There is no question that I believe that one of the biggest issues in today’s work place is engagement. As Gallup suggested up to 70% of employees are actively disengaged or disengaged during their work day. With the estimated cost 450- 500 Billion dollars at stake, disengagement is affecting the bottom line through those hidden expenses we don’t think about. Areas like absenteeism, low productivity, shrinkage, increased accidents, sabotaging work and employee turnover are all affected by employees and their lack of engagement.
First before we can address what is wrong with engagement, we need to determine what engagement is. Esmaili et al (2013) a number of factors that are indication of employee engagement such as:
· Employees’s satisfaction of their employer
· Job Satisfaction
· Opportunities for better performance at work and having a challenging job
· Receive positive feedback for their contribution
· Receives Personal support from supervisor (or mentor)
· Willingness to go beyond the minimum
· Understanding the relationship between the job and the organization’s mission
· A chance of progress with an employer
· Tend to stay with the same employer
Blessing White Research (2013) states that “When it comes to drivers of engagement, clarity on the organization’s priorities, getting feedback, having opportunities to use skills, and career development remain at the top of the list for a majority of employees. What these factors mean in practice, however, can be deeply personal.” While this is a broader statement, we can easily see that it shares similarities from Esmaili et al (2013) study. However the one difference that is pointed out is the fact that engagement must be addressed at the personal level to be meaningful.
Also note that the list lacks any “Hygiene” type factors such as salary and benefits. Which fits into Pinks (2011) view of what motivation really works, Pink has built his motivation model up from Deci and Ryans work on Self Determination Theory, in which they state that in many cases extrinsic motivating (pay check, bonus’s and benefits) are not as important as intrinsic motivation (doing a job because it is worth doing and gives you the satisfaction of a job well done). The main three areas of his work states that a person to be motivated must have Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
Going a bit further, Bunchballs Paharia(2013) adds two other aspects to Pinks (2013) work by adding to Progress and social interaction to Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose, as motivating factors. Looking back at Esmaili et al (2013) original list we could assign each of the five traits back to those engagement factors. While I would not call the list definitive it certainly fits the various aspects of Self Determination theory. So the question becomes how can an employer learn if his employees are actively engaged or disengaged in their jobs?
Certainly we can look at trends in the organizational work force, and compare them to national trends like how often an employee is sick, or do you have more accidents on the floor then other similar organizations, are there quality issues in your processes or production. These all can be indicators of employee lack of engagement. Personally I think the best way is to ask them either directly or indirectly (through survey’s).
While you can go for full blown engagement surveys, here are some of the top questions I have come across on the internet. I would suggest that this could lend itself to a 1 – 5 scale where 1 represents, do not agree and 5 I fully agree.
1. Do I know what is expected of me from work?
2. Do I feel proud to tell people where I work?
3. How do you feel about coming to work every morning?
4. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
5. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
6. Do you have the opportunity to contribute to the decisions that affect you?
7. Do you understand how your role contributes to achieving business outcomes?
8. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
9. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
10. Does your manager inspire you?
11. Do you trust the information you receive?
12. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
13. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
14. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel important?
15. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
16. Do I have a best friend at work?
17. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
18. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
19. Choose five words that best describe how you feel about coming to work?
20. Do you feel valued for the work you do?
Engagement is an issue, it’s a core issue, and before you can move to solve engagement issues, you must first discover, what those issues are so that we can begin to figure out how to motivate your organization. What we would be driving too is what Paharia (2013) calls Loyalty 3.0. To reach Loyalty 3.0 in your organizations you must have Motivated employees, understand what Paharia(2013) calls Big Data and some sort of Gamification. This is represented as a formula:
Motivation + Big Data + Gamification = Loyalty 3.0.
Organizations need to get a handle on Motivation and understanding who and what their employees are all about, before finding solutions in Gamification to move the organization towards Loyalty 3.0.
Blessing White Research (2013)’Employee Engagement Report Update 2013)[Online]. Available at: http://www.blessingwhite.com/EEE__report.asp (Accessed: 16 August 2013)
Esmaili, M., Otouee, Z, Arianfard, M., and Seraji, R. (2013) ‘Providing a model of information technology role in employee’s engagement in work based on Bakker and Demerouti’s model’ [Online]. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research. Available at: http://www.textroad.com/pdf/JBASR/J.%20Basic.%20Appl.%20Sci.%20Res.,%203(2)625-632,%202013.pdf (Accessed: 06 August 2013)
Paharia, R. (2013) ‘Loyalty 3.0: How to revolutionize Customer and employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification’. Mcgraw Hill: NY, NY. Available to purchase at: http://www.amazon.com/Loyalty-3-0-Revolutionize-Engagement-Gamification/dp/0071813373/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376661782&sr=8-1&keywords=Loyalty+3.0
Pink, D. H. (2011) ‘Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us’. Riverhead books, Available for purchase http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Surprising-Truth-About-Motivates/dp/1594484805/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376661262&sr=8-1&keywords=Drive