Do you really know how to measure Engagement?

01/06/2011 at 13:56 2 comments

You want to increase productivity, lower employee turnover and absenteeism and make your company attractive so you can attract the best talent. Fine. This you can measure with ease.

Then you decide that you want to improve on the results and you need to find out what should be improved. How do you decide what to measure?

When I studied psychology, I was told that ‘Motivation’ was a concept mostly used in the 80’s, that ‘Job Satisfaction’ was the most robust measure in Industrial Psychology and that ‘Commitment’ was about to become the most important. Since then has ‘Engagement’ become the new measureĀ  of choice and now it appears that ‘Motivation’ is back again – completing the circle.

Most of these concepts are measured through surveys. But do you know what questions to ask if you want to know about one concept rather than the other? In other words, do you know what you measure?

You might say; “Well does it matter? All I want to know is, if the people are happy and enjoying work”. Actually it does. Research shows that these different concepts correlate (very) differently with different outcomes. In a bit (too) general terms, if you really want to know about employee turnover, it is best to measure ‘Commitment’ or ‘Job Satisfaction’. If you are more interested in productivity then measure ‘Engagement’ or ‘Motivation’.

Bottom line: Measuring is not difficult. It is harder to find out what to measure and how to interpret what you have just measured. Be careful.

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