Yesterday, I published the latest findings in Officevibe's real-time "State of Employee Engagement" survey, which captures live data from hundreds of thousands of answers from employees all over the world about what they believe leads to an awesome employee experience.

The whole premise for this survey -- or any other employee engagement tool -- is predicated on companies having good leadership in place to trigger discretionary effort in their employees. A results-oriented workplace with a great culture and bottom-line impact just can't happen without it.

Gallup has been measuring engagement data for nearly two decades now, and the numbers remain dismal. In an opinion piece released last month, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton said this:

Only 15% of the world's one billion full-time workers are engaged at work. It is significantly better in the U.S., at around 30% engaged, but this still means that roughly 70% of American workers aren't engaged. It would change the world if we did better. What the whole world wants is a good job, and we are failing to deliver it -- particularly to millennials. This means human development is failing, too. Most millennials are coming to work with great enthusiasm, but the old management practices -- forms, gaps and annual reviews -- grinds the life out of them.

6 Questions to Ask

If you're in a leadership role, the first step to high engagement is to assess your own perception of how your employees feel. You can start with this simple self-diagnosis.

If you can answer all six of these questions with a resounding "yes", you passed the engagement test and may be well on your way to helping to release discretionary effort across the organization.

  1. Do your employees believe that you want to hear their ideas and will value them?
  2. Do your employees understand how their daily work helps accomplish the organization's goals?
  3. Do your employees communicate their ideas and vision for the organization when you are around?
  4. Do you frequently acknowledge and recognize each employee for his or her contribution -- in ways that matter most to each?
  5. Do they believe that you are committed to helping them develop and grow?
  6. Do you regularly offer career path guidance to your people?

Next Steps

If these questions confirm what you already know to be truth, be ready to take action with serious intent. Effective engagement stems from a mindset of wanting to best meet the needs of each employee so they are equipped to succeed. In turn, they will give you their best work. This can only happen when mutual trust, respect, encouragement, and affirmation are clearly displayed along the way. This is a good start.