How to Measure the Success of Employee Engagement Initiatives?

by Jody Ordioni

Traditionally, companies have relied on annual surveys to get a sense of the general sentiments and the feedback of their employees. However, the recent market trend has seen a tight schedule that does not leave time for employee surveys. Companies are in a competitive environment to retain talent and engage employees, thus, annual surveys don’t cut it. Engaging employees is extremely important because the culture correlates to profitability for the company.

Employee engagement is not a static model, so periodic measurement does not improve understanding. One size fits all approach does not solve problems that are uniquely inherent to a company while generalizations are counterproductive. Moreover, simply strategizing complex action plans will not automatically solve problems, implementation and follow-up are also important. The engagement has to be tailored according to the needs of the organization and should be conducive to changes in the future. For action plans to actually produce results, they have to be translated well into the culture. Therefore, an antiquated tradition like annual survey cannot be the sole tool a company utilizes to measure and motivate engagement. Innovative solutions have to be chalked out to achieve better results.

Real-Time Data Facilitates Fluidity in Employee Engagement

There is a difference between companies who see engagement in terms of score and those who view it as a way of living. Data is necessary to support the measures and create the best employee experience. Often, data is ignored in favor of a good score. If the employee engagement score is good, then data is seen as an unnecessary step. Annual surveys rely on data that is in the past. Employee interaction is a daily-changing, dynamic relationship. Understanding the fluidity is the first step to creating a culture that motivates employees to engage with the company.

The Pace of Calculating Engagement

It is not enough to only measure real-time data in a timely fashion, there should also be time to act on the data collected. Thrice in a year or quarterly assessment can give enough space in-between to measure data and suggest reforms in the form of micro-actions. This also provides the employee with an open platform to participate in the methods of efficient reforms and lets them know that their feedback is being addressed.

Pulse surveys are one way to break the monotony of traditional long-form surveys. They help the employees to express the same sentiments but in a manner that is more immediate and quicker. Different methods of engaging employees and accessing their feedback ensures that the company is in tune with the sentiments the company culture elicits in the employees. If an employee was happy in the previous quarter but is not in the current, then pulse surveys expose the problem within the structure in real-time.

Translating Accumulated Data into Concrete Steps

Measuring engagement does not end once the surveys are done; engagement is not just another task on the agenda. The meticulously collected data has to be transformed into an action plan that will effectively combat problems. This is the end goal of real-time measures. If companies do not follow-up on the data they have collected, then they run the risk of catching the problem before it snowballs into something bigger.

Ensure that the surveys are centered around specific issues and the subsequent surveys collect data regarding the response to solutions introduced around those issues. The solutions should be simple and short-term. Complex plans that are cumbersome, end up only exhausting everyone involved and halt progress. Aim for 2-3 bite-sized solutions that any manager can implement between two measurement period, effectively. The solutions that are proposed have to sound achievable, otherwise, the battle would be lost before it has even begun. Managers are the key players, in effectively translating employee feedback into action. As much as 70% of the variance in engagement score depends upon the managers.

The Bottom Line

Employee engagement is a new field in the employment arena, therefore, it is only expected that it would constantly keep on changing. Even companies that have effective measures in place should routinely revise them to improve according to need. Measuring the important aspects on data based on real-time feedback, allows the leaders to better understand their employees, thereby increasing their engagement with the company.

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