It’s that time of year again. The time of year when most organizations are planning for, designing, or rolling out their employee survey. This also begins the annual process of trying to figure out whether there is one key employee survey question that will help identify employee engagement.
While there are many questions and forms of questions that you can ask in your employee survey, we believe there is one question that does get to the root of employee engagement.
Employee Survey Questions
That question is:
“What percentage of my capability is currently being utilized by this organization?”
This is not a typical employee survey question. It’s not one that’s easily placed on a five point Likert scale. Instead, it’s a question that asks every employee to really stop and think about how the company they work for is using their talents. Often, people being asked this question will misinterpret the question itself. They think the question is asking about capacity. For example, if you have 40 hours to give to the company and you are working 50 hours per week, you would say that you are over capacity. But the question isn’t asking about capacity. It’s asking about capability. In other words, when you think about your talents, the things you’re really good at, the things you love to do, how many of those things are being brought into play on a daily basis when you go to work.
Once you understand the question, you simply have to quantify your response. Answers on a scale, from 0 to 100%. An individual who goes to school to be a graphic artist, and loves that line of work, who is working in the advertising department at a large firm and applying those skills on a daily basis might list themselves in the 80 to 90% range. On the other hand, an individual who has a PhD in microbiology who is working in a call center as a customer service agent because she can’t find a job in her field might identify with the number that closer to five or 10%.
If you aggregate these numbers across the entire employee population, what you end up with is a good measure of employee engagement. 200 employees surveyed with the capability utilization score of 40 would indicate that your organization has some work to do when it comes to providing work or job assignments that cause employees to want to remain with the company long-term. It’s also a great way to measure engagement year-over-year because you have the ability to watch that capability number move along the continuum.
If you truly want to get to the heart of employee engagement, this may be the most important question to ask on your employee survey. So let me ask you. What’s your number?