Employee engagement is a difficult thing to measure because it’s a tricky element to define.
Some organizations class engagement as employee satisfaction, others see it as how happy an employee is in their job, while others still equate engagement to commitment.
Even with such a multi-faceted concept, there are a number of ways in which you can measure employee engagement.
William Kahn, who has become known as the Father of Employee Engagement, put employee engagement down to how an employee felt about their job and the organization. He isolated three areas in which employee engagement could flourish:
- Employees felt they were doing something important to contribute to the success of their organization. This tallies with Steve Jobs’ famous quote “the only way to do great work is to love what you do“
- Employees enjoyed rewarding and supportive relationships with supervisors and co-workers.
- Employees were given the physical and psychological resources they needed to accomplish their work.
When we look at these three key areas, we can begin to formulate a plan for measuring how successful an organization has been at creating an environment in which their employees can find meaning and become engaged.
Here are four ways organizations can keep track of employee engagement levels.
Surveys tend to have a bad reputation among employees who can often see them as distracting, time-consuming and, in some organizations, pointless. However, the beauty of a Pulse survey is its brevity. Limit the number of questions to five (even just one can work), keep the questions concise, and include open-ended questions where you ask them to rate their level of happiness, for example. Here are 21 possible questions you could include in your next Pulse survey.
It’s important to be consistent with your Pulse surveys; decide on a time frame and send them out regularly. This will allow you to effectively chart any changes in employee sentiment, and potentially relate any changes to specific events or incidents.
Employee Net Promoter Score
While the Net Promoter Score was developed to chart customer sentiment about an organization, the employee Net Promoter Score focuses on how an employee feels about their organization by building on the question “how likely are you to recommend this company to a friend or relative”.
The goal is to determine how likely employees are to recommend an organization as a place to work. You need to focus on a variation of that one single question and provide a scale from 0 to 10 – not likely to very likely. The two key areas organizations need to focus on in order to measure the results are the 0-6 category and the 9-10 category – these are your detractors and promoters. Simply subtract the detractors from the promoters to identify your score. Like with Pulse surveys, it’s important to stick to a schedule when sending out your employee Net Promoter Score survey.
According to an Investors in People 2018 Job Exodus survey, “not feeling valued as a member of staff” was the third main reason for leaving a job and was cited by 39% of employees surveyed. It’s clear that feeling valued has become a key factor in employee engagement; they want to feel like a person, and not just a number. As Pamela Stroko said: “People want to know they matter and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new talent contract.”
Regular face-to-face meetings are a good way of maintaining that personal connection between manager and employee. They can also be an ideal scenario for managers to gauge employee feedback. By creating an environment of trust where an employee feels like they can provide feedback, managers can gain valuable insight into how engaged or happy employees are.
Active internal communications strategy
Regular internal communications or an active intranet are two great ways to maintain an open dialogue with employees and can also be used to encourage engagement through online forums, allowing comments on articles or videos, seeking feedback on new policies or organizational changes.
There are numerous employee engagement measurement tools that can be applied to this content, including intelligent analytics that give organizations accurate insight into how their employees are feeling about particular changes, news, initiatives, etc.
Of course, measuring employee engagement is only the beginning of the battle. Organizations need to take the information they collect and use it to make changes and improvements, to strengthen their engagement culture and to empower employees. Simply gathering information can be counterproductive as employees may feel like their feedback is not listened to or acted upon.