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Are Your Employees Engaged? Find Out with 5 Evaluation Tips

Kevin Kerl
Tue, Mar 3, 2020

How engaged are your employees? Most bosses wouldn’t really know how to answer this question. After all, even if you believe your employees are highly engaged, it’s hard to define what “highly engaged” even means.

To help you make a reliable assessment of your employee engagement, we’ve rounded up a list of best practices. 

Evaluating Employee Engagement

Tip #1: Define engagement.

First, it’s important to understand and define exactly what we’re talking about. Engagement is the level of personal commitment each employee feels to your company. It’s not about how happy or satisfied they are with their jobs. Instead, it’s about their individual dedication to the company’s mission.

With this definition in mind, your company leaders can measure and monitor your employees’ level of engagement. To be clear, each individual employee has their own level of engagement, and your company also has an overall level - an average of your employees’ engagement.

Tip #2: Gather engagement data during exit interviews.

Exit interviews are a valuable opportunity to gather engagement data. Although you might assume that departing employees have a low level of engagement with the company, that’s not always the case. Sometimes a highly engaged employee has simply become frustrated with a single, overriding factor that’s causing them to leave.

On average about 34% of employees are fully engaged with their company and 16% are actively disengaged. But a full 50% of them are in a grey area between engaged and not engaged, making it hard to know what’s going on in their minds without asking.

Schedule exit interviews that give your employees a chance to provide genuine feedback before leaving. Make it clear that you are open to the feedback and appreciate it. They might be more willing to answer honestly if they don’t have to say it out loud, so offer a written/digital questionnaire version too.

Here’s a quick list of helpful questions:

  • What made a great day of work for you here?
  • What was your relationship with your manager like?
  • What’s one thing you would change about this company?
  • If we had changed the issue you describe above, would you have stayed?
  • What did your new company offer you that we couldn’t?

Tip #3: Schedule regular one-on-ones.

This tip addresses the fact that exit interviews are often too late to gather important engagement data. So make sure you’re gathering feedback about engagement year-round during regular one-on-one discussions with employees.

During a private meeting, the employee has an opportunity to say things they might not otherwise feel comfortable saying. It’s important to schedule at least an hour for these meetings because it gives them time to sit down, take a moment to think, and really share what’s on their mind. A 20-minute meeting is usually too short and could leave the employee feeling frustrated.

Make sure these meetings don’t come with undesirable side effects, like punishing an employee for their honesty. The goal is to make them feel safe opening up.

Tip #4: Start doing pulse surveys.

Pulse surveys have become more popular than standard employee surveys over the past 10 years or so. While it’s important to occasionally do large-scale research studies on employee satisfaction, it’s also valuable to do quick mini-surveys about engagement. 

A pulse survey is a short survey that’s fast to complete, usually with just 5 to 7 questions, and might take place 2 to 4 times per year or more. Pulse surveys “take the pulse” of your organization and highlight sudden changes in employee engagement so you don’t miss them. They also allow you to plot engagement over time and study the data.

Here are some effective pulse survey questions about engagement: 

  • How likely are you to recommend this company to a friend for employment?
  • Is your career progressing in a desirable way here?
  • Are you currently receiving enough feedback from your manager?
  • Does it feel that you have a good understanding of our company’s mission?

Tip #5: Don’t just ask. Act on it.

If you’re going to ask employees about their level of engagement, make sure you follow up by acting on their feedback or it will feel like a broken promise. Show them you’re committed to them. They’ll be more likely to stay committed to your company.

If your company needs some help putting your engagement strategy into action, see more about increasing engagement on the SelectOne blog, or contact us to discuss your company’s needs.

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