Face the truth: 6 questions to evaluate your staff motivation
April 25, 2017
Workers feel valued when they believe that their manager, peers, or higher-ups in the organization are aware of and understand their individual contributions on the job. The best way to help employees feel valued is to recognize them when they’ve done a good job. As many studies have shown, recognition doesn’t have to be big and expensive—often, a simple “thank you” will do.
How engaged are your employees?
If you’re unsure or don’t know how to approach this question, continue reading for our 6-question self-assessment survey to quickly gauge employee engagement.
Before diving in, we’d like to point out that this 6-step process is meant to quickly ‘triage’ your overall level of employee engagement on your own. More in-depth assessments can be done using one of the many great employee survey tools now available on the market. Unlike those tools, this approach is meant to jumpstart your thinking and give you a rough-and-ready sense as to whether your employees are generally in a good place or not.
When you answer these questions, simply give each a score of 1 (low / rarely), 2 (medium / sometimes), or 3 (high / often). Then add up your scores to arrive at your overall score.
With that said, let's get started.
Do your employees feel a sense of purpose?
Whether it’s working on a world-changing new technology or running the french-fry station at a quick service restaurant, your staff do better work when they feel a sense of purpose related to their job. It may be a feeling that they’re contributing to a greater good or simply understanding how they contribute to a great customer experience.
When thinking about this question, ask yourself: Do you or the managers within your organization communicate a sense of purpose to employees? If not, chances are you’re not scoring too highly here.
Do your employees feel valued?
How often do you or your managers recognize employees for their accomplishments? Do you promote a culture of recognition where employees also feel empowered to say “good job” to their peers?
Do your employees have clearly defined roles? Are performance expectations clear?
It’s common sense that employees need clear roles and responsibilities in order to do their job well. But our research shows that while most workers understand their overall job description, many are still hazy on the boundaries of their roles and often lack a good understanding of their manager’s expectations.
Many tools exist for communicating employee responsibilities and manager performance expectations. But in considering this question, ask yourself: Do you or your managers regularly talk to employees about their work? Are you giving them feedback? Are you clearly communicating expectations for how you’d like them to perform their responsibilities?
Do your employees feel accountable?
It can be easy to assume that anyone you employ feels accountable for fulfilling their job responsibilities, but here too our research shows that reality is different.
Feeling accountable on the job is driven by many different things. Sometimes it’s just an age or maturity question. Sometimes, it’s the seniority of the position (more senior positions carry a higher level of ‘accountability’ by their nature). But just as often, it’s a question of whether a manager has imbued a sense of accountability in her team. This comes from leading by example, but also in expressing an expectation of accountability to employees.
How well do you or your managers communicate an expectation of personal accountability to your employees?
Does your work environment promote open communication?
While it might be tempting to grade yourself highly here because you and your managers are great at keeping staff ‘in the know’, think again. A workplace that promotes open communication is one that encourages employees to express their ideas, concerns, and to give feedback. Not only does this help employees feel more valued, but it lays the groundwork for staff to grow professionally and progress within your organization.
How well do you or your managers promote open communication with your workplace?
Are your employees properly enabled to perform their responsibilities?
Resource-strapped businesses like startups often lack all the tools they need to be successful. This can be motivating for resourceful staff for a time. But in most organizations, if employees lack the tools or manager support to do their jobs properly, they quickly become frustrated. That frustration can turn to active-disengagement if they believe their situation isn’t going to improve anytime soon.
Whether you’re a part-timer at a cafe or are an executive at a large, global organization, feeling enabled to perform well in your job is critical to your motivation.
How well do you or your managers enable your employees to perform their jobs?
Final question: Have you been honest with yourself? Great. Add up your scores. What’s the result?
6 to 10
Danger zone, immediate action is necessary.
12 to 14
You’re okay, but some improvements are probably in order.
15 to 18
Congrats, you most likely have highly engaged staff!