Some organisations use different methods of measurement – an annual survey, regular pulse checks and an ‘always on’ gathering of sentiment.

However, the data comes from different sources and is not always easy to correlate. Powerful data tools can be used to analyse performance data of many different forms. The danger here however, is that there is too much focus on finding answers in the data, rather than accepting and responding to what it says.

There are, as they say, ‘damn lies and statistics’: the data can be manipulated to tell us what we want to hear, rather than looking objectively at what it says. What organisations need to do is find considered ways of making better use of what their employee engagement survey tells them, and treat it as one element in an ongoing process which helps them better manage their people’s impact on business performance.

The call to action for HR here runs in parallel with other emerging trends: move away from the policing and administration of a process and towards equipping leaders and managers with the information they need to make informed decisions on behalf of the business. There is also a real opportunity for the Communications function to stop concentrating on the survey launch and results release and start supporting the telling of a story which runs all the way through from the organisation’s strategy, to how its people are supported to deliver this.

Both HR and Communications have an important role to play in bringing together strategy, leadership, people, change and best practice, in a way which establishes a cycle of continuous improvement for the business – and which engagement measurement is just one part of.

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