Last week, a CEC member posed an interesting question to our team. He asked, is there a “magic formula” for measuring engagement? As he pulls together a monthly dashboard on employee readership and participation on channels such as news articles, videos, and blog posts, he wants to know if there is a way to calculate engagement by combining the following factors:
Before I share CEC’s point of view, what’s your take? Are “likes” more important than views? Are comments, positive or negative, a strong indicator of engagement? What is your definition of engagement anyway? Please contribute your thoughts to the debate, below, and perhaps collectively we can devise this magic formula!
CEC’s Magic Formula
No magic formula exists for calculating employee engagement from specific communication activities such as intranet articles, videos, or newsletters. That said, there is a precise formula when it comes to thinking about measuring employee engagement, and this formula is what helps us to determine what to pay attention to and measure when it comes to tactics.
At the end of the day, employee engagement is a means to an end. This end-state is typically higher performance measured by the company’s growth or efficiency. Conventional ways of measuring employee engagement fall short of predicting performance. That’s because these measures typically focus on employee’s discretionary effort and intent to stay with the company, neither of which measure the extent to which an employee’s effort is being channeled toward the company’s strategic priorities. Therefore, at CEC we use the term “employee mobilization” to signal employees’ effort in alignment to strategy.
Communications Impact on Mobilization
Let’s use mobilization as a framework for thinking about our CEC member’s question: How can we determine whether our tactical efforts are helping to achieve our overall strategy objectives?
Well, if alignment to strategy is the critical missing link to tie engagement to performance, then analyzing the means (read, like, share, comment) by which employees engage with content coming out of Corporate Communications will not tell us much. More important to measure in this case, then, is the content itself. Does our content align to the company’s top 3 priorities? Oftentimes, we see teams who set out to create strategic content only to realize their channels are flooded with nice “special interest” stories unrelated to .
What would this approach help you do? For starters, if you realized the employees were not engaging with a particular priority, let’s say your communications efforts to support growth in new markets, you can now investigate why this content is not resonating (e.g., employees don’t understand why the information is relevant to them—maybe it’s not!; content on this topic isn’t timely) in order to develop a different strategy in terms of what to share, how to share it based upon what action we want employees to take as a result of this information.
Apply Your Creativity to Measurement
In the end, no magic formula exists to know whether our newsletters, blogs, videos, and events are driving employee engagement. What does exist, however, is the opportunity to be creative when it comes to working back from key corporate priorities to build, create, monitor, and adjust content strategies. Partner with your internal clients to agree on what will be most critical for them to accomplish this year and shake hands on the “formula” you’ll be using to link your activities to their objectives.
CEC Related Resources:
- Next Generation Employee Engagement: Mobilizing the Workforce
- Communications Measurement and Reporting: A collection of metrics, survey techniques, and dashboards
- A Quick History of Communications’ Efforts to Measure Impact
CEC Related Blogs: