How to Measure and Improve Employee Engagement

dog and sheep“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results,” is one of many great quotes from Winston Churchill. And how true this statement is. Companies, for example, may devise their own perfect strategies in an attempt to engage their employees, but if they’re not working, they should be reworked ASAP until they provide positive results.

Current studies show that only 30 percent of U.S. employees are engaged – a wake-up call for companies to step up and commit to doing whatever is possible to improve this situation. If they do, they’ll improve productivity, profitability, and the overall workplace environment (as enthusiasm can be contagious). Employees need to be both engaged and satisfied with their work. They also want to feel appreciated. Companies that provide benefits and incentives that people get excited about, while integrating ways to provide loyalty to your company, will have a huge competitive advantage.

Measuring engagement may sound easy, but in actuality it’s a tricky, sometimes elusive task. A primary example, the well-known yearly employee engagement survey, can often be inaccurate; people may give answers they know managers want to hear, or they may not be able to clearly recall projects that occurred at the start of the year.

New Ideas for Measuring Engagement

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Ryan Fuller (CEO and co-founder of VoiceMetrix), says there are more direct measures for those trying to better understand engagement levels. (Managers, you may come up with new ideas yourselves that directly relate to your company dynamic.) Fuller recommends companies might begin by analyzing the following:

The amount of work that occurs outside of normal working hours (e.g., evenings and weekends): This is a good indicator of discretionary effort.

The number of network connections and time spent with people outside of immediate team or region: Building of broad networks beyond core team is a sign of high engagement.

The percentage of participation in ad-hoc meetings and initiatives vs. recurring meetings and processes: Participation in only highly structured events can be an indicator of low engagement.

Time spent collaborating directly with customers outside of normal scope of work: This and other measures like it can indicate people are highly engaged enough to help their colleagues even though they might not get credit for it.”

Companies need to continuously keep their eyes and ears open as to what can be improved, what will benefit the worker (thus the company), and what should be quickly changed. As has been said (again, by Churchill): “To improve is to change; to perfect is to change often.”

What is your company’s engagement strategy? What change will you make today to incur positive results? Start looking, and you’ll find the answers.

Nick Roylemsi