Using Data to Build Employee Engagement

employee-engagement smilesThe data about employee engagement is impressive — and it’s not good. According to Gallup, approximately 70% of the American workforce is disengaged. The costs to the US economy range between $450 to $550 billion annually. It’s commonsense that dispirited and overworked employees are not productive. The question becomes how do we improve employee engagement?

The answer lies in the data. Let’s take a look at numbers that can indicate employee engagement. Specifically, let’s look at meetings. Here’s why: The relationship between employee engagement and meetings is critical. For example, meetings reinforce the organizational culture (for good or bad) and communicate how progress is being made toward goals – two key elements in engagement. Some meetings engage employees and some definitely do not.

According to Ryan Fuller, CEO and Founder of Volometrix (a people analytics company), here is some of what the data tells us about meetings and the level of employee engagement:

Time spent in one-on-ones with their manager per week. Engagement typically increases as an individual gets more time with his or her boss.

Time spent in the presence of skip-level leadership (your boss’s boss or higher). Engagement can increase as people get more exposure to colleagues up the ladder.

Hours per week spent in meetings with more than 20 attendees. Not surprisingly, engagement typically decreases the more time people spend in very large group settings where it is hard to be much more than an audience member.

“Calendar fragmentation” which is when people don’t have enough meaningful time — about a two-hour break to work between meetings and other events. Engagement typically decreases when people are overly fragmented.

In summary — here’s (partly) how to increase employee engagement:

  • Ensure everyone meets with their manager once a week
  • Ensure exposure to the boss’s boss or other seniors
  • Keep meetings to less than 20 people
  • Maintain space in calendars to think, be mindful and get work done

The power of people analytics can help us create an engaged workforce – and just plain enjoy our work!