Employee engagement has become the leading business priority for top executives across the globe. In this rapidly transforming connected economy, business leaders know that having a high-performing workforce can be the difference between success or just survival. It is also a highly recognized fact that highly engaged employees can have a positive impact on innovation, productivity, and bottom-line performance while reducing costs related to hiring and retention in highly competitive and skill-short talent markets.
"Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person-not just an employee-are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability."
by Anne M. Mulcahy
But how do you know if your plans and strategies for employee engagement are working or not? In this blog, we'll outline the options available to accurately and successfully measure employee engagement.
Before you start to evaluate employee engagement in your organization, let's first review what it is.
"Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals."
This emotional commitment means engaged employees care about their role and their organization. When employees care-they use discretionary effort to achieve the organization's goals. This means the engaged salesperson works on a holiday when needed, without being asked. This means the engaged developer chips in for an absentee colleague, even if the manager hasn't asked for it.
Improving employee engagement can improve the all-round performance of your organization. Research suggests that having an engaged workforce makes organizations 18% more productive and reduces turnover by 40%. Measuring employee engagement accurately helps ensure that organizational efforts are yielding real results.
Now, you're ready to get started. To accurately measure employee engagement, one should either use a couple or all of the following methods to get a picture of your employee's engagement.
One of the most widely used methods for evaluating employee engagement is an employee survey. Since measuring employee engagement is complex, there are a variety of surveys that can help you get a better handle of your employee's engagement. Read our Toolkit: 10 Practical Tips to Get Employee Survey Right to get insights from the practitioners on creating successful surveys. Some of the most common surveys for measuring employee engagement include:
With multiple stakeholders ruling the roost, it's imperative for organizations to have a 360-degree view of an employee's behavior, performance, and attitude.
Capturing a multi-faceted view inspires employees to take ownership and control of their own development, and provide a way for your employees to understand what others' perceptions are of their skills, behaviors and attitudes.
Managed correctly, the 360-degree feedback program can improve employee engagement and the organization.
One method used by lots of organizations to get candid feedback on improving employee engagement is via conducting exit interviews when an employee is on his way out of the organization and doesn't fear losing his job by being critical of organizational policies. While the feedback can be candid, there is a higher probability that the employee might not want to provide feedback or provide generic feedback without focussing on core issues as they don't bother any longer. Use exit interviews with other tools to get a uniform feedback to improve your employee engagement programs.
The journey of engaging an employee starts from the day they accept an offer to work with you. Often there is a lot going on during the interview process but once the candidate accepts the offer letter there is radio silence or little/no activity between the offer acceptance and joining date. This pre-boarding phase is a crucial aspect of engaging your employees on factors that impact their long-term retention and productivity. In the short-term employee engagement has shown positive results on offer acceptance rates. Pre-boarding engagement surveys help you assess the impact of activities showing positive upside on offer acceptance and employer branding.
First, 90 days on a job are crucial to set a foundation for a productive career. Onboarding surveys and new hire surveys help you get insights from a fresh perspective of new employees. They also help you determine if the organization possesses an inclusive culture appreciated and looked up by top talent.
There are multiple guiding principles to choose the frequency of employee engagement surveys. While one should measure employee engagement as often as possible, the frequency depends on the method you use and your ability to act on the feedback. Also, another guiding principle should be to keep the frequency sufficient to capture the important shifts in the organization and the environment. Also, the depth of the survey and the technology used should guide you in deciding the frequency of employee engagement surveys.
Pre-boarding, onboarding, and exit surveys are conducted with a limited audience and at the event of someone joining or leaving the organization. The bigger, wider traditional employee engagement surveys should be done at an annual or bi-annual frequency.
So, which of these methods is the most effective in accurately measuring employee engagement levels in 2020? Which of these employee survey methodologies provides the most accurate information upon which to make important strategic employee decisions?
As with most employee-centric questions, the answer is, "it all depends." While one survey or two of them won't be right for every organization, it is important to understand the choice of options available before choosing on a particular method or set of methods to use in your organization. In most cases it's a combination of survey methods that provides most accurate results.