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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Measurement minus action equals disengagement

A recent article in BusinessWeek focused on the increasingly important role of measuring employee engagement and tying these findings to corporate performance. Leaders need to assess and understand engagement levels in the same way they need to understand other critical management information, such as financial, productivity and customer data. Measuring employee engagement levels on a regular basis enables organizations to tie job satisfaction, commitment, loyalty and advocacy levels to key business metrics and adjust strategies and practices accordingly.

But measurement without action can do more harm than good. Simply surveying for current engagement levels and then doing nothing with that information often leads employees to feel they aren’t being heard. This, in turn, can negatively impact morale and trust.

Robust, business-oriented measurement and analysis is required to identify key drivers of engagement for your organization. Survey design should be aligned to the specific nuances of your firm and its strategy, values and culture. And it should provide a measure of an employee’s engagement to both the job and the organization as a whole. This knowledge provides key insights that help organizations to predict behavior and its impact on key business metrics.

We measure engagement levels by four main categories:

-- Disengaged employees, who are likely to underperform and leave;
-- Benchwarmers, who are likely to underperform and stay;
-- Free Agents, who are likely to outperform but leave as soon as the opportunity arises; and,
-- Stars, who are likely to outperform and stay.

Identifying and analyzing engagement levels and the drivers of success is the first step. The real challenge is in equipping your business to act and ensure that change is embedded in the culture so that the workforce remains focused and aligned to business strategy. An engaged workforce is the key to sustained competitive advantage and accelerated business performance.

As many as one in two employees are completely disengaged. Are you actioning your engagement data with the same diligence you give to other key business metrics?

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