Measuring Your Employee Engagement Program

Liron Cohen-YanayApril 12, 2017

Measuring Your Employee Engagement Program

By Liron Cohen-Yanay, director of solution strategy

Like any business initiative, it’s important to analyze and measure your engagement program results so you can make changes as needed to achieve the highest return-on-investment possible. However, “engagement” may seem like an abstract thing to measure.

In this final post on overcoming the engagement challenges HR executives face, we will discuss how to turn employee thoughts and feelings into measurable data. We’ll also cover how to analyze the results of your employee engagement program for business outcomes and tweak your approach accordingly.

Measuring employee outcomes

One simple way to measure your engagement efforts is through something you may already be doing – asking your employees for feedback.

There’s a good chance you’re already sending out some type of annual survey to employees to determine job satisfaction, so why not use this as a way to benchmark your engagement program as well? Include questions regarding employees’ relationships with their team and other colleagues and how much time they spend working after hours or outside their normal scope of work.

This will give you a sense on how connected they feel to the organization and how successfully they’re balancing work and home life. Incentivizing the survey can aide you in getting more participation and more in-depth answers. Make sure to instate employee exit surveys if you haven’t already; this may be where you get the most honest feedback about your organization.

Your annual engagement survey data alone is not enough to prove the effectiveness of your program from an employee perspective, as responses will likely include inherent biases. Employees may rush through the survey to finish quickly or only remember the most recent events, resulting in non-comprehensive answers.

Try utilizing an employee suggestion box or hosting open breakfast focus groups once a month where employees can meet with upper management and voice their feedback. By opening up conversations on engagement more regularly, you can get a more realistic idea of how your program is working. This will also help you identify issues more quickly, which can be key in the success of your initiative.

Finally, annual employee reviews are a great time to get honest, one-on-one feedback on your program. Keep it light — you don’t want the employee to feel threatened or afraid they may lose their job if they aren’t engaged.

Organizational culture is more difficult to measure, but also a good indicator of engagement. Try including open-ended questions on your annual survey that ask employees for adjectives describing your company. Ask employees to rank from 1 to 10 how they feel your organization treats employees, how they feel about their team, and how they feel about their place in the company. If your efforts are working, employees should respond that they feel important, valued, and play a key role in your organization’s success.

Measuring business outcomes

While asking for employee feedback can provide valuable qualitative data, you should also measure the effectiveness of your engagement program quantitatively by analyzing business outcomes.

Employee productivity data is a solid metric that will give you definitive answers about how well your program is working — or not. There are a number of ways to measure productivity, including an increase in appointments drivers make per day or a decrease in sick days taken.

Are you seeing fewer employees calling in sick? Are they missing fewer days of work when they are sick? Have there been fewer safety incidents since you implemented an engagement program? Are employees taking advantage of wellness programs you may be offering them, such as lunch meditation sessions or gym memberships? These can all be quantitative measures of employee wellbeing, which is a key factor in employee productivity.

You can also take a look at employee retention or attrition data, and compare the periods before and after you implemented the program. If more employees are sticking around, this could be a good sign that your program is working. If you’ve seen an uptick in employee turnover, you may need to rethink your program or approach.  

Surveying your employees only gives you part of the engagement picture. Send out customer satisfaction surveys to learn how happy they are with their recent experience with your employees. Engaged employees care more about performing their jobs well and going above and beyond to make customers happy. There are various ways to turn customer surveys into  measurable data, like using customer satisfaction scores or net promoter scores.

Finally, take a look at your bottom line. Research shows a successful engagement program is highly connected to nine performance outcomes, including productivity, employee turnover, customer ratings, and lower absenteeism. It’s clear that if an engagement program improves on these performance outcomes, these outcomes quickly add up to a more profitable company that is losing less money on avoidable mistakes and lost staff time.

If you’re not seeing improvement in these areas, it’s time to take a hard look at why your program isn’t working or what other factors may be interfering with employee engagement, company culture, and wellbeing. If you are offering significantly lower compensation or fewer benefits than competitors, it’s unlikely a driver safety or wellness program is going to make up the difference.

The most important thing you can do to ensure the success of your program is to keep communication as open and flowing as possible. Honest employee feedback is invaluable to finding out the true effectiveness of your program. Keep all stakeholders engaged and up to date on how your program is growing and changing.

Finally, give yourself time to tweak and modify your program before you start over from scratch. It takes time to build up a strong employee culture and engagement level and to notice a real change in employee wellbeing. However, a decreased bottom line, boosted productivity, and overall healthier and happier employees are worth working for.