The Importance of Measurement in Employee Engagement

Assess how well you are doing through an annual company engagement survey.

By Alan E. Hall, Founder and Chairman, MarketStar (now a division of Omnicom)

Imagine half of your workforce going through the motions while looking for other employment. According to a recent Gallup study on employee engagement, approximately 54 percent of employees in the United States are not engaged in their organization (http://www.gallup.com/poll/150383/Majority-American-Workers-Not-Engaged-Jobs.aspx).

Gallup’s research shows that engaged employees are almost twice as likely to want to stay with the company. They also create a higher level of customer satisfaction, which leads to higher profitability. Clearly, instilling and ensuring engagement in your workforce is critical. But how do you accomplish this task?

Employee engagement is critical to the success of an organization and employee performance. Engagement is a result of employees understanding the company’s goals and their role in helping the organization reach those goals. If they believe their goals align with the business strategy, they’ll have a bigger stake in the outcome and become higher performers. 

To assess and improve the level of engagement in your own organization, here are the elements to consider:

  • Do your employees know what’s expected of them in their positions, and do they know how their performance will be measured? 
  • Does your organization support career development and provide training programs for its employees? 
  • Do managers show their employees they support their personal growth? 

Through my experience at multinational company MarketStar (now a division of Omnicom), we determined that evaluation in the following areas provide a meaningful measurement of employee engagement:

  • Customer/Client Service: To what degree do your employees want to do a good job, and do they agree that by doing a good job they make your clients happy?
  • Quality Work: Do your employees believe that by providing quality work for your clients, they will create a long-term relationship with your company?
  • Strategic Planning and Focus: Do your employees believe that that their goals align with the business strategy?
  • Stake in the Outcome/Rewards: Does your company reward those who contribute the most to the organization?

We assess how well we are doing through an annual company survey. Of the 50-plus questions we ask, we review the answers to six key questions and use their mean scores to determine the degree to which the employees in the organization are truly engaged. Truly engaged employees answer as follows:

  • My colleagues are passionate about providing exceptional client service.
  • I am proud to work for my company.
  • I intend to stay with my company for at least another 12 months.
  • I would recommend my company as a great place to work.
  • I understand how my job contributes to my company’s success.
  • My colleagues are willing to go beyond what is expected for the success of my company.

Measurement is the first and most critical step in improving employee engagement. At MarketStar, we conduct this step every year (download the graphic below, “Understanding Your Employee Landscape” to see how MarketStar evaluates employees’ likelihood of staying with the company). With this information in hand, managers are better equipped to empower employees by providing clear expectations and feedback that will allow them to fully succeed. By meeting these requirements, companies can steadily improve their employee engagement, which, in turn will improve their customer service and overall profitability.

Additional reporting for this article was provided by Karen King, VP, Human Resources, MarketStar.

Investor and serial entrepreneur Alan E. Hall is the founder and chairman of sales-outsource firm MarketStar (now a division of Omnicom), and the founder of Grow America, an organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs nationwide. He can be reached at AlanEHall.com or on Twitter at@AskAlanEHall .

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