“How are you doing?” Measuring Employee Engagement

By on June 30, 2010
Measuring Employee Engagement

Organizations are beginning to understand the importance of employee engagement in improving production, satisfaction, attendance, and retention, but too many companies are unable to identify the actions necessary to improve engagement. The key to overcoming this obstacle lies in developing accurate, specific measurements. Once the metrics have been established to measure engagement, the specific areas in need of improvement are illuminated.

The Gallup organization has done a great deal of research on the subject of employee engagement and uses the analogy of climbing a mountain in describing the concept. The contention is that one needs to address engagement needs in order if the climb to the summit is to be successful. Each stage builds a foundation for the next. The climb for one individual is described below:

Level One: What do I get?

At this stage your needs are pretty basic. You want to know what is expected of you. How much you will earn? What will your resources be? Without answers to these questions it will be difficult to focus on any other issues.

Level Two: What do I give?

As you move along, you begin to see things differently and you start to ask different questions. You want to know how you are doing. Do others think you are doing well? Are they willing to help?

Level Three: Do I belong here?

You continue to climb and you have asked some tough questions. The answers have helped you build strength and momentum to continue your climb. Your perspective has widened and you may begin to question whether or not you fit the organization. Do the things that drive you also drive those around you? Is your basic value system in line with that of the organization?

Level Four: How can we all grow?

This is the most advanced stage of the climb. The focus is on making things better, learning, growing and innovating. Innovation is possible at this stage largely because of the work done at Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. Expectations are clear, your confidence is high, and you are aware of the people around you and their possible reaction to your new ideas. If you have been through all of the stages you are in good position to reach the summit. You have the materials you need, you understand your role, have the confidence and attitude to move forward, and you have teammates who are similarly committed and prepared for the final stage.

The challenge for organizations is finding ways to measure the areas effectively so that action can be taken. An employee survey is the most logical and effective approach in identifying engagement deficits. Creating items around each of the stages described above allows a company to identify areas where resources can be best spent. Using the Gallup approach, deficits at the earlier stages need to be dealt with first in order to build a solid foundation for dealing with deficits further down the line. Implementing surveys at regular intervals in conjunction with corrective action will move the bar on employee engagement, allowing your organization to reap the benefits of a fully engaged workforce. To learn more contact Lou Gerst.

About Lou Gerst

Lou is the Practice Leader for Strategic Talent Development with the Workforce Solutions Group of St. Louis Community College.

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