Every organization struggles with employee engagement. Companies customarily focus on growing employee engagement once a new hire has started and often disregard the opportunity to measure and predict engagement before a hire is made.

Many companies we partner with operate in the hospitality and retail sectors which customarily see high levels of turnover that can be upwards of 80%. Since turnover is highly correlated with engagement levels, we have found that by screening for engagement prior to making a hiring decision you can reduce the effort and cost associated with growing engagement once an employee is hired. Recognizing that employee engagement is not solely an area to grow but can be measured prior to selection can allow organizations to make better hires.

To measure engagement prior to making a hiring decision, we built a measurement tool called the “Eager to Engage” metric that is layered into our behavioural assessments. We use this measurement to help our clients predict the likelihood a candidate will become engaged once they start their role. The “Eager to Engage” metric assesses their “Will Do” qualities such their attitudes, motivations and personality that predict likelihood of engagement.

Our partner, Dr. David Jones Author of “Million Dollar Hire” has seen a shift in what operations leaders are deeming most important to measure and screen for in assessments. “Operations leaders indicate far more interest in screening candidates for engagement, than classic skill and ability competencies that frame typical candidate testing programs.”

Most assessments are built so that the higher a candidate ranks on a certain component the better a fit they are for the role. However, what we found is to measure employee engagement accurately you need to measure multiple components and view a candidate through different lenses. After using data analytics and psychometrics to create the “Eager to Engage” scale we found that accurately measuring engagement has its complexities and the “more is better” mentality was not a good predictor of engagement.

Our findings show that to accurately measure engagement you must first screen out those candidates with qualities that are likely to be disengaged and than find those likely to be highly engaged. Two key work-focused dimensions we call “Drive to Succeed” and “Work Ethic” held three times the weight of relationship-focused dimensions “Team Play” and “People Focus” in screening disengaged candidates.

In addition, we found that distinguishing highly engaged employees placed nearly two times as much weight on “Team Play” and “People Focus” qualities than “Drive to Succeed” and “Work Ethic” which is essentially the opposite of what deemed a disengaged employee.

These findings helped us shape our “Eager to Engage” scale that is now part of our behavioural assessments. We tested these findings on various samples of employees and continually achieved the same results. In one measure, we used this metric to cross-validate the results on a sample of 800 retail employees to measure who was engaged versus disengaged and saw 83% accuracy attained.

Many organizations have a opinion as to what shapes engagement, however we have built a measurement tool that is data-driven and has been replicated across various samples. The “Eager to Engage” metric allows us to screen for engagement levels that ultimately drive better hires and improve workforce quality for our clients.