Getting your engagement index right

engagement indexWe often get asked about which indicators to include in an employee engagement index when conducting an employee survey.  The indicators that should be included depend on the organisation’s HR strategy. For example, an organisation seeking growth, performance or change may differ in where it places emphasis for employee behaviour.  An organisation going through change may place less emphasis on employee retention than an organisation seeking growth.  Likewise, an organisation may place greater value on employees recommending the organisation to others when it is looking to increase talented recruits.

Read with interest today, Soane et al (2012) UK based research which has reviewed a range of employee engagement indices.  They indicate that a new reliable measure has been identified for manufacturing and retail environments which emphasises social elements of engagement and comprising three constructs:

  1. intellectual – one can concentrate on work so that one can apply knowledge and skills to meet the performance requirements of the job
  2. social – one shares the same work values, attitudes and goals as colleagues so that one is encouraged to take actions to improve the functioning of the organisation or recommend it to others
  3. affective engagement – one feels energetic and positive and so intends to stay

We’d add a caveat here that such an index assumes there has been investment in employee training or that skilled labour is key to the organisation’s success.  Organisations in these sectors which emphasise a different strategy may benefit from a different series of indicators.