Between writing compelling job descriptions to screening and scheduling candidates, there’s a ton of time and effort that goes into hiring the right talent. Yet for many organizations, the red carpet disappears the moment a new employee walks through the door on their first day—what happens from there is out of HR’s hands, and it’s onto the next candidate.
If that’s the case, however, you could be overlooking your best talent.
Seventy percent of employees recognize that if they want to advance their careers, they have no other choice than to leave their current company. As employees grow disengaged with their employer, they leave and take their valuable skills with them—further fueling the talent gap. After dedicating so much time to hiring the right people, HR has to devote more attention to internal matters.
The first step to fixing the issue? Measure employee engagement to identify how big of a problem you have in the first place.
Why Measure Employee Engagement, Anyway?
Employee engagement (or employee loyalty) is on the decline. Most companies simply lack a culture that encourages personal growth, including a strong internal mobility program that keeps employees informed of open job opportunities and empowers them to self-select a career path.
If internal talent is unaware of opportunities that await, they will leave. Heavy turnover has a negative impact on your brand as well, which threatens your ability to hire more talent and prevent others from leaving.
When employees are engaged, they’re more likely to stay with your company. Beyond boosting employee satisfaction, HR benefits in major ways. Think of it this way: an internal employee knows the culture, there is literally no cost for hire, and time to productivity is faster. Engaged employees strengthen your brand and increase productivity, customer satisfaction, and profitability. Plus, happy employees also refer their friends and professional networks, which leads to higher quality candidates than those who didn’t come recommended by a current employee.
5 Ways to Track Employee Sentiment
Building a culture with a thriving employee experience begins with measuring their level of engagement within your company. Here are a few of the best ways to do so:
1. Just ask!
One-on-one meetings between a manager and employee is an informal opportunity to collect regular feedback. While this is a time to connect on day-to-day work, employees should feel encouraged to safely communicate their thoughts and concerns.
To ensure this is covered during meetings, dedicate time to review topics like their goals, feedback, needs, and relationship with others. An open dialogue will reveal how engaged they are in their role and in the company—which highlights opportunities for growth and improvement.
Pro Tip: An internal mobility program and career site make it easier for managers to discuss career pathing and upskilling opportunities, which can reinforce employee satisfaction. If this isn’t available, consider ways you can encourage conversations to help them see the possibilities.
While this is helpful for current talent, sometimes the truth doesn’t come out until disengaged employees leave your company. This is where exit interviews become valuable in gauging overall morale. Before an employee departs, gain an understanding of why they left to determine if any issues can be addressed to prevent others from following suit.
2. Send an internal survey.
To collect data that can be standardized, analyzed, and archived, consider sending a survey to employees to measure their engagement. You can ask all of the same questions (and then some), but in a more structured way. This provides HR with greater authority over how these topics are addressed, guaranteeing consistent interactions with every employee. In addition to viewing engagement on an individual level, HR can filter the data in other ways, including by department and manager.
While surveys do not provide feedback as frequently as a one-on-one conversation, they certainly serve as a complement to those meetings. Or, for managers not conducting regular feedback meetings, this is another chance to capture that information. And if you’re concerned about lack of two-way dialogue, follow up with employees individually.
To conduct an internal survey, leverage tools like SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, or even Google Forms. An inexpensive option, you’ll also have full control over the questions included.
3. Send an eNPS survey.
Employee Net Promoter Scores (eNPS) is one of the most popular survey tools used to measure employee satisfaction in organizations around the world. Designed specifically to gauge if employees would recommend their friends work for you, there’s no guesswork in creating questions and removing bias from survey responses. eNPS sends anonymous surveys (and reminders) on a regular basis to your internal team to provide management with continuous feedback.
You determine who the survey goes to and how often they are distributed throughout the company. Surveys can be sent via email, text, and Slack to increase completion rates—and incentives can be offered to further sweeten the deal and boost feedback.
Questions are simple, ensuring a painless experience that gives you the valuable feedback you need without taking up too much of your employees’ precious time.
You’ll be able to view responses individually or in a convenient dashboard, which can be filtered by location, department, and manager.
4. Monitor company review sites.
Reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and Comparably can tell you a lot about how engaged employees are in your company. As employees voice their opinions and rate things like career development, benefits, and management, you gain access to another channel filled with honest feedback. As opportunities for improvement are revealed, you can take action, which should lead to more happy employees and reviews.
Since these sites are also visible to potential candidates, you can also gain insight into their experience during the interview phase.
Pro Tip: Respond to employee reviews—even the negative ones. It shows your company cares, and it gives you a chance to show you take all feedback seriously, and have the capacity to change.
5. Track benefit usage.
Identify who’s using your company benefits—particularly the uncommon ones like meditation and yoga. This shows employees are invested and active in the company, which paints the broader picture of their overall engagement.
If participation is low, it may be time to bring more awareness to all of the incredible benefits your company offers. Highlight the advantages of joining a book club or leveraging Volunteer Days. For employee-led groups, empower leaders to raise awareness by giving them a voice in the next HR newsletter. Connected employees feel a stronger sense of belonging, which can encourage them to stay.
For some benefits, there may be clear-cut reasons as to why they aren’t being used. Find out what’s preventing employees from engaging, and see if there’s a way to make them more enticing. Killer benefits can keep employees feeling satisfied in the meantime before a promotion is in order.
The Pursuit of Employee Happiness
Of course, developing a company culture where employees feel their employers are their personal career advocates takes time. And the first step to promoting employee engagement is getting a sense for how your employees currently feel. From there, you’ll have a better understanding of how you can help keep internal talent. You’ll also gain essential insight into some of the specific challenges that are preventing employees from being more active within the company. Use that feedback to implement real changes, and be transparent about it across the organization.
Employee engagement doesn’t have to be another buzzword management throws around—make it impactful, and make it matter.