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Measuring employee engagement-something most companies don't do and many companies get wrong-can help leaders determine what actions they need to take to improve their engagement levels.

Engagement is about emotions and emotions impact our behavior, so they are an important thing to measure-also, research shows that highly engaged companies outperform other companies.

Many ways to measure engagement exist; I'll talk about several tools that can aid in the process here and include examples of companies that have successfully measured the engagement levels of their workforces.

Tools For Measuring Employee Engagement

1. Surveys

Surveys take on two flavors: an internally developed one or one that is built and administered by an outside firm. Internal ones are less expensive and can be deployed using low-cost tools, such as Zoomerang and Survey Monkey. Some components often found on employee surveys designed to measure employee engagement include leadership, strategic plan, communications, work environment, pay and benefits, training, current position fit, career development, recognition, values and purpose, and relationship with manager.

Some tips for giving surveys:

  • Don't launch around major project deadlines, vacations and holiday seasons, office moves, etc.
  • Introduce the survey with its purpose and what will be done with the data.
  • Sell the idea that giving feedback will improve each employee's' situation.
  • Stress that the process will be 100% anonymous.
  • Use multiple methods of communication-email, meetings, texts, videos-with the goal of getting at least 80% participation. Brand name surveys, including Best Places to Work use 80% as a minimum.

2. Gallup's Q12

Through rigorous research, The Gallup Organization identified 12 specific workplace conditions, which can be used to assess employee engagement. Employees can answer these questions to determine how engaged they are with their workplace.

  • Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  • Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  • At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  • Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  • Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  • At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  • Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
  • Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  • Do I have a best friend at work?
  • In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  • This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

3. The 10 C's of Engagement

In 2006, the Ivey Business Journal published a different version of measuring engagement: "Ten C's of Engagement". They are:

  • Connect. Leaders must show that they value with employees.
  • Career. Leaders must provide opportunities for career advancement.
  • Clarity. Leaders must communicate a clear vision.
  • Convey. Leaders must clarify expectations about employees and provide feedback.
  • Congratulate. Leaders must recognize good performance.
  • Contribute. Employees want to know that their input matters.
  • Control. Employees value control over the flow and pace of their jobs, and leaders can give employees opportunities to exercise this control.
  • Collaborate. Great leaders create environments that foster trust and collaboration.
  • Credibility. Leaders must strive to demonstrate high ethical standards.
  • Confidence. Good leaders create confidence in a company.

Companies That Measure Employee Engagement

The following companies are included in an article published by

Wells Fargo

The company developed a "happy-to-grumpy" ratio, which surveyed and reported data on engagement levels and also studied what motivated staff. After a while, the bank discovered a strong link between high employee engagement and elevated employee productivity and customer satisfaction.

Best Buy

The company began tracking its employee engagement and customer satisfaction levels together. They discovered that higher employee engagement did lead to improved store performance.

A Pittsburgh-Based Insurer

This company created a "Trust Index" to measure employee engagement and trust in leadership.

If you're planning to measure the employee engagement of your organization, consider a warning given on the Harvard Business Review blog: "... as important as performance metrics, are, problems arise when performance metrics become overly dominant as a managerial principle ... Corporations need to build guidelines and values-not absolute rules and measures."

And while the company examples come from larger companies, companies with as little as 30 employees conduct employee engagement surveys.

How have you measured employee engagement at your company? And if you haven't, what are your plans to start?


Larry Hart

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