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    Sarah Gatehouse.

    Fujitsu General Australia

    "In 2016 we rolled out intelliHR, and in 2017 we had our best financial year yet. That makes a massive statement to show how valuable an investment in people and technology can be."

  • Sarah Gatehouse

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| 5 min
8 Ways to Measure Employee Engagement (and 1 way not to)
Key take-aways form this article: Improving employee engagement is only possible if it is being consistently sorted, responded to and measured. Continuous feedback provides to be a fantastic tool to track whether employee engagement...
| 5 min
3 Keys to getting your Employee Experience Right
Like much HR jargon, Employee Experience is not a term that is easily understood; it’s not simple nor straightforward. Recently it’s become increasingly important, emerging as a top priority for HR and Business Leaders...
| 10 min
These 15 stats will make you rethink employee engagement
Key take-aways form this article: Engaging employees is key for a productive workplace, organisations with low engagement have high absenteeism and poor work quality. The contribution given by your employees is dependent on their...

8 Ways to Measure Employee Engagement (and 1 way not to)

Key take-aways form this article:

  1. Improving employee engagement is only possible if it is being consistently sorted, responded to and measured.
  2. Continuous feedback provides to be a fantastic tool to track whether employee engagement is improving or deteriorating.
  3. Monitoring how employees are tracking on their goals can show how engagement impacts productivity.

We’ve updated this blog for August 2019 with two new ways to measure employee engagement. Enjoy!

 

Recently on the Insights blog we discussed some hard evidence on employee engagement and how it can have real bottom-line impact on an organisation.

This is great to know, but of course, we can’t work to improve engagement if we aren’t measuring it consistently. This is why many organisations haven’t been able to prioritise engagement in the past. Luckily, with the technology available today, tools like sentiment analysis, keyword analysis and automated continuous feedback make it easy to establish an engagement framework and consistently measure your employee engagement. Now every organisation can be empowered to understand how engaged their employees are, and work to improve engagement over time.

On that note, we want to address one method for measuring employee engagement that should definitely be discarded.

 

How not to measure employee engagement

Traditional Employee Engagement Surveys

Yes, really. We know this is against the grain, but we also know traditional annual or bi-annual employee engagement surveys simply don’t work for their intended purpose.

The major problem with traditional engagement surveys is they are infrequent, long-winded, and frankly annoying for staff to complete. This results in a low adoption rate, providing low quality (and outdated) data. It also fails to provide any relevant insights for leaders to act on. Once employees see the lack of results, they lose faith in the value of surveys and the cycle continues. At worst, engagement surveys can actually have a negative impact on engagement and morale!

So now that we’ve looked at how not to measure employee engagement: let’s look at some more effective ways to gather and interpret employee engagement data, as well as show you the root causes of these results so you can act on them.

Note: We’ve recently updated this list for July 2019 with additional ways to measure employee engagement. Enjoy!

 

How to measure employee engagement

Gather Continuous Feedback

In order to get insights out, you need to first capture the right information. Having a Continuous Feedback process in place to take light input from employees on a monthly basis will provide far more relevant insights than an annual employee engagement survey.

By sending a quick pulse form to staff each month to see how they are going, you can give your people the opportunity to give feedback on things like how they are progressing towards their goals, if they need additional training or support, what they have been achieving, and more. These answers help to identify areas that may be adding or detracting from engagement levels.

Of course, it’s one thing to have this information available, but how can these large sums of data be effectively analysed and understood? This is where analytics tools come into play.  

 

Use Happiness Analytics

Happiness Analytics is one analytics tool offered through intelliHR that will help to breakdown and understand the insights gathered through continuous feedback, so action can be taken.

Through your continuous feedback pulses, include a question asking employees to rate their happiness in their role on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the happiest). Under the Happiness Analytics dashboard in intelliHR, you’ll then be able to track average happiness over time, and break down happiness scores among different teams, business units, pay grades, locations and more.

Here we can see that the IT department was having a consistent drop in happiness ratings from August through to October but then saw considerable uplift in November! Later in this blog we’ll look further into how the reasons behind this can be identified.

How to Measure Employee Engagement

 

Asking employees to rate their happiness is one simple question that staff can answer in a single click, but it gathers a whole host of invaluable insights. You’re able to learn what is making your staff happy or unhappy, identifying trends and sudden changes. Importantly, the process of responding helps to quickly build trust and becomes the foundation of a virtuous engagement cycle.

