Recently I was asked about what is the best approach to determining what employees feel and think. The client had conducted satisfaction surveys for a few years and found that most employees possessed an average level of ambivalence toward most things in the organization with the exception of pay and recognition. Although this gave the client a basic understanding of employee perceptions, it was felt that the organization was not performing to its potential.
As we reviewed the past surveys, it became evident that the questions did a good job of assessing what I like and do not like as an employee, but did very little to identify those things that drive my commitment to the organization and its goals. What the client needed to know was how well the leaders were engaging employees and what impact it was having on overall performance. Our discussion revealed the advantage of assessing engagement over satisfaction since she needed to know more about:
- actionable workplace elements;
- linkages to desired outcomes;
- what is really important to the employee in the workplace; and
- what impacts productivity and prevents thinking a satisfied employee is always a productive employee.
Research has shown that engagement is critical to productivity and should be the focus of assessing the current state of an organization on a regular basis. Figure 1 illustrates the four core components or levels that make up engagement.
Job – job engagement relates to the degree to which my job is rewarding and challenging. In addition, it pertains to how well my job leverages by skills and abilities and grants opportunities for skill and performance growth.
Coworker – coworker engagement accounts for the relationships that I have with those that I work with as well as how well we communicate and work as a team.
Supervisor – supervisor engagement encompasses all of the factors that an employee depends on a supervisor for: giving direction, setting expectations, and providing feedback coupled with the leadership ability and practices of the supervisor.
Organization – organization engagement accounts for the factors that allow an employee to successfully complete my job, such as strategic direction, alignment, resources, recognition, rewards, and communication.
In the next post, we will discuss what the four levels tell us about overall engagement.