Today when people talk about measuring employee engagement, it tends to be in one of two contexts. The first is the traditional approach of using surveys to ask the employee a series of probing questions. The second uses sentiment analysis on enterprise social networks, where sentiment is used as a proxy for engagement. While both these approaches are key to understanding how the workforce is doing, they both rely on an employee openly discussing how they feel about the company. In the first instance via a survey, and the second through enterprise social networks.
I’d like to propose an alternative approach, where instead of asking employees to say how they feel we actively track digital signals and use these as a way to measure engagement. In today’s connected enterprise, where collaboration (or social) is increasingly integrated into business processes and mobile is becoming a defacto way of working, these digital breadcrumbs are becoming more plentiful. If we take existing engagement models, backed up by decades of workforce science, and reverse engineer them, we can track more of the signals that correlate with engagement and not be overly reliant on sentiment.
This appoach also has the benefit that because we are measuring active work signals, not something isolated from the process of doing work, we don’t have to argue with ourselves about whether an engaged workforce is a productive one, we just measure it. How do we do that? We just ensure that the engagement signals are tracked to what the business does. For example; if we care about how collaboration, knowledge sharing, community, … contribute to customer engagements, then we ensure that customer interactions are included in our engagement model, alongside the social and content creation ones.
If you are interested in this approach, just check out our new solution page at ibm.com/engage.