For the past few years the folks at Gallup – the poll people – have been measuring workforce engagement levels, and this year’s results represent no big change from recent years. No big surprise that companies with high levels of worker engagement get better results – profitability, defect rates, growth, productivity … every significant measure of results is higher when employee engagement scores are higher.
Not too surprising either that overall levels of employee engagement are low: 30% of all workers measure as ”engaged”, leaving more than 2/3 of all folks working for a living “not engaged” or even outright “actively disengaged”.
Gallup measures engagement levels by what they call their Q12 method, essentially looking at the answers to these questions:
- I know what is expected of me at work
- I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right
- At work I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day
- In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work
- My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
- There is someone at work who encourages my development
- At work my opinions seem to count
- The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
- My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
- I have a best friend at work.
- In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
- This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
It is important to note that, while there may be a lot of overlap, employee engagement and employee satisfaction are not the same things. Good pay and benefits, as well as lots of workplace perks are great – probably even necessary – but “Gallup recently studied the relationship between these workplace policies and employees’ performance and wellbeing and found that indulging employees is no substitute for engaging them.” The big issue is focus- the companies that turn engagement into results know what they are engaging people in- just throwing money at people to make them happy isn’t doing anything to align their strengths and abilities with company goals.
This is good stuff – no reason why every company can’t survey their people on the same 12 questions and start having some interesting discussions abut the results. And it seems a safe bet most companies won’t get especially pretty results if they do.