As businesses continue to navigate the uncertain waters of the post-pandemic world, one thing remains clear: a people-first culture is essential for success. At the heart of this culture is employee engagement. When employees are engaged, they are more productive, more loyal, and more likely to stay with the organization. But how do you get a fix on employee engagement? In this article, we'll explore some of the ways to measure and improve engagement, drawing on insights from Dr. Jim's conversation on the topic.
The Crucial Role of Managers in Fostering Employee Engagement
At the most basic level, engagement starts with the manager. As Dr. Jim notes, "You need to be in a habit of doing regular one-on-one meetings. You need to be consistently looking at attendance and engagement, participation in voluntary events and generally being a good observer." These grassroots efforts are essential for building a culture of engagement, but they require buy-in from all levels of the organization.
"Is this HR's responsibility or is this the entire enterprise's responsibility?" Dr. Jim asks. "And that is an important question because oftentimes many organizations, especially in the small to mid-size space, push this all into HR. And the reality of it is that if you want to build a people-first culture, everyone's gotta be responsible for this."
In other words, engagement is everyone's job. Managers need to be observant and proactive in fostering engagement, but they also need to report back to the enterprise so that leaders can get a handle on where engagement stands. This requires a listening culture where feedback is actively collected from employees at all levels.
Measuring Engagement: Surveys and Exit Interviews
One of the most effective ways to measure engagement is through employee surveys. As Dr. Jim notes, "You need to build a listening culture where HR is actually actively collecting feedback from the rank and file and even the leadership depending on what the purposes are within the organization." These surveys can help identify emergent issues and provide a baseline for measuring progress.
But surveys are only part of the picture. Exit interviews are another important tool for understanding engagement. "That's gonna give you some intel on what is going on within your organization," Dr. Jim says. "And keep in mind, this is where managers need to be looped in because when you look at the biggest reasons why employees leave organizations two out of the top five reasons are associated with their managers, so you need to be sensitive to that."
By conducting exit interviews and analyzing the results, organizations can identify areas where managers may need additional support or training. This can help improve engagement and reduce turnover.
Defining Good Engagement and Setting Metrics
Of course, measuring engagement is only the first step. Organizations also need to define what good engagement looks like and set metrics to track progress. "You need to be able to look at what the data shows you," Dr. Jim says. "You need to define what good looks like and then attach performance metrics to it."
One key metric to look at is the net promoter score (NPS) at the employee level. This score measures how likely employees are to recommend the organization to others. Another important metric is pulse surveys, which provide a regular snapshot of engagement levels.
But metrics are only useful if they are tied to action. "You need to be able to take action on what you learn," Dr. Jim says. "And that means that you need to have a plan in place for how you're going to address issues that come up."
Building an Elite Organization
Ultimately, the goal of measuring and improving engagement is to build an elite organization. This requires discipline and consistency of execution. But it also requires a commitment to putting people first.
"As we move into this new world of work, the organizations that are going to be successful are the ones that are going to be able to build a people-first culture," Dr. Jim says. "And that means that they're going to be able to attract and retain the best talent, they're going to be able to create an environment where people are engaged and productive, and they're going to be able to drive innovation and growth."
To achieve this, organizations need to prioritize engagement at all levels. Managers need to be observant and proactive, HR needs to build a listening culture, and leaders need to define what good engagement looks like and set metrics to track progress. By doing so, they can build an elite organization that is poised for success in the post-pandemic world.