You know how to measure outcomes that are important to your business. You track sales, you watch profits. But when it comes to employee engagement, knowing whether your efforts are working isn’t so straightforward. Crafting strategies to increase engagement and motivate employees to do their best work is just the first step. Measuring outcomes is how you figure out whether to stay the course or adjust your approach.
Define Your Specific Goals
Your business is unique because your employees are unique. The type of improvement you want to achieve, the life experiences of your employees, the current conditions in your specific industry – they all play a part in determining what “better engagement” looks like for your business. Are you hoping to get employees to work faster, or to make fewer mistakes? If you’re in the service industry, are you trying to get employees to present a happier or more engaged front to customers? Or are you more concerned with company culture, and aiming to improve employee satisfaction and communication?
It’s important to get really clear about goals before progressing. Employee engagement isn’t just one thing – it looks different for different employees in different industries. Clarifying what an ideal outcome looks like for your business makes it easier for you to measure your progress.
Measure Metrics That Matter
You collect data on employees every day. What time they clock in and out, how many projects they complete, how many sales they make, how many customer queries they answer… they’re all data points that can reveal a lot about engagement.
How’s attendance and punctuality? Removing external factors like bad weather and recent widespread illnesses, are you noticing that employees are arriving more promptly? If you have salaried employees who control their own hours, what changes have you seen in their schedules since committing to improving engagement? (Keep in mind that spending less time at work could actually be a good sign in this context, if it means employees are getting more work done in less time.)
It’s harder, but not impossible, to measure metrics related to morale and company culture. Your retention rate is one hugely important data point. How does your turnover rate in the last few months compare to your turnover rate at the same time last year? Are a higher-than-average number of employees seeking out promotions and internal transfers? That could indicate that your efforts are working and employees want to stay with you.
Larger companies may also get useful feedback from checking anonymous employee posts on Glassdoor. Are employees making the same criticisms they were a year ago? Have your ratings gone up at all? Similarly, public-facing businesses may find helpful information in customer reviews on sites like Yelp. If there’s been a shift in the way employees interact with customers, you should see some of that progress reflected in recent reviews.
Keep in mind that employees are unlikely to have an attitude and motivational shift in a week. Bringing about change takes time. Give employees time – at least a month – to adjust to new engagement strategies before deciding whether or not they’re effective.
Survey the Workforce
Want to know if your initiatives are working? Seek out the perspectives of two groups: employees and managers. Increasing transparency is one of the most effective ways to drive engagement, and that can help you out here. Talk to your staff about the engagement goals you’ve set and the reasoning behind those goals, and explain that you want their input.
You can do this in one of several ways. One option is to distribute anonymous surveys that ask employees to provide honest feedback, with questions that ask about job satisfaction and barriers to engagement. Alternately, let employees know that you welcome their input, or create a drop box where employees can submit notes that they want company owners to read. For smaller companies, another option is to hold a town-hall-style meeting in which employees are encouraged to ask questions and raise their concerns. This method is efficient but may not get you the feedback you want, as employees may worry about retribution if they speak honestly.
Managers are a huge asset for assessing your progress, too. By encouraging them to monitor engagement and share their observations, you benefit from the closeness of their relationships with employees. Your managers probably spend more time with your workers than you do – plus, as experienced members of your team, they might have their own insights about how to make positive changes.
Do you know if your engagement strategies are working? Could they be even more effective? Learn more at Commonwealth’s recorded webinar, Strategies for Employee Engagement. The team at Commonwealth is here to answer all your questions about employee engagement. Contact us today.