A chap over on Quora posted a question asking what the best method to gauge employee engagement was. In answering I took a slightly different perspective because I believe engagement itself is pretty hard to quantify with a method. Engagement is a state of mind, by nature something that cannot be absolutely observed or determined externally. In lab conditions I’m sure certain sets of answers correspond with a model described level of engagement, but in the real world you’re contending with all sorts of human filters that will introduce bias as people do (or don’t) give the answers they think they should.
If a survey comes out from the boss or HR, are employees really going to be honest about an answer that might cost them their job? At the very least, a sense of duty or loyalty to the team and company will probably inhibit ‘pure’ responses.
It’s much easier and instructive to look at the signs and symptoms – the behaviours expressed that will show the lack or presence of engagement. By looking at actual behaviours, rather than trying to determine state of mind, instinct and experience tells me that they are likely to be a more accurate predictor of engagement. Continue reading →