Employee Engagement

The Twelve Focal Points of Employee Engagement

Master the art of employee engagement with these twelve focal points. Unlock productivity, satisfaction, and success in your organization today!

Gallup is the industry leader when it comes to HR data collection and employee trends. They have studied over 2.7 million workers across 100,000 plus teams.

Using this vast array of knowledge, Gallup has isolated 12 survey questions to ask when assessing the overall employee engagement of a company. In this post, we will look at each of these 12 areas, their importance, and what can be done to immediately boost employee engagement without having to do a company-wide mass survey.

Managers, executives, and team leaders can raise their own awareness of these 12 Focal Points. The result will be an immediate and lasting impact on morale, culture, and employee engagement.

One – I know what is expected of me at work

Clear expectations from the start, before any work is done, can save hours, weeks, and sometimes months of wasted time. Most workplace blunders don’t come from malice or neglect, but misunderstanding.

It is equally frustrating and often downright embarrassing for an employee to work hard on a project, only to finish it and discover they delivered something completely different from what was asked. Also, sometimes employees won’t voice confusions or questions when receiving directions from a superior out of anxiety or fear. When this happens, they have hidden confusions and make mistakes.

Managers need to take the extra time and care to ensure there are clear expectations, tangible goals, and measurable results before employees start working. Laying out exact needs from the beginning saves a ton of heartbreak later. Don’t assume employees know what to do or know what the expectations are. Ask them specifically what they are going to do on projects, what their deadlines are, how much revenue they are expected to bring in. You’ll often be shocked by the answers. If you aren’t on the same page, it’s easy to correct before a bunch of useless work is done.

When expectations are clear, employees feel certain of what is being asked of them, and they perform at the levels managers need. This all results in increased engagement and productivity.

Two – I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right

Some of these are going to seem obvious. But these obvious points also cause the most headache in the workplace.

Managers need to make sure employees have all the needed equipment to get the job done. Don’t assume anything on this. When dishing out assignments, have a checklist of all the needed software, hardware, and any other supplies employees might need access to and make sure it's available.

Especially in today’s workplace where so much remote work is happening, many employees often discover they are missing vital software to complete a particular task too late, resulting in missed deadlines.

Make sure managers are performing frequent audits of employee resources and providing the needed tools for employees to perform well on the job.

Starting out a job without the right equipment sets the employee and thier manager up for frustration. Skip the headache. Start off on the right foot with the right tools.

Three – At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.

A large percentage of the workforce will forgo higher pay to do something fulfilling that aligns with their passion. Surveys show that 86% of millennials would take a lower paycheck to work for a company with a mission and values that align with their own.

Money isn’t the primary motivation at work. Sure, it helps. Who doesn’t want to work hard for a bonus? Who wouldn’t appreciate a pay bump? But when you get down to it, doing something meaningful that makes an employee feel good is what motivates them.

Take an assessment of your teams. Have managers look at the best abilities of their staff. Do everything possible to tailor work to employee strengths so they have a chance to use the best part of themselves at work.

Don’t give creative tasks to employees who aren’t creative. Find someone more artistic in your ranks to write a blog, and give more data-heavy tasks to analytical types. Providing enjoyable work is not always possible. Everyone understands that sometimes mundane work is vital, but it shouldn’t all be drudgery.

Giving employees work that allows them to shine daily can go miles in improving engagement, retention, and productivity.

Four – In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.

Nothing is easier to do. Nothing is cheaper than simply praising employees for doing good work. Unfortunately, it is also easily neglected and never done.

I get it. Praise and recognition aren’t at the top of the business plan. Managers and executives have quotas, steep demands, and immense pressure to make things happen. These pressures always take priority, and they should, as meeting these demands is what keeps the company alive, keeps it expanding, and making money.

But without giving employees praise frequently, they can feel underappreciated. This usually takes time to build up any real resentment, but take a look at your workforce. Is there a slow-building resentment towards management? If there is, action needs to be taken. Retention rates could dip, and the high cost of replacing employees isn’t worth it when a simple “Hey, great work!” voiced every once in a while will keep people happy.

It’s truly amazing how hard people will work and how happy they will be with the slightest acknowledgment. Praise doesn’t have to be over the top. It doesn’t have to be expensive or even cost a penny. It wouldn’t hurt for managers to provide monetary recognition or gifts, but these are generally built into the pay system. Employees know what they need to do to earn higher pay or bonuses. Giving a verbal acknowledgment of a job well done to a junior employee could possibly change the trajectory of that employee’s career choices.

I’ve often seen junior employees take on jobs specifically to work and learn from executives within certain companies. Receiving recognition from someone you look up to can mean more than all the money in the world under the right circumstances.

Five – My supervisor or someone at work seems to care about me as a person.

Employees who feel cared for are far more likely to stick around and be engaged. It can be easy for employees to slip into “quiet quitting” or “burning out” in a large workforce. No one is engaged in their work when they feel like a cog in a giant machine.

Tons of different approaches have been taken to address this issue in employees. Many large tech giants offer employee perks and incentives that make employees feel cared for. This can be effective. However, it can also be costly.

There are much more economical ways to care about employees as people. The first is talking to them. Make sure there are open channels between employees and managers. Provide communication networks for employees to give input, file complaints and forward ideas to supervisors and executives.

Communication is what sets human beings apart from the vast majority of other life on this planet. Removing the ability to communicate reduces a person’s self-respect. Increasing their communication allows them to be more alive. You never know, an employee's suggestions to management might bring in more money.

Six – There is someone at work who encourages my development.

People don’t get better on their own. They have a certain level of skill, knowledge and experience. Improvement can come about through practicing skills, but generally meaningful development comes from external sources, even if that source is an online course or book.

