in with what they believe and what’s important to them, they’re much more likely to remain satisfied, productive, and engaged.
Inclusion and Culture
Feeling part of a company and its culture is another aspect of engagement that should not be overlooked. Employees who are included and feel part of the team and overall work environment are going to be significantly more motivated to work hard and be productive. Employees who are isolated, feel left out, or lack connections with other employees or leaders will quickly become unengaged and uninterested. Work to make sure each of your employees feels included and part of the team in order to get the best engagement results possible. Furthermore, good company culture is absolutely critical in keeping employees feeling happy and thus more engaged. Poor culture is very disengaging and discouraging for employees. It creates a work environment that does not foster or support high levels of engagement and job satisfaction.
Employee engagement runs much deeper than many organizations realize that it does. A simple, old-fashioned engagement survey will only give you the most basic idea of overall levels of engagement. Such a survey really gives you no insight into the more complex aspects of engagement that you need to understand in order to improve. Remember, properly measuring engagement is critical. You need to know how your employees feel about their jobs and how to keep them engaged in the long run in order to be successful. Engaged employees will be more productive, perform better, be more satisfied, and will also be less likely to quit, leading to much lower turnover rates. Engagement is important, never overlook the importance of measuring it properly.