The COVID-19 pandemic has upended workforces and workplaces, creating lasting change in trends that directly impact employees’ engagement and productivity. If you’re using an employee engagement survey to gauge that impact, make sure to focus on key performance drivers and ask questions that will truly surface whether employees feel motivated to put energy and effort into their work.
It’s tempting to rely on sentiment-based questions like “Do you receive enough recognition?” or “Does your manager care about you as a person?” Such questions are common on the formal annual or bi-annual surveys that organizations use to measure employee engagement — and the responses will reveal some of what employees feel about their jobs and workplace.
But these questions aren’t very effective at surfacing whether employees still remain engaged and productive through a disruption or feel motivated to exert discretionary effort.
“During disruption, it’s especially important to make sure employees don’t become disengaged or frustrated as they adjust, for instance, to a new remote work environment or new business priorities,” says Caroline Walsh, Vice President, Gartner. “But there are still clearly identifiable drivers of employee engagement and performance that you need to watch.”
Organizations should ensure that the following three drivers of employee engagement are tested in their surveys:
No. 1: Organizational trust
The extent to which employees trust their organizations is a great barometer to measure employee engagement and productivity levels. Employees who have high levels of organizational trust are shown to have high engagement levels as well.
Survey questions should help you understand whether or not employees believe that your organization values people and will do all it can to ensure employee well-being. These questions will also help you gauge whether or not your communication strategy effectively articulates your organizational values.
No. 2: Commitment to coworkers
Employees should be able to collaborate with one another effectively, even as they endure high levels of disruption in both their work and home environments. Survey questions can help you understand whether your employees are continuing to actively collaborate with their team members (helping them complete their best work) and whether they and the team they work with value each other’s support.
No. 3: The right capabilities
Capability — which consists of an employee’s comprehension, agility, network, direction and expectations — is especially important to measure during periods of significant change. Survey questions should determine whether your employees are aware of and can tap into the tools, information and people that can help them navigate changes arising out of disruptions.