 

Check Happiness Keywords

To take Happiness Analytics one step further, we can also look at Happiness Keywords. The Happiness Keywords tool uses AI to analyse responses from employees, highlighting significant words or phrases that are impacting on happiness levels in your organisation. This not only helps leaders to understand the causes impacting on happiness, but also manage them proactively.

Revisiting our earlier example on the IT department, let’s look at Happiness Keywords to see what common themes may be behind the recent uplift in overall happiness.

How to Measure Employee Engagement

In this case, the Happiness Keywords tool has shown us that happiness recently increased thanks to the energy from a recent influx of new starters joining the team.

We can also look at a real life example from an intelliHR customer. Using the happiness analytic for the first time, one CEO saw comments about low inventory levels and noticed these complaints were coming from frontline staff. After doing some investigation in the raw feedback, they were able to ascertain the company was in fact, not holding enough stock. Knowing this, they then increased their stock levels and consequently had a record year in sales – all thanks to one small insight that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.

how to measure employee engagement

 

Monitor Goal Progress

Another measure of employee engagement can be how people are progressing towards their goals. Consistent stagnation or lack of progress could signal disengagement or frustrating roadblocks, while a cohort that’s hitting their goals again and again is a good sign of an engaged and motivated workforce. After all, engaged employees are 31% more productive, according to the University of California.

When tracking goals in intelliHR, you’ll have automatic access to analytics dashboards breaking down goal performance across teams, supervisors, location and more. In this example, we can see that goal progress is lagging behind, and this could be a sign of suffering engagement rates, which can be investigated by looking into continuous feedback responses to determine reasons behind this. Another area where these reasons can be identified in intelliHR is in the goal comments section. Every goal set in this system has a comment thread section where managers and their direct reports can liaise on how goals are going and uncover any roadblocks that could be affecting this.

But what about large organisations or big teams? It’s just not always possible to manually read through all goal comments or all feedback responses for every single employee.

The good news is simply, you don’t need to do that at all. Which is where our next tool comes in.

 

Track Team Sentiment

Historically, it has always been relatively simple to analyse large chunks or quantitative data like a happiness rating from 1-10, but finding trends in qualitative data like written responses on surveys wasn’t always as easy. This is now possible with the growing accessibility of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and one way intelliHR has harnessed this is through its Sentiment Analysis tool.

Sentiment analysis uses AI to determine the emotional tone behind different words and phrases in what employees are saying in continuous feedback, goal comments, performance management records, diary notes and most other forms completed through the system.

Sentiment is one measure of employee engagement in that it shows how positive or negative staff are feeling as well as exposing the root causes of this. In this example, we can see trends in average employee sentiment over time.

It’s also possible to drill down to the source data and see where these positive or negative scores have been measured from.

 

Monitor Task Completion

So all of the above sounds great, but what if staff won’t even engage with your feedback? The first sign of this is the Task Completion analytic, which shows the average response time for different types of online-issued check-ins, as well as what’s being ignored. This can then be broken down by Business Unit, Supervisor, Pay Grade, and the type of check-in (form design) itself to find trends. 

This will allow HR and individual managers to personally respond to and understand the reasons why tasks are being left incomplete. From here, we can begin to gain an understanding of why people aren’t engaging, and then offer guidance on how they can benefit from engaging in feedback. This is an opportunity to build trust and ensure all staff get an equal opportunity to benefit from having their say.

measure employee engagement

 

Look at Productivity 

Ideally, you’ll want to pick up on drops in engagement well before they start having an impact on productivity, but this is another measure we can look at in combination with other metrics to get a holistic view of engagement.

We know that companies with engaged employees pull in 2.5 times more revenue compared to competitors with low engagement levels, and disengaged employees make 60% more errors, so it’s fair to say there is a natural correlation between engagement and productivity. 

Of course, there can be many other factors that lead to low productivity like lacking resources, poor health or absenteeism among others, but if productivity has dropped, it is worth investigating if declining engagement has been a factor in this. Using the tools covered above will aid in this.

Likewise, if productivity has increased, you may want to uncover the driving force behind this to ensure it continues. 

 

Consider Attrition Reasons

 

Almost 8 in 10 employees said they’re likely to leave in search of another position after just one bad day on the job. 

Addison Group

 

After productivity loss, the ultimate price for lacking employee engagement is attrition. While we definitely recommend taking more proactive measures to monitor engagement before it results in staff leaving, if you haven’t been monitoring engagement previously, this is definitely worth taking a look at. Attrition Reasons will tell you why employees left and can provide insight into problems that may be leading to disengagement. 

