HR leaders place great store on their annual employee engagement surveys.

But i am wondering whether this is the best way to measure employee engagement?

For a start these types of surveys are expensive and take a reading at one point in time.

Much like going to a doctor and having an annual check-up.

But what about the rest of the year?

And what about the employees who don’t respond to the anonymous survey?

But i suspect the biggest issue is actually what the survey measures.

It measures people’s attitudes.

The problem is that many people’s attitudes are quite different from their behaviour.

Surveys however beautifully crafted measure attitudes, beliefs, assumptions but rarely measure what is more important — what people actually do.

For example, for a long time in Australia (and i suspect around the world) many drivers would drink and drive.

Advertising campaign after advertising campaign worked on changing drivers attitudes so that in the end they agreed with the proposition that drink driving was a bad idea.

The problem was that they kept doing it.

It was not until the introduction of random breath-testing that drink driving decreased.

Suddenly police concentrated on what people were actually doing.

My message is this.

Perhaps measuring employee engagement should be viewed the same way.

How to do this?

One way is the introduce our new Blitz tool.

With an Enterprise Blitz everyone that run or contributes to a Blitz earns points.

You can measure:

– the number of Blitzes

– who is blitzing

– when they are blitzing

– what they are Blitzing

And what’s more this is a continuous not a once-off measure.

This points system can be customised for any enterprise and can include other members of a broader community e.g. clients, customers, suppliers etc.

What’s most important however is that it measures innovation engagement.

And with innovation being always ranked as one of the top 3 strategic priorities for leaders it is a key metric.

It is also a leading indicator of innovation because Blitz measure activity and effort rather (only) innovation outcomes which by definition sometimes work, sometimes they do not.

In summary:

Measuring employee engagement is important but perhaps we need to be more innovative about how we measure it and what we are actually measuring.


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