Employee Engagement: More than doughnuts...definitely no diamonds

Employee Engagement is not a new concept, but it has been one of the top HR buzzwords floating around businesses over the past 5+ years. Your company has put hundreds or thousands of dollars into an engagement survey, and your results are declining year over year. What are you doing wrong?

You may not have an engagement problem—you may have a scoring issue. Let's look at Craig. He's a Red-Seal Welder with 20 years of experience,  seven with his current employer. He shows up for work on time (early) daily and has boots on the floor, ready when the clock strikes 8 am. He is also out the door promptly at 6 pm unless asked to stay for OT. Let's ask Craig to answer some of the most commonly asked questions on an engagement survey. (Keep in mind in most surveys the responses to these questions are ratings or yes/no. We've added words to provide the full response.)

Q. My job provides me with a sense of meaning and purpose.
A. No, I weld stuff onto equipment every day. I'm not saving lives; I'm a welder.

Q. I have the freedom to choose how to perform my job best.
A. No, the Shop Supervisor tells me how he thinks I should do my job and how long it should take me. He's never been a welder.

Q. I feel challenged and stretched in my job in a way that results in personal growth.
A. No, I don't need to think anymore to do my job because I've been doing it so long it comes automatically.

Q. Most days, I see positive results because of my work.
A. Most days, I see another piece of equipment rolling into and out of the shop.

Q. I feel like I belong here.
A. I come to work. I do my job.

What's wrong with Craig's answers? Nothing. He is a typical trades worker. He has little say in his daily duties, he does a similar type of work almost daily, and there is not much you can change about that. Are his answers problematic to your engagement score? Absolutely.

Those answers will bring your engagement score down. If you have several Craig's working for you, that score will never go up. In fact, after seeing no changes to how the company works, your marks will go down because he hasn't seen the fruits of your efforts to improve his work.

Is he engaged? Yes actually. He is. What are some of the indicators of an engaged employee?

  • They recommend their place of work to others.
  • They talk to their friends and family about where they work.
  • They wear company clothing when not at work.
  • They are not looking at other companies.
  • They feel supported by their team members.

Craig mostly likes where he works and the type of work he does. He isn't expecting a Disney environment when he walks in the door and doesn't want to talk about his feelings to his supervisor. He wants to go to work and do his job. He wants the flexibility to determine the best way to go about his duties, and he wants someone to occasionally say-Thanks.

Good engagement starts before the employee is hired. It begins with your company's hiring process. How smooth is it? Do you lose applicants during the hiring process? Cumbersome processes can cause applicants to abandon the process and work for your competition. You can build engagement into several areas of your hiring and onboarding process.

Are there better ways to make these systems work? Probably. When was the last time you had an outside opinion of how your company runs? This isn't a peek into how you run your company; this is an honest look at how your company runs. If the last time you had an analyst review, your processes was before COVID, it's been too long.

Engagement is multiple areas within an organization that all work together. Making changes in one place can make positive changes in other areas. A little effort can go a long way.

If you aren't sure where to start this process and how to use the information you collected from your team to make changes, book an appointment, and we can help you out.

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