What is “employee engagement” in the workflow? Why do we need to evaluate it and what happens if the involvement of staff is below average? Let's try to figure out and find the answers to these questions with an SR expert, business coach Daria Artyukhova.
Involvement is a combination of emotional, intellectual and physical conditions that makes staff do their job as best as possible.
In Russian business, engagement assessment is a relatively new process. Not all businessmen understand what it is and why it is necessary to evaluate involvement, and yet this is one of the most important moments in personnel management. Loyalty, company development and even its profit depend on the level of employee involvement in the process.
If the involvement of employees is low, then this indicates serious problems in the management system. As a rule, companies with low involvement do not show the best results in the market. It is difficult for them to compete with stronger and more successful firms. In such companies, there is a high staff turnover. They are experiencing crises with great difficulty or even forced to leave the market. Naturally, these companies do not have any corporate culture, the concept of mission and common values.
In times of crisis, someone may notice that corporate culture, mission, values are high-flown words and that it is much more important to “make money” rather than “think about the soul”. On the one hand, everything is so: the strongest survive in the crisis and, at times, there is simply no time for conversations. But on the other hand, it is personnel in the crisis that pulls the company. And if your staff is offended by you or doesn’t care what’s going to happen to the company, if people don’t consider themselves part of one team, then the future of your company is doomed, even in good times.
At the same time, if the level of involvement in the team is high, then employees patiently go through difficult times with the company and do everything to make it flourish. Of course, a high level of involvement is not a panacea and a guarantee that all 100% of employees will do more than what is required of them by occupation and in accordance with their position. But this is a guarantee that those employees who are truly involved in the process will perform their duties in a quality manner.
The profit of the store depends on the involvement of staff
If we talk about retail, the level of involvement directly affects the profit of the store. When we first conducted an assessment of engagement, we identified a clear pattern: stores with a low level of engagement showed low profits and there was a high turnover of staff. Conversely, stores with a high level of involvement turned out to be leaders in both sales and the number of long-lived employees. As soon as measures were taken to increase the level of engagement, the indicators went up. But first things first. Let's first learn to count this very involvement.
Gallup to the rescue
For a long time there are special assessment systems that allow you to competently and accurately assess the level of employee involvement. You can contact the agents providing such services or conduct an assessment yourself.
For an independent assessment of the level of involvement, you can use the Gallup system. It is worth noting that this assessment by the Gallup method is better to combine with other tools for a more complete and reliable result. Nevertheless, even the Gallup engagement assessment data is enough to understand “where the dog is buried” and what needs to be done.
Gallup Survey Content:
Do you know what the employer expects of you?
Do you have the necessary materials and tools to do your job properly?
Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best at your work every day?
In the past seven days, have you received approval or praise for a job well done?
Does your immediate supervisor or someone else at work treat you as an individual?
Does anyone at your work contribute to your professional development?
Is your point of view taken into account?
Do your company’s mission and strategy evoke a sense of the significance of the work you are doing?
Do your colleagues consider quality work to be their duty?
Do you have a true friend at work?
Over the past six months, did anyone speak with you at work about your professional successes and achievements?
Over the past year, have you had the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and professional growth at work?
Security guarantees honesty
Suppose you decide to choose the second path and conduct the assessment yourself. To do this, you need a questionnaire, it consists of only 12 questions. Before handing out questionnaires to employees, they must be prepared. Managers need to explain that this is a very important survey and answer questions as honestly as possible. It must be made clear that no one will be fired and punished according to the results of the survey. In general, any assessment should be as comfortable as possible for employees, because only a sense of security will help them to fully open up.
You can conduct a survey anonymously, aleatherg only the unit. This approach, of course, will not help identify an employee with a low level of involvement, but will make the survey as truthful as possible. And you will understand which unit or store is "lame." But if you are sure that your employees feel comfortable and will answer truthfully in any case, then conduct a survey without anonymity. After you prepare your staff, explaining to them that this is not a certification, that this assessment does not show their level of professionalism and does not exactly affect their work, you can start the survey. An assessment of engagement can be carried out under the pretext of finding out what employees lack to improve working conditions. Of course, it is worthwhile to understand that if your employees are accustomed to a directive management style, without any feedback, with a sharp change in approach and the manifestation of unusual care, you can greatly scare people or even scare them away.
Let me give you an example: once we conducted an assessment of engagement for one of our partners, in whose company it was adopted a directive management method. Directions descended from top to bottom without any further explanation. And then one day the leader comes with a very kind smile on his face and begins to tell employees something about loyalty, about the corporate spirit and how it would be great to be one big, friendly family. To say that his words shocked most employees is to say nothing. People decided that the reduction of the entire staff was coming and it was time to look for a new job. As a result, our partner understood the level of employee involvement in his company without a special questionnaire. Therefore, remember: try to maximize relieve stress from employees during any assessment, but if they are used to explaining nothing to them, sometimes it’s better to simply hand out questionnaires and ask them to be answered as honestly as possible, without going into further explanations.
After you collect the data, you will need to process it, and you will see a certain picture. For example, as in this diagram: # IMG2 #
If more than 50% of the company’s employees have an “above average” involvement level, this is a good sign and you are on the right track. The more such employees, the better. If there are less than 50%, then this is a serious bell, and you should think about how to change the situation.
Ways to increase engagement
There are many ways to increase engagement. Some will require financial costs, and some methods are practically free. For example, you can introduce a tradition such as congratulating an employee on his birthday — a greeting card and a small souvenir from the company. Yes, this will require small investments, but they will pay off in full: such not-too-costly methods help to achieve high levels of engagement, loyalty, and practically reduce staff turnover. In addition to congratulations on your birthday, you can have other pleasant traditions that will be respected from year to year.
Also, participation in charity events can increase the level of involvement. For example, over the past two years, employees of our company have been actively participating in charity races. Employees get the opportunity to meet colleagues from other stores and at the same time do a good deed. This motivates them very much.
You can increase the involvement of employees by various discounts on products, additional vacation days, for example, for length of service or for good performance. Here, each employer must decide for himself whether he is ready to make such concessions.
Very well raises engagement training. If the company has a mentoring and training system, this facilitates adaptation and increases loyalty to the company. As a result, involvement is also increasing. Periodically undergoing training, employees feel that they are important for the company, as they are given the opportunity to increase their level of professionalism. But it is important to understand that the training system must be constant and structural. One-time on-the-job training will not raise engagement, but rather bring confusion.
Another great way to increase engagement is to hold corporate events, from holidays and skits in a restaurant to team building.
But one of the most important and simple ways to raise the level of employee involvement to the commonplace is simple. Often, employees simply do not have enough attention, and they need to talk with them: be interested in their life, the problems that they face at work. Often, ordinary conversation works wonders. Naturally, in a large team, the leader cannot talk with everyone. But he has deputies, there are line managers, and he can communicate with them, setting an example and motivating them to also communicate with his subordinates. Competent coaching is the key to success in staff engagement.
Of course, it is worthwhile to understand that only a set of measures will be able to give positive results. And even if everything is in order with the level of involvement, this does not mean at all that you can now relax and begin to devote less time to staff. On the contrary, you need to work with staff even better in order to maintain what is. And the staff, in turn, will repay loyalty, efficiency and fulfillment of the plan.
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