Managing Employee Engagement: Google and The World of Workplace Analytics
Engagement level as a manager. It’s the dial you can’t see, it’s on no dashboard, and yet, it is an aspect of every single action that takes place in a company. In one survey of over 500 executives, 71% said employee engagement was important to them, but only 24% said they believed their employees were engaged.
Engagement is the driver of a company. Take Google, a “Best Places to Work,” winner every year since the award began. Google is held as a change maker, a leader in workplace culture, and a prestigious logo to have on your LinkedIn. “I work at Google,” has become the stuff of legend.
It’s held this way because it engages its employees, makes them feel valuable, and treats them like assets, not machines. Google uses what it does best to find a human way to add workplace quality to the company. To quote an article about Google from the Culture Summit, “Google’s entire approach to business—including how the company drives engagement—revolves around data.”
So how does data allow you to manage employee engagement?
The Google Method
Google uses what they call, “gDNA,” to figure out who someone is at their core. This allows them to hire the right person for the job, someone who can be given the flexibility to work, has the drive for the job and will continue to perform down the road. By finding the right fit, Google ensures they will have an engaged employee. Someone who’s output, and inner-drive for the role, are both high. Once they have this, all the added bonuses of working for Google, the free haircuts, food, and napping areas, are all bonuses that make the employee feel valued. The right fit makes them happy at their core, the perks make them happy in their heads. All around, you have an engaged employee.
What Can Happen and How Do We Fix It?
What are the pitfalls of not having an engaged employee? According to a Gallup study, 34% of the employee’s salary. For someone making $60,000 a year, that could mean an incredible $20,400 each fiscal period.
To avoid this, managers can employ empirical and analytical methods to ensure their employees are right for the job, (engaged in their core), and given the right perks (engaged in their head). The first step is to ensure the work you are asking someone to do is identifiably meaningful. Sometimes, this means laying out for the employee how their work will benefit the team. A simple task like lead generation can have a huge impact on a company but can seem like a minuscule task if it’s framed poorly. To measure whether your employees feel like they are getting meaningful work, listen in to the office chatter. Mike Zani, CEO of The Predictive Index, has talked about this struggle from the employee’s view, saying, “If your salary is in the normative range yet you’re constantly saying you’re not paid enough, that’s a clear sign of disengagement.”
As well, create an environment where people want to work. This may seem stereotypical of a technology start-up, but the concept does truly work for employees. Give them comfy spaces to work, ease up on “stay at your desk,” policies, and provide access to drinks and caffeine that make the work process more enjoyable. This will be even more important as Generation Z enters the workforce. This age group values workplace culture over pay, and these little perks are a great way to peak their engagement.
Analytically, managers can use tools like The Predictive Index System™, to ensure they are hiring the right person from the get-go. Think of the last time you knew you were in your element, felt great, right? By using analytical systems such as this, employers are ensuring employees feel this way every day.
Happy core, happy head. A mix for engagement.
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