Employee engagement is a measurement of the emotional attachment an individual has to his/her employer and the effort they’re willing to put in as a result. In other words, measuring employee engagement can tell you how passionate your employees are about their work, whether they believe in the mission of the organization, and whether they feel their work is valued and their talents are well utilized.
So why does employee engagement matter? Employee engagement is a proven driver of...
- Customer experience
- Employee productivity
- Workforce creativity
Unfortunately, only about 30% of employees are fully engaged at work. Another 50% are disengaged – meaning they are basically just along for the ride.
But the really damaging statistic says that approximately 20% of employees are “actively disengaged,” meaning they are hard at work tearing others and the organization down. Gallup estimates that they cost the U.S. economy half a trillion dollars a year. Disengaged employees are also more likely to negatively influence co-workers and drive away customers.
Measuring employee engagement
Traditionally, employee engagement is measured through an annual employee engagement survey that goes out to the entire organization. The engagement survey provides organizations two important pieces of information: levels of employee engagement and the company behaviors or practices that drive engagement. Because an engagement survey is more of a diagnostic instrument rather than a simple opinion survey, it tends to be longer, around 40-50 questions.
Employee engagement surveys also offer a comprehensive measure for the organization, providing engagement insights all the way down the organizational hierarchy to team level, or the lowest level, depending on the anonymity threshold. The items on the survey generally ask employees to rate their agreement with statements such as:
- I feel proud to tell people where I work
- I see myself working here in two years
- I would recommend this company to family or friends as a great place to work
- I have an understanding of my career path at this company
- I receive positive feedback from my manager when I do a good job
- I agree with the strategy and goals of this company
To measure levels of engagement and/or it’s drivers more regularly than once a year, many organizations will also run small, more frequent “pulse” surveys. Unlike comprehensive employee engagement surveys, pulse surveys are typically shorter, are targeted to measure a focused topic and results are typically only reported at higher levels of the organization rather than to every team. Pulse surveys give managers a quick snapshot of certain areas of the company so they can measure their efforts to improve employee experience.
How employee engagement differs from other surveys
The content of employee engagement surveys is quite different from a regular employee survey as engagement measures a lot more than just happiness or satisfaction. But the biggest difference comes in reporting.
Reporting for employee engagement is sophisticated, primarily because managers need to identify engagement issues or successes to pinpoint where they are in the organization. They need sophisticated hierarchical reporting and individualized, interactive dashboards.
Hierarchical reporting lets managers drill down into the data – for example, comparing divisions, regions, and teams. They can quickly see pockets of high or low engagement that allow them to discover whether something is pervasive or localized to a specific group. Hierarchical reporting also tells managers exactly which levers they need to pull to fix problems and create a stronger, more engaged workforce.
Individualized, interactive dashboards show managers only the results that are relevant to their piece of the organization. That means the CEO can see engagement results across the entire organization, while the VP of Sales sees results only for members of the sales team. Dashboards allow managers to slice and dice the data in a way that’s useful to them.