4 Questions to Improve Employee Engagement

A giant question mark pinned to the wall prompting questions about employee engagement

Want to improve employee engagement? You’ll have to find out what your employees care most about that directly correlates to the three top employee engagement anchors:

  1. Discretionary effort
  2. Intent to stay
  3. Company advocacy

This is why you should bother—engaged employees work harder, are more productive and stay longer. Their degree of engagement has a direct impact on your bottom line. How about $550 Billion worth of productivity loss in a year? That’s what the recent Gallup study reported. And that doesn’t even include the cost of replacing those workers who leave.

Now that we hopefully have your attention, there are two questioning methods you can use to determine if your employees represent the 70% of workers from the same study who are unhappy with their work or the 30% who are engaged at their workplace: an employee engagement survey or a less formal, ongoing dialogue. Your goal is to figure out what makes employees excited about coming to work, what keeps them from achieving their work goals, and how they see themselves growing in the company. You want to tap into their reactions on both a functional and a social/emotional level.

Employee Engagement Survey
There are easily distributed Employee Engagement Surveys that are designed to gather information anonymously on how employees feel about the company, its leaders and their work. As long as you have employee trust and are committed to making changes as a result of what you learn from the survey, you should get their open and honest ideas for improvement…as well as what bugs them and keeps them from doing their best.  Pull together the responses, reflect on what changes should or could be made, and adjust your culture to suit their needs.

Ongoing Dialogue

This method of questioning is simpler and cheaper to implement, but it may take a while for employees to trust the process. They need to know there will be no repercussions for negative input. Otherwise the answers to your questions will provide little direction on what needs to be changed.

Regardless of the method you choose, here are 4 questions that will help you uncover the policies, rules, and behaviors that either block or enable employees to contribute their best work.

  1. How readily available are the resources and information you need to do your job?
    When vital information is kept in silos, projects break down. Employees need to know where they can turn for support, critical data, and a clear definition of both failure and success.
  2. When did you last feel proud of your work?
    The answer may reveal why an employee is not contributing as much as when they felt the pride of achievement and encourages the worker to own their own performance. Here is where you can gently probe to learn what may be holding them back.
  3. When did you last feel valued by the organization?
    This question speaks to a critical employee engagement motivator—recognition for a job well done. You will get a sense of whether or not you are acknowledging workers often enough for their superior work or discretionary effort.
  4. Where do you rate your performance vis-à-vis your peers?
    This question is designed to identify strengths in members of the team so they can build those strengths in others. The goal is to create a collaborative environment where the team works together toward the highest possible performance.

To learn more, download our Employee Engagement and Retention Toolkit

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