A special Build supplement in the December 2013 issue of Inc. magazine.
“Employee engagement” is, admittedly, a catchall term, not to mention an endlessly marketable consulting concept. So if you’re skeptical, we understand.
But earlier this year, when Gallup released its annual report on employee engagement, it included a simple tool that may help you quickly determine where your work force stands. When properly measured (Gallup argues), engagement extends beyond an assessment of how happy your employees are on the job — it also reveals whether that happiness manifests itself in superior performance.
Gallup’s report is based on the results of a survey, administered to more than 25 million employees in 189 countries, in which respondents answer “true” or “false” to a dozen statements. These questions, Gallup says, constitute “the best predictors of employee and workgroup performance.”
The first two criteria in the tool above are critical; they address employees’ primary needs. The others address three stages: how workers contribute to the whole and are valued; organizational fit; and development.
In a 2009 interview in Forbes, Douglas Conant, who was CEO of Campbell Soup at the time, described how the company had, as part of developing a “continuous loop for closing the engagement gap,” adopted a system in which the top criterion for leaders’ evaluations was “their ability to inspire trust in those around them.”
Conant said that as part of his own efforts in that regard, he “send[s] out about 20 thank-you notes a day to staffers, on all levels. And every six weeks I have lunch with a group of a dozen or so employees, to get their perspective on the business, and to address problems and get feedback.” To learn more about engagement, search #buildengagement on TheBuildNetwork.com.