I was speaking to a friend of mine recently about employee engagement and organizational culture. He is an executive at a small company in Austin and was talking about how happy and engaged his employees are. He and the other executive team members worked hard to create their culture and take pride in what they accomplished.
How do you know your employees are satisfied?
Because it’s in my nature, I pushed him on his comment. (I sometimes can’t stop myself.) I asked him, “How do you know they are happy?” He replied with a list of signs that tell him that his employees are engaged and happy:
- Employees appear happy.
- There are very few complaints to management.
- The company has a low attrition rate.
- Employee production level is high.
Are you listening to your employees?
“In what ways would your employees like to develop professionally and personally?”
I shared with him a phrase I recently heard, “it doesn’t have to be bad to be better.” With that notion, I asked him:
He mentioned that the employees have monthly 1:1 meetings with their managers, but he is unsure if those questions are asked. I also asked him:
“What suggestions do the employees have to improve the organization, culture, and working environment?”
He was a bit stumped and said that he knows this topic is brought up often in informal conversations. I asked him my final question before letting him off the hook:
“What is your plan to make sure your employees continue to be engaged?”
He told me in all honesty, that he doesn’t have an actual plan for that because, up to this point, the strong culture they built had created the strong engagement.
Because this is also in my nature, he walked away from our conversation with homework. He is going to think more about the questions I asked and find ways to address them in this organization. Having strong employee engagement is great for everyone. The employees enjoy coming to work and find it fulfilling. Plus, they produce better products/services for the organization. Even if it is strong, you don’t want to take your eye off of the employee engagement ball. You can do that by asking yourself these questions:
- How strong is our employee engagement?
- If it isn’t strong, how can you begin talking to your employees to hear their ideas?
- If it is strong, where can we improve our employee engagement?
- What are we putting in place to ensure our employee engagement stays strong?
These are all important questions that may get overlooked especially if nothing seems wrong. That’s where trouble can start so be proactive! There’s no need to wait until your employee engagement is poor to start trying to make it better.