Engagement vs Culture

2 min read
Engagement Vs Culture

In this blog, our founder Charlie, explains why measuring employee engagement isn’t enough, especially when going through change.

Today, most organisations measure engagement in some way, whether its through employee opinion surveys, climate assessments or engagement surveys themselves. This has to be a good thing.

Not only does it put data at the heart of the people agenda in an organisation it also recognises an increased focus on humanity and the welfare of employees. But many organisations stop there. They bake engagement metrics into management KPI’s and then make the rather lazy assumption that measuring engagement is the same as measuring culture.

If you look at culture as how people behave and how work gets done in an organisation, you can quickly see that measuring engagement is actually looking at something entirely different. An organisation that focuses predominantly on engagement are faced with two challenges today.

The 2 challenges of focusing on engagement

1. Leadership will become disinterested and bored in organisations that measuring engagement year after year and see very little change.

2. When it comes to making decisions that might be unpopular with employees, leadership teams are caught in a trap. With engagement as your primary KPI, executives may be reluctant to make changes to the organisation, that the business may need to survive. Without the freedom and ability to make hard decisions or changes, the business may not thrive and engagement will fall as a result.

Organisations over the last 12 months have pivoted from a previous focus on revenue and growth, to now a focus on profit and cash conservation, which has created all sorts of strategic choices for leadership teams around streamlining businesses and restructuring organisations. All of this comes at a price when it comes to engagement.

A better way to look at it

A better way to look at engagement, is as an outcome of culture. Organisations get things done through how people collaborate together, how information flows around the organisation and how decisions are made. It is those things that you need to measure in order to boost performance and execute strategy. In this way, if you measure culture, changes to the organisation can be put in the context of the strategy, and you can overtime improve engagement, but only for people who thrive in the culture you are trying to create.

So the key lesson from this is, rather than measuring engagement as a primary KPI, measure culture instead, and you’ll find that engagement will follow over time. This method allows you to act in the best interest of your organisation and succeed over the long term.

Put Culture first and engagement will follow

For the audio version of this blog see below:

Book a Demo

Schedule a virtual meeting with a member of the Culture15 team.