Understandably, I am asked about Employee Engagement a lot. After all it’s the holy grail, the key to both a happy and productive workforce.

It is a huge topic, so this article will give you a brief overview and I encourage you to find out more as employers who invest their time in building high engagement levels reap rewards many times over.

A high level of employee engagement means motivation, job satisfaction and dedication for the employee. They wake up in the morning, looking forward to going to work and when they get there, they go the extra mile. There are enormous benefits for employees and in turn, the organisation benefits from having a positive workforce; clients are happy, sales are made, and relationships are built.

There are many factors that affect the level of engagement for it is a scale ranging from non-existent to 100%, with many, many levels in between. If you are interested in increasing employee engagement in your business, first you need to understand the current level. Surveys and focus groups are useful assessment tools, but they must be used and interpreted in the context of the organisation for them to be meaningful and effective. Aspects such as motivation and commitment can be difficult to measure in isolation as they are connected to so many other factors.

There are a series of questions available as part of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale that are useful to demonstrate how to frame questions to get the best, qualitative feedback from your employees.

When you accurately measure the current level of engagement, the responses will provide you with the essential data to identify gaps and shortfalls. What contributes to high employee engagement is debateable and open to interpretation but a good place to start is the four elements of employee engagement, as highlighted by this report written in 2009:

  1. Leadership
  2. Line Managers
  3. Employee Voice
  4. Organisational Integrity

Ask yourself about those four factors. What do they look like in your business? What is your style of leadership? How skilled are your line managers in supporting and empowering their team members? Are employees involved in any aspects of decision making? Are your values consistently embedded in your practices?

A company serious about increasing its employee engagement will delve deeply into the above factors and welcome honest reviews from their people. They will accept improvements can be made and they will invest the time and effort to do things differently. By modelling new behaviours and encouraging others they will be the change they want to see.

You can start today by thinking about your own level of engagement and what you think your employees would say about the above elements. The answers may surprise you…

Human Resources for SMEs