Employee engagement difficult to measure: survey

Nearly a third (31%) of European employers said it is difficult to measure the direct impact of employee engagement on the wider business, while 30% said this makes it difficult to quantify the benefits for company decision makers, according to a new survey.

The Oracle Simply Talent 2 study, which polled 250 HR decision makers in Western Europe, found that a majority (93%) of respondents acknowledged that employee engagement is strategically important to their company.

Two-thirds (65%) said it positively impacts collaboration between teams, while 61% said it helps boost business performance, and 60% said it contributes to improved customer service.

Read: Global employee engagement levels plateau

The survey also found that 68% of respondents still rely on standard staff surveys to gauge employee engagement levels, with just 37% using advanced analytics to measure engagement.

When asked who in the business has the greatest impact on employee engagement, only 10% of respondents said HR, compared with 34% who said line managers and 28% who said the senior leadership team.

“Employees are the front line, the public face, the tangible personification of what a business represents,” said Loïc Le Guisquet, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific regions for Oracle.

“Therefore, being able to understand, and more importantly improve employee engagement becomes an absolute priority for any of today’s successful leaders.

“Modern HR teams have access to data-based tools allowing them to effectively measure employee engagement, and just as crucially to quantify its impact on the business for the decision-makers in the boardroom. In this way HR will find itself at the centre of the business, driving engagement strategies that best serve the organization’s growth ambitions.”

Read: Most employee engagement programs inadequate: survey

A majority (90%) of respondents agreed that strong leadership is effective in boosting employee productivity, with 34% saying line management has the greatest role in driving employee engagement, more than any other department in the business.

The survey also found that nearly half (48%) of respondents said that a healthy, safe and comfortable working environment improves employee performance, while 45% credit flexible working hours, and 48% chalk this up to offering training and development to employees.

Comparing these latest findings to the first phase of Oracle’s survey, which polled 1,500 employees, the survey found:

  • 58% of employer respondents agreed that recognizing the excellence of individual employees has a strong positive impact on engagement, a belief shared by 53% of employee respondents.
  • 52% of employer respondents said they believe embracing teamwork and collaboration positively  impacts engagement, as did 53% of employee respondents.
  • 54% of employer respondents said a good work-life balance makes workers feel more engaged, and 50% of employee respondents agreed.

Read: The new rules of engagement

“These findings suggest that while everyone agrees that line managers are responsible for creating high levels of employee engagement, and that good communication is an essential element of this, businesses have not developed their management functions accordingly,” said Le Guisquet.

“Given the changing world of work and the increasing demands of millennials, it is essential that HR helps create a culture of engagement within the organization, centered on line managers as the key agents of change.”