Do you find measuring employee engagement difficult? You’re not alone—many organizations have trouble measuring the engagement of their workforce, no matter the size or industry.
Some common roadblocks you may face include: incomplete (or infrequent) data collection, different definitions of “employee engagement” across your organization, or a disconnect between employee engagement data and tangible business outcomes.
But with the right measurement strategy, data-collection approach, and plan to make ongoing improvements based on employee feedback, organizations like yours can overcome these challenges—and ultimately see amazing results. Improved employee engagement can lead to:
- Increased productivity
- Higher retention/lower turnover
- Higher job satisfaction
- Lower rates of absenteeism
- Increased profitability
Measuring and building employee engagement won’t happen overnight—it requires time, organizational investment, and an intentional strategy aligned with business goals. But a strong measurement plan is a good first step.
How to Measure Employee Engagement
So, where should you start? Here are five actionable steps to measuring your employee engagement:
1. Define the Goals of Your Employee Engagement Program
An employee engagement program without clear goals is often a waste of resources. In fact, it can lead to a decrease in employee engagement if employees don’t see a clear response or action after providing their feedback.
It’s essential to take time to define the goals of the employee engagement program from the beginning. Key stakeholders, including organizational leadership and cross-functional HR team members, should be involved in developing your goals.
Goals should align with your key business objectives, such as product innovation; improving safety or quality; improving productivity; or attracting and retaining top talent in your industry. Goals that combine both leadership investment and a direct connection to your key performance indicators (KPIs) will ensure that your employee engagement program delivers powerful, useful results.
Sample goals could include:
- Understand and improve collaboration between global teams.
- Enhance retention of critical talent, e.g., engineers and “high potentials.”
- Assess and increase productivity and decision-making speed.
2. Determine a Measurement Strategy
Your measurement strategy is not just about designing a single survey. Rather, start with the employee lifecycle to identify what you want to measure, why you want to measure it, and when you will measure it—all based on your business and talent needs. A well-designed measurement strategy should include different surveys for specific needs or stages of the employee lifecycle, such as:
- Manager effectiveness
- Team effectiveness
- Overall engagement
Organizations that are accustomed to infrequent surveys, like an annual satisfaction survey, may experience some resistance at first. However, HR and leaders can overcome this hesitation by gaining buy-in from the top and clearly communicating to their employees the business case for change. To do this, HR and leaders should explain:
- What is lacking in current employee-feedback programs (like the inability to make timely people decisions, retain key talent, or provide meaningful insights to leadership.)
- How a more holistic and frequent measurement program will help leadership glean insights; improve manager capability to achieve their team goals and objectives; and give employees a regular avenue to raise concerns and participate in ongoing improvements.
HR and leaders should then lay out reasonable steps that gradually increase the frequency of surveys. This will help them gather and act on real-time insights about what matters most to employees.
An effective measurement strategy helps your organization become increasingly agile. It will allow you to easily understand where your employee engagement has been, where it is now, and where you want it to be. With this information readily accessible, conversations about priorities, performance, and growth can happen at the right time and with the right people—all while informed by the right data.
3. Gather Employee Engagement Insights (not just data)
Once you’ve identified the types of surveys that are important to your organization, it’s time to consider when and how to survey. You should collect feedback frequently enough to give leadership insight into potential problems or necessary corrective actions.
Many organizations have realized the shortcomings of traditional annual employee surveys for measuring employee engagement. By the time an organization collects and analyzes data from an annual survey, it’s often too late to take the right action. Some issues may no longer be relevant, while others may have morphed into major problems that create a ripple effect across the organization. When these issues have time to grow and evolve, they become much more difficult to resolve.
As a result of these challenges, organizations are moving toward pulse surveys, which are quicker, more frequent, and less cumbersome. Pulses are designed to be conducted every few months or even weeks, depending on the organization’s needs and goals. These surveys are composed of small, manageable sets of survey questions that employees can answer in just a few minutes.
With the pulse-survey model, feedback can flow both ways more easily without feelings of paralysis, delay, or frustration on either side. A pulse-survey program can have a positive impact on your employee engagement in numerous ways, like:
- Greater employee trust and participation in the survey process.
- Increased manager buy-in and quicker responses to survey results.
- Reduced survey fatigue for employees.
- Lighter clerical burden for HR and administrative employees.
Pulse surveys give organizations the ability to collect valuable analytics and insights across the employee life cycle. Up-to-date data gives you a more dynamic look at sentiment and engagement in specific roles and departments, and across the entire organization. This allows your leadership team to spot (and prevent) problems in the company, and offer recognition for successes in nearly real time. Your analysis will allow you to extract insights that can guide your projects, processes, interactions, profitability, and employee engagement.
One important note: The goal isn’t just to collect more data. Rather, the focus should be on gleaning insights from your employee feedback. In other words, what are you doing with your data? When you can make meaning of the data, you will be able to drive action that will improve employee engagement. Technology like our AI-for-HR™ helps organizations do more with their data by extracting insights and accelerating their time to action.
4. Create and Execute an Action Plan
Once you have collected feedback from your employees, the next step is to determine how your organization will respond in ways that will improve the employee experience. Turn your new insights into actions that your employees will notice and appreciate; it’s one of the best ways to show that their contributions are important.
When planning for action, circle back to your initial goals and their corresponding business objectives. With your survey results as the starting line and your desired outcomes as the finish line, you should be able to plot your journey with actionable items driven by real-time people data.
The focal effort of taking action should be conversations that will help employees understand the learnings from the survey, clarify key areas of concern, and participate in identifying and taking actions to make improvements. Conversations are inherently collaborative and self-correcting, and they foster team accountability. Here are three steps you can use to structure your conversations:
- Acknowledge where the organization is by calling out both strengths and areas of improvement.
- Collaborate on where you want to go by identifying one change to focus on in the coming weeks.
- Take one step forward by stating commitments openly to create accountability.
With the decrease in turn-around time that pulse surveys offer, your organization can have regular, meaningful conversations that lead to improvements based on survey insights.
5. Iterate and Pulse Again
Pulse surveys aren’t meant to live in isolation. After you execute your action plan, determine what about the survey process went well and what you need to modify. Keep the conversation going. With each round of pulse surveys, your organization will be able to adapt to the latest employee feedback and work toward continual improvement.
Get Started With Measuring Your Employee Engagement
Designing and implementing a method to evaluate employee engagement can feel challenging, but it’s a worthwhile investment. By taking action based on your engagement results, you can improve your organization on multiple levels.
- Employees feel heard, and they are encouraged by the organization’s attention to their feedback on strengths and opportunities. This can translate to higher retention, greater commitment to the organization, and a higher level of trust.
- Managers have insight into what employees like and dislike about their current situation, and they are better equipped to address frustrations before they become large-scale problems. This means improved manager-employee relationships and higher retention rates for both managers and employees.
- Executive leadership can address structural problems and remove barriers to effective work. These efforts, when done strategically over time, improve productivity, retention, and overall employee engagement.
Are you ready to get started? Contact us to learn more about how the Glint employee engagement platform supports and enhances your measurement strategy.
The Business Transformation Network has posted this article in partnership with Glint.