Saying that employee engagement is important for a company's success is one thing; measuring and enhancing it is quite another. Like the proverbial "tree in the woods," how can a business tell if its employee engagement approach is effective?
This article will talk about how employee engagement is measured to give HR professionals a better understanding.
Whether your firm is new or experienced with the construct of employee engagement, our insights on how employee engagement is measured will assist you in measuring employee engagement properly. As you will see, increased productivity, decreased turnover rates, and a better culture aren't as far away as you might assume.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is when employees are attached to their work, co-workers, and your organization. Employees that are highly engaged are motivated to achieve agreed goals. They recognize that their efforts are a significant piece of the broader jigsaw. On the other hand, low engagement levels are associated with lower productivity, an unhappy employee experience, and an unfulfilling culture.
How important is employee engagement to a company? According to research, organizations with highly engaged employees have 36% higher retention rates and outshine their competitors by 147%. Employee engagement can provide a huge competitive advantage for organizations that understand how to harness its potential.
Why measuring employee engagement is important?
Below are some of the major reasons why measuring employee engagement is important:
Higher employee commitment is the primary advantage of employee engagement. Workers devoted to their organization typically feel a connection with it, a sense of belonging, and a comprehension of its objectives.
Although employee commitment and engagement are different, they nonetheless impact one another. The level of commitment reflects the degree of the relationship a worker feels toward the company. Even though an employee is devoted, they may not be engaged, and vice versa. Instead, engagement is the commitment a worker has to their work.
The fact that engaged workers refrain from engaging in counterproductive conduct, such as being regularly absent, is a straightforward but crucial added benefit.
It makes sense that motivated workers will be less likely to begin their job search.
Tracking employee engagement provides a comprehensive picture of where you stand. Comparing your scores against firms’ similar organizations to yours provides you with a clear benchmark.
A successful employee engagement survey must focus on practical outcomes, which means that it measures whether or not employees are engaged and the organizational drivers of engagement. Once a survey is completed and the results are available, the data should assist management in developing a strategy that will serve as the blueprint for a company's success and future.
How employee engagement is measured: How clear is the employee engagement construct
The employee engagement construct is a composite concept that describes employees' dedication to their job and satisfaction with the work environment. Employee engagement is increasingly being recognized as substantially impacting organizational performance at all levels.
Many scholars have questioned the employee engagement construct due to inconsistent meanings and a lack of agreement on a single definition. Some claim that it lacks a uniform definition and measurement. The biggest critique about employee engagement derives stems from determining if employee engagement is a state or behavior.
Although some define engagement as a condition, others define it as a psychological state with behavioral expressions. It has also been distinguished in terms of sentiments, which consist of urgency, concentration, intensity, and enthusiasm as well as actions, which consist of resilience, proactivity, role enlargement, and flexibility. The contention is that the definitions do not specify if employee engagement is an attitude, behavior, or group or individual phenomenon.
Researchers speculate, like the organizational culture, that employee engagement is a multi-dimensional, multi-layered construct. The construct should be rigorously tested to strengthen its theoretical soundness and practical application, because only by recognizing the essence of the construct and its correlation to attitudes, behavioral intentions, and behaviors can it be practised to benefit organizations and employees.
How employee engagement is measured: Reliabilities issues
To assist you in improving employee engagement and staying ahead of the competition, we've outlined some of the most prevalent issues that impede employee engagement, as well as solutions to solve them:
Honesty in responses
Regrettably, even on anonymous surveys, employees may not give the most honest responses. Employees believe that anonymous surveys are the polar opposite of anonymous, based on the data obtained in employee engagement surveys (pay grade, department, length of time with the company, position, etc.). If employees comment honestly about anything, they may be afraid to voice their concerns for fear of being identified.
There are a few options for changing this. The language utilized is first. Managers can refer to a survey as confidential rather than anonymous. In this manner, it is impossible to influence an employee's responses, whether or not they are identified. Similarly, an outside surveying company can boost confidence and guarantee that confidentiality requirements are followed and upheld.
Too long or time-consuming
Employees dislike the yearly employee engagement survey, as is well known. It takes forever and diverts workers from meeting their daily deadlines because it can include up to 100 questions (or more!). To counter this, employees then tend to answer the survey hastily, not accurately depicting the actual feelings of employees.
