Sunday, November 11, 2018

How (not) to measure employee engagement

Want to measure employee engagement? Here is one way how to do it:

1. Measure by a survey sent twice a year
But what if people just happen to have a bit sucky day when answering? It can cause quite a distortion. 

2. Base it on one question that is: how likely is it that you would recommend the whole company as a great workplace
People might be very engaged on their work and/or in their team, while thinking that overall the company is not as good a place to work in.

3. Score based on NPS grading
Using NPS when everybody knows the valuation behind the numbering distorts the overall grade.

4. Say it is voluntary to answer but give a lot of pressure to get a 100% answer rate
Like, why do stuff like this?

5. If the team score is finally too low, threaten it by certain negative actions
I can't even...

(If this sounds a bit too specific to be a general example and more like a real life experience, you might be on to something)

An alternative I might support would be to:

1. Talk to people often. As a group, and 1 on 1. Pay attention to what people say and don't say. Try to be sensitive for bad signals and ask about them. Have a place where people can leave anonymous feedback all the time. And on top if you like to use a survey use a simple one that is asked often (like every week).

2. Be more specific with questions, but also allow open answers. Have discussions.  And ask rather on past experience then future forecasts.

3. Ditch the fake grades. If you really want to simplify employee engagement to three alternatives, go with bad - neutral - good.

4. If someone wants to opt out of the survey, let them. Maybe they are actually engaged in something important and don't want to spend time to answer on yet another fake survey.

5. Use the feedback to what it is meant for. As a trigger to think and ask for suggestions on how we could improve.

Just want the number? Pick one and declare happy,

Really want to improve? Then Do The Work.

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