Do Employee Engagement Scores Even Matter?

The 1970s gave us floppy disks, the first Apple computer and the emergence of a cell phone in America. It was also the birth of the engagement survey in the workplace.

While computer disks, Apple computers and phones have come a long way since,  the engagement survey has got stuck in a rut.

Year in and year out, businesses gather the troops, ply them with coffee and doughnuts then distribute the questionnaires. They receive the results and run a few ‘start-stop-continue’ sessions—rinse and repeat.

It’s a familiar ritual across Australia that has barely changed and It’s unproductive too. A recent survey found 44 percent of HR executives reported either a decline or no change in their engagement scores. No wonder nearly 20 percent of workers in major Australian cities are dissatisfied with their job. The ritual is no longer getting results.

Here’s why:

It misses the point

HR research expert, Josh Bersin, explains that “using the word 'engagement' often limits our thinking. [It] assumes that our job is to reach out and 'engage' people, rather than to build an organization that is exciting, fulfilling, meaningful, and fun.”

Indeed, these often-myopic surveys miss the point—the aim is now to gain feedback on the employee experience, not focus on a score at the end of the year. The stats tell us people are now seeking out organisations which allow them to become immersed in a mission and align with a corporate value set. In fact, 63 percent of Aussies will walk away from a job due to the culture.

It’s slow

Consider: A 90 question engagement survey that is submitted, then analysed and results delivered in 30 days vs real-time, insightful data. Seems like a no-brainer yet many companies still take the traditional survey route to employee feedback.

Today, anything that isn’t real-time is too slow.

Real-time pulse surveys help establish a steady flow of dialogue between employees and organisational leaders. That’s why forward-thinking companies like GE no longer rely on the inexact analysis of annual reviews. Instead, they source performance and engagement data throughout the year as this delivers more profound insights.

It’s limiting

The traditional engagement survey focusses on experiences within work only and doesn’t consider the human factor. Facts show that our wellbeing affects both engagement and productivity. The time we spend at work is impacted by the way we feel—physically, mentally and socially—which in turn influences engagement and experiences at work.

By understanding employee wellbeing, we can truly begin to understand our workforce and where we need to invest in improving their experience. And because our state of wellbeing doesn’t stay the same all year, regular, candid and authentic feedback can help you focus on looking after your people and improving the employee experience.

Focus on employee experience, not just a score.

Don’t let your company’s culture die in a ditch because of an annual engagement score. Involve your people in shaping the culture, keep up with real-time pulse checks on engagement and remember always to consider the human factor.

But devising a new solution takes time and commitment that most leaders just can’t afford. That’s where WorkScore can help. We’ll provide you with everything you need to measure key wellbeing elements that affect employee engagement. If you want real-time feedback so you can deliver real results, then visit to get started.