Employee engagement is generally considered to be the level of mental and emotional attachment that employees have toward their employer, job and coworkers.
Why is it important to measure employee engagement?
Difficult to quantify, employee engagement affects just about every aspect of an organization, including employee turnover, customer service and productivity.
When employee engagement is high, employees are motivated to work harder, treat customers better, get along with each other better and stick with their employer for longer. According to research from Gallup, engaged business units in high-turnover organization see 24 percent less turnover, while engaged units in low-turnover organizations see 59 percent less turnover.
Additionally, when employee engagement is low, employees are more likely to put in the bare minimum amount of effort. Gallup found engaged business units are 21 percent more profitable than units with low levels of engagement.
Determining which employees are engaged and which are not engaged can be a bit nebulous. But importantly, there are positive business benefits to making employees engaged far outweigh the investment.
Using Employee Surveys
Companies looking to support high levels of employee engagement need to get a sense of how their employees are feeling from time to time. Measuring employee sentiment can establish a barometer for an overall employee engagement strategy.
One of the biggest challenges with measuring employee engagement is that engagement can look different from organization to organization. This means that employee engagement efforts will look different as well.
If you are unsure what engagement means in your company, it can be helpful to hold one-on-one conversations with top-performing employees. Assuming top performance is merit-based, the best employees can be a valuable resource for employee engagement.
Once you have a sense of what an engaged employee looks like, regular surveys can reveal levels of engagement across your organization. Annual surveys can provide a big picture view and allow you to track long-term trends. These surveys are best suited for long-term strategy development.
Conducted more frequently, pulse surveys should be used to gather more granular feedback on specific topics. Pulse surveys can be used to get employees’ opinions on a major new initiative, transition or business development.
Employee surveys typically collect both feedback and numerical scores. While numerical scores can provide useful quantitative data, employee feedback can provide more important qualitative data.
Measuring Employee Sentiment
In large companies, massive volumes of employee feedback can be difficult to manually review, let alone turn into actionable items. Furthermore, reviewer bias can lead to flawed analysis.
A modern, more efficient approach to reviewing qualitative feedback is to use sentiment analysis. In this process, software uses automation and artificial intelligence to rapidly scan through qualitative feedback and recognize sentiment in the text. As different sentiments are recognized, a sentiment analysis platform can tag pieces of feedback accordingly. For example, some employee comments could be tagged as positive while others could be tagged as negative. Comments are then sorted and quantified for easy review, visualization and report generation.
This approach uses automation and AI to do the hard work of reviewing massive amounts of feedback, allowing human reviewers to draw insights from the results. Sentiment analysis helps human resources and company leadership understand how employees feel about policies, changes, management habits, company culture and more. While the concept of sentiment analysis has been around for some time, automation and AI technology are making this type of analysis more practical.
Measuring Sentiment and Engagement in Internal Communications
Many organizations are moving on from the approach of sending out surveys and drawing conclusions days and weeks later. They are taking a more proactive approach to monitoring engagement on official communication channels.
Of course, monitoring employees’ activities and conversations is a delicate balance. Laws require employees to be able to retain some degree of privacy in the workplace, particularly when it comes to medical issues. There are, however, a number of ways to track employee communications that don’t run afoul of privacy expectations.
At the most basic level, employers should track engagement with official internal communications. Comparing the performance of your company to industry standards can be an indicator of communications effectiveness.
For example, email open rates can reveal how much employees are engaging with important job-related communications. A study from MailChimp found the average business email open rate varies by industry and the open rate for all industries was just over 21 percent.
Increasingly, companies are also using sentiment analysis on text communications between employees, in channels email, Yammer and Microsoft Teams. Based on the text information collected, this application of sentiment analysis can provide real-time insights on the levels of employee engagement. Also, because analysis is restricted to official channels for business communications, it minimizes the risk of violations. Simply put, employees should not be conducting personal, private business on official company channels.
How Tryane Can Help
The modern internal communications tools developed by Tryane are on the cutting edge of measuring employee engagement.
Our analytics platform for Microsoft Office 365 can track employee usage, enable digital transformations and identify behavior patterns. Our Yammer analytics solution can gauge the success of announcements, boost engagement among inactive users and identify trending topics with machine learning. Our SharePoint analytics solution can identify the most popular content and what users are trying to find.
If your organization is looking for a more efficient approach to measuring employee engagement, please schedule a consultation with Tryane today.