A question I get asked a lot is how to go about getting teams or whole workforces "engaged." It's a legitimate question pondered by head-scratching managers, execs and HR people everywhere looking to architect workplaces that produce results by motivated employees.
Well, lets first remove the nap pods and climbing walls from the building. Engagement is not about dangling trendy perks in front of twenty-something Millennials with short attention spans.
A leader with the capacity to make an emotional connection with his or her employees is the very definition of employee engagement. And when employees have meaningful work, a voice and a purpose, and connect above the neck with their leaders, they will walk through walls for them.
Ask 6 Simple Questions
Over the last four decades, Gallup has interviewed literally millions of employees to find what makes a great workplace. They were able to measure the core elements needed for leaders to attract, focus, and keep the most talented employees with twelve questions (twelve opinions, from an employee's perspective) that resulted in their popular Q12 employee engagement survey.
Gallup went further and found that, of the twelve questions, the most powerful questions are those with a combination of the strongest links to the most business outcomes. Here they are, from the employee's perspective of their immediate manager:
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
Basically, what this all comes down to is quite simple from a strategy standpoint. If you're going to assess your own engagement satisfaction, your best bet is to start with those six powerful questions. The answers may also shed some serious light on all the reasons your employees may not be that into you as a manager (whatever level, right on up to executive), or even worse, why they're not into their work.