questions of engagementI just finished reading the excellent blog post by my colleague, Jeff Edwards, entitled Engagement by the Numbers . If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it to you. But my purpose in writing today is not only to give Jeff a shout-out, but to offer some thoughts of my own on the subject matter, i.e., the Gallup report entitled State of the American Workplace .

Specifically, while I found the survey results presented in the report interesting, I was more intrigued by Gallup’s definition of employee engagement. My thought was that by better understanding the meaning of engagement, we here at QIC could do a better job of advising clients on recognition program design that drives such engagement to higher levels.

Given the very detailed narrative provided by Gallup in their report, I invite you to carefully examine it at your convenience. However, to save you some time, I present this quote from the report, which defines engagement as being “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to … work and [the] workplace.” The report continues by describing the underlying discovery mechanism, which is to ask twelve survey questions “rooted in employees’ performance development needs.” A list of these questions is found in the section entitled “The Competitive Advantage of Engaging Employees.”

I would submit that these twelve questions provide the very basis for the features and functions of a well-designed recognition program. Consider these examples.

  • “Q04: In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.”

What I find interesting about this question is the specificity of recognition frequency. Like me, I suspect that most of us don’t think about recognizing our coworkers as regularly as every seven days. Rather, we tend to praise, commend, etc., based on individual developments and circumstances. However, the implication of this question is that regular and frequent recognition is an important driver of engagement.

It follows that a recognition program should include design features that support such regularity and frequency.  QIC’s Badge feature, which provides each participant with a specified number of recognition opportunities each month, does just that. This is probably why it has proved to be very popular with both program participants and sponsors.

  • “Q07: At work, my opinions seem to count.”

I’m sure that very few readers are surprised to see this survey question – soliciting employee suggestions and opinions is a time-honored practice. However, the wording of this question implies that more than solicitation is required to drive engagement. Opinions and suggestions must be acknowledged and recognized for this practice to be truly effective.

This means that recognition program design should include both the means for participants to share opinions and make suggestions (through integrated survey tools) as well as point awards for those suggestions that are acted upon. QIC has employed both these features to great success in past recognition programs.

Clearly, the other ten questions cited in the report provide other valuable insights into effective recognition program design. I invite you to review those questions and then call us if we can be of assistance in putting the insights to work for you.

At Quality Incentive Company, Rob is responsible for leading the company’s business development efforts in both the employee recognition and sales/channel arenas. He has more than 10 years of experience in the recognition and incentive industry, having served as president and CEO of Atlanta-based Loyaltyworks before joining QIC in 2011.

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