Employee Engagement and the Importance of Effort Assessment

During the past years we’ve seen a renewed interest from companies toward growth and investment, but with a rigorous focus on cost containment. As recent research points to high employee engagement as one of the top 3 factors of business success[1], it’s no surprise that companies started monitoring engagement levels and prefer redirecting budgets toward measurement, before starting to implement actions to improve engagement.

Gallup found that employee engagement drives business growth. Practically, this means that it is directly tied to business performance, in terms of predicting key performance outcomes. Take for example, business metrics such as: department productivity, safety costs & safety incidents, retention rates and absenteeism, customer loyalty and ultimately, turnover, that are impacted by levels of engagement – this raises the question: are you measuring employee engagement the right way?

“Measurement is one thing, but what you measure is another”, says Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of employee engagement and well-being. Measuring employee engagement, the right way, is no easy feat, especially when you have so many tools on the market. They all theoretically measure employee engagement, but what should they focus on to support managers and businesses in creating real change?

Our first recommendation is to identify if the tool measures employees’ productivity or the work engagement component, which includes the emotional, cognitive, physical engagement of employees displayed during their work role performances. This means that if employee engagement broadly refers to the emotional commitment people have to the organization and its goals, how much they use their skills in the workplace, job security, etc., work engagement is more specifically geared around the work that they’re doing at the company, the effort invested into successfully completing their daily tasks, and the fulfillment gained due to that work.

Considering all these, when employees are engaged with their work, they are willing to go the extra mile, beyond the minimum requirement, voluntarily, to finish their tasks, even if this means doing overtime, coming in on weekends, working from home etc. We know this as “discretionary effort” – a time-physical-cognitive-emotional effort cocktail which should be measured simply because it gives insights into both overall employee engagement, but specifically, into work engagement.

This discretionary effort, however, could be a sign of work engagement and a positive result of people simply being committed to their work. However, it can also be a result of them having to compensate for a number of issues, like an increasingly difficult to navigate organizational environment, overly difficult employee procedures that ultimately lead to increased friction and an unsatisfying workplace experience for their employees.

We believe that for engagement strategies to have a measurable impact on business outcomes and the bottom line, companies need to deploy employee effort assessment, at a granular level, in order to understand clearly how it impacts people’s overall productivity, performance and, last but not least, employee engagement.

Our People Engagement Solution uses a cutting-edge approach to collect accurate, deep and unbiased employee insights that cover a multitude of employee-related information. From their degree of emotional commitment, their compatibility with the organizational culture and climate, up to how efficient are specific rewards and bonuses that are used to recognize their achievements or motivate them and finishing with a module that focuses on measuring employee effort at the level of processes and procedures.

Do you want to know what motivates and what disengages your employees? Take the next step, connect with us today.

[1] Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance”, 2013, Harvard Business School Publishing

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