We Need Disruptive Technologies To More Accurately Measure Employee Engagement
Updated: Oct 5, 2022
Christine Wzorek | Forbes Councils Member
Article Originally Seen on Forbes Human Resources Council
Measurement, tracking and reporting of employee engagement is justified and necessary. An employee’s level of engagement directly correlates to the employee’s productivity, which impacts the organization’s profitability.
Our current self-reporting methods are a step in the right direction, but as leaders, we need to insist on better. Current constraints in self-reporting include:
1. Diversion from core tasks, essential duties and responsibilities that provide value: Most companies have a comfortable cadence of employee-engagement surveying. Some examples include daily or weekly pulse surveys, or more extensive monthly, quarterly and annual surveys. When combined with 360-degree reviews, vendor and industry surveys, employees are overwhelmed with surveys that are stealing their time and detracting from value, innovation and creation.
2. Lack of integrity in the accuracy of reporting: Most employee engagement surveys promise anonymity, but employees do not always provide responses with complete trust. There are typically slight to moderate deviations in their honesty about how happy, fulfilled and safe they feel. This is common and a natural constraint to human data collection.
3. Disconnect between how the employees feel and work they are actively performing: By measuring via self-reporting, employees may report sentiments that are not correlated with their activities, actions and behaviors through the system. Project and task management systems measure inputs and outputs. Surveying tools measure engagement. Two functions that are highly and directly correlated operate blindly independent of each other. This is where I see the most potential for impactful change.
Tying Employee Activity To Employee Sentiment
Disruptive technologies that are a source for project/task management and that measure employee engagement in real time are what we as leaders need. Most organizations already utilize some type of project/task management software that acts as the hub for communications, tracking and activity. As our employees are producing the deliverable within a platform, it makes sense for it to measure the employees’ behavior in real time as well.
We’ve all been there and can personally relate — working out of a cloud-based project management platform that leaves us feeling overwhelmed with direct and indirect assignments, dependencies, project following of other teams and so on. We’ve delayed start dates, extended timelines and skipped tasks, maybe because of blockers, other delayed projects or tasks from a team member or other team, or maybe we just don’t really want to do them over another task or project. Our natural inclinations, knowledge, skills and abilities drive our behaviors within project and task management systems, ultimately affecting and adding characteristics to how we provide deliverables.
With advancements in AI and sophistication in data analytics, it is time to begin accessing employee engagement data through our systems, improving accuracy in real time. Monthly, quarterly and annual surveys are lagging, and we miss the opportunity to identify and adjust small behavioral changes as they happen, whether in response to a change in frontline, first-tier management; a new policy introduction; or recommitment and full support of lightly adhered-to policy.
I would certainly appreciate the ROI on a disruptive technology that could return productivity to my workforce, provide accurate and timely data, and learn employees' behaviors and strengths. The need is here, and the time is now to efficiently measure employee engagement to sustain higher levels of profitability.