Employee engagement is one of the most important factors of building and maintaining an efficient workforce. Higher employee engagement leads to higher productivity, job satisfaction, and revenue across industries and roles, but many organizations neglect to provide environments in which their employees are encouraged and supported in engagement. Studies suggest highly engaged workforces are 21% more effective than their disengaged counterparts, yet only 36% of employees in the modern workforce are engaged. With the rise of remote work, the issue of disengagement among employees is even more prevalent, as there is less accountability and visibility into how employees are choosing to spend their time. Employee disengagement in remote environments can lead to even more issues with efficiency, so it is important that your organization considers how to measure, improve, and sustain employee engagement.
First, let’s dive a bit deeper into some of the key benefits of understanding your employees’ engagement. Here are some common reasons why organizations choose to gather and analyze data on employee engagement.
- To identify problem areas and hidden truths. Keeping track of employee engagement is a great way to build a proactive approach to problem solving. By consistently measuring employee engagement, you are giving yourself and your organization the ability to tackle productivity issues before they have severe business impacts.
- To build trust. Employees want to know that their organization is working to create an engaging work environment. Employee engagement is a universal want for organizations; that is, employees want to be engaged in their work just as much as management wants them to be engaged. Taking the time to listen to employees and their engagement wants and needs is a great way to build trust among your workforce and show employees that you have their best interest in mind.
- To understand trends. Organizations run off data trends. Being able to understand why productivity is at a certain level or why sales have dropped are both examples of essential business knowledge, and they can both be (at least partially) uncovered by conducting an employee engagement analysis.
Now that we’ve laid out some of the benefits of creating an employee engagement analysis, here are some tips on how you can create an effective measurement strategy. The single most important aspect of analyzing engagement is getting real, raw data directly from your employees. Often, the best way to obtain this information is through an employee engagement survey. Here are some questions you can attempt to answer in a survey:
- Identify what is important for your employees—have your employees rate their teamwork, trust in leadership, career development, and other business areas to obtain an understanding of what they would like to see improved. You can also dive deeper and pose questions that encourage employees to rate their confidence in the future, individual needs (pay, benefits, etc.), and perceived value.
- Determine employee satisfaction—Employee satisfaction is based primarily off understanding what your employees want and how you can give it to them. Employee engagement and satisfaction are heavily linked, and you can work to uncover new ways to help employees thrive by asking questions about their job satisfaction.
- Develop a continuous learning/feedback strategy—making learning a part of your workplace culture is something we suggest to improve outcomes across departments and teams. Consistently asking questions about employee engagement and satisfaction can build a stronger work environment in which employees are more engaged.
As with any learning and development program, the best results will come with a blended approach. Don’t focus solely on surveys and try to obtain feedback and data from complete teams, not just sample populations. Every employee has different levels of engagement, and different reasons for those levels, so make sure you are doing everything you can to hear from everyone you are measuring. Furthermore, consider sprinkling in some interviews and collaborate ‘think tank’ type scenarios to have more natural and free-flowing sources of truth.
Once you have a better understanding of what questions are most effective for your organization, you can begin to think about how you will interpret the data you gather. We suggest spending a few weeks, or months, conducting engagement interviews and compiling survey responses to ensure that no stone is left unturned. Once you’ve reached a point at which you feel comfortable with the data gathered, there are a few ways in which you can categorize and analyze results.
By department: One simple way to divide data is to break it into departments or teams within your organization. Gather all the information from, for example, your operations division, and then go from there.
By role: Similar to splitting by department, you can also choose to sort data by individual roles. This allows you to obtain a fairly definitive view on how specific jobs are being performed and whether or not employees in those roles are satisfied.
By engagement: Think about all your survey and interview questions as falling on a broad spectrum from least engaged to most engaged. Most comments and answers will fall somewhere along this line. For organizations that wish to move quickly through this process, this is often the best option because it can eliminate a significant number of responses that responded positively to engagement.
The final step in measuring and analyzing employee engagement is thinking about solutions that could improve your results. No matter how amazing your organizational culture and work environment are, there will always be room for improvement. If you notice that many employees are noting that moving to remote work has led to disengagement, consider creating a hybrid learning program that helps them transition to online collaboration. If interviews find that employees feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to move forward with certain tasks, consider developing performance support resources that allow them to access important information in a time of need. Remember, engaged employees are efficient employees, and efficient employees are effective. When building your next training program, consider conducting an engagement analysis to ensure your organizational culture is promoting an efficient, effective, engaging workplace.