As companies are starting to open their doors to welcome their employees back into offices, it is time for them to adapt to the office environment again.
Several companies have embraced working from home. Employees within these companies are not just working from home; they are practically working from anywhere they want. Some companies have started exploring hybrid options where employees can come in a few times a week or a month to the physical office premises. Finally, some companies have started to ask employees to come back into the office daily.
These changes to the way we work (more importantly, where we work) can cause a lot of excitement, dissatisfaction, or even confusion.
This is why companies need to start thinking about employee engagement. Low employee engagement, after all, can result in poor productivity and ultimately, resignations.
Most companies have some form of employee engagement activities in place already. This is either because of conscious efforts while putting a strategy in place or because of a set of initiatives that HRs or managers do to keep the employees motivated. Still, they contribute towards employee engagement as well.
The big question then for companies is how to measure employee engagement? How do they measure the impact that these initiatives have on the engagement of employees in the company? Are these measures having a positive or negative effect on the employees' morale?
In this article, we will cover the ways in which we can measure employee engagement in a company. We will also talk about how to set up your company's processes to increase employee engagement.
Define your company's employee engagement goals
The first step in this process is identifying your company's employee engagement strategy goals. It is vital to have a clear understanding of the need for an employee engagement strategy.
Once you have understood its need, define the goals you want to achieve. They have to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time-bound goals), too. "Keeping the employees engaged" is a very unclear goal. As a company, you should be able to track and measure the performance of your activities, and these should contribute towards this goal.
An example of an employee engagement goal could be "To decrease absenteeism amongst employees by 10% by the end of Q2."
Use the right KPIs
Identifying the correct KPIs to track is as significant as defining the goal itself. After that, it is important to set up a robust process to track the progress of each individual's work towards those KPIs.
It is easy for companies and HRs to set goals once a quarter and then completely get lost while handling day-to-day activities. There are a lot of internal and external factors that take away time from employees. This leads to them losing track of their progress towards the goal and forgetting about HR metrics.
That is why companies must have KPIs which connect with these goals.
One of the key requirements for KPIs and the tracking process to work effectively is for employees to have clear visibility into the tasks they need to complete to hit the KPIs. Through these, the company can achieve the goals it had set up in the first place.
Having transparent goals is essential for employees to really understand how they are contributing to the company's overall success. For companies, having clear goals helps to effectively measure employee engagement. More importantly, it's a great feedback mechanism for the employees, which keeps them more engaged at work.
Hone your engagement surveys
As companies start becoming more prominent and spread across the globes, it becomes vital to keep an ear to the ground and understand how engaged your employees are.
One of the best and most effective ways is to use employee engagement survey software. Software options like these offer a comprehensive view of employee engagement levels.
These tools enable the company to involve the employees in the process. That way, organizations can ensure that any of the activities or the strategies can be reworked in sync with what the employees expect to see for their engagement to improve.
Set up 1-on-1 meets cadence
While surveys are a great way to get an overview of employees' feedback, a lot of the detail that the company and its managers need is lost in the process. This makes it a lot more challenging to plan changes that would create better employee engagement.
Hence, companies also need to encourage managers to have 1-on-1 meetings with each of their team members. Manager 1:1s can help identify, plan and execute better employee engagement activities for team members.
These meetings also enable individuals to feel appreciated by the management, as depending on the location or team size, each employee might not get much time to talk to their manager. This, in effect, also helps boost employee morale, which will ensure they are more engaged at work.
Work on employee appraisals
Another way for employees to stay engaged at work is regular employee performance appraisal meetings. They can be potentially clubbed into the manager's 1-on-1 or not. However, there needs to be a clear understanding between the manager and the employee on the intervals when these appraisal meetings will be held.
Gone are the days when employees came to work, put in their time and got paid at the end of the month. Employees today want to find purpose in their work; they want to feel appreciated and provided with their managers' feedback.
Along with that, some tools let managers and other team members provide feedback and share their appreciation towards a team member. This kind of feedback gives the employees a boost in morale and helps them stay more engaged at work.
Look at employee productivity
An engaged employee is usually more productive than a disengaged employee. This is why it is essential to talk about employee productivity when talking about employee engagement.
We have already discussed setting up goals and KPIs, which have a clear path defined.
These goals and KPIs are set up with employee engagement and productivity in mind. An employee who completes their goals is often more productive than one who does not meet their goals.
It is also the manager's responsibility to ensure that they create an environment where these employees can thrive and work towards achieving these goals. Managers need to track these goals and productivity levels regularly. They have to ensure that they can measure the effectiveness of the employee engagement activities being implemented.
Estimate employee retention
One of the key outcomes of any employee engagement strategy is to improve employee retention. The idea is to create an engaging environment for the employees to thrive in the company and minimize the chances of them voluntarily leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.
But irrespective of how engaged an employee is with the company; there are always great opportunities for them to look at potentially. So if the employee feels unappreciated or does not get paid in sync with the market prices, or is just disengaged at work, it is very likely that they will pick one of those opportunities up immediately. It hurts the company in general (especially when you consider the cost of replacing an employee), but it can also be a loss when key team members leave the company.
Test different employee engagement ideas
There is a concept in marketing called A/B testing, which means you test two variations of a marketing idea simultaneously and see which one works best. There needs to be a similar approach when working with employee engagement ideas at work.
Companies had team lunches, festivals or holiday celebrations and even Friday beers at offices to create an atmosphere where employees could take some time out of their work to connect. It developed better relationships for these employees at work and improved their engagement.
These ideas may not work out well with team members working remotely or only coming in a few times a week or a month. Companies are now exploring virtual lunch breaks, virtual quiz games, physical get togethers and access to virtual events organized by the company specifically for their employees.
Engagement is a process that requires constant innovation in the form of new ideas for activities. You could arrange a virtual event viewing experience for a sports game; it could be very successful, but what about the 15% of the team members who were not interested in that particular sport or the team playing that match. They probably drop off in the middle or never join the event at all.
Hence, it is essential to keep experimenting with different engagement activities to ensure that your employees are engaged at work.