This pandemic has had the most significant impact on working culture after the 2008 economic crisis. It has forced companies of all sizes to introspect and build upon their current remote working policies.
Before the pandemic, many companies did not even offer work from home options, but the past year has forced them to look at working remotely as a long term plan. At AttendanceBot we’ve had a mandatory workday a week WFH before the pandemic, and now we’re planning to go completely remote.
Doing so, begs the question, how can we measure employee engagement remotely? With the potential of losing effective team communication and thereby productivity, we have a lot to lose.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to share how we measure employee productivity and what the other methods to do so are.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee happiness is often the focus of Employee engagement. What an organization can do to make an employee happy, seems to be the question on every HR professional’s mind.
But the reality is that we can throw as many Friday night parties and SWAG bags at them, but that isn’t going to making them engaged. These tactics can be useful for other reasons, but not to make an employee emotionally committed to the organization.
According to Forbes, employee engagement is the employee’s emotional commitment to the organization and its goals. This means that engaged employees love what they do and their collaborators. They aren’t just in it for their monthly paycheck, or annual promotion, but want their company to succeed.
Employees care when they are engaged and go the extra mile to do the best job possible.
This means that an engaged software developer is happy to work well into the night when there is a product update due. This means that your marketer isn’t just mindlessly scrolling on Instagram when they’re supposed to be posting on the company page.
Employee engagement means that employees work their hardest, even when no one is looking because they have the company’s best interests in mind. According to Gallup’s State of The Workplace Report, engaged employees make their organizations 17 percent more productive and 21 percent more profitable.
What are The Benefits of Employee Engagement?
We know that an engaged employee is the most productive, but why is that?
Highly Motivated Workforce
A motivated employee will always be more productive than one who is just looking forward to their next paycheck. If done correctly, employee engagement can transform employees from workers to evangelists.
Lower Employee Turnover Rate
Hiring a new employee can cost thousands of dollars. The cost isn’t just that of placing an ad on a website. There are multiple costs associated with recruitment and selection and the time taken from every employee involved in recruitment. Engaged employees don’t leave without a valid reason, and even if they do, they can be counted on to fill their vacancy even before they leave.
Reduced Chance of Employee Burnout
Employee burnout is a common phenomenon in high-pressure workplaces. Engaged employees know what their limits are and are incentivized to not fall into the trap of presenteeism.
Why Measuring Employee Engagement Matters?
According to this Achievers’ white paper, disengaged workers have a 60% higher rate of general errors and disengagement costs the U.S. economy $550 billion per year.
Measuring employee engagement allows you to address any signs of disengagement before it becomes a systemic issue. It also enables HR departments to benchmark and plots the status of overall employee engagement. By doing so, HRs can build a clear roadmap for employee engagement from where you are to where you want to be. Measuring employee engagement periodically also ensures that your efforts are showing promising results.
Employee engagement is complex and influenced by many variables, and measuring will help create a baseline understanding about which initiatives are working.
The simple act of checking in regularly with employees makes them feel cherished.
The 7 Methods of Measuring Employee Engagement Remotely
#1: Regular Employee Engagement Surveys
In a post-pandemic world where remote working is the new buzzword, employee engagement surveys have gained popularity.
An employee engagement survey is a tool that measures employee satisfaction and the extent to which they feel valued. The purpose of this survey is to find out what drives engagement in your organizations and what could be hindering it.
The perfect employee engagement survey should be able to find out what employees feel about the company’s goals and vision, their relationship with the manager, and the growth trajectory of their role.
We also have a great resource that dives deep into how to administer employee surveys.
By using various quantitative and open-ended questions, an employee engagement survey helps in measuring employee engagement drivers. These can be anonymous and/or confidential, but be utterly transparent about how the company will use the data.
#2: Periodic 1:1 Meetings
With almost no opportunities for face to face meetings in the current situation, it makes sense to reinstate long-forgotten one on one meetings to facilitate team communication.
These private informal meets give employees a safe space to speak up about matters that may be hindering their progress. By asking managers or HR professionals to conduct these meetings with employees at whatever frequency is feasible, employees have a forum to air their grievances.
Just having this scheduled opportunity will lead to a bump in employee engagement because they’ll feel heard and treasured. Be sure to communicate that the other party is here to listen to the employee and assure them that this conversation is confidential.
Although this may be a time-intensive venture, the quality of data provided by one on one meetings is unparalleled.
#3: Conduct Exit Interviews
Although conducting exit interviews is a very passive and reactionary method of looking at employee engagement; it can unearth hidden gems. An exit interview is a great way to get honest feedback about company policies and working conditions. Former employees are much more likely to speak candidly since they don’t have anything to lose.
