Two Ways to Measure Employee Engagement

Recently, in several client sessions on the topic of employee engagement, I was asked, How should you measure engagement?

Without saying so directly, I facilitated them toward the answer to another question: Why would you measure it?

Here's how we did it.

After setting the stage with information (drawn in part from the work done by the Gallup organization) about What employee engagement is and Why it's so important, I asked this polling question:

What can a Manager do to promote employee engagement?

As each person answered, we kept a running tally of the answers on a flipchart or white board.
The answers included such ideas as...

  • Keep an open mind
  • Solicit input
  • Communicate often
  • Listen
  • Be available
  • Provide coaching
  • Give feedback
  • Recognize each person for the contribution they make to the team
  • Be flexible
  • Empower the team


And more. You can imagine what other answers were given.

What comes next, though, is the important part.

These answers can be turned into two types of measurement tools for employee engagement.

The first is a self-assessment for leaders. Borrowing an idea from the great coach Marshall Goldsmith, you can take each of the ideas listed and plug it into the frame "Am I doing my best to..." For example,

  • Am I doing my best to empower my team?
  • Am I doing my best to communicate often?
  • Am I doing my best to give feedback?
  • Am I doing my best to listen to my team members?


The second is an upward feedback instrument for team members to give input to leaders. You can turn each of the items into a short statement that the team members would answer. For example:

  • I feel empowered in my role to get things done.
  • I get frequent communication about what's going on.
  • I get timely feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  • I feel heard when I give my opinion.


Such measurement tools will ground the concept of employee engagement in practical terms that can lead to learning, action, and real change.

Terrence Seamon helps his clients to tap into the power of an engaged organization. Follow him on twitter @tseamon and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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