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7 effective ways to measure employee engagement

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Your workers might be less dedicated than you’d like. Some may be quitting, others are “quiet quitting” – a term coined to describe workers who have decided to do the bare minimum required of them. Since unengaged workers can cause major productivity losses, employers need to take control the situation before it becomes worse. The process starts with finding ways to measure employee engagement.

The Importance of Measuring Employee Engagement

A lack of engagement can cost employers.

A Gallup poll found that at least 50 percent of the U.S. workforce can be considered quiet quitters. They are uninterested in going above and beyond to help their team succeed and just do what’s absolutely required of them to collect a paycheck. Gallup also found that only 32 percent of workers are engaged, whereas 18 percent are actively disengaged. Some of these disengaged workers may decide to quit. Workhuman found that 36.4 percent of workers are planning to quit in the next year.

Both high turnover and low productivity can hurt a company’s bottom line. When employees quit, employers have to pay to recruit and train replacements. The workplace disruption that occurs in the meantime can be costly. When workers don’t quit but don’t put much effort into their work, companies can also lose money. A Prodoscore survey found that 11.7 percent of employees have low-productivity ratings. Some workers are only active for 90 minutes a day. If they’re earning $60,000 a year, this means employers are wasting $48,000 on idle time.

Unengaged vs Engaged Employees

Before you can measure it, you need to understand what employee engagement means.

According to Investopedia, employee engagement refers to the enthusiasm and dedication workers feel about their jobs.

There are different levels of engagement. Some workers may be fully engaged, others moderately engaged, and some actively disengaged. The following characteristics can help you determine a worker’s level of engagement:

  • Productivity: Highly-engaged employees tend to have high productivity levels. They spend more of their time actively working and accomplish more during the workday. Unengaged employees are more likely to spend time on other tasks, such as scrolling through social media on their phones.
  • Performance: Highly-engaged employees may have better performance levels because they are putting in more effort. Some unengaged workers may still manage to meet performance standards because of their skills or talent, but others may produce mediocre or substandard work.
  • Attitude: Highly-engaged employees are more likely to have a positive and cooperative attitude. They often enjoy their work. Unengaged employees may have a negative attitude and seem miserable at work.
  • Initiative: Highly-engaged employees are more likely to show initiative because they are motivated to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. Unengaged workers may be more passive, only completing tasks when directed to do so.

Tools to Measure Employee Engagement

Don’t just assume your employees are engaged. Measure employee engagement to accurately determine how many of your employees are engaged versus disengaged, their degree of engagement, and whether engagement levels are going up or down.

There are several tools you can use to measure employee engagement. To achieve the most reliable results and useful insights, you may need to use multiple.

  1. Pulse Surveys: These are short surveys you send to employees on a regular basis, such as every month or once a quarter. The drawback to surveys is employees may not always give honest feedback. However, since you’ll repeat the survey frequently, you should be able to identify significant changes in employee satisfaction and engagement levels, which can be important in tracking employee engagement.
  2. Annual Employee Engagement Survey: An annual survey can be more in-depth than a pulse survey, allowing you to obtain more detailed information.
  3. Related Data: Another way to assess employee engagement levels is to look at data that tend to correlate with engagement. For example, if employee engagement is low, turnover may be high. Therefore, your turnover rates can give you an idea of whether your employees are engaged. If turnover increases, engagement levels may have dropped.
  4. Exit Surveys: Give exit surveys or interviews to employees who are leaving your company. The advantage of this is employees who are leaving may be more honest because they don’t have to worry about anyone using their feedback against them. Although this feedback may skew negative (because the data set is biased toward employees who are dissatisfied), it can provide useful insights into the problems at your company.
  5. Customer Surveys: Customer surveys can provide useful information about employees who work with customers. Employees who are engaged are more likely to help customers and have a positive attitude while doing so, which should be reflected in surveys.
  6. Performance Reviews: Annual performance reviews are an effective way to assess an individual employee’s engagement, performance, and productivity. This is also a good chance to ask employees how they think their work is going, what they think could be better, and what their goals are for the next year.
  7. Communication: Sometimes, the best way to determine how employees feel is to talk to them. Although the results of a simple conversation about job satisfaction and engagement might be harder to quantify than data from other sources, the insights may be more useful.

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Ways to Improve Employee Engagement

Measuring employee engagement is important, but your company won’t see any changes in retention and productivity unless you use the information to improve your employee engagement strategy.

The most effective way to improve employee engagement is to focus on the underlying issues. Are employees disengaged because they feel under-appreciated and underpaid? Do they see no future with company? Or are they too stressed to give work the attention it deserves? Once you pinpoint the root causes, you can work on making improvements for a more engaged workforce. Possible strategies include:

  • Incentives: Employees may be more motivated if you reward them for their hard work. Incentives can be monetary, such as performance bonuses, but simply recognizing employees for their hard work and thanking them can also be powerful.
  • Volunteer Days: If employees are disengaged because they don’t feel like they’re making a positive difference in the world, volunteerism could help. Group volunteer activities can also be good team-building exercises.
  • Career Advancement Opportunities: Mentorships, raises, internal promotions, and training opportunities can boost engagement in employees who don’t see a future with your company.
  • Benefits for a Better Work–Life Balance: If your employees are disengaged because they’re worried about money or personal issues, benefits that promote a better work–life balance, well-being, or financial security could provide relief. This could include wellness programs, employee assistance programs, childcare benefits and paid time off.

Your people are probably your company’s greatest asset. Measuring and improving employee engagement are endeavors that are worth your time. If you can incrementally enhance the productivity, performance, attitude and initiative of your team, you will undoubtedly see return on your investment. Need assistance? Ask Higginbotham how to structure an employee benefits package that supports employee engagement. Learn more.

Not sure where to start? Talk to someone who wants to listen.

A great plan starts with a conversation. Let’s talk about what you need.

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