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Measuring employee engagement


How do you measure employee engagement? Is it possible to put a conclusive value on something as subjective as the level of interest and commitment an individual has in an organisation?


The employee survey is the key approach utilised by organisations to answer this question – creating questionnaires aimed at finding out more about factors such as opinions on their line manager relationship, or their perception of the effectiveness of senior leadership. This can be a powerful tool in the measurement of engagement – providing insights into many issues that would maybe not routinely surface in different settings. It can give a broad understanding of key areas such as the trust they place in their managers, or in how far they feel valued and fairly treated in the workplace.


The downside to this approach is that individual’s will answer the questions to different levels of accuracy and honesty – potentially being overly negative on a bad day, or excessively positive if they fear repercussions from the process. This is not to say that it shouldn’t be utilised as an approach – it certainly should – but it does demand that an organisation plots their questions carefully, as well as explaining the idea behind the process to staff before it begins.


A broader view can also be achieved by treating the basic survey as simply the starting point in a much broader conversation about engagement. This can include, for example, a range of conversations that should occur between manager and employee, allowing more in-depth views to be heard and – crucially – fed back to upper management. This includes having an employee identify those areas of work that bring them the most satisfaction and allows them to most feel like they are making a contribution to wider goals.


It can also involve discussing with an employee about how they feel their skills are being utilised and whether there are areas they would be keen to develop. In addition, drawing employees more directly into the process of engagement is very important – asking for suggestions and ideas, and then demonstrating through action that they are being taken seriously.


Firms who are serious about engagement will measure it regularly and be committed to making sure staff see how the process makes a tangible difference in their working day. Employees will not always immediately see the connection between abstract survey questions and their place in the organisation, so a measurement of engagement must not be an end goal in itself.

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