Also, if the survey is conducted internally, the Human Resources team will be inundated with the results of surveys with more than 100 questions and more than 1000 respondents. As a result, they are practically unable to finish any other tasks while interpreting the survey data. This may lead to the hast analysis of responses which in turn may result in higher chances of errors made by HR. Giving an inaccurate image of the engagement levels in the organization.
What is the substitute? One choice is to work with an independent surveying company, which can be expensive and may not provide the necessary information. Another option is to conduct more frequent, shorter surveys, perhaps two to five questions each month. Managers can concentrate on a particular theme or issue each month to identify various engagement measures and test employee engagement initiatives. Regular samples won't overwhelm employees; they may give thoughtful feedback without worrying that it would take up most of their day.
They ask the wrong questions
Employee opinions, sentiments, and motivations are frequently questioned in surveys. These questions may be used to gauge employee satisfaction, but they also reveal what motivates engagement because they encourage subjective responses. No matter how frequently you survey employees, you'll never be able to accurately gauge and enhance engagement if you ask the wrong questions.
Similarly, survey questions are often ambiguous, making it difficult for businesses to comprehend how to improve. Consider the following popular employee engagement question: "Does your manager recognize your talents and contributions?" It is not only subjective, but it is also difficult to recognize the problem and make changes. Suggest a more specific question, such as "How frequently do you receive praise from your management for your achievements?" It evaluates observed behaviour rather than feelings and is more objective, concrete, and objective.
Ways to measure employee engagement: The process of measuring employee engagement
Before initiating your employee engagement survey, you should have an overall plan and timeframe for the entire process from beginning to end. The survey is merely one component of this procedure.
As indicated below, your plan should include all aspects of the project. Ensure that you have the required resources and interact with employees and other stakeholders at all stages of the process.
Phase 1: Prepare for the Employee Survey
- Develop an implementation plan to identify roles and timeframes during and after the employee engagement survey.
- HR and top management agree on an initial survey timetable and employee communication specifics.
- Provide an initial communication to employees on the engagement survey methodology and advantages.
Phase 2: Conduct the Employee Survey
- HR launches the survey, monitors participation, and answers employee queries.
- HR sends reminder emails as needed.
- If the response rate is low, the survey end date may need to be extended.
Phase 3: Review Survey Results and Debrief
- HR (or consultant) and the senior management assess data and develop action plans with top managers.
- The senior leader and HR agree on the implementation priorities, roles, and timeline.
- HR (and/or a consultant) briefs top managers on the engagement survey results in their respective regions.
- HR (and/or a consultant) collaborates with top management to distribute debriefings to middle management and employee groups.
Phase 4: Act
- The action plan has been defined, articulated, and put into action.
- Ensure that all employees understand the action plan, how it benefits them, and the commitment of senior leaders to the strategy.
- Continue to communicate as the plan is implemented and milestones are accomplished.
- Repeat the engagement survey after sufficient time to monitor progress and understand how employee engagement and employee engagement-related issues have changed since the initial survey.
How do companies measure employee engagement?
Although we've concentrated on survey-driven concepts thus far, a survey strategy is only one - albeit crucial - way to gauge employee engagement in your firm. How employee engagement is measured depends on the size and scope of your company and its objectives. Use numerous ways and make it your aim to collect reliable data that will assist you in bringing about positive change in the office.
Let's examine the many methods for measuring employee engagement in your firm.
How employee engagement is measured: Surveys
How employee engagement is measured is primarily through surveys. Longer-form surveys and quick follow-up pulse surveys and polls enable you to investigate specific issues.
Using a modest number of open-ended questions in your surveys can provide deeper insights stated in an employee's own words than exclusively using a Likert scale or anything similar. You may then convert that open-ended input into trackable, quantifiable data if you utilize a capable analytics platform with integrated natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning.
Similarly, you may incorporate employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) questions into your survey. eNPS-based questioning, like NPS with customers, will let you measure factors like loyalty and satisfaction.
How employee engagement is measured: One-on-Ones
Frequent one-on-one sessions with managers are a more productive and successful alternative to how employee engagement is measured or to the usual annual review. It gives employees a continuous platform to express their issues, provide feedback, and, from the manager's perspective, create an important touchstone with their team members.
