Is Employee Engagement Down in Your Organization?

    Gallup estimates that the cost of disengaged workers lies somewhere between $450-$550 billion each year in lost productivity. Are employees in your organization contributing to this?

    In the modern age of connectivity and instant gratification, that formerly intangible concept of how workers "feel" about the work they are doing is becoming increasingly important.

    Is your organization taking this into consideration when planning and strategizing how best to utilize workers? What about when promotions or responsibility shifts take place internally?

    Especially in the realm of tech businesses or even internal IT departments, it's very easy to look for performance and completion metrics instead of engagement. It's critical to the company's success that employee engagement is maintained throughout the organization, though, almost more so than the perfect completion metrics of support tickets or the overall single-task completion rate.

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    Why is this? Well, let's define engagement first.

    Employee engagement, at it's simplest, is a measurement of how emotionally motivated, committed, and connected people are to their work.

    Are there employees in your organization who frequently leave the office excited for the next day already? This is likely a highly engaged employee. They are gaining some satisfaction and worth out of the work they are performing and look forward to reaffirming those feelings when returning to the company the following day.

    Engaged employees will also most likely discuss future work anniversaries or envision themselves with the company when they picture their own future. This shows how much the employee has clearly ingrained the company into their life and their image of themselves. These are the people you want in your organization.

    So the questions comes: how do you measure such a seemingly intangible thing?

    Hopefully, you've established a set of core values to define how everyone is expected to work. This may include traditional methods like mission statements, but it also likely involves having clearly-defined processes in place for the business rules and technical tasks that need to be completed.

    You'll want to start evaluating the "why" and "how" of the work that is being done by each employee to not only other employees in the company, but to yourself as a leader and to the company's mission as a whole. By looking around and actively observing the people in your organization, you'll likely be able to gauge engagement almost immediately.

    Once you observe the level of engagement, you’ll realize you can also measure the level of engagement. The people data you’ll collect can help you predict, prevent, and improve everything from manager effectiveness to your churn rate.

    It’s a good idea to first survey the entire team to get a baseline of your culture.

    What questions are the best indicators of engagement? Relating back to the definition of employee engagement, think of questions that measure motivation, connection, and commitment. Commonly used statements for evaluating engagement are:

    • This company motivates me to go beyond what I would in a similar role elsewhere
    • I would recommend this company as a great place to work
    • I rarely think about looking for a job at another company

    Typically these types of questions are answered on a scale of 1-5 or a scale of agreement. These three statements are a good start towards compiling data for a basic engagement index at your company.

    Rounding out your survey with more questions is a good idea. This will lend greater statistical reliability and give you a better picture of what your engagement looks like.

    These are some simple ways to start the process of measuring employee engagement and making sure that it's not low in your organization, costing you money and holding you back.

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