Jan 26 2018
Kati Ryan
4 Minutes to read

In an alarming statistic, Gallup analytics reveal that only 33% of U.S. workers (and 15% of global employees) are engaged at work. This means that, as strategic leaders of our organizations, it’s important we continue what is working engagement-wise and that we listen, learn, and upgrade what’s in our power to increase employee engagement.

Below are 9 ways to measure and increase overall employee engagement in your organization:

  • Start New Employees Off on the Right Foot  – Your new hire onboarding program should set a stage for employee engagement by letting them know from Day One how the business will invest in their success.  Inject your core values and enable them to understand why they made the right decision in joining your team. On the heels of the new hire training, send a survey that aligns with your overall learning objectives and measures their time in the training class.  A few free or cheap tools to help you measure engagement post-new hire training include Google Form, Wufoo and Survey Monkey.
  • Invest In Your Leaders – Are your people leaders seen as competent individuals, marching with their departments to the vision of the overall business? Investing in a Leadership Program to upskill your managers and ensure they are all following best practices that align with your business is key.  Consider conducting an annual Manager Bootcamp to continue to finetune and develop leadership skills within your company.
  • Set Individual Performance Goals and Hold Employees Accountable – Directly aligned to investing in your leaders, ensure they know how to cascade organizational goals to their departments and down to the individual. We have an intrinsic need to understand where we fit and the impact we are making, and that is especially true when we are working hard for an organization.  According to Gallup, employees whose managers excel at performance management activities are more engaged than employees whose managers struggle with these same tasks.  
    Employee Engagement Data from Gallup
  • Build Future Leaders – Grant your High Potential (HiPo) Employees access to leaders within your business. Consider starting a mentorship program, where aspiring leaders can learn from current leaders. Creating a structure within your organization that allows future leaders to build and flex those skills before those positions become available, can be incredibly motivating.  Pushing them by assigning  stretch opportunities on the team will keep these employees engaged and challenged while the organization may not have a manager role for them yet… it’s a win-win both for the individual and the company.
  • Invest in Your Individual Contributors – Employees that do not aspire to become managers should still have an opportunity to grow within the organization.  Consider creating a formal “ongoing learning policy” for employees who have been with the organization for a set amount of time (i.e. two years) to unlock additional training dollars they can apply for and use to increase their skillset.  These could be used to complete an external certification course applied to their current or aspirational role within the organization, or to take courses on Udemy or LinkedIn Learning, for example. A couple of course examples include stress management, web programming courses, and Financial Modeling and Investment.
  • Send Quick & Simple Pulse Surveys – “Keep a pulse” within your organization by sending simple surveys throughout the year to gauge engagement. The key to ensuring participation is keeping them short and sweet! According to Inc.com, The Nerdery hired Modern Survey, as they saw an increase in employee turnover and wanted to diagnose the issue. They sent a simple five-question poll and then reached out to employees directly for more detailed, one-on-one interview as needed. In keeping the survey simple, they resulted in 97% staff participation.  Based on their learnings, they constructed and shared the action plan, explaining what they learned and planned on changing moving forward.  
  • Conduct “Stay” Interviews – Instead of waiting until the exit interview to gather one-on-one feedback, plan time with each employee to understand how things are going.  This can happen on an as-needed basis, but is recommended to take place annually. Managers should be conducting 1:1s with employees to stay in-tune and should also enlist an unbiased third party (i.e. HR or People Ops.) to do the same.  Ask every employee the same questions and look for themes to include; this will provide more of a qualitative measurement of your overall employee engagement.  According to SHRM.org, a few great questions to ask during your stay interviews include but are not limited to:
    • What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?
    • What do you like most or least about working here?
    • What keeps you working here?
    • If you could change something about your job, what would that be?
    • What would make your job more satisfying?
    • How do you like to be recognized?
    • What talents are not being used in your current role?
    • What would you like to learn here?
    • What motivates (or demotivates) you?
    • What can I do to best support you?
    • What can I do more of or less of as your manager?
    • What might tempt you to leave?
  • Communicate Findings & Action Plan to the Org – Once information is gathered, it is pivotal to share and communicate key themes with the organization so they understand that the business is listening to them and taking action based on the thematic findings.  If possible, doing so at an all-employee, in-person meeting or at least on a video conference with all employees would be most effective.
  • Make Changes & Share Progress Updates – As progress is made based on the feedback, it’s incredibly important to share. Be transparent here, as some things might be a “miss.” That’s okay.  Bring it up, air it out and share what the plan is moving forward.  People appreciate open and honest information, even if it’s not always rainbows and butterflies.
Key Takeaways
  • Gallup reports that only 33% of U.S. employees are engaged at work.
  • Invest in in training and development for employees- whether they are on track for leadership or not- to foster a deeper connection between individuals and the company.
  • Ask for employee feedback through periodic surveys and one-on-ones and then widely communicate findings and the company’s action plan.

Culture and employee engagement go hand-in-hand.  Read more about how to improve workplace culture.

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Written by:

Kati Ryan

Kati Ryan has built and led award-winning training teams and programs for the past eight years, overseeing teams of trainers responsible for classroom and in-field training, as well as career development of thousands of employees. Kati is a professionally trained and engaging public speaker and subject matter expert. She has spoken at the ATD International Convention, ALI’s Employee Experience Summit, spoken on several industry roundtables, contributed content to publications such as ATD’s L&D Blog, #GirlBoss, Building the Sales Machine Blog, and been quoted in Fast Company on effective team building practices.

Posted in: In the IndustryTraining

Tagged with: Company Culture, Training Engagement