is often thought of exclusively in terms of retention, i.e., if employees are engaged, then they won’t jump ship. That’s certainly true, but there are other benefits of employing engaged individuals. Namely, they are more likely to be top performers, more likely to recommend the organization and its products or services, and less likely to unionize.
With employees still being asked to do more with less, profits still down, and good talent hard to find, determining your employees’ degree of engagement has never been so important.
According to a recent Dale Carnegie Training survey of 1,500 employees, only 29% are fully engaged and 26% are disengaged. Almost half (45%) are partially engaged. The survey revealed that although there are many factors that impact employee engagement, there are three key drivers:
- Relationship with immediate supervisor
- Belief in senior
- Pride in working for the company.
Engaged employees possess a purpose and passion for their work and their employer. They are emotionally invested in their jobs, believe their work is meaningful and recognized, and trust their employer. They are willing advocates for the organization.
Creating the survey
One of the easiest and most effective ways to put your finger on the pulse of your employees’ level of engagement is to survey them. Most engagement surveys don’t ask questions per se, but rather ask employees whether they agree or disagree with a series of statements. Here are some examples:
- I have confidence in the leadership of this organization.
- I trust what my supervisor tells me.
- I like the type of work I do.
- My job does not make good use of my skills and abilities.
- My physical working conditions are good.
- This organization does not provide adequate resources for me to perform my job to the best of my abilities.
- I have a clear understanding of my job expectations.
- I am well aware of how my job contributes to the overall success of this organization.
- I do not feel like I am part of a team working toward a shared goal.
- My supervisor encourages my professional development.
- My supervisor cares about me not just as an employee, but also as a person.
- My opinions count.
- My co-workers are not committed to doing quality work.
- The wrong people get promoted in this organization.
- I look forward to coming into work each day.
- I put forth my best effort every day.
When writing the statements, keep these three rules in mind.
- Limit the overall number of statements. Generally, you’ll want between 20 and 30 statements. Completing the survey should take employees no more than 15 minutes.
- Choose your words carefully. Use simple language that isn’t open to interpretation; avoid being excessively wordy; and don’t combine distinct topics into one question, e.g., “The performance feedback and recognition in this department are excellent.” Instead, ask about feedback and recognition individually.
- Blend positive and negative language. If the survey is written exclusively in positives or negatives, employees are apt to skim statements, as opposed to reading them, and reply based on what they think is being asked, thereby skewing the results.
Getting employees on board
Conducting a successful survey takes more than the right statements. How you present the survey to employees is just as important. Give the survey to them with nothing but a directive to complete it, and employees are apt to chalk up the survey to little more than a PR tool and answer it half-heartedly, if at all.
Explain to employees why you’re asking them to complete the survey. Telling them that employing an engaged workforce is a priority for the company is a good start, but you need to go a step further and tell them why it’s a priority: Highly engaged organizations tend to be more profitable, more innovative and more attractive to talent.
In addition, you’ll want to:
- Stress that the survey is anonymous. Employees are much more likely to be honest when they are confident that their replies won’t come back to bite them, so to speak.
- Set a deadline by which to complete the survey. Otherwise, some employees will hang on to the survey indefinitely.
- State your commitment to sharing the results with them. Nothing turns off employees faster than taking a survey that they will never hear about again. You can share results via a memo, bulletin board posting, meeting, etc. How you communicate the results isn’t as important as the fact that you are sharing them with employees in the first place.
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