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How do you best measure engagement?

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We know that engaged employees are the key to business success. For example, teams with highly engaged employees have lower sick leave rates, more loyal customers and are more profitable. At the same time, we know that only 25 per cent of employees are fully engaged (Brilliant database). Against this background it is easy to understand why employee engagement has become a high priority for most companies.

But how do you best measure employee engagement? The traditional way is to conduct an annual employee survey in which employees rate their own engagement. This approach provides an important basis for how employees perceive their work situation and which aspects are most important for them.

An important complement to this subjective type of data are objective data that measure the hard aspects of engagement (“people analytics metrics”) and that help companies better understand their employees’ engagement. There are many variants of this type of data; here are some examples from our customers and experience as well as a Harvard Business Review report:

  • Attendance, short- and long-term absence (may indicate high and low engagement)
  • Productivity (may indicate a high level of engagement)
  • Quality of delivered products or services (may indicate a high level of engagement)
  • Proportion of committed versus uncommitted colleagues in the working group (engagement of colleagues spreads to others in the group)
  • The manager’s engagement (spreads to employees)
  • How much contact employees have with people outside their own team or other networks (may indicate a high level of engagement)
  • Employee relations, for example “Strong tie connections”, i.e. regular and direct interactions (may indicate a high level of engagement)
  • Percent of ad-hoc meetings and initiatives compared to recurring meetings and processes (participation in only recurring meetings may indicate low engagement)
  • How many hours employees work outside normal working hours (may indicate a desire to contribute beyond the expected)
  • Number of terminations (may indicate low engagement)

What is most important in your organization, and how would you like to complement the engagement measurements you are doing today to get a better understanding of how you can increase engagement?

Many different factors contribute to employee engagement, and what is most relevant is different for each company, group and individual. To understand what engages employees and to make it actionable for organizations is complex. When measuring the different facets of engagement by combining employee survey data with other important business metrics organizations get the material they need to understand what drives employee engagement and how to act on it – maybe even better than the employees understand it themselves.

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