Measuring engagement and enablement provides a better picture of employee effectiveness

Employee engagement has become increasingly mainstream in management thinking and employee research over the last decade. The MacLeod Review found over 50 definitions for engagement but in essence it proposes a ‘mutual gains’ employment relationship, creating a win-win for both employees and their employers.

There is a lot of research (a google search for “benefits of engaged employees” shows there are more than 20,000 academic articles in the last year) that shows that engaged employees are happier and more fulfilled, deliver improved business performance and there is a lot of evidence that shows a relationship between how engaged people are at work and overall business productivity and performance.

Whilst most employee research measures engagement it is also important to measure enablement

Today most employee surveys measure engagement and this is a good thing. Measuring engagement is useful and helps build an understanding of employees’ emotional investment in your organisation. However, engagement is not the sole contributor to driving staff effectiveness. Engagement is only part of the story and any organisation wanting to develop also needs to understand how well it is enabling staff. Therefore, to provide a more holistic picture of the overall effectiveness of an organisation, it is important to measure both engagement and enablement.

To be effective employees need to be enabled, in other words for people to be motivated at work they not only need to feel valued and engaged but also need to be supported in the right role and given the tools, equipment, technology, information and training to deliver that role.

When engagement and enablement are combined organisations are more effective

Research illustrates that when high levels of staff engagement are combined with high levels of staff enablement, organisations achieve significantly improved results (up to 50% better productivity, 89% higher customer satisfaction and 54% better employee retention)[1]. Companies that effectively combine staff engagement and enablement also report significantly improved revenue growth, staff retention and staff performance.

Employees are most effective when they are both engaged and enabled. If they are engaged but not enabled this can lead to frustration (frustrated employees will go elsewhere if their concerns are not addressed). If they are given the tools to succeed but are not engaged they can become detached and those who are neither engaged or enabled feel powerless and lose morale and motivation and consequently are not as happy or productive as they could be.

By measuring both engagement and enablement you can get a clearer picture of how effective different parts of your organisation are and importantly how you can develop.

Example effectiveness matrix
Above is a theoretical organisation’s results showing how effective different parts of the organisation are.

You can then combine these grouped scores and use the average to provide an overview of organisational effectiveness. Further analysis can provide specific tangible issues and improvements targeted for each area or overall as an organisation.

In the example above analysis might show that Area 1 is frustrated with training and development and feel that systems are inefficient, Area 3 do not feel valued by senior management, do not feel well communicated with and are using out of date equipment whilst Area 7 do not feel their line manager respects or listens to them and they do not feel they are recognised or involved in issues that affect their job.

I have done this analysis for clients and seen how much it has helped them

This is not just a theoretical concept. I have completed this analysis in practice dozens of times and provided actionable, clearly understood findings that have helped many clients improve their business. I particularly enjoy conducting employee research, helping each client learn more about their organisation and improve their employee experience. Please get in touch to have a chat about how CJM Research can help your organisation develop.

[1] Hay Group (2009), Engaging and Enabling Employees
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