Employee engagement isn’t just a buzzword—it carries a lot of weight. It’s been proven to boost productivity and profitability, increase job satisfaction, and reduce turnover. Our latest Hospitality Pulse survey found that workforce engagement is the second biggest priority of hospitality businesses—ranking only behind financial management.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to be gained from high engagement levels. But, it’s also a notoriously difficult concept to wrap your arms around.
How do you determine if your employee engagement is on the right track? How do you quantify it? How do you measure it? Here’s what you need to know.
4 Important Employee Engagement Metrics
Let’s start by talking about some of the different metrics you should turn your attention to.
While there’s no single benchmark that will indicate high employee engagement on its own, evaluating these different factors will help you get a handle on how committed your team is to your organization.
1. Turnover and Retention
Are team members sticking with your company for the long haul? Or are they hitting the road at a rapid and concerning rate?
The hospitality industry has a fairly high turnover rate even in normal circumstances, which can make this metric sort of discouraging. However, it’s worth taking a look to see if turnover has been exceptionally high. That could be a red flag that engagement levels aren’t where you want them to be.
2. Referrals and Recommendations
If you have an employee referral program set up—meaning employees can refer people to work with you and receive a bonus if one of their referrals is hired—look at your data to see if employees have been taking advantage of that opportunity.
If referral leads have dried up, that could mean that your team members wouldn’t recommend your organization as a positive place to work.
3. Productivity and Performance
Engaged employees meet their deadlines, exceed their goals, and generally produce great work. In contrast, disengaged employees skate by with the bare minimum.
Look back at how your staff has performed in recent months. If their output has been lackluster, engagement levels might have dipped.
4. Employee Happiness
It’s also worth gauging the happiness level of your employees, which you can do through interviews, conversations, and even formal surveys (all of which we’ll discuss in the next section.)
Asking targeted and tailored questions will give you greater insight into how your team members really feel about working for your organization—especially if you give them the opportunity to answer anonymously.
3 Methods for Measuring Employee Engagement
Now that you have a better idea of what you should be looking at to gauge your employee engagement, how can you go about getting your hands on the information you need?
There’s no one right way to do this. Here are three different tactics you can use to measure something that can be difficult to quantify.
1. Employee Surveys
If you aren’t already using surveys to gauge how your employees feel about their roles and your organization, you’re missing out on a ton of valuable information. There are a number of different surveys you could implement regularly, including:
- Annual engagement surveys: A longer and more thorough survey sent once per year.
- Engagement check-in surveys: Quick surveys sent monthly or quarterly to check-in specifically on engagement.
- Pulse surveys: Quick surveys sent monthly or quarterly to evaluate satisfaction, culture, processes, and more.
All of these can be helpful for getting a better grasp on your employee engagement levels, particularly if you ask targeted questions about your team’s commitment to your organization. Have employees rate their agreement with statements like:
- I’d recommend [your company] as a great place to work
- I enjoy the bulk of my job responsibilities
- I have access to the tools and resources I need to do my job
- I see myself working for [your company] two years from now
You can also ask more open-ended questions to gather valuable insights, such as:
- What do you enjoy most about your role?
- Has working for [your company] lived up to your expectations?
- Is there something we could do to help you be even more effective in your position?
It’s up to you whether you want to make these surveys anonymous or have employees put their names on them. However, be aware that you’ll likely get more honest and helpful answers if team members are allowed to have anonymity.
2. Exit Interviews
It always stings when an employee decides to leave. But, it’s also an opportunity for you to get some candid information about their experience working as part of your staff.
Make sure you come prepared with questions so that you can direct that conversation and get the details that will be most helpful to you.
There’s no shortage of questions you could ask, but here are a few you can start with:
- What made you start looking for a new position?
- Would you ever consider coming back to work for [your company]?
- What words would you use to describe our culture and work environment?
If you commit to regular surveys and transparent conversations with your hospitality staff, then hopefully nothing that comes out in the exit interview will be a surprise to you. Even so, it’s a great way to tie up loose ends and confirm you have the right understanding of how that employee perceived their time with your company.
Your one-on-one meetings with your direct reports shouldn’t be glorified catch-up sessions—they should be dedicated times when you can connect about goals, challenges, feedback, and engagement.
One of the best ways to do this is to kick off your regularly-scheduled one-on-ones with a question like this: How are you feeling about your role and responsibilities right now?
The more you make this conversation-starter a habit, the more comfortable employees will feel sharing their perspective with you—whether they’re having a great week or are struggling with certain aspects of their position.
Think of these one-on-one chats as your way to being proactive about employee engagement and gather information about what might need to be tweaked and improved (before it’s too late to do so).
Remember That Information Requires Action
Now you know what metrics you should be looking at to track your engagement levels, as well as what methods you can use to get information directly from your employees. But there’s one more important thing to keep in mind: You can’t just collect this information—you need to act on it.
Gathering feedback from your employees is an important step. But, if you don’t use that information to make strategic changes and improvements, you’ll only breed frustration. So, remember to carefully consider what you’re hearing from your hospitality staff and implement what’s reasonable and valuable.
Do that, and you’re well on your way to a high-performing team—and even higher employee engagement levels.
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