9 Questions To Increase Employee Engagement And Productivity

by Kenny Pratt

Big businesses looking to fatten the bottom line often cut head count as a way to reduce costs. For big companies making cuts is often the easiest short-term move.

On the other hand you rarely see big companies in a pinch to improve profits look first at improving their employee’s skills, engagement, or their buy-in to the company’s vision. Taking that approach takes more time and more work, and success is never guaranteed.

Big business’ approach is a bad model for most self storage operators.

You only have one or two (maybe three) full-time people working at each of your locations.  With such a lean staff, where are you going to cut? My guess is that making a decision to cut doesn’t seem easy because cutting staff isn’t your opportunity.

No, the real opportunity for you and I is to do the opposite of the big companies and improve the bottom line by getting more out of our people. The way you are going to move the needle is to build up your staff. Your opportunity is to help them fully engage so that you are getting their mind and heart, and not just their hands.

So how do you do that??

Here are some questions derived from research done by the Gallup Organization to determine if your company has a management approach that leads to employee engagement,  How are you doing on these?

  1. Does each person know what is expected of him or her?  Are you sure?  If you asked each person in your organization, would they give you the answer you want?
  2. Does everyone have the materials and equipment to do their work right?  How do you know?
  3. Do your front-line property managers have a supervisor or someone else that cares about them as a person?
  4. Is there someone who actively encourages the development of your on-site property managers?
  5. Do you overtly encourage the development of your property managers? Is it obvious enough that if I asked them the same question your employees or direct reports would agree?
  6. Are your property managers surrounded by other people doing quality work?  I like to work around other winners. Don’t you?
  7. In the last six months has someone talked to each of your property managers about their progress?
  8. If I asked your property managers “Do your opinions seem to count?” what would they tell me?
  9. Would your property managers agree that the mission/purpose of your company makes them feel their job is important?

Did any of the questions above make you pause and think that there is more you could be doing to increase your employee’s engagement and productivity? If so, let me know what you found most profound or provocative in an email or in the comments.

The questions above are adapted from the Gallup Organization’s Q12 survey that measures employees feelings of engagement at work. You can read more about the questions in their books First, Break All The Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently and 12: The Elements of Great Managing.


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