Employee Engagement defines, along several axes, the very nature of the Employer-Employee relationship. It goes beyond the job function, the contract, and even mere satisfaction. It is akin to a philosophy that aligns the commitment of all members of an organisation to work for its values, to aim for excellence, and achieve organisational and personal success. Employee engagement goes deep and impacts customer experience, company performance, and hence sustainability. But is there a gauge for employee engagement?
A structural approach with human elements
The exercise can certainly be clouded by how different managers and human resources professionals define employee engagement and the expectations of different employees. But the crux of the question remains – are employees engaged? There are ways to bring some precision to the question.
A structural approach has to be designed to tackle the question, while including the essential human elements into the equation. The method involves the evaluation and tracking of 10 employee engagement factors. Through a customised survey and supportive exercises, these factors can be assessed and elaborated on. These are listed below.
1. Meetings: an organisation involves the constant interaction of people, calling in elements of trust and inclusion. People make prints and impressions on each other, which in turn impact the relationships employees share with each other and with the organisation.
Outcome: an assessment of the results of the interactions between employees and the organisation.
2. Corporate Strategy: There are different levels here. First, we have to find out whether the company strategy is well understood by everyone and whether enough time is spent communicating this strategy, especially after every significant change.
Outcome: an assessment of the communication efficiency of corporate strategy contents.
3. Well-being: There are often differences in perceptions between employers and employees regarding matters of well-being. There are ways however to methodically establish whether enough attention is being devoted to the well-being of employees and whether employees feel they are being cared about. We should also find out whether the balance between personal and professional life is being respected.
Outcome: an evaluation of the level of well-being felt by employees.
4. Personal Development: an important element of employee engagement is that employees should feel they are developing themselves, progressing, working towards success, and have prospects for the future.
Outcome: an assessment of whether employees feel positive about their own personal development.
5. Relationship with the Manager: the difference of perceptions matters here as well. The exercise examines whether managers show support to their teams and provide feedback on the work done, their expectations, their objectives, and other key metrics.
Outcome: Gauge the health of the interactions between Managers and their teams.
6. Meaning of Work: when we aim for employee engagement, the meaning of work is given significant weight. We should find out whether everyone feels that their work is making sense and that the company values are known and shared. The idea of employer brand also comes into play here.
Outcome: an assessment of whether employees feel they are in the right place and that their work has personal value.
7. Recognition: Beyond what is contractual, an engagement culture supports the idea that employees should feel recognised for their work. And also, whether fairness internally is both actual and perceived.
Outcome: a measure of how employees feel in terms of recognition and fairness.
8. Working Conditions: these can be assessed along two lines: material and organisational. In support of other factors, how employees feel about working conditions can be assessed.
Outcome: finding out how employees feel about the organisation’s working conditions.
9. Usefulness: along with meaning, usefulness is an important attribute which matters to employees. Employees should feel useful individually but also within the broader mission and vision of the organisation.
Outcome: an assessment of whether the work of each person is perceived as essential to the general functioning of the organisation.
10. Objectives: to complete the evaluation, we have to define whether everyone’s objectives are clear and consistent. It is definitely an important factor to evaluate.
Outcome: An assessment of the level of understanding of the objectives attributed to each employee.
The method used by Bondfire involves surveys which are customised to the context and nature of the organisation. There are also key exercises which supplement the collection and analysis of data. For example, key people are interviewed in the process and media watch exercises are conducted.
The final result is a detailed report which provides actionable metrics, equipping an organisation on its journey towards building a powerful engagement culture. The next key step from this point is to move towards implementation. The approach here is also required to be systematic while remaining flexible enough to cater for each company’s unique values. Bondfire also proposes an 8-week Employee Engagement Program.
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