Understanding And Quantifying Employee Engagement
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We’ve all been asked about our job satisfaction by our managers, colleagues, friends, and family. “Do you like your job? Your co-workers? Does this job make you happy?” The term “employee engagement” has continues to create buzz in the corporate scene, but what is the difference between job satisfaction, and true engagement? As a manager, it’s your responsibility to identify which developers on your team are there because it’s a job, and which ones are truly engaged in their work.
What is the difference between employee engagement and satisfaction?
According to Forbes, the definition of employee engagement is, “the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals”. In other words, you may like your job, your co-workers, and you may even feel your job makes you happy, but if you’re not emotionally invested in the organization and the goals it’s striving towards, you’re likely not engaged. For many, it seems that job satisfaction should be enough. If your developers are happy, should that make the cut? Unfortunately, no.
Consider the case of Happy vs. Engaged. Happy comes to work every day on time, in good spirits, and completes his work with efficiency and professionalism. He attends company activities, completes projects on time, and often spends time in the break room chatting with his co-workers. Happy gets a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn offering him a new, exciting position and a healthy pay increase, which he accepts and submits his two week notice.
Engaged, on the other hand, may exhibit similar external attributes, but beyond has a deeply rooted commitment and belief in the goals of the company. When Engaged sits down at her desk to begin the day, she looks for ways that her individual contribution can help the team and organization meet its long and short term goals. When Engaged is contacted by a headhunter offering her an intriguing new opportunity and a pay bump, her conviction that her current company is the best place she can possibly be overpowers the hunger for that extra cushion on her salary.
Are my employees engaged?
While managers and organizational leadership may be convinced that employee engagement is a critical component of their HR and operational goals, many don’t know how to quantify in their own employees what may seem like a nebulous idea. One simple way that many companies solve this problem, is by conducting employee engagement surveys.
An employee engagement survey, offered by companies like Decision-Wise.com help bring qualitative questions into a quantitative form. The goal of these surveys is to convert data received from employees into actionable items, allowing companies to identify opportunities to improve, progress, and ultimately engage their employees. In conducting these employee engagement surveys, global analytics firm, Gallup, cautions, “Businesses often make the mistake of using employee surveys to collect data that are irrelevant or impossible to act on. Any survey data must be specific, relevant, and actionable for any team at any organizational level. Data should also be proven to influence key performance metrics.” It is critical to not only gather data from employees, but to gather the right data. Dig deep, and ask employees questions that will both get to the heart of their personal engagement in the company, as well as produce truly actionable results.
I have the data, where do I go from here?
So you ran the survey, your developers answered, and you have a whole dashboard of data waiting to be acted on, what now? A good place to start is to look for themes. Find possible currents of thought on which developers are expressing similar concerns, or even areas of revealed indifference.
Management is often one of the first places to look when trying to find holes in an employee’s engagement. In an article by the Harvard Business Review entitled, “Wha
Another issue that disengages many developers is feeling like their work doesn’t matter, or their voice isn’t heard. If an developer doesn’t feel they can be an advocate for change, or the confidence that they can address and resolve problem with co-workers and managers in the workplace, they will not be likely to engage deeply in the organization. One company’s efforts to engage employees involved opening the gates to continuous feedback. Screwfix, a U.K.-based hardware company, is cited by Entrepreneur.com to maintain the practice of submitting feedback to their managers every two weeks “without rules or guidelines”. This feedback can address a range of topics, from overall strategy improvement, to client engagement or management behavior.
How can engagement empower both employees and managers?
Employee engagement strategies vary far and wide, being executed differently by each company according to the needs of their employees. Organizations must go beyond traditional job satisfaction boosting strategies and focus on engagement. Using tools like employee engagement surveys allow empower employees to shape their own future by offering ideas for improvement to their organization. These surveys also empower management and leadership to fully enrich the lives of their employees, and get the most out of their individual work. For more ideas on engaging employees, check out MAGI