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Bersin by Deloitte: Focus on Keeping Employees Engaged Spurs Surge of Innovation

Options and vendors proliferate as changing workforce demographics, the ‘gig’ economy and a transparent job market increase organization focus on employee engagement

Hollywood, Fla., April 27, 2016 — New software and services that enable organizations to measure the mood of employees, manage peer-to-peer feedback, and improve work highlight a surge of innovation focused on keeping employees engaged, according to new research from Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Summarized in a WhatWorks® Brief, the research findings appear in two new research reports, “Evaluating Employee Engagement Measurement Options,” and “Navigating the Market for Measuring Employee Engagement.” To help organizations map a course to employee engagement solutions appropriate for their challenges, Bersin by Deloitte has also created the “Employee Engagement Vendor Market Navigator.” The new research was announced today at Bersin by Deloitte’s IMPACT 2016 Different by Design: The New Organization. IMPACT, which is taking place April 25-28 at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida, is the industry’s premier conference for HR, learning and talent leaders and their teams. 

Three key factors are driving an increased focus on employee engagement, according to the research. These include the changing generational composition of organizations, and a flatter world of work and the “gig economy” which together often make the acquisition and internal development of critical talent more challenging. Social networks have also made it easier for job candidates to assess organizations as potential employers. Defined by Bersin by Deloitte as a collective measure of employees’ attitudes, attentiveness and intensity of effort related to their work and workplace, employee engagement has been linked to several positive business outcomes. These include customer satisfaction, retention, and employee productivity — all of which ultimately can affect the bottom line, according to the research. 

“Organizations are turning to solutions to monitor employee engagement, solicit feedback, diagnose opportunities for improvement, enable change to better support employee engagement and even to enhance productivity,” said Robin Erickson, Ph.D., vice president, talent acquisition, engagement and retention research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “The ‘Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016’ report shows that almost 90 percent of companies surveyed are re-evaluating their engagement strategies to account for changing workforce demographics and preferences. This demand for new approaches is partly in response to the availability of new technologies and partly the reason vendor choices are growing so quickly.”

As the “Evaluating Employee Engagement Measurement Options” report shows, there is no single go-to approach for assessing engagement. Organizations should start by asking why they are measuring employee engagement and how will the data be used. Knowing what the company needs and a familiarity with available measurement options are critical first steps. Measurement options tend to fall into three broad categories:

  • Surveys, including annual and pulse, remain the most common approach to measuring employee engagement. Forty percent of global organizations are using them, according to the “Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2016” report. Short pulse surveys help organizations gather quick, frequent and timely information about employee opinions in the moment and make changes to address issues before they disrupt day-to-day functions.  
  • Interviews, including stay interviews, exit interviews and focus groups, offer a more personal way to understand what keeps employees engaged through in-person communications.  
  • Internal and external data analysis, including text analysis, offers insights from the comments written by employees in response to open-ended questions. Social network analysis also offers insights into how employees interact with others. 

“With so many options to measure employee engagement it is not surprising that buyers are finding the choices confusing,” said David Mallon, head of research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “To help organizations make sense of all the possible assessment solutions and providers and plot a course to the solutions that best serve their needs, we looked at the intended uses of engagement data that these products are most prepared to support. We also looked at what they actually measure, and the related features and services provided.” 

Bersin by Deloitte’s "Employee Engagement Vendor Market Navigator", inspired by the map of the London Underground, helps to explain, plot and make sense of the wide array of choices for measuring employee engagement. It highlights nine major vendor archetypes (the “train lines” on the map). They include:

  • Engagement diagnostic specialists: Offer comprehensive measurement of employee engagement with some consultative support. 
  • Global consultancies: Support global employee engagement initiatives with broad complementary services to drive change.
  • General purpose assessment platforms: For companies to develop and launch their own surveys. Many offer templates, question libraries and some survey-related consulting help. 
  • Employee mood monitoring solutions: Pair frequent means of measuring employee mood with software platforms to support analytics and related activities.
  • Market research specialists: Apply consumer market research capabilities to capture the voice of the employee.
  • Employee feedback and recognition solutions: Platforms to manage peer-to-peer feedback and/or recognition which can be sources for engagement-related data.
  • Work management solutions: Platforms to help manage and improve work (e.g., performance management, project management, goal management), for which engagement is an important daily metric.
  • Employee engagement monitoring solutions: Pair frequent means of measuring employee engagement with software platforms to support analytics and related activities.
  • Incumbent HR or business systems (now in development): Business or HR systems (e.g. enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, HR information systems) already in place that may also have assessment and survey capabilities.  

Register to join Robin Erickson for an online webinar, “Measuring Employee Engagement: Navigating the Options & Vendors,” June 9, 2 p.m. EDT/19:00 BST. 

Those interested in learning more about a Bersin by Deloitte membership may email or call +1 510 251 4400.  

About Bersin by Deloitte

Bersin by Deloitte delivers research-based people strategies designed to help leaders and their organizations deliver exceptional business performance. The Bersin by Deloitte membership gives FORTUNE 1000, Global 2000 HR professionals and managers in organizations of all sizes around the world  the information, action-focused tools and performance support materials they need to prioritize, design and implement leading practice solutions, benchmark against others, develop their staff, and select and implement systems. A piece of Bersin by Deloitte research is downloaded on average approximately every minute during the business day. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide use our research and consulting to guide their HR, talent, and learning strategies. For more information, please visit

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Laura Evenson

Marketing and Communications

Bersin by Deloitte

Deