What is employee engagement?

In its simplest terms, employee engagement describes how connected employees feel about the organisation they work for.

“Employee engagement is a positive attitude held by the employee towards the organisation and its values. An engaged employee is aware of the business context and works with colleagues to improve performance within the job for the benefit of the organisation. The organisation must work to develop and nurture engagement which requires a two-way relationship between employee and employer” (Institute of Employment Studies)

“Highly recommended”

“ Extremely helpful, Gave great advice, Quick on responding to any questions.” Read the full review

MAD-HR Feefo Rating

Engaged employees are driven to perform in their roles because they care about what they are doing, and are motivated by the environment in which they work. They are clear on where the organisation is going, believe in the leadership, understand their own goals and objectives, and understand how they contribute to the business purpose and mission with a genuine desire for the business to succeed.

Engaged employees are fully informed, listened to, fulfilled, and aligned with the organisation’s culture and values. An engaged workforce is passionate about what they do, actively seeking out opportunities to innovate, be creative and collaborative. Engaged employees are also more likely to embrace change.

Engaged employees are:

  • Proud of what they do
  • Productive
  • Company champions
  • Prepared to go the extra mile
  • Working towards common objectives
  • Aligned with the culture and values
  • Collaborative – sharing ideas and feedback
  • Supportive of each other
  • Respectful
  • Problem solvers
  • Resilient
  • Have a desire for personal growth and development

From an employer’s perspective, organisations who understand the importance of an engaged workforce and prioritise employee engagement:

  • Believe in the company values and act accordingly
  • Give employees a platform to be heard
  • Listen to feedback and take actions
  • Are open and transparent
  • Communicate effectively
  • Create opportunities for growth and development
  • Recruit employees who are aligned with the company values
  • Recognise achievements and hard work
  • Promote and facilitate positive working relationships
  • Actively encourage good work-life balance
  • Genuinely care about the health and wellbeing of its workforce
  • Include the workforce in the future plans of the business.

Benchmarking and measuring employee engagement

We now know what an engaged business and workforce looks like, but how do we measure engagement?

The first step is knowing and understanding where you are now, it’s the starting point of helping you understand where you need to be and what you need to do in order to get there. By measuring engagement, you gain insight into what your employees think about the organisation, what you are doing well and what your employees think you need to do to improve.

This level of understanding helps identify your strengths, highlights problem areas, and reveals areas in which teams need more support. However, to make any improvements, it is critical to analyse the current situation.

You can’t measure an increase without a benchmark. Knowing how to measure employee engagement is the kickoff point for creating your engagement strategy.

The importance of choosing the more effective type of survey

Surveys are the most commonly used tool for capturing that feedback. The most effective surveys are those that can be filled and submitted anonymously; anonymity increases participation rates and encourages honest responses from employees.

It is worth noting that there are annual surveys that can cover an array of areas such as trust, leadership credibility, pay and benefits, communication, morale and much more. Annual surveys provide a deep dive into what people think and feel about the organisation.

This type of report can provide lots of rich data to help evaluate and refine the organisation’s initiatives to increase impact. Surveys like ‘Best Employers’ allow the organisation to compare their results with other organisations within the region, providing powerful information to enhance their employer brand with existing and potential team members.

However, be aware that an annual review, by its very nature, is a review taken at a particular time; therefore there are many variables which could influence the results, including what is going on for that individual at that time, both personally and professionally.

Equally, annual surveys are not particularly useful when trying to ‘course correct’ your improvement journey. They don’t provide regular real-time feedback on the improvements you are making throughout the year, so that you can track progress and ensure you are prioritising the most impactful areas. Pulse surveys are an ideal addition to annual surveys, because they allow organisations to take a temperature check on engagement levels within the team throughout the year.

Before you launch your survey, it’s a good idea to start with the end in mind. Decide on what output you are looking to achieve from your survey. Define what route is best for your organisation and work back from there.

Do not over-commit yourself, as there is little worse than starting a survey and not following up. Lack of follow-up may impact the success of any future initiatives you plan to implement. Your team may also link those shortfalls with concerns that ‘this is just another flash in the pan’.

Clarify the people who will be accountable for following up on the results. Who will be taking action because of the results? What does action look like?

What happens next?

When the results are in, and the benchmark has been set, a regular survey is vital to create an ongoing cycle of improvement and a gauge for success.

When companies measure employee engagement, they tend to get back more than they give. With the results, ensure the work of HR is as impactful as possible by focusing on data-driven initiatives on the most urgent areas for improvement within the organisation.

Our team at MAD-HR are passionate about engagement. We support our clients by finding the right survey for them, planning the journey from beginning to end and supporting the organisation to ensure they get the maximum return on their investment by reaping the rewards mentioned above.

If you would like to introduce an employee engagement survey or need support with your existing survey/strategy, contact the team hello@mad-hr.co.uk