Employee engagement measurement is a “need to have”. In the post-pandemic economy, workers are walking out the door in droves, and many who stay aren’t invested emotionally in their role.
It takes many stakeholders to maximize engagement, but guess who’s in the frontline of this battle?
Human Resources and Engagement Measurement
Keeping track of employee engagement is tricky. Few workers will come right out and say “I’m not very engaged right now.” That’s because a disengaged worker attracts negative attention. For the disengaged, the name of the game is often to look busy, but not invest too much effort – because they feel it will not benefit them.
HR must tackle this challenge from different directions. Three essential decisions need to be made:
- What to measure
- How to measure it
- What to do with the results
Engagement models are used to identify and evaluate all the issues that show how engaged workers are. To keep things manageable, an HR team should focus on a single model. Let’s take a look at three popular engagement frameworks:
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. According to this theory, people only feel secure when they have fulfilled all the levels of an emotional “pyramid”. The base level of the pyramid includes physiological needs, and then proceeds to safety, relationships, esteem, and self-actualization. Maslow’s theory can be extended to employees, with “engagement” being self-actualization in the workplace.
- The Job Demands/Resources Model. “JD-R” is based on two factors: stressful demands (“D”) and resources (“R”). Stresses can include too much work, poor relationships, and limited career opportunities, while resources might be L&D courses, constructive feedback, and mentoring programs. JD-R claims that poor engagement results from too much stress, but that it can be improved by directing more resources at the problem. So, for instance, if an employee can’t finish their tasks on time, then HR should provide time management training resources for them. One interesting aspect of JD-R is that it is a personalized metric and looks at the D and R parameters of individual employees, because not everybody experiences the same stresses at work.
- Gallup’s Q12 Survey. As a world-leading polling company and an expert on engagement, Gallup has created a 12 question survey to determine engagement levels. Their questionnaire asks workers to describe their experiences and feelings on a 1-5 scale. Generally speaking, the Q12 survey examines workplace settings and expectations, managerial attitudes, organizational culture, opportunities, and social connections. Of course, an HR team can just look up these questions and use them on their own. But Gallup provides a consulting service to both administer the survey and provide recommendations.
Types of Measurement
Once you’ve picked a model, it’s time to apply it. But one more thing you’ll need to consider are the methods of measurement.
Although some frameworks depend on surveys, they are not sufficient on their own. Some employees misinterpret questions, rush through the process, or don’t want their managers to read responses that put them in a bad light. So it’s a good idea to use a few metrics and look at the consistency of employee responses. If there’s a big difference, you should think more about methods that anonymize employees and/or make their answers confidential. Here are some of the most commonly-used engagement measurement methods:
Regular interviews are always a good idea. They allow the organization to understand a number of important workplace factors, like productivity, interpersonal relationships, and morale, in addition to engagement. Interviews can be held by HR staff members, a manager, or both. But keep in mind that, when a manager is present, an employee won’t be fully candid. Interview formats include one to one, exit interviews, and stay interviews.
There are a variety of calculations that HR can make to give an overview of engagement levels. One of the signs of poor engagement is that the employee often skips work, so determining absentee rates (number of absent days / number of work days) can be an indicator. Similarly, many disengaged employees eventually quit, so calculating employee turnover (number of voluntary separations / number of employees) can help. Lastly, examining productivity is also useful, but can be difficult to find an accurate employee productivity measure. For instance, overall productivity can be assessed with annual revenue / number of employees, but revenue is affected by many things outside of employee engagement.
Surveys aren’t perfect, but they are a very flexible way to record employee attitudes. They allow both numerical and written responses, which permit the ability both to compare answers across the organization and understand the reasons behind them. Survey formats include pulse, net promoter score, and annual (as part of yearly performance reviews). Of course, HR can also issue surveys especially for engagement measurements.
It’s likely that many companies have a sizable engagement issue. Ironically, we’re lucky that now is a time of widespread engagement problems, because organizations everywhere are developing methods to deal with them. Basic moves include:
GrowthSpace and Employee Engagement Metrics
When it comes to numbers, GrowthSpace is miles ahead. GrowthSpace was actually founded based on the idea that, if it’s critical, then it needs to be measured. Every GrowthSpace course is designed around intuitive assessment methods.
It’s also the leading personalized L&D platform on the market today. GrowthSpace provides managers, trainers, and HR practitioners with the technology they need to enable customized employee development at scale. For engagement programs and much more, check out GrowthSpace today.