Employee engagement is a term used in organisations as both a people measure and an ideal outcome.
Employee engagement is a psychological state in both individuals and the collective that is almost always viewed as an ‘ideal’ in any organisation. This is because there are simply so many benefits to the organisation and its people of highly engaged employees, and so many negative impacts of disengaged employees.
Employee engagement is a ‘measure’ or KPI in so much as you can quite easily measure it and directly link it with other core success indicators in your organisation.
How is employee engagement defined?
We define engagement as a mixture of three core areas, all of which are deeply psychological and ‘feelings’ based. These are:
- The level of ‘satisfaction’ the person feels about the organisation, their job and their immediate environment
- The level of loyalty the person feels to the organisation (and sometimes specific people such as their line manager)
- How likely the person is to recommend or advocate the organisation to others as a great place to work
You can of course do variations on these themes, but these three areas appear to be the internationally accepted components of workforce engagement.
What are the benefits of high versus lower engagement?
This can be a very long list, but purely commercially, higher revenues, and lower costs is the answer. Delving a little deeper as to the ‘why’…these include reducing unnecessary absence, retaining good team members, developing rather than disabling their potential, getting better productivity and performance, and avoiding the cost of unnecessary recruitment….the list goes on!
How do organisations measure and use engagement?
Many organisations formally measure employee engagement, in both a quantitative and a qualitative way, attempting to get high quality insights into how their employees feel about a variety of aspects of the organisation.
Most do it using a web-based survey platform, but it can also be done or complimented by face to face focus group sessions. Most surveys are anonymous, and this is important for most people because unless the culture of the organisation is very open, then people will not be true and honest about their feelings if they can be identified.
Measuring employee engagement can be truly transformational for an organisation on a number of levels, (if it is done well!)
Firstly, simply the process of asking and appearing bothered about what people think is a major head start. We all generally like to be asked and consulted, but unfortunately too many workplaces are still dominated by too much tell and authoritarian behaviour.
The insights that can be gained from such an activity can transform the way the business invests, what it seeks to change and improve and ultimately how it makes decisions.
Employee engagement should not though be measured for the sake of it, it should be measured so as to be consistently looking to improve it.
Equally, there are many businesses that do not measure it, certainly not formally. these tend to be smaller businesses, SMEs, etc but many of these are still pretty big!
We believe these businesses are missing a trick, because it’s unlikely they will be tapping in at all to the views, opinions and insight their employees can bring. Instead, their owners and board members are likely to be making decisions on hearsay, assumption and self interest, and experiencing unnecessary costs and diluted revenues to boot.
So what can we do now?
If you agree with our experiences, and you feel you would like to begin measuring the engagement of your employees, or doing it more effectively than you have done, contact us for a no obligation chat.