Why Measuring Employee Engagement is Key to an Effective Talent Strategy (2 of 3)

“If you can’t measure it you can’t improve it”
— Peter Drucker

For many organisations talent is often far and away their biggest overhead yet it is common to find no agreed measure of what amounts to success when it comes to the implementation of any strategy.

Rough measures such as wages as a percentage of turnover and overall staff turnover are useful but can also be dangerous without the proper context.

Investing in a robust process of measuring what is commonly called “Employee Engagement” provides that context.

Poor levels can manifest itself in all sorts of ways from high sickness and absenteeism, accidents, shrinkage and overall poor quality of outputs/outcomes that can all too easily get hidden within a set of financial figures.

An effective measure of employee engagement provides a leader with a compass to lead and develop talent strategy.

Done well, not only does this offer an early warning system of potential problems, but it also offers the opportunity to gather and build on the collective intelligence of the whole organisation and maximise the value from.

Top tips for running an effective Employee Engagement survey

  • Create a dialogue, not an event – Annual surveys produce a long list of issues that take time to sift and prioritise and it simply isn’t possible to address them all. By carrying out the survey quarterly it is possible to create more of a dialogue to manage expectations by addressing a few things at a time.
  • Use the same questions and process – This gives you a clear way of measuring progress. The Gallup’s Q12 survey offers a good place to start as they cover the key areas (see further information here).
  • Make it easy to complete – something that people can do in 10-15 minutes.
  • Make it easy to report and respond – Just as in dialogue there is value in understanding first supported by a clear, timely response. To do this you need a process that provides a clear response quickly and doesn’t require hours of collation and reporting.
  • Make it anonymous – It can take time to win the trust of employees so the ability to make the responses anonymous and indeed if possible, the dialogue anonymous, will lead to produce a more effective dialogue

But what if we can’t afford it?

Can you afford not to do?

Harvard Business School points out that 80% of employee turnover is the result of bad hiring decisions (see www.hbr.org).

Almost every Social Entrepreneur we come across has made at least one terrible talent decision in their career yet it’s rare for anyone to offer a measure of their failure. Too often it is just accepted as a cost of doing business without calculating a clear number from the wasted salary, time and opportunity cost.

For most 4th sector organisations Talent costs are far and away their biggest expenditure, and small improvements in turnover and effectiveness can far outstrip any other impacts on the bottom line.

So to repeat, can you really afford not to invest in an effective employee engagement strategy?

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