Engagement is not enough

Making the connection to employee engagement and business performance is an on-going challenge for many organisations. Ghassan Karian, from Karian and Box, is speaking at our next measurement summit, sharing his experience and insights on using measurement to support business performance. Here he gives us his views and advice ahead of the measurement summit on 23 July in London.Ghassan Karian


Over to Ghassan:


Many organisations recognise the power of employee engagement in delivering improved performance. But is engagement enough? Can the intuitive link between engagement and performance be assumed? And is taking engagement in isolation, as an end in itself, the right thing to do? Real value comes from a further step: defining and measuring employee action that is linked to an organisation’s goals. This way, organisations can demonstrate the direct impact on business drivers like sales, productivity and absence.


Furthermore, it is not enough for employees to be engaged ambassadors for the organisation. This engagement acts as a foundation. It is mobilised action which makes a measurable difference to performance.


Measuring mobilisation

Measuring mobilisation really matters because it actually does affect business performance. Showing the correlation between employee engagement, action and performance can provide leaders with early warnings about the health of their business. Measurement needs to be short, sharp, responsive and in line with changing business performance requirements. This often means reducing the scale of measurement to focus on the areas where mobilisation has the greatest potential to impact business performance.

The point of measuring engagement is not just to drive scores ever upwards, but to understand how it can impact business performance. This is where mobilisation metrics become critical. Measuring how and where a workforce is mobilised is key to improving performance across the organisation. Engagement is not enough: it is the mobilisation of discretionary effort which creates real value.


Killer questions

Within this context, shaping the killer ‘mobilisation’ research and related questions is fundamental. I use a handful of tests as the basis of defining the right research approach and questions to secure outputs which make a difference.


1. Take a rounded picture

Ensure the questions measure more than satisfaction, motivation or engagement. Focus on levels of understanding and action related to business priorities. And ask open ended questions which provide richer, granular insights, truly testing understanding.


2. Focus on the right, target audiences

Design a short, tightly-defined, timely survey with specific target audiences in mind; this is more useful to leaders than a generic picture of all employees.


3. Draw on all available business performance data

Don’t view the data in isolation, but contextualise it with other performance indicators across all areas of the organisation. Establish where correlations exist, ensuring interpretation is made through joining the dots.


4. Generate quick, actionable insights

Provide senior leader-friendly reports and presentations that give quick, simple insights and what it means in practice. Business leaders haven’t got time to read twenty page reports, let alone reams of data.


5. Answer the ‘So what?’ question

Prioritise and ruthlessly focus attention on a handful of key areas where there is the tangible potential to improve business performance. This will create momentum and gain credibility for the process.

My talk at the CIPR Inside Measurement Summit on 23 July goes further in showing how the right measurement techniques can help support specific business priorities. This will include a series of practical and helpful case studies from the likes of Aviva, BP, HSBC, Nationwide and Warburtons”


This measurement summit is supported by our sponsors

Karian and Box


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