What’s Your Ruler for Employee Engagement?

Written By Liz Poeschl

Did you know only 13% of employees are actively engaged in the workplace?* It can be easy for an organization to say they want to “increase employee engagement,” but difficult to define what exactly that means. Use these three steps to guide your decision making and hone in on your definition of employee engagement.

Define what being “engaged” looks like in your organization.

Is your definition of engagement metric or productivity-based? Is it a pulse from your leaders on the general appearance of happiness amongst a group or an individual? A low total of sick calls? You may have a combination of factors that make up your ideal, engaged employee. That’s okay! Ensure there is a definition to minimize interpretation in an organization.

Decide on a measurement process.

Many organizations do an annual employee engagement survey. Others have “pulse checks” with staff at regular intervals throughout the year. Whichever method you use to measure engagement, make sure that staff engagement is not a time of year but rather an ongoing conversation. If teams only hear about the importance of staff engagement when the survey approaches, it will make the build-up feel disingenuous.  

Create a plan for long-term engagement.

Having engaged staff right now is great; having engaged staff long term is even better. It's important to start the conversation about retention and re-engagement amongst all levels of your organization, not just at the leadership level. If you have a high-performing staff member, talk about their future and advancement within the organization. Encourage open dialogue and development pathways. Not every high performer wants to move into a formalized leadership position and others might want to explore other roles to diversify their background. Consider job shadowing or rotational programs and prepare staff for future growth by offering developmental programs. Remember, engagement isn’t just at the staff level. Offer your existing leadership team ways to continue their growth and development, which will further entice them to “pay it forward” to their teams.  

Implementing these strategies will allow you to measure your employee’s engagement on a regular basis. Your bottom line will thank you. An engaged employee is 87% less likely to leave your organization, and replacing an employee can cost up to 150% of their annual salary. Poll your team, find out what drives them to do their best work and stick to it!