Managers, supervisors and executives are in their respective positions because they are better at doing all the work than the people who work below them. If they aren’t, then they shouldn’t be at the top. But these senior positions are generally earned through hard work and proven skills.

Employees should always be improving. There should always be systems in place to improve their skills, even if it's as simple as making book/course recommendations to help employees improve their value in the company.

One of the most effective ways to develop employees and improve engagement is to invest in a formal mentoring program (like Wisdom Share by Mentor Resources). With a mentoring program, you can pair up employees with your most valuable asset – high-caliber upper management executives who can mentor. A mentoring program boosts retention rates, automatically engages employees by stimulating them intellectually, and transfers skill sets.

Seven – At work, my opinions seem to count.

Employees need to know their place within the ranks of an organization. They need to know who they rank above and who their superiors are. There should be codes of conduct and agreed-upon professional etiquette. Otherwise, the workplace would be chaos.

But the rules shouldn’t be so stringent that employee opinions are ignored or even worse, unsafe to voice. Every effort should be made to ensure employee opinions can be voiced and listened to.

Employees need to feel they have some say over the future of their work. They work for a company and should receive orders and direction, which they should comply with. But they also have thoughts, feelings, opinions, and ideas about how work can be improved. If their self-determinism is completely removed, you will be left with an automaton that doesn’t make choices. You don’t want automatons. You want self-determined powerhouses that will execute actions that align with the company's goals.

Engaged employees execute, while sheep simply comply with no responsibility for the outcome. Making sure employees feel their opinions are heard engages them.

Eight – The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.

There are a few ways companies can fall down here. Sometimes the mission or purpose of a company isn’t explicitly clear to employees. Managers and team leaders might have the mission of the company burned into their bones, having worked around the company for years and are really familiar with overarching goals.

New employees and junior employees who aren’t as close to senior executives are farther removed from the bigger vision. They aren’t in the conversations actively participating in big strategic planning. This often leaves them in the dark as to what the company goals are.

Briefings solve this. Efforts to continuously communicate the company's mission are never wasted and pay dividends. Employees need to understand first what the overarching goals and strategies are. Secondly, they need to understand how their individual jobs contribute to the motion. Otherwise, they feel their work is pointless and not needed, and you’ll get a bunch of clock punchers that eat up an inflated payroll.

To get the most out of people, you have to make it clear how their work contributes to the achievement of overall company goals. This adds meaning to their work and increases engagement.

Nine – My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.

The lone wolf is entertaining to watch in movies. In real life, it’s a lonely and miserable existence. Being part of a team, collaborating with like-minded individuals to create something bigger than themselves as individuals can be incredibly fulfilling.

Loyalty, friendship, and being part of a team are important factors. These factors can be so strong that they will motivate many employees to overlook several other grievances and to keep working for the well-being of the team itself.

Be aware of toxic people. When you see someone within your ranks who is always causing problems and creating rifts amongst the team, take action. Don’t ignore it. One bad apple, left unchecked, can poison your talented employees and ruin their work.

Team building is more than policing against toxic personalities. It also takes work and action to create an esprit. When an employee does good work, don’t let it be a secret. Group acknowledgment can work wonders. It makes employees feel empowered, and peers can be inspired to up their game as well. Teams are built through collaboration and awareness of what each team member is doing. When issuing directions to employees, make sure everyone within the ranks of the team is also alerted. Everyone should know what everyone else is working on as much as possible. This organically builds collaboration and a team culture.

Break down the walls between employees so quality work is showcased.

Ten – I have a best friend at work.

Working with your best friend is awesome. Managers and supervisors can’t exactly dictate who becomes best friends at work. But a lot can be done to create friendships that form organically.

The strongest relationships are those forged by overcoming mutual adversity. When a group of people is faced with the same opposition, they can either struggle alone or they can join forces and plow through the barriers to victory.

The best way to create bonds at work that foster into friendships is to get co-workers to work together to get things done. When a team pulls something off, when they stay up nights and work weekends together to create something awesome, that mutual struggle and subsequent success form a friendship.

Eleven – In the last six months, someone has talked to me about my progress.

Managers need to check in on employees outside of the usual day-to-day activities. There should be boundaries. It doesn’t have to get uncomfortably personal. But if managers leave it all up to HR to make sure employees are progressing as people and professionally, engagement will suffer.

Frequent check-ins should honestly happen more often than once every six months. Try to talk to each employee once every month to see how they are doing and what can be done to help them progress professionally. This small act of care and attention over time can be an effective way to engage employees.

Twelve – In the last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

The theme here is showing that managers and executives care about the well-being of employees. Some of these questions address longer time frames.

It can be important to focus on the immediate tasks. Deadlines need to get met. Action steps that aren’t laid out against time almost never get done. But that doesn’t mean companies should look at the long-term well-being of their employees. It’s great that an employee worked overtime and pulled off getting a project done by a vital deadline. But if they look back over the last twelve months, how have they changed?

If they aren’t moving forward, constantly improving, or don’t feel that they are, then engagement will suffer. Every effort should be made for employees to feel that their development is being invested in on the long term.

Mentor Resources can help any company or government agency to leverage technology to create tailored career development programs that are cost-effective. Our mentoring software - Wisdom Share is a cloud-based program that is simple and comes with guided workflows. Included are tools for administrators to attract, enroll, connect, and guide participants. We also provide analytics to ensure you can monitor your employee development program and easily see ROI metrics.

Reach out to us today for a Free Demonstration of our software.

Similar posts

Get notified on new mentoring resources & insights

Be the first to know about news, articles, learning resources and new feature updates of Wisdom Share to help you build or refine your mentoring program with the tools and knowledge of today’s industry.