If you are wondering how to measure employee engagement, you are not alone! Measuring employee engagement is not necessarily a science. Below are five ideas to help you measure employee engagement in a real, significant way instead of just glancing at some cursory, superficial reports.
That is, if you are even collecting or tracking such information. Too often managers try to kind of get a feel for an idea of employee engagement. Isn’t just coming to work and doing your job good enough?
It might not be. Your employees might come to work and do their job, even do their job very well, but be unhappy, unsatisfied, and unengaged. They might be looking for another boss or job when they aren’t at work (or even when they are on break), or telling family and friends to not ever apply to any of your job openings.
Getting work done doesn’t always mean you have an engaged team. With the examples above, you can see how dangerous it is to assume you have engaged employees but be days away from losing key players. So please, figure out the best ways to measure employee engagement in your teams. Here are five considerations:
Measure Employee Engagement By Reading Between the Lines
You are going to get answers to any questions you ask in your efforts to measure employee engagement. Unfortunately, you might not get the answers you need. You might get answers you want, or hope for, but the most helpful answers might not be shared. Employees can feel like they are risking their future by sharing information that might be hard to accept. But this is the information you need.
When someone gives you feedback that is uncomfortable to hear, thank them. If the feedback is anonymous, somehow express gratitude. Let people know this is the type of information you need to hear so you can improve things. And then work on those improvements. As employees see your gratitude, and your efforts, they’ll know they can trust you with more information.
Take whatever information you get and extrapolate more. Guess, assume, and then check your assumptions. Drill down on results and ask for more information and clarifications. Don’t assume that what is submitted is all the information you need. Be curious, asking “why?” Why did they share that information? Why didn’t they share other feedback? Why did they share that level of detail (or, were they too vague?).
There’s always an opportunity to have a deeper conversation. Maybe this happens with another survey. Maybe it’s in an open forum, or in one-on-ones. The key is to hope there’s more information you need to get a complete picture.
Measure Employee Engagement By Comparing Past to Current
One of the most important things you can do on your journey to measure employee engagement is to keep track of how your survey results trend. You need to know if you are improving over time. This is how you measure the impact of your programs. You want to know if your incentives and rewards programs matter, or if they need tweaking.
Trending your survey results help you know where you can improve. But don’t get hung up on a mistake I’ve seen: your employees will watch the trends too, and if they think the trends aren’t improving enough, they’ll want answers. I’ve seen a company talk about poor results but compare them to the last period and give some positive explanation, that sounds like an excuse (that no one believed), as a justification for not making any changes.
Trends are powerful. Track them. Watch them. Learn from them.
Measure Employee Engagement With Employee Engagement Surveys
Employee engagement surveys should be crafted and delivered with care. The results you get should be treated with respect and gratitude. You can ask some really direct questions, like “On a scale of 1 to 10, how engaged are you at work?” Or, you can ask effective questions that get to the heart of engagement. There are a bunch of excellent questions to help you measure employee engagement. There are others that are too jargony and even misleading.
We’d love to talk to you about crafting better employee engagement survey questions. There’s a contact link at the bottom of this post.
Employee engagement surveys should not be tricky, or even necessarily long. They don’t have to be unecessarily short, either. Consider an employee NPS survey, with only two questions. I think that is too short. The objective of these surveys is to get information you can use to help you improve your work environment and culture. Figure out the best questions for your workers, industry, etc. Figure out the right mix between quantitative questions, which can help you create graphs and charts, and qualitative questions, which can give you more details and some color behind the data.
Measure Employee Engagement By Asking In One-0n-Ones
One-on-ones are fantastic management tools to help facilitate the right, and important, communication. They help managers get a feel for where employees are and what their needs are. They help employees understand what’s most important to their managers, and where they could improve. One-on-ones are private meetings where you can talk without distractions. You have a dedicated time, usually weekly, to have these conversations that can build trust.
One-on-ones are a great time to get a feel for how engaged your employees are. You can ask the same questions on the survey, and then have a discussion around their responses. Or, be creative and ask other questions. If you do this well, your employees can really feel like you care about their engagement, and job satisfaction. They can know they are valued and recognized.
One-on-ones can go dozens of different ways. They can be very casual or, based on circumstanses and deadline, they can be very logistical or project based. But they should always have room to get a better understanding of each employee’s level of engagement.
Measure Employee Engagement By Observing Other Metrics
When you see changes in performance, retention, or how people talk about your employer brand, you can get an idea of how healthy your employee engagement is. This goes hand-in-hand with “reading between the lines,” although it might be more like “read other important indicators.”
Employee engagement doesn’t stand alone. Neither does employee satisfaction, culture, retention, etc. Improvements in one should impact the other. Closely watch for changes in any of those areas and consider them to be, perhaps, the canary in the coal mine. If one starts to suffer you might start to look for problems with your team.
Maybe you can even improve employee engagement as you improve some of those other metrics. I’ve actually seen an organization increase engagement and retention as they focused on their employer brand.
This is serious stuff. It has a direct impact on your revenue and profit. Neglecting your employee engagement numbers can mean you are going to spend too much time replacing employees, as they leave for greener pastures.
We’d love to help you measure employee engagement. We have tools and strategies you can use. Want to talk?