Furthermore, as part of a continuous feedback-collecting plan, regular check-ins become essential in establishing a healthy, productive, and communicative connection between a manager and their team members. Naturally, this relationship promotes increased employee engagement, job happiness, productivity, and other advantages.
How employee engagement is measured: Small-Group Discussions & Focus Groups
How employee engagement is measured can be through Small-Group Discussions & Focus Groups. These discussions offer many advantages as one-on-one meetings but from a broader perspective. Managers can lead a guided conversation on a specific issue or concern survey data raises. It's a method to delve further into concerns in an open forum setting.
Another area where technology can assist managers in maximizing results is by driving these talks and feedback sessions with digital solutions. As a result, these solutions enable organizations to gauge sentiment through feedback conversations while giving each group member an equal voice.
How employee engagement is measured: Interviews across the Employee Journey
Exit interviews are well-known. They're a go-to for employers looking for direct input on the work experience from employees who aren't afraid of retaliation or bad implications to their careers. However, gathering input at every point of the employee journey, from recruitment to an employee's last day and beyond, is critical to creating a positive experience.
For example, onboarding surveys and comments help a business better understand the employee experience when a new hire joins the team. It may then use that feedback to enhance the onboarding process constantly. Similarly, the stay interview is a very modern variation of this concept. When used in the intermediate stages of the employee journey, stay interviews can assist in gauging factors like engagement and happiness in a more personal and engaging context.
How employee engagement is measured: HR Consulting Providers
How employee engagement is measured can also be through third-party companies that can perform employee engagement surveys, monitor participation, and even offer action plans based on their findings. These are realistic options for firms that are hesitant to implement an in-house employee engagement strategy but are not without restrictions.
How employee engagement is measured: Metrics
Employers can get a general indication of the amount of involvement within the company from a few targeted KPIs. Although they cannot provide the comprehensive, in-depth insights that specialized tools offer, several metrics can provide leadership with a rough sense of the level of engagement, including those measuring:
- Commitment and Loyalty
- Intention to Quit
- Employee Work-Life Balance
Companies should combine these data metrics with surveys, one-on-ones, and other methods of measuring engagement. Together, these elements comprise a holistic engagement strategy that enables HR to assess and track engagement from various aspects and perspectives.
How employee engagement is measured: What Makes Employee Engagement Difficult to Measure?
How employee engagement is measured consists of quantitative and qualitative approaches. Qualitative data points, like employee engagement levels, for example, are notoriously difficult – but not impossible – to measure effectively. Since emotion and other highly nuanced factors play a significant role in employee engagement, turning that information into useful data can be time-consuming and imprecise, at least when using conventional manual methods.
- Create succinct, perceptive survey questions.
- To encourage the most participation, distribute the surveys within the flow of work.
- Compile and evaluate the feedback.
- Create plans for action based on the feedback.
- Carry out action plans.
How employee engagement is measured depends on the accuracy of the survey questionnaire, employee direct participation and analysis of the data. Any hiccup along the employee engagement approach can skew the survey findings and provide your decision-makers with incorrect information. That is why it is critical for businesses to approach employee engagement in an organized, informed, and measured manner, utilizing tools that allow them to systematize (automate) the process.
The logistics alone are sufficient to greatly impede or outright ruin even the greatest of intentions if there is no advantage of properly deployed technology and processes to advance the employee engagement approach. This is especially true for sizable businesses that produce vast feedback data that evolve with each survey.
How employee engagement is measured: After You've Measured Employee Engagement
How employee engagement is measured, as we've previously stated, is a constant process. One iteration of surveys, polls and following action plans flows into the next, implying that if you're diligent, you're constantly identifying improvement areas and increasing participation levels.
Take your continuous stream of feedback, measure it, evaluate it, act on it, and then repeat the process. This is the most effective approach to make employee engagement a core component of your firm, as important and influential as financial reporting, R&D, or any other vital component of your operations. And, as usual, IPC will be there to help you along the road with our services, insights, and industry-leading engagement tools.
Richard Mapfuise is an Organizational Development Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a business management and human resources consulting firm.
Phone: +263 242 481946-9/481950
Mobile: +263 779 683 299
Main Website: www.ipcconsultants.com