As time goes on, more and more organizations discover that it’s not necessarily profit and expansion that determine the success of a business; it’s employee engagement.
What, then, are some of the most important aspects of employee engagement? Most people might suggest topics like recognition, communication, or more recently, remote capabilities. However, survey analytics giant Gallup developed a new type of employee engagement element in its latest “State of the American Workplace” report, released in 2017.
Among other fascinating concepts and statistics, Gallup listed the 12 Key Elements of Employee Engagement in the form of statements a worker should agree with. If the person agrees with almost all of them, your workplace is in a great position. If they disagree with most of them, though, you have a lot of work to do.
As on-target as Gallup’s 12 Elements of Employee Engagement are, we should look at them through the lens of remote work since they were written pre-pandemic. Let’s see what they are and how to avoid their painpoints:
1. “I know what is expected of me at work”
For your team to have a good grasp of their expectations, you need to perfect the art of goal setting and communication. Routinely discussing objectives during one-on-ones and having a public goal-tracking strategy makes it abundantly clear what’s required of your team at work and the progress they’re making as time passes. “What is expected” also applies to quality of work and effort, which is another standard you should reinforce.
2. “I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.”
Believe it or not, only 3 out of 10 US employees agree with this statement. You can’t have employee engagement without the tools needed to be an employee, of course.
In these instances, though, the people lacking materials necessary to work aren’t carpenters missing hammers or teachers missing chalkboards. They’re often remote workers missing reliable wifi or programs that aren’t supplied by the employer, which are problems both harder to fix and harder to communicate. Make sure your remote staff is supplied with what they need to do their job at the right pace, even if it means stipends for supplies.
3. “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”
Every employee has a skill or talent they used to get the position they’ve been hired to. The problem, in a lot of cases, is that their responsibilities become misaligned from those skills and talents.
When a team member works on a project they’re not as comfortable with, they often don’t put out a quality result and they’ll become frustrated with the way things are being managed. What someone wants to work on is probably what they’re best at – put everyone on the task that matches their skillset and your team will be more productive and satisfied. The easiest way to do that, especially with hybrid and remote teams, is using software that specializes in skills matching, automating the work and getting it done in a flash.
4. “In the last 7 days, I’ve received recognition or praise for doing good work.”
You just can’t have strong employee engagement without rewards and recognition. It’s one of the biggest boosters to motivation and satisfaction, and can single-handedly change your office’s culture.
There are different ways to approach it, whether through virtual high-fives and badges, constant verbal recognition, or even a robust rewards program. Whatever you choose, you can’t let good work go unnoticed – ensure your team has something waiting for them when they reach their goals.
5. “My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.”
Having a personal relationship with your team members is an interesting subject to cover, since there are lines managers aren’t supposed to cross and details that aren’t necessary to share. Knowing details about your employees as people isn’t the important part, per se, but showing that you care about them.
The main way to do this is encouraging them to come to you with any hardships (mostly work related) so you can empathize and find a way to fix them. You never want to be the cold, stern leader workers are afraid to approach. Ensure your team knows that you care about their wellbeing and you’re willing to communicate to find solutions to any problem. This can be tricky with remote team members, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with them to see if everything’s running smoothly at their home desk.
6. “There is someone at work that encourages my development.”
In a similar vein, you want your team to know that you’re interested in their development, both in their skills and careers. This can be best practiced through continued education through a learning management system( which aligns hybrid teams excellently) or even through professional advice. Employee engagement will rise when you’re engaged with your employees.
7. “At work, my opinions seem to count.”
Listen to your team! This is important to every element of employee engagement overall, but problems still persist; 30% of US employees surveyed in 2021 said leadership at their company struggled with communication and transparency. Why not fix that by communicating?
One-on-ones are essential for two-way discussion, but don’t forget to ask the whole team things directly through surveys and polls. This can be especially important for remote team members, as they want their say to be equal to those who can raise their hands in the conference room. Your team’s opinions matter – employee engagement is on the line!
8. “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.”
Having a great mission statement is an underrated way to engage your team. There’s a huge difference between employees working to pay their bills and employees working because they believe in the company’s cause. Align your team by creating a mission statement that inspires them and gives them a meaningful purpose.
Creating a new statement is a big step, but it doesn’t end at hanging a placard on the wall. As cheesy as it might sound, it’s up to you and other leaders to embody the company’s mission – live it! Leading by example and reminding your team of the organization’s purpose will change the culture from within.
9. “My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.”
This is an element that concerns your work culture as a whole. Whether we like to admit it or not, employees have a good idea of how skilled and dedicated their colleagues are. Whether certain workers try their best or they secretly slack off, reputations are hard to hide.
If one of your employees were to say that their colleagues aren’t dedicated to doing quality work, it’s an enormous red flag that shows your workplace has a culture of underachievement. A culture like this doesn’t just affect your current team, but incoming employees who see the standard that’s been set.
You can use typical performance reviews to determine whether certain employees are underperforming, but to find out if that sentiment is pervasive throughout your team, 360 and peer-to-peer reviews are necessary. Once you know what to fix and where to start, you can set a high standard and make sure your culture is all about overachievement.
10. “I have a best friend at work.”
This one seems pretty simple, but sadly, only 2 in 10 US employees agreed with this driver of employee engagement in 2021. This isn’t some sort of sign that most people are jerks – it’s a sign that making friends in a remote work environment is particularly difficult.
Remote work has exploded since the pandemic began, and since then, office camaraderie has faded in hybrid and remote environments. This can be fixed in a number of ways: casual Zoom meetings, in-person events, or a “water cooler” style chat in a Slack/Microsoft Teams channel.
Social intranets are another solution on the rise, combining the utility of HR programs with the community aspect of social media platforms. Systems with employee profiles are an excellent way to simulate an on-site environment for remote squads. Give your team as many avenues as possible to get to know one another, and they’ll be happier to wake up early on Mondays.
11. “In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.”
While it’s nice for coworkers to give each other advice, this “someone” should be a supervisor. Employee development is a type of employee engagement that can’t be forgotten, and so you should be monitoring your team’s progress and checking on how they’ve been growing more often than once a year.
Routinely checking in on progress is one of the many reasons people leaders are starting to prefer weekly one-on-ones over formal reviews; when employees get feedback on their work as they’re completing it, they stay aligned and on track. It also gives managers a much stronger insight into how their professional – and personal – advancement has been. This then leads into…
12. “This last year, I’ve had opportunities to learn and grow.”
Educate your team with learning management systems, help them progress with hands-on assistance and advice, and give them lanes for upwards movement and promotion. Make it clear to your employees that the company doesn’t see them as automatons, but people with lives and futures.
These elements of employee engagement concern much more than productivity and profit – they concern personal worth. Listen to your team, support them, and make sure they’re satisfied with their positions. You’ll get a happy staff, a better culture, and higher quality output.
Knowing is half the battle, as they say – the question now becomes, “What does HR need to do to put these elements into practice?” When it comes to employee engagement, Gallup had 12 answers for you, but we’ve only got one: the HelloTeam platform.
HelloTeam has designed a workplace community solution that will help you with every aspect of the employee engagement experience, from the micro to the macro. Between recognition & reward features, survey tools, a robust performance review system, and more, HelloTeam is uniquely positioned to help you reach both your company’s productivity goals and your engagement goals, whether your team is remote or right in front of you.
In a working era defined by The Great Resignation, join The Great Retention by teaming up with HelloTeam! To see just how it can boost engagement in your organization, click here to schedule a demo!