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3 quick questions to check employee engagement at work

Submitted by on Thursday, 9 February 2012No Comment

Employee Engagement is, as we covered in a previous post here, a concept that all managers must understand, but one that is unfortunately sometimes confusing. So we thought it helpful to produce 3 quick questions employees can use to check their engagement at work.

They are simply:

1. In percentage terms, how much of what you do at work is ‘play’?

2. In percentage terms, how much of what you do at work is ‘work’?

3. In percentage terms, how much of what you do at work is ‘misery’?

Marshall Goldsmith, whose ideas prompted this post, covers these questions in more detail here.

How to use these questions

Granted, this is not an exhaustive engagement survey of the kind we recommend companies cover on an annual basis.

However, asking these questions does give you a ‘thermometer’ of your attitude to your work and workplace. It’s also helpful, from time to time, to use these questions with colleagues or direct reports as a guage for how they feel ‘things are at work’, without going into too many specifics (or gossip!)

While we are never going to completely eliminate (3) and make (1) 100% of our work, here are some guidelines that may be of use:

  • If (3) is >20% something is wrong… you need to find out what it is!
  • If (1) is either <10% or over >30%, this is also not usually a positive indicator… you also need to drill down for more information…

Employee Engagement questions

The critical follow-up question

To get that information, asking the question…

Can you tell me the number 1 factor you feel makes you give that score?

 …should help you uncover some serious disengagers (and, importantly, engagers) at work. So by asking these questions you should get a ‘more of’ / ‘less of’ list that you can work on, in order to promote employee engagement at work.

As top coach Vince Lombardi said:

Employee engagement is not a sometime thing, it’s an all time thing. You don’t engage employees once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time… Engagement is habit.

So employee engagement, as per our graphic here, is an ongoing cycle.

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