Archive for March, 2014

When can 5 be equal to between 4 and 6 – a simple way to do some maths of engagement

“If you can measure of which you speak and can express it by a number, you know something of your subject; but if you cannot measure it, your knowledge is meagre and unsatisfactory” – Lord Kelvin


“What gets measured, gets done” – Tom Peters


If employee engagement is truly business critical, then we should be able to demonstrate it in a simple way for anyone to understand. Employee Engagement Surveys with outputs such as 73% don’t do it for me. Such a value is meaningless to all but a few.

Let’s cut through the jargon and complexity and look at things in a simpler way. We assume engagement is good for business because people are motivated to work harder. If so, all things being equal, an “engaged” person will have higher output than someone who is “not engaged”, and both will outstrip a “disengaged” person (using Gallup’s terminology).


Let’s assume an “engaged” person has an output of 1.2, a “not engaged” person an output of 1 and a “disengaged” person an output of 0.8. For a 5 person team, output can range between 6 and 4. For an elite team (all engaged), there is a 50% better performance than one struggling to stay together. But, even over a median team, the gain is 20%. In big organisations, that soon adds up to real money.

There you are – 5 can range between 4 and 6.  You may well challenge the values – feel free to do your own calculations. You may even apply a wider range, but there is no getting away from the fact that improving employee engagement makes good business sense.


This simple approach can provide a basis to think about engagement policies and processes that you can apply to move the numbers up. But, that’s another story for another time.