Understanding these drivers may impact how you approach engagement with your team, particularly at certain stages of tenure. For example, if you have a higher than normal loss of new team members you may need to review your onboarding approach, perhaps increasing feedback opportunities during the probationary period so you can better understand if new team members are facing any issues.

 

how to measure employee engagement

 

Now that you know how to measure employee engagement, you might also want to start thinking about employee experience. We recently explored this here on the Insights blog.

 


3 Keys to getting your Employee Experience Right

Like much HR jargon, Employee Experience is not a term that is easily understood; it’s not simple nor straightforward. Recently it’s become increasingly important, emerging as a top priority for HR and Business Leaders in the face of fierce talent competition. But what do we mean by “Employee Experience”? And, more importantly, how do we improve it?

In this piece, we outline the 3 keys to reshaping the Employee Experience that allow you to improve your workplace.

 

Key 1: Know what it is and why it’s important

Traditionally, the employee experience is the way a person perceives everything in their employee journey at an organisation. This spans across process, technology, social and physical landscapes.

It’s the way a person feels as a result of how they are treated in their job: the first day on the job to the last, access to technology, culture, mentorship, onboarding process, training, reviews, social activities… you get the point.  Everything that occurs in the lifestyle of an employee, viewed from the Employee’s experiential lens.

Improving Employee Experience does not need to be a mammoth task, in fact, it can simply start with many small process changes that add up to an overall great experience for employees.

“Employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your company”
Gallup

Employee experience is the journey an employee takes with your company

e.g. The way a new hire feels after their onboarding process would be an indicator of their employee experience up to that point.

The employee experience is essentially about all the little details.

Getting these details right, consistently and with input from employees, is the best strategy to improving their experience. Being able to systemise and codify processes, iterate and then receive feedback on changes allows you to continually improve.

As an ongoing journey the experience is not static, it’s subject to daily variation. This is a good thing, as it means there is always an opportunity to improve this pivotal aspect of an organisation.

The importance of Employee Experience: Why?

A good Employee Experience is good for business.

“companies that invest in EX outperform the ones that don’t by 4.2x”

Employee experience drives both a company’s culture and individual performance. Improvements in the Employee’s experience can drive engagement, reduce performance ramp up time, lower attrition and contribute to organisational effectiveness.

Studies show well designed employee experiences lead to greater levels of engagement, involvement, enthusiasm and employer brand commitment. In fact, Gallup released research proving a correlation between higher employee engagement and profitability.

 

Key 2: Understanding before improving: hack E.X. with feedback

For HR and Business leaders, the first step towards improving the Employee Experience (E.X.) is using feedback to hack into the employee’s perspective. Rather than designing an experience without comprehending the end user’s perception, HR can avoid guesswork by using employee feedback as a navigating tool to continually optimise and improve E.X.

Gathering and analysing feedback is critical to an employee experience strategy, in designing your feedback approach you can start with these three touchpoints:

  • Onboarding: collecting feedback from first impressions on day 1, and then again at the end of the first week, with targeted questions around expectations during recruitment compared to experience, areas of assistance and hypothetical changes
  • Check-ins: gathering feedback during check-ins throughout the year, in a continuous feedback fashion, can provide great insights into the E.X. picture
  • Offboarding/Exit: Asking for feedback from employees who voluntarily leave the organisation can provide valuable insights into the employee experience causes behind attrition
    The important thing is to start collecting the data, to enrich the employee experience story. By collecting data at every stage, you can understand the impact of your improvements and continue to optimise.

Your focus should be on gathering feedback around the problems you are  trying to solve, for example is there a long ramp up time for new team members? Maybe onboarding and post-onboarding collection points would be useful. Disengaged long-tenure employees an issue? Regular check in’s could be a good starting point, following up with some strategic alignment through goal setting.

Feedback loops are most useful when used to identify the underlying roots of much larger symptoms, such as high attrition. To do this, a framework to analyse the feedback is imperative. Whether you use digital tools, like sentiment analysis, or other data aggregation and transformation methods, HR has a responsibility to present feedback data in a way that provides insight and drives strategy.

 

Key 3: Quick wins and long term strategy

Once feedback data has been collected and analysed, trends can be highlighted around different processes and E.X. factors within the business, then used to formulate a strategy. At this stage, you should look for the quick wins, whilst still addressing underlying deeper challenges through a longer-term lens.

For example

Onboarding feedback: “I didn’t know who to ask for technical help with certain systems, and was nervous to ask the busy IT team.”

Example Solution 1

  1. Quick win – Ask managers pre-onboarding to write a list for IT system assistance that is given to starters.
  2. Long term – create a digital directory of system responsibility that can be searched and updated by employees.

