Employers know they need to be measuring and managing employee engagement. Engaged employees are more likely to stay with the organization and work hard to excel, so being able to drive engagement means better retention and outcomes. What you measure will depend on your goals and the tools you use, but casting a wide net can help uncover insights you might not have expected.
“Engagement levels will continually fluctuate with changes in the business cycle or industry, so it’s important to measure employee engagement over time to identify trends and patterns,” says Laurie Zaucha, vice president of human resources and organizational development for Paychex, Inc. Here are some of the stats you might not be measuring.
It can be uncomfortable to zoom in on what’s not going right at your organization, but understanding poor performance can shed some light on bottlenecks or barriers. Tracking statistics such as voluntary turnover rates, sick leaves and absences can be eye-opening.
“Employers should know why their employees are leaving their company, not only because it’s costly, but because its shows at some point the employee no longer is engaged with their work or the workplace,” says Katy Roby, marketing manager at Arcusys, which works on employee engagement. Correlating this information with other engagement data can identify underlying issues.
Bottom Line Results
Customer-satisfaction scores and overall business results can be combined with survey results to show a holistic view of the workforce, Zaucha says. Over time, you’ll be able to determine the engagement factors that drive business performance, so look for ways to connect the two. A strong tech platform can help you integrate this data with other survey results to get a full picture of what’s driving engagement at your company, Zaucha says.
Big-picture questions about whether employees are “satisfied” are helpful for overall engagement, but digging into their day-to-day lives can help explain numbers that might seem like outliers at first glance.
“People want to do great work, and if we are making it difficult for them to do so, of course they are going to be less than engaged,” says Rick Lozano, a talent-development expert. He recommends asking whether employees feel they can do their work: “Dealing with red tape and feeling like your hands are tied at work is a major demotivator.”
Asking employees about their behaviors can give insights into how they feel. At Energage, a company that studies workplace culture and engagement, engagement is defined as individual passion working toward shared success, says CEO Doug Claffey. Indicators of that individual passion include loyalty and referrals, so the company recommends asking whether employees have considered searching for a better job in the past month, and whether they would highly recommend working at the company to others, Claffey says.
The most important attributes in business are those that support individual and team innovation, as well as ownership of the job, says Carole Stovall, president of SLS Global, a management-psychologist firm. “These are highlighted by transparent and predictable trust, communication, accountability and opportunities for growth and partnership throughout the organization,” she says. Without them, employees will not engage and will be open to going elsewhere, she says.