Have the Rules of Workplace Engagement Changed?

by Bill Swift on October 28, 2020

in Employee Engagement

Employee Surveys Image

For decades, workplaces have been using the Gallup Q-12 to inform their assessment of workplace engagement. Managers use the tool to bring focus to the most important things for discussion with their workers. Looking through the lens of a post-pandemic, remote workplace, these Rules of Engagement start to look really different.

What is the Q-12? Well, it’s 12 important questions. Covering everything from Clear Workplace Expectations to Materials and Equipment to Being Recognized, these 12 actionable workplace elements offer proven links to performance outcomes. Simply put, the 12 questions answered affirmatively correlate highly with strong employee engagement, answered negatively correlate highly with poor employee engagement.

As workplace leaders we may need to change the way we are approaching and evaluating workplace engagement and have a critical look at the things that are keeping our good people committed and focused.

In a workplace disrupted by a pandemic and the resulting remote-work challenges, the entire look and feel of our teams may be different. Our nearly 500 members at Cascade Employers Association have been telling us how they are creatively shifting focus to thrive under these new circumstances. We don’t necessarily have to “survey” our employees regarding these 12 considerations, but a conversation or two around these keys to engagement might be a very good idea.

Let’s look at three of the twelve key questions, just to explore the possibility that leveraging engagement may be an entirely different exercise when we are working remotely.

Q-1: I know what is expected of me at work

Wow. Now that my team members work at home most of the time, expectations for clocked hours may be different. Expected communication response times may also be different. Wait, am I supposed to deliver the same deliverables at the same volume as I was delivering in April? Has my job description changed? Probably time to review with our employees all of these expectations.

Q-2: I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right

For our members, this one has for years been a hot button issue where supply chains, IT Teams and Managers end up taking the heat. The list of stuff I need to get my work done and the prioritization of this stuff has definitely changed. Do your people have what they need to be effective when working from home? Is this being confirmed and communicated?

Q-4: In the last seven days I have received recognition or praise for doing good work

This is a question about supervisors and leaders paying attention and commenting on positives. This obviously has changed for a lot of us as we don’t get face-to-face with any regularity. What hasn’t changed is the need for recognition so we all get reinforced for doing things that contribute to team success and connect to organizational goals. Can’t just ‘Manage By Wandering Around’ any more.

OK. Maybe one more. What about Q-5: My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person? Are you finding ways to reach out to your employees even in a busy workweek and demonstrating your understanding of the personal stressors that are affecting them? We all know what a big difference this kind of caring can make.

We will be exploring all twelve of the Q-12 and ways to improve our workplace connections in our 3-part Remote Work Best Practices Series. We will develop an action plan as we outline best-practices for the post-pandemic workplace. Hope you are able to join us.

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