My key learnings from evolving the Employee Value Proposition at EY
21 Apr, 2022
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It’s a simple fact that engaged employees are more motivated and excited about their jobs. They work harder, stay longer and inspire those around them to do the same. Employee engagement is crucial for business success and for developing your workforce’s skills. But getting your employees to feel engaged is no easy task. It requires great leadership, recognition of hard work, excellent communication and the right resources to support employees in their work.
The ability to measure employee engagement provides real-time insight into the quality of the efforts that you are making. It shows you what an engaged employee looks like and where you can improve engagement levels in ways that work best for your business.
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Just as measuring your sales and finances is important, measuring employee engagement helps companies achieve excellent results. Here are just some of the benefits of measuring your employee engagement:
If any problems are brewing within the company, then regularly measuring employee engagement will help to quickly identify the issues so you can solve them before they get worse. Measuring employee engagement lets you address the root of any problems and prevent them from escalating into issues that could potentially impact employee retention, team performance and sales.
A company can only grow and achieve consistent success if it has an engaged workforce. Regularly measuring your employee engagement and taking meaningful action in response to the results is better for your employees, business and profit margins.
There is a strong link between employee engagement and employee turnover. Analysing your employee engagement can help you predict the areas of your business that could precipitate employee departures. It can also provide valuable insight into why you may have a high employee turnover and take necessary action.
Employee engagement data can help you identify problem areas within the company while rewarding those managers who consistently set the stage for better performance.
The data you get by measuring employee engagement over time can tell you if things within your company are stable or fluctuating up or down. If the business is going through a period of significant change, this data can be particularly useful. Regularly measuring employee engagement will give you an honest look at how certain decisions have impacted the business and its people.
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to how to measure employee engagement. To successfully measure engagement within your company, you should utilise a combination of the following tools and measurements. These will help you get an accurate picture of how your employees feel and what you can do to increase engagement.
Employee engagement goals are benchmarks for distinguishing an engaged employee from a disengaged one. Some examples of employee engagement benchmarks are as follows:
An employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a simple way to measure employee engagement. It is calculated based on the difference between your most and least engaged employee. It provides you with an exact, numeric engagement score.
Employee pulse surveys are a quick and consistent way to gather regular employee feedback. Pulse surveys are typically short and focused on a specific question. As they are short, pulse surveys tend to get more responses and can even act as a useful employee engagement driver in itself. To make pulse surveys work for your company, you need to use meaningful questions that generally zero in on:
One-on-one meetings are extremely effective in measuring employee engagement. Regularly scheduled meetings give you the opportunity to have an informal chat with your employees individually, helping to provide a real sense of what’s going on with them and the team. One-to-ones can give you more detailed feedback than group meetings and let you pick up on any useful non-verbal signals. Use the meetings to gather qualitative feedback by asking about your employee’s positive experiences at work, areas they feel need improvement and how they would describe the company culture.
Exit interviews are useful for learning about an employee’s experience of the organisation. They are a way to find out what could have been done better to improve their engagement with the business and their role. As the employee is already leaving the company, they are likely to be honest about negative experiences. This will give you access to some really useful (and sometimes eye-opening) information. While exit interviews are fairly standard in most businesses, stay interviews are not as common.
Stay interviews involve asking employees who are satisfied at work about the things that make them want to stay. These meetings aim to find out what you are doing well and what you could improve. For both stay and exit interviews, you could consider asking:
If you notice that absenteeism within your team is increasing, there may be issues with employee engagement that you want to jump on. Look at the rate and number of absent staff over a certain period. Cross-reference the data with your pulse survey responses. Check to see whether absenteeism increased when your eNPS dropped and if employee turnover also increased at the same time. This will help you to make informed changes within your company.
Likewise, if you notice a particular spike in employee turnover, your employees could be feeling disengaged. Compare employee turnover rates year on year and think about what you could have done differently. You can also create an employee pulse survey relating to employee retention, asking employees about how they see their future at the company.
When you’ve finished measuring your employee engagement, it may be tempting to dive straight in and make some changes. But before you jump in and do anything drastic, you need to make sure that you both understand what the results are telling you and that you communicate the results to the rest of your organisation.
One of the most important things you can do is to be as honest and transparent as possible. After all, you’ve just spent time asking your employees to share their thoughts on one of the most important parts of their lives.
You may choose to analyse and share the full results with your senior leadership before the rest of the workforce. You can then loop your employees into some of the findings through company-wide communication. Share encouraging insights with your staff, such as some of the areas that have most improved. Take some time to pick out other relevant and interesting findings. Make sure you use the opportunity to thank employees for their time and participation, and let them know that you will be taking necessary action on the results.
Team leaders can then discuss the results with their teams in more detail. Ideally, this should be done in such a way that encourages everyone to share their thoughts and ideas on what could be improved. You may also want to arrange focus groups with employees to discuss the findings and uncover any deeper insights. Focus groups are also a useful way to reinforce your commitment to your workforce and that you are listening to their feedback and value their input.
There will always be “quick wins” where you can make fairly simple but effective changes right away. However, if you find after measuring your employee engagement that there are many areas where you could improve, don’t feel that you must do everything at once. This will be time-consuming and, above all, overwhelming for you and your team. It’s a good idea to pick one or two priority fixes and focus on making lasting improvements. Also, don’t be afraid to start small. Once you’ve chosen the areas to work on, ask yourself:
Once you’ve made the fixes, communicate the changes to your employees, connecting them back to the findings from your employee engagement process. Give people the chance to comment, share their thoughts and add any further insights they have. Let them know that you will follow up to see how things are going and repeat the measurement.
Regardless of what your employee engagement metrics show, you need to seek improvement continuously. Even if your results have been largely positive, it’s not a sign you can relax your efforts. Employee engagement can quickly fluctuate if you don’t maintain your engagement strategies. This means you need to repeat the process again and again. After all, employee engagement takes time and effort and will constantly evolve, so you need to stay agile.
You can only improve your employee engagement if you know in what areas your company is succeeding and where it needs to improve. Understanding how to measure employee engagement is key to developing your engagement strategy in a way that works best for your company.
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