Employee engagement is essential to productivity, workplace culture, and the bottom line. Despite increasing efforts by employers to improve engagement, it remains stagnant. In fact, 70% of employees are disengaged according to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report. And the same report concludes that companies who have engaged workers experience 147% higher earnings per share. Clearly, engagement is important and measuring engagement is equally important.
Engagement surveys, while providing volumes of information, often only give a glimpse into the overall picture. Many organizations use them as a once per year questionnaire for determining whether their employees are engaged rather than actually having an ongoing conversation with their employees. A recent article in Forbes, “It’s Time to Redefine the Rules of Employee Engagement”, provided valuable insight. It discussed how engagement surveys really end up engaging management and leaders in trying to solve various workplace problems rather than actually engaging employees in an active discussion about what they need to be more engaged. The cycle becomes self-defeating and often repeats year in and year out with no effect on employee engagement. Worse, employees begin to hold management accountable for impacting their engagement rather than taking responsibility for it on their own.
At Empathia, we provide a unique insight into engagement for the organizations we serve. For employees who use the LifeMatters EAP program, engagement is a key metric. On average we find that employees utilizing the EAP experience more than a 10% improvement in overall engagement, as well as nearly a 30% reduction in presenteeism. This shows a positive correlation with EAP usage and engagement.
Measuring engagement can also be done through targeted surveys and ensuring that managers are leading in a positive, motivating way. LifeMatters measures engagement for client organizations via a workplace culture assessment. Measuring workplace culture, as opposed to workplace engagement, provides a unique insight into the behaviors that your employees are observing in the workplace. On average, we see an engagement score of .66 on a scale of -3 to +3, meaning there’s lots of room for most companies to work on this key metric. Knowing your organization’s engagement score is helpful in determining what interventions might be appropriate and which area of concern is the most important.
One thing is clear, there are plenty of options to help organizations measure and assess employee engagement. Ensuring that your plan includes ongoing discussions with your employees, as well as a clear plan for providing actionable solutions for problems that are uncovered, will help your organization effectively address engagement and improve workplace culture at the same time.