Do Numbers Really Reflect Employee Engagement?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term ’employee engagement’ to reflect what an organization wants in their workers. Engagement has several meaning, but basically it’s an emotional connection one has with their work. It doesn’t necessarily mean job satisfaction or ‘fit.’ It’s an individual feeling that results from getting one’s needs met on the job.

This begs the question if employee engagement can be measured, as some suggest. I was reading an article the other day which related that it can be measured in terms of numbers in turnover, or worker’s comp claims. But I kept thinking ‘do those really reflect if one is truly engaged in their job?’ One can leave a job for a number of reasons, which may have nothing to do with their love for their job, such as family issues, location, or even a better opportunity. This confused me in relating the two.

Sure, we can look at performance which would equate to productivity and the outcomes produced, and which can be measured. But, again, this does not always mean the person is emotionally connected to their work. We do have to look at an individual’s motivational needs and how they are being met by their employer to see if an emotional connection has been made.

To me, the best way to truly measure engagement levels is to survey and ask employees their views on their work, the organization over all, and what needs specifically are being met (or not). This could help the organization to take the pulse from the people they need most and can lead to developing programs and strategies to meet those needs. This could also open the lines of communication and trust-building between workers and their leaders and let them know they are important and cared about – two factors that have been shown lead to being emotionally connected.

Numbers do speak but not always – it’s the voices of your workers who matter most.


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