Leaders need to better measure engagement in order to ensure it actually aligns with productivity.

12 questions to measure employee engagement

It's hard to talk about the modern workplace without hearing the word 'engagement' at least ten different times. Leaders everywhere have been focused on improving active employee investment throughout their organisations for years, especially after seeing dismal engagement numbers from Gallup.

According to the global performance-management consulting company, only 13 per cent of workers across the world are engaged in their current job. Moreover, 63 per cent of employees consider themselves not engaged and another 24 per cent deemed themselves actively disengaged.

Leaders everywhere are concerned about employee engagement levels. Leaders everywhere are concerned about employee engagement levels.

But what does this mean really? How do we measure the engagement of employees? This is precisely the problem with our engagement-frenzy, according to Microsoft Senior Program Manager Nina Shikaloff and General Manager Ryan Fuller.

While engagement is still important, it is an ambiguous term at best. 

"Depending on how it's measured, engagement could represent job satisfaction, emotional investment in the cause, willingness to invest discretionary effort, or advocating for the company as a good place to work," explain Shikaloff and Fuller in a piece for Harvard Business Review

In a transient workforce and an increasingly competitive talent market, ensuring your team is invested at work is critical.

Prioritise engagement but measure it effectively

Employee engagement is still undoubtedly an important business objective. In a transient workforce and an increasingly competitive talent market, ensuring your team is invested at work plays a big role in quality of work, retention and even acquisition.

"Employee engagement is important because a well-engaged employee means the difference between just showing up or excelling at what they do," explains CEO & Co-Founder of Dopamine Gabe Zichermann in an interview with CIO Magazine.

"With today's increased competition for top-notch talent, and the huge costs to retrain new staff, engagement becomes more important than ever. When engagement is low things can get off track really quick and it can spread like wildfire."

The key is to make sure you are tracking genuine engagement metrics within your company. Leaders should make sure their core company objectives and business drivers are clearly aligned with what makes up their organisation's definition of engagement.

Take measuring engagement by whether or not your employees consider your company a great place to work as an example. While a majority of your staff may be a great cultural fit, this doesn't necessarily translate to anything other than their comfort levels. At the same time, companies that measure engagement by total output may have a team that is rapidly producing work but they may be disengaged because they are not comfortable with the culture.

It's all about finding the balance between behavioural and business factors and melding the two to accurately gauge engagement in relation to employee happiness and business success.

Leaders need to be strategic about how they measure engagement internally. Leaders need to be strategic about how they measure engagement internally.

The ultimate engagement tool 

A great tool for genuinely measuring engagement at both ends of the spectrum is an employee engagement survey. Gallup conducted extensive research, interviewing 80,000 managers from 400 different companies and came the conclusion that 12 key questions can effectively determine the strength of engagement in any company:

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?

3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?

5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?

6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?

7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?

8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?

9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?

10. Do I have a best friend at work?

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?

12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

The questions above, listed verbatim, cover the general spectrum of engagement drivers in any given company. Of course, the questions can be tailored to more specifically fit your organisation. The point is that by going straight to the source, your employees, you can more effectively measure genuine engagement in your company while also understanding the areas where your company currently struggles.

Measuring core principles like engagement is an important part of managing performance as a leader. To learn more or just improve on your current skills, check out some of ICML's management training and leadership courses today!


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