Employee Engagement 101

Employee Engagement 101

Employee engagement and job misery are directly related. It’s not a secret that the less happy people are, the less engaged they are likely to be. But, how do you measure performance engagement in a meaningful way? What can you do to encourage your employees to become more engaged? Let’s take a look at how we can break this down. 

Employees view job satisfaction in three parts.

  1. Are they anonymous? Does anyone know what they do best? 
  2. Irrelevance: Do they know why their job matters? Do they even think their job matters? 
  3. Immeasurability: How do they measure their own performance?

It is as simple as, does anyone know who puts the ice in the ice machine and why do they do it? What is the value of putting the ice in the machine and what difference does it make?  What determines a job well done? Why would anyone care? 

The answers to these questions most often lay in the hands of the team leaders. It is a leader’s job to encourage and inform, creating higher engagement and better performance along the way. Here is a thought for you… there is no such thing as a great company, only an accumulation of great teams. As your teams go, so does your company. 

Let’s take a look at three questions, in descending order, that can be used to measure employee satisfaction. 

  1. Are my work colleagues committed to quality work? Do we share the same values? 

If we were to ask each individual on your team, “What does excellence mean to you?” What would they say? Would they all give you the same answers? 

Excellence is defined differently in every company. For some, it’s the quality work that’s important, completed at a deliberate pace with essentially no rush. For others, it’s work done quickly, to be perfected at a later time. Ask yourself, what does excellence mean at your company?

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

How relevant are your first quarter goals today in comparison to the previous year? How did that work in 2020? How do we measure this performance if expectations are ever-changing? 

Successful team leaders have the same ritual of checking in with their team each week to determine employees’ priorities, goals, and concerns. Consistency is key – consistent, quick check-ins, 52 times a year. Checking in 20 times a year is ineffective, defeating the purpose and essentially, wasting your time and the time of your employees. 

  1. At work, do I have a chance to do what I do best every day? 

According to ADP research, it is the ‘everyday’ part that is key here. The essence of leadership is curiosity. Get to know your team members by asking questions and seeking out their strengths. Take time to learn what you can do to be of assistance to them. How can you position all of your team members so they answer ‘YES’ to that most important question? At the end of the day, it’s up to you to ask these questions because if you don’t, who will?

So, how does this add up?

From the employee side, it looks like this: 

  1. I want you to know me for what I do best. 
  2. I want you to keep me focused on what I do best. 
  3. Please surround me with people who define quality as I do and share my values. 

Leadership is an expansive term. It would be difficult to pin down what exactly defines a leader. But, these three things are the basic to leading. Begin with mastering these and see where you end up. 

If I can leave you with anything, it would be to check in weekly asking the same questions. What are you focused on? How can I help? If you check in once a month, it doesn’t mean anything. If you do it once a week, it means everything.