Engagement levels change every day. So is it time to do more than simply ask people about it once a year?

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How much sleep do you lose over your employee engagement levels? We’re told all the time that high employee engagement is one of the most important drivers behind creating a successful business. But also that low engagement is an all too common issue

In our experience, levels of employee engagement actually go up and down, almost on a daily basis. And it feels particularly true at the moment, with new demands on employees thanks to the pandemic. Employers haven’t always been able to carry their employees along with them through a stressful 2020.

How to drive better engagement

Here at Cognito we think a lot about engagement. We’ve built our groundbreaking app on the understanding that people engage with learning when it is delivered to them in the right way, at precisely the best moment for them. We know that when it comes to effective engagement, timing is key (along with perfectly tailored content, of course).

And yet we also know that’s only a small part of the picture. The experts at Achievers outline eight pillars that employers need to support in order to drive employee engagement:

  1. Leadership
  2. Communication
  3. Culture
  4. Rewards and recognition
  5. Professional and personal growth
  6. Accountability and performance
  7. Vision and values
  8. Corporate social responsibility

Clearly, how a business focuses their resources on each of these areas will differ from organisation to organisation. But most employees will expect their employers to invest in all of these areas seriously and to communicate their strategy around them consistently too. That commitment is important, because get the focus on each of these areas right and companies should see employee engagement rise.

Effective measurement is crucial

To understand where they need to focus that investment however, companies also need to have an effective way of measuring engagement.

The researchers at Quantum Workplace outline the four key reasons why measuring engagement is so crucial. It allows an employer to:

  1. Identify strengths, problem areas, and ‘hidden truths’.
  2. Build trust.
  3. Help everyone understand what’s going on.
  4. Understand trends.

The key takeaway here is that when we measure engagement well, we see that engagement levels are not just a single, static data point. Levels go up and down. And that crucially, the impact of these variations is felt in a range of ways across the different areas of the business.

Given all of that, what’s the best way to measure employee engagement? And if employee engagement levels are changing all the time, why do so many companies only ask their employees how engaged they feel once a year? Is it time to scrap the annual employee engagement survey?

Any employee who has waded through a 200-question annual engagement survey will most likely answer ‘yes’.

But the research actually suggests that one big survey a year is still one of the best ways to measure engagement. And that additional frequent ‘pulse’ surveys through the year are also a great way to get a sense of current moods and to create a ‘listening culture’.

The evidence suggests that this mixed approach is the best way to get a sense of both the big picture and overall trends, and to create an ongoing dialogue.

Measuring engagement is just the beginning

Yet crucially, improving employee engagement doesn’t end with surveys: it starts with them. Surveys offer insights and data to support subsequent decisions and investments – but those changes still need to be implemented effectively.

Our take is that measuring engagement is just one part of building a more engaged workforce. From there, employers need then to develop, support and communicate changes to their people in order to build a culture that they want to engage with further.

Understanding when and where these changes need to happen isn’t easy. And this where an app like Cognito is invaluable, for a couple of key reasons.

Firstly, we’ll work with you to create engaging content that meets the development needs of your people and your organisation. We’ll help you to deliver it in the right way, at the right time and place. But crucially, our technology – powered by AI – then helps you to adapt this content to individual needs.

Think back to those eight pillars. Whether it’s leadership, communication, your company vision or improving performance, they’re all contributors to improved engagement. But sometimes it’s hard to pin down how individual employees feel they’re being supported in each of these areas.

Our technology gives individuals the tailored content they need, subtly reinforcing the knowledge they’re taught. But it also provides your managers with an overview of how your entire team is doing.

Cognito helps you to see how everyone is contributing to your organisation’s needs, how they are developing personally, and how far they realising their potential. And in employee engagement terms that kind of insight is invaluable, because these are exactly the things that help us all to feel more engaged in our careers. To find out more about how Cognito can help you to build engagement within your own business, give us a call for a chat today on 01423 203 733.