By asking your employees simple questions, you can unlock untapped potential. Make regular engagement a success factor for yourself as a leader. “Then you will really gain momentum,” says Viktoria Lindhé at &frankly. She provides us with some essential guidance for when employee engagement fails.
– There is little question about whether or not an engaged workplace is more productive than an unengaged one. “Engagement is a people driver. It helps employees deliver results, collaborate, and innovate to best meet your customers’ needs,” says Viktoria, Head of Customer Success at &frankly.
Engaged employees on the whole tend to stay longer at their employers. As a manager, it is your most important job to engage you team. Keeping track of engagement and making it a daily touchpoint is essential.
– It is in the small steps you take to encourage engagement that create change and momentum over time, says Viktoria.
A strong, results driven, method for measuring and acting on employee engagement is the foundation. You can’t work blindly, and the actionable part of engagement doesn’t have to be ambiguous or unclear. You need to work from a basic structure. Asking basic question about wellbeing is the best way to take the pulse of your team.
– Managers can be a little scared and uncomfortable with this the first time. What kind of responses can you expect? But it is important to get this initial feedback. Be brave, Viktoria urges.
The tool &frankly is your central hub to measure and track employee engagement. &frankly gives you access to a large library of questions that have been organized into mini surveys called pulses. A pulse is an easy way to send questions to your employees and can be answered quickly. As your team responds you get real-time insights into the results, how the team is feeling, and where you should focus your energy as a leader.
Viktoria tells us about one of the most popular pulses with seven simple diagnostic questions.
– This is often the very first pulse that managers choose to send out to their team. It helps them find out which areas or engagement they should work on. Diagnosing the engagement drivers. The answers to this initial pulse provide actional benchmarks to work from. But the big insights come when you discuss the results together with your team. From there, it is very easy to get started and directly address the feedback. It is your job as a leader to create opportunities for discussion, but it is the team that should get involved and take responsibility for developing an action plan based on the results.
– I think the first breakthrough will come when you ask the questions. The second will be when you share the results with the team and the third when you discuss the results together.
7 questions – 7 actions for leaders
Each question in &frankly’s diagnostic pulse aligns with one of the seven drivers of employee engagement. In the tool there are specific actions you can take based on these questions.
If you see that your team is not as engaged as you thought, there are steps to take.
– It is good to look at wellbeing first. Employee wellbeing is a hygiene factor, it is fundamental. If people are feeling really bad, there is quite a lot of work to be done to bring them up to speed before the benefits of an engaged team can be unlocked, says Viktoria.
She has also focused on the driver “alignment”.
– If you have a clear direction and a picture of what you are aiming to achieve, it will be easier to calibrate how you will, for example, collaborate to achieve the goals.
Actions for managers: ”Wellbeing can be seen at two levels, at the individual and at the group. If an employee is not feeling well individually, affected by personal stresses like illness or their relationships, then you can encourage your employee to seek help or take some time. If an employee is not feeling well in the group, such as being overburdened with their share of the work, you can start a dialogue in the team about asking and offering help to each other. As a manager, give a clear picture of how work should be prioritized. Encourage exercise and breaks to help stressed employees get some distance from their work in a positive way,”says Viktoria.
Actions for managers: “If you get a low result on this driver you may need to dig deeper to find out if your team is having internal problems for if they perceive a problem in collaborating with other teams. Sometimes it is as simple as getting a dialogue started to create mutual understanding. I encourage team members to shadow each other – listen and experience the day-to-day to foster understanding. What can each person learn from each other? Invite other teams into the discussion if the tension is between teams. Ask if you can attend one of their team meetings or invite the other teams’ members to yours. Have an intrateam lunch.”
3: I feel valued at work
Actions for managers: ”Recognition is simply about being seen. How each individual wants to be recognized for their effort can vary. It is a highly individual preference and so you should talk about it with the team. Ask: How can you practice recognizing each other and celebrating the wins? How can you show gratitude for help others give you? Make recognizing each other a habit. Some &frankly customers use the tool to send reminders to their teams to reflect on achievements and action feedback loops. For example: Have you given feedback to a colleague today? Or, who in the team deserves a high-five this week?
4: Right now I feel proud to tell other I work at the Company
Actions for managers: ”Pride is an important and complex driver for employee engagement. Many things play into pride. For example, the quality of leadership, workplace culture, opportunities for professional development, and so on. It is of course also about individuals identifying with the employer’s larger mission. Discuss with your team what makes them proud of their workplace and what leadership means to them.”
Actions for managers: ”It is important to develop your people, to know the competencies of every individual on your team and to have a vision for what competencies you will need in the future. As employees, they should be aware of the skills they bring to the table now. It is important for you to help them understand the broader picture of what will be needed in the future.”
Actions for managers: ”Firstly, be confident that you understand the vision of the company and your team. Be ready to discuss it with your team. The ability to discuss the company’s goals and vision in a thoughtful and confident way can very inspiring. You can also have your team share their thoughts on the goals and vision. If there are any discrepancies, you can discuss as a team how to better align.”
Actions for managers: ”This is an incredibly humbling question for managers. &frankly has less direct versions of this question if you need to ease into this kind of feedback. However, knowing your team’s response is a great opportunity to develop your leadership skills and course correct if needed. It takes tremendous maturity and courage to bring a question like this to your team for discussion. That said, you must not be accusatory: Rather than, “Why did you answer like this?” try, “I see that I am not universally recommended, what can I do in my day-to-day to be a better manager?"