Top tips on carrying out an Employee Engagement Audit

An audit of employee engagement levels in your business is different and more complex than a general HR Audit. The HR Audit is about making sure you have the essential ‘best practice’ policies and processes in place. It measures ‘fit for purpose’ HR and shows you where the gaps are.

What it doesn’t do is measure the subjective view - and that’s the challenge of an Employee Engagement Audit. It’s not just about what’s in place in the organisation - it’s also about what is going on in the minds of your employees. How do they really feel about working for you? With record numbers of disengaged employees affecting profitability and productivity - it really pays to find out.

There are of course some employee engagement basics that you should have in place as a given. Failure to do this will derail your engagement from the start and there’s almost no point in auditing - just as you wouldn’t survey a house that’s just about to fall off a cliff.

So, in this look at an Employee Engagement Audit we are first going to visit the things you really should have in place - and then explore some of the more subjective issues you might want to measure. It’s not an exhaustive list but it should help shape your thinking on where to start and, should you have any questions, please get in touch.

The basics of Employee Engagement

This might seem like a list of the obvious - but you would be surprised at how some of these basics can be overlooked and the problems they can cause. So, before you audit employees views - run a quick check on your business. At the very least, you should ensure your employees know where they stand with the following:

  • Do your employees know what is expected of them at work? (Do they have a job description and agreed objectives?)
  •  Do they know the purpose or the mission of the organization and how this relates to their role?
  • Do they have the resources, equipment, workstation and training to do their job right?
  • Does the job they are expected to do match the advert and the expectations of the employee?

They are things you’d probably take for granted but, forgetting these basics means building good employee engagement will always be an uphill task.

Getting beneath the surface

Given that you have the basics in place and the employee knows what they should be doing, for who and why - what else can you audit? This is where we start getting the subjective view - and you might want to dig a bit deeper into the following issues:

Things to consider:

  • Is there a feeling that their opinions matter and count? Everyone wants to feel they have a voice
  • The line manager relationship - do they give recognition for doing good work? There’s a saying that people join organisations but leave a manager. It’s often because of lack of recognition.
  • Do they feel like they’re fairly rewarded and do they get the benefits they need?
  • Is there a sense of ‘team’ - with fellow employees also committed to producing good work?
  •  Is there a feeling that the organisation provides the opportunity to learn, develop and grow?
  • Consider work-life balance - what kind of external pressures exist and how best to accommodate them?
  • As well as being understood, does the mission or purpose of the organisation make the employee feel that their work is important?

Measuring employee engagement

If there is strong and inspiring leadership and the relationship between line manager and employee is honest and open, the organisation should have a pretty good feel for employee engagement levels. In tangible terms you’d see good productivity and low turnover - the signs of a positively engaged workforce are hard to miss. You may even feel you don’t need to measure employee engagement.

However, not all organisations exist in this ‘perfect world’ scenario and there will be employee engagement issues that do need exploring. There’s a saying that if you can't measure it you can't manage it, and if you can't manage it then how can you improve it? So, the obvious approach is to ask questions - and that usually means a focus group or survey.

While I would always suggest customising a survey to your business, you might find the Survey Monkey sample Engagement Questionnaire of help at the ideas stage. And, if you do run a survey share the results, invite feedback and then track and monitor progress. This will be your baseline data from which you assess how engagement levels are improving.

Finally, don’t forget the exit interview. Despite all your efforts, people will leave and when they do, it's important to try and understand why to avoid more valuable talent from jumping ship. Exit interviews can be tough to glean real data from, but there are enough occasional insights to make them worth doing.

Next steps

I hope these have been useful pointers in how to audit and measure employee engagement. I’ve touched upon some of the key areas but there’s a lot more you could look into.

Don’t be afraid to explore engagement issues - you’ll discover the positives as well as some negatives. Try sorting them into a traffic light system of red, amber and green - the red lights being your most critical actions. And remember, no organisation is perfect - that fact that you are doing this is a move towards improvement.

As an employee engagement specialist you’d expect me to say I can help. That’s certainly the case but, considering the above areas in advance will help start your thinking and save you time.

At en:Rich our work goes to the heart of the workplace relationship between employee and employer. We help organisations and their leaders create clear messages for employee engagement and internal comms.

If you’d like a chat about any employee engagement or communication issues in your business, please drop me a line and get in touch