Exit interviews are a perfect way to map the company’s employee turnover and check if there are similarities between past exit interviews. This sort of candid feedback can help pinpoint any systemic issues if they exist.
#4: Conduct Stay Interviews
Almost every company has some form of an exit interview, but by then it is clear that the employee is disengaged. Stay interviews, on the other hand, are much more uncommon and can glean actionable data.
What are stay interviews? A stay interview is where a high performing long term employee elaborated upon what keeps them working for the organization and what aspects need improvement. This is typically done much less often than one on one interviews and is much more exhaustive.
Stay interviews are useful in finding out why high performing employees are staying in the company and ensuring their retention.
#5: Periodic eNPS Surveys
The employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) expands on the NPS system used to measure customer loyalty. The eNPS allows companies to measure which employees are willing to be ambassadors of the company to their friends and family.
By posing the question “On a scale of zero to ten, how likely is it that you would recommend this company as a place to work?”. Employees are either Promoters (9-10), Passives (6-8), or Detractors (0-5) basis their rating.
Since employees can answer this question with complete anonymity, it doesn’t help us understand why the detractors are so unhappy. All the HRs can do is benchmark the eNPS, try a few employee engagement tactics for a period, and then administer the eNPS once again to see if it improves.
While the eNPS fails at comprehensively measuring employee engagement, it can be one of the methods to measure employee loyalty, retention, and talent acquisition.
#6: OKR Setting
For any employee, having a clear goal to work towards will automatically inspire them to be more engaged. Goals can help map out how every individual’s contribution adds incremental value to the overall company goals.
But just having a goal isn’t enough to fast track employee engagement, you also need an excellent tool to measure how to get there and a methodology to inspire.
Google’s OKRs is a goal management framework that stands for Objectives and Key Results. On a personal level, we at AttendanceBot have recently implemented the OKR framework to set company, team and personal goals for each employee. We can clearly roadmap how our triumphs also play a role in achieving company goals. Knowing that each of our contributions is tangible, inspires us to work that much harder. We are more engaged, simply because we feel like our work is pushing the needle.
A considerable part of the OKR framework is taking feedback from employees every step of the way. While setting goals, we have a one-on-one meeting with our manager to offer suggestions on what the goals should be, and at the end of each quarter, there is a review meeting slated. This makes us accountable for those goals without undue pressure.
OKRs may show every employee how their tasks are interconnected and how it impacts the company’s fortunes. But even with complete commitment and impactful goal setting, it is only one of the ways for measuring employee engagement.
#7: Daily Team Standups
Remote working is the new normal in the post-pandemic world. But the fact is that working remotely can be extraordinarily polarising and leave employees craving a genuine human connection.
The daily standup meeting helps keep everyone focused on the bigger picture, becoming integral once the team is remote. Why do you ask? In a regular office, team members can walk up to one another to clear any doubts and get live updates which are impossible in a remote work structure.
Daily standups can also help bring up team morale and remove communication barriers between members. It helps align individual goals with that of the company, contributing to improved productivity and employee engagement.
What’s Next, after Measuring Employee Engagement?
Analyze and Correlate Data Collected
In all likelihood, you’ve picked two or more methods for measuring employee engagement. It then becomes integral to analyze all the data points collected. You should be able to find the answers to questions like:
- How engaged are our employees currently?
- Are the employees riled up about anything?
- Are there any common data points from each of the methods that are screaming for attention?
After analyzing the data, it makes sense to collate, quantify and condense the data into easily trackable benchmarks. Having these clearly defined benchmarks allows you to judge how well your Employee Engagement Strategy worked.
Develop an Effective Employee Engagement Strategy
Once you have benchmarked the results of all your methods measuring employee engagement, it is time to devise a kickass strategy.
Although it may often feel that speed is more critical than strategy at this point, hold your horses. Implementation of any plan should be well thought out from the standpoint of urgency and resource allocation.
Be sure to put timelines and allocate responsibilities for everyone involved while locking in your strategy.
Communicate The Plan
After putting so much effort in collecting and collating this data, we should communicate the key data points and engagement strategy to employees. Just the act of showing the effort to engage its employees can help improve mild detractors’ opinions.
Take this time to also ask for feedback and suggestions from employees to ensure that they feel heard and respected. If any of your methods were time-intensive for the employees, you could also send them small tokens of appreciation. It doesn’t matter what it is or how expensive, but it’s a gesture that can go a long way.
Rinse and Repeat
We cannot set a dynamic and truly efficient employee engagement strategy in stone. It needs to be analyzed against benchmarks, iterations must be made, and the whole cycle must repeat itself.
That’s the only way employee engagement can be on the up and up.
We pride ourselves on our entirely remote culture, and if there is some way we can help you with measuring employee engagement, please tweet us @HarmonizeHQ.