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How to Create (and Monitor) a “Scorecard” for Measuring Employee Engagement Initiatives

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In general, the old saying, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure” is very sage advice.  You need a “tool” to assess employee engagement.  When you consider an assessment tool, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep it under 30 questions.  More than this tends to stretch the attention capacity of the typical employee and the accuracy of the tool suffers as a result.
  2. Try to get as close to 100% participation in the tool as possible.  There are a number of reasons why this helps, none the least of which is the fact that the assessment process itself can boost engagement.
  3. Be careful of questions directly asking about employee satisfaction.  Obviously we want to have satisfied employees, but you might think of employee satisfaction as an outcome of engagement, not a predictor.  Here is what I mean — you could have a company with very high employee satisfaction scores because they are overpaid and not held accountable.  In other words, you cannot take a high employee satisfaction score and reverse engineer to say you have done all the right things to enable workplace engagement.  Employees can be satisfied and NOT engaged.
  4. Be careful about implementing an assessment too frequently.  Employees get assessment fatigue.  We typically recommend not more than once every six months, unless there are special (and short-term) circumstances.
  5. You want to conduct the assessment in a way that allows you to compare managers, work groups, or other relevant team distinctions so you can quickly see where things are going well and where they are not.  People join companies but they quit managers.  There are two key sources of engagement — culture and managers — and if you do not measure engagement by manager led work groups, you will miss essential insights into what is and is not working.
  6. Consider a few (3-5) open ended questions to get additional insight and detail on what employees are concerned with.  One typical open ended question is “What are the three most important things Company XX can do to be an even better place to work.”
  7. We also ask employees for a date range on their birth date and their date of hire.  That way we can run the numbers based on age cohort and tenure.  This often provides really useful information to give senior leadership as well.

Also, there are some “best practices” associated with doing an assessment that, if violated, can produce a negative impact:

  1. Failing to debrief employees about the result of the assessment.  This lack of transparency about outcomes breeds cynicism and employees always assume the scores were so bad the organization is afraid to release them.
  2. Failing to develop an Action Plan to tackle some of the issues identified by employees.

NOTE:  The use of the word “scorecard” is a slippery slope.  While this term was used in a recent LinkedIn blog post, when it comes to workplace engagement, the notion of a “scorecard” just isn’t a good fit. It implies a zero-sum game approach, potential aggressive competition (get a higher score at any cost…).  The impact of that mindset can indeed have a negative impact on culture. 

One last point.  Individual assessment tools are useful when assessing “fit” but they are insufficient proxies for organizational engagement.  You need a broad tool than can compare managers, locations, work groups, etc.

If you would like more information on our assessment tool, please contact me at

To see the full LinkedIn blog conversation, click here.

BEST PRACTICES TIP:  Assessing Employee engagement is a great idea – as long as it is done properly, avoiding the common pitfalls of a rush to measure “things” without a clear focus on what really drives engagement.  Too much analysis can paralyze organizations – so measure what’s really important and leave yourself enough bandwidth to actually act on the findings.

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Don Rheem was one of the best presenters any of us had ever encountered.

I began to see positive changes within a short time as we started implementing Engagient’s best practices.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and several colleagues expressed a desire to bring him in to work with their organizations.

--Elizabeth Donoghue, Executive Director
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