The HR Metric You’re Not Measuring (But Should Be)


New research suggests employee engagement may not tell the whole story of the employee experience at work.


For years, HR leaders and professionals have been laser-focused on measuring and improving employee engagement. In fact, Josh Bersin noted in a Forbes editorial that the roots of engagement surveys go all the way back to the late 1800s when Fredrick Taylor studied how people’s attitudes impacted their productivity in the steel industry.

And we’ve been focused on engagement for good reason—it’s linked to lower turnover, fewer safety incidents, and lower absenteeism. But are we so focused on what we can get from employees, that we lose sight of what we should give employees when it comes to their experience at work?

This idea is explored a bit further in Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends for 2016, which reads that:


Design thinking casts HR in a new role. It transforms HR from a ‘process developer’ to an ‘experience architect.’ It empowers HR to reimagine every aspect of work: the physical environment; how people meet and interact; how managers spend their time; and how companies select, train, engage, and evaluate people. One CHRO calls herself the ‘chief employee experience officer,’ which effectively summarizes this powerful new mandate.


Design thinking is a fascinating idea. Do you think of yourself as a process developer or experience architect? I would guess that some companies are ahead of others in this regard, depending on their organizational culture.

But employee experience is an idea that’s really coming to the forefront, as evidenced in the new Employee Experience Index from the Globoforce’s WorkHuman Research Institute and IBM Smarter Workforce Institute, which shows that, “employees who experience a sense of belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness and vigor are more likely to perform at higher levels and contribute ‘above and beyond’ expectations. They are also less likely to quit.” So the index not only gives companies a way to measure experience, but it also shows the business impact of crafting a more positive experience.

One aspect of the report that may be particularly interesting for people focused on engagement is the chart below.


The data shows that you can have an employee who is highly engaged in their work, but if his or her experience is negative, they can become frustrated. Likewise, you can have an employee with a really positive work experience who is less engaged in their job, and thus, apathetic. The report explains that, “employee experience and engagement go hand in hand to reflect employees’ states at work.”

If you want to learn more about the findings from the report, and which practices create a more positive experience, we invite you to join us for a webinar tomorrow, Nov. 3rd at 11 a.m. ET.

6 Ways to Improve Employee Experience: New Research from IBM & Globoforce

Click here to register

Derek Irvine from Globoforce and Jay Dorio from IBM will share actionable insights from the study. You’ll learn:

  • The role leaders and managers play in creating a positive employee experience
  • How to nearly double discretionary effort and drastically reduce intent to leave
  • Why feedback and recognition is critical to creating moments of meaning and growth

Hope you can join us!


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Sarah Payne Sarah Payne (152 Posts)

As Managing Editor, Sarah manages Globoforce's blog and writes content about making work more human for people and organizations worldwide. She has a BA in English and Writing from University of Rhode Island.