As workplaces become more digitally focused, internal communications systems can be used to measure employee engagement beyond the simple satisfaction survey. Data analysis is not just for marketers to understand consumers, it can also be used by HR professionals to analyse how their employees interact with internal data to identify where improvements can be made.
Many internal systems have evolved to focus on communication with employees through the inclusion of digital and social tools. Although internal systems offer an increased reliance and use, as well as more possibilities, few companies see the potential value of these systems in their ability to drive and measure employee engagement.
Current methods of measuring employee engagement, such as surveys, are often tailored to what the company wants to measure. These are quick, easy, and relatively cheap to use if you are looking to measure specific business questions, and only want these questions answered once a year. But what about the other 364 days?
Looking at the behaviours associated with disengaged and engaged employees can start to uncover how an internal system can be used as an additional channel to enable, drive, and measure employee engagement.
An empowered employee is an engaged employee
It may sound obvious but for an employee to take ownership of their job, they first need to understand their job. Employees need access to the tools, information, and resources that enable them to effectively carry out their role. Among many other factors, employees need to be supported by a trustworthy manager, and given autonomy, growth and respect, as well as social identity. Having all of these attributes means that an employee is more likely to be engaged and have a personal – and emotional – investment in their work, their leader, and the business.
When employees are disengaged they can become unenthusiastic, complain to colleagues, isolate their behaviours, misuse corporate systems (e.g. repeatedly accessing social media for personal use), and have poor work quality. This eventually leads to a resignation and a loss to the business.
In order to identify and prevent these behaviours, HR professionals should follow these four steps that can be taken by HR to drive, enable, and monitor employee engagement.
Step one: partner with HR to create closed portals
Employee engagement, and indeed disengagement, is largely influenced by leadership. By creating a manager’s portal, you can provide leaders with a central location to monitor employee attendance and leave quotas, and view HR policy resources. Similar to the manager’s portal, the employee portal can allow employees open access to communicate their problems in a safe environment.
To use the portals for measurement, HR teams that can access both the manager and employee portals can compare analytics at the team or work-type level and look at what employees say on the portals versus what they say on the rest of the public interface. By separating work-related communication from HR-related communication, HR teams can analyse the correlation between the technical and adaptive side of the business.
Step two: Provide an outlet for employee innovation and idea generation
Employees want to feel as though they are included in the direction of the company and a key part of moulding the business into the future. Employees need to feel that their company trusts them to be the drivers and initiators of change because they are directly impacted by it.
Employee commitment to the company is an aspect of engagement. HR teams can look at who is providing ideas, and the sorts of ideas that are being generated. Not only are the findings then able to be used to improve aspects of the business, but also identifying those repeatedly looking to innovate and share ideas can be used to make champions within the business, further driving employee engagement.
Step three: enable instant messenger for peer-to-peer communication
Workplace relationships, like personal relationships, come from peers who we have things in common with. Communication among colleagues is the strongest source of trust for employees, and they will communicate socially and professionally no matter the channel available. However, using an online avenue can enable HR teams to reap the rewards of analytics, to see who is talking to, the length of time, and the frequency of communication. This allows for valuable insight into what connections are being made, and understanding how existing networks can be used for future initiatives with employees.
Step four: hit play on video
Video is one of the most engaging forms of communication and can energise even the dullest of health and safety regulations. Despite this, very few companies use video to show how each work area contributes to the wider company vision. Using varied channels to communicate messages enables the HR team to compare interactions between, for example, visual and written mediums, and understand the popularity of both in order to drive specific content and increase the likelihood of success.
Together these four tactics puts the HR team in a better position to drive employee engagement and measure it more effectively. Using data to achieve success, the business has to view employee engagement as a daily commitment, and not something that is measured just once a year.