Employee Engagement (EE) is a term that keeps many an HR professional (and others) awake at night. I’m guessing that much of this insomnia is the result of Employee Engagement being a pretty hard thing to measure in the first place, and when it is measured, the results aren’t always as glowing as one would like.
So let’s try to get down to the nitty-gritty of EE. What is it? How is it measured? What should it be? And assuming it’s not where we want it: What can be done to improve it? Spoiler alert, this article will raise more questions than provide answers!!
What is it?
It’s simple, EE is a modern definition of good old-fashioned Loyalty…
a strong feeling of support or allegiance.
Or if you want it in modern business terms…
an estimate of how committed people are to the business and the achievement of its goals.
How is it measured?
We can use annual employee surveys, happy face sheets, pop the question during job chats, look at staff turnover, listen in to conversations at the Christmas party… and the list goes on. But prior to worrying about which measurement tools to use, leaders in the organisation need to care about EE and understand that it’s their responsibility to drive it.
Questions to ask of your company: do we really care if our people are loyal and do we see loyalty contributing to the bottom line?
What should it be?
It should always be better because it’s never good enough and if a business isn’t actively trying to improve EE, it’ll be getting worse! Loyalty is not accidental, it’s a response to proactive effort.
Questions to ask of your company: what do we do as a business to drive loyalty with our people, how does the company demonstrate loyalty to its employees?
What can be done to improve it?
We all have the answers to this queestion, all we have to do is look inside ourselves (cheesy but true!!!) Seriously though, forget about business for a second, what are you loyal to and why?
I’ll be the guinea pig and give you my list of things that build my loyalty to X.
“X cares about me”
“me and X are good together”
“X and I are committed to each other, I help X and X helps me”
“X and I are in this for the long term”
“when X is feeling down, I want to help X get back up”
“I know that X will do the same for me”
How often have you heard someone explain why they left their job as:
“I just felt like I was a number”. Maybe you’ve been that number?
Let me add one more thing to the guinea pig list:
“X never makes me feel like I’m just a number”
I reckon that too often, Employee Engagement focuses solely on Employees displaying loyalty and neglects that it’s the Employer who plays the part of X. Loyalty is a two way street.