Employee Engagement–Measure it or Forget it!

Recently, a client HR Manager asked me about employee engagement. Specifically, she asked how to measure the IMPACT of said engagement.

Well, that perked my ears up. Too long, companies have been performing those absolutely worthless engagement surveys, solely measuring engagement, via survey results, like it somehow represents real productivity, satisfaction, or even… real employee engagement.

Anyway, I was interested. Yes, Virginia, there are ways to measure the impact of employee engagement. And it ain’t “annual engagement scores.”

First, a definition. Now, this isn’t a Harvard definition, or a textbook definition, or some definition from a graduate class in Organizational Development. No, it’s better than all of that… it’s Kevin’s Definition.

Employee Engagement: The degree to which employees willingly utilize their discretionary effort to the benefit of their employer.

That’s it–employees wanting to do more, and that “more” matters to their company. Occam’s razor at its best.

For instance:

  1. Engaged employees have better employee retention, and lower voluntary turnover. We can measure that.
  2. Engaged employees bring new products to market, and do so faster than others in their space. That can be measured.
  3. Engaged employees provide stronger earnings–EPS, EBITDA, NOI, whatever–than others in their space. Again, easily measured.
  4. Engaged employees are more productive; pounds per hour, widgets per month, costs per gallon, whatever productivity we measure, engaged employees do it better. And we can measure that.
  5. New hires from employee referrals/recommendations. We can–and should–measure that.
  6. General satisfaction indices, including satisfaction surveys, complaints, disciplinary actions, and yes, even “engagement surveys.”

So, just a short mention of several specific measurements for the impact of employee engagement. And remember, employee engagement, as a survey, a scale, a number or a grade, only matters if it matters.

…and that’s a practical statement, not a profound one.

And, of course, well over 80% of all employee engagement is driven by a company’s leadership (both immediate and senior). But that’s for another posting.

But that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann


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