Engagement feedback: “I would like more training, but it doesn’t seem as if this is a priority of my manager and I’m not sure where to go.”

Example Solution 2

  1. Quick win – Make requests for training as easy and visible as possible by asking for them in manager check-ins.
  2. Long term – automate reminders that prompt managers and employees about training needs, build a self service training request portal.

The real “how-to” of making these changes lies in being able to systemise them and record feedback to continually adjust your improvements. Without processes that are systemised, you are exposed to human error and half-completed tasks. It also becomes difficult to attribute feedback to improvements.

Critically, after implementing a change that will impact the employee experience HR should collect feedback around the changes. This allows you to measure improvements and provide leadership with concrete evidence that your new strategy is working.

 

3 Key Takeaways

  1. Employee experience is a person’s journey throughout an organisation, and is a focus for HR strategy in 2019.
  2. Use feedback to understand and identify areas of the employee experience that could be improved.
  3. Design a ‘quick-win’ and long term strategy, then ensure to measure the impact.

Improving your employee experience is about doing a whole lot of little things right, consistently. This is where a system can help you drive your strategy. Find out more here.

 


These 15 stats will make you rethink employee engagement

Key take-aways form this article:

  1. Engaging employees is key for a productive workplace, organisations with low engagement have high absenteeism and poor work quality.
  2. The contribution given by your employees is dependent on their perception of how meaningful their work is to the organisation.
  3. If a manager is disengaging from their employee, then the employee will disengage from the business.

 

The term “employee engagement” is thrown around a lot lately, so much so that it sometimes detracts from its true meaning. Engagement is far more than installing ping pong tables or giving everyone an extra week of annual leave – it’s about motivating your people to do their best work – and keeping them motivated.

Motivated employees are 31% more productive and sell 37% more compared to less motivated peers.

– University of California

 

After almost three decades of leadership, the collective experience in the team here at intelliHR has uncovered three pillars of genuine employee engagement that we aim to help all organisations foster.

 

Alignment

Engagement starts with alignment. Where does each employee fit in your organisation? Your people need a place to fit in and feel like they are part of the bigger picture, and understand how they personally contribute to their organisations future direction. They want to know that their everyday activity is making progress towards the company’s mission. Beyond knowing they have a meaningful place within the organisation, this alignment should not strongly conflict with their own personal goals, attitudes, values and beliefs.  

80% of employees feel more engaged when their work is consistent with the values and mission of the company.

IBM

 

Contribution

Once your people have a place in your organisation they also need to know that they can make a meaningful contribution to the wider company goals. Consider if employees are able to see the impact their work is having on the bigger picture. Knowing that they are making a difference instils a sense of achievement that is so essential to staying engaged.

Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

Salesforce

Relationships

Finally, the relationships your people form at work are the remaining piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, people must be able to work with their team harmoniously and enjoy coming to work each day.

Half of employees would sacrifice their salary, as much as 29% of it, to work a job they enjoy.

Kforce

Almost 8 in 10 employees said they’re likely to leave in search of another position after just one bad day on the job. 

Addison Group

 

 

So now we know what engagement really means, but why should we care?

Consider this research:

Companies with engaged employees pull in 2.5x more revenues compared to competitors with low engagement levels. 

Hay Group

 

Motivated employees are 31% more productive, sell 37% more and are three times more creative compared to those who lack motivation in their role.

– University of California

 

This is just one piece of data proving that engagement really does have a direct impact on the bottom line. Not only does it have an impact – but more than 30% additional productivity and sales is quite significant. What business wouldn’t want that?

 

Disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 49% more accidents, and make 60% more errors.

 Gallup

So not only do engaged employees perform better, but we also see the reverse effects when people are disengaged at work. The increased likelihood of accidents and errors that come with disengagement are exposing businesses to serious risk and financial loss. This is coupled with lost productivity due to absenteeism, further eroding profitability.

 

Organisations with low engagement scores have 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability and 65% lower share price over time.

 Gallup

Further supporting the above findings, companies with poor engagement not only have lower profitability and productivity, but these snowballing problems have also been shown to have a compounding effect on share price over time.

 

Organisations with highly engaged employees receive twice as many job applications.

 Gallup

Anyone who has been involved in the hiring process will know that the best talent can be hard to find, and even harder to retain, particularly in specialist roles. This figure shows that switched on professionals are seeking out roles in organisations with a good reputation for being a great place to work. Building a positive work environment with happy and engaged staff will help you expand and improve the quality of your talent pool.

 

70% of an employee’s motivation is influenced by their manager.

– Gallup

Turns out the age old adage, “people don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses” is backed by science. Leaders charged with the responsibility to oversee direct reports have a significant influence on how their team members perform. Part of this can be attributed to how managers impact on an employee’s attachment (or lack thereof) to the organisation. This is explored in Anthony Sork’s concept of ‘Attachment Theory’.

 

Within 120 Days, new hires will have fully decided if they are going to stay in an organisation long-term, based on the relationships they have formed.

Sork Human Capital

As we mentioned above, strong relationships at work are absolutely essential to not only retaining people but helping them perform faster. It takes significant time (up to 2 years) and money (up to $100,000 or more) to get an employee performing at their peak. By fostering an engaged workforce, and ensuring managers have a healthy relationship with their direct reports, we can speed up the path to peak performance, and keep people performing over time.

This is all determined by what happens within an employee’s first 120 days which is why an effective onboarding process is so crucial to success.

Learn how to get people performing at their peak sooner with these 3 ROI tips

 

People consistently perform more poorly and disengage when higher incentives are at stake.

– Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Science has proven time and time again that significant monetary incentives or time pressures often result in decreased performance when it comes to tasks that require creativity or strategic thinking. As manual work becomes increasingly redundant in our workplaces, we need to use methods of motivation that are conducive to creative and strategic thinking.

This study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston looked at how performance was impacted by the size of an incentive. After testing across a series of different tasks, it was found that performance was consistently lower, the higher the incentive. Essentially, the higher the stakes, the harder it became for participants to perform. This is not to say financial incentives are never effective to motivate employees – each individual has different motivations. What it does mean, however, is we must go beyond the traditional “carrot and stick” approach, as it doesn’t work for everyone, and may even inhibit performance. When managers take the time to invest in building relationships and getting to know their direct reports, they can better understand what motivates each individual and support their success accordingly.

 

So what’s the state of engagement like right now?

If you think the majority of your workforce is fairly engaged, think again.

Only 14 per cent of employees in Australia and New Zealand are engaged in their jobs. 71 per cent are not engaged and as many as 15 per cent are actively disengaged.

Gallup

 

Knowing the positive impacts of engagement, this is a concerning percentage of workers to be actively disengaged. But it is possible to measure engagement in your own organisation, and pinpoint areas for improvement. Let’s explore how this can be achieved.

 

But how can we begin to measure and improve engagement?

Besides a misconception that engagement does not impact the bottom line (which we now know is not the case), another factor which often discourages businesses from prioritising engagement is that it can be difficult to measure.

 

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

– Peter Drucker

 

There are a plethora of ways to improve engagement at work – but before implementing all these tactics ad hoc – it’s vital to have a system in place to actually a) measure engagement, and b) determine what areas of improvement should be focused on.

If your staff are disengaged at work, they don’t necessarily want free coffee or sleeping pods, they might just want a chance to have their ideas heard, or a health and safety hazard to be fixed. Sometimes it is these one percent fixes that can have a huge impact on engagement, but first we must determine what they are.

The following tools can help you identify focus areas to improve employee engagement across your organisation, and then measure their improvement as you make changes.

 

Continuous Feedback

Long, infrequent employee engagement surveys have low completion rates and offer poor quality data as they are simply too much of a mammoth task for employees to complete. They also don’t offer insights that are timely. By sending a quick form to staff each month to see how they are going, you can give your people the opportunity to give feedback about their experience, then use this to inform a meaningful one on one conversation.

70% of the employees say motivation and morale would increase if senior leaders said ‘thank you’ more.

Reward Gateway

 

Adhoc Feedback

Our Survey and Feedback functionality not only helps measure engagement but can also be used as an adhoc engagement and survey tool in itself. For example, a check-in could be sent to staff asking for them to contribute any innovative ideas they may have. This gives people the opportunity to contribute more, while the organisation benefits massively from receiving fresh, innovative ideas to explore. After all, no one knows what your customers want better than your staff!

 

Happiness Analytics

See what is making your staff happy or unhappy, identify trends and uncover root causes to fix them. Track an overall happiness rating out of 10 across individuals, teams, business units or the whole organisation over time.

96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention.

Forbes

 

Sentiment Analysis

Monitor events that are leading to engagement or disengagement among your people. Sentiment analysis analyses the emotional tone behind entries left in diary notes, goal comments, forms and more to uncover potential issues or areas of positive progress, helping you easily identify hidden qualitative trends.

 

 

We hope this blog has inspired you to start paying closer attention to your employee engagement. How will you improve engagement in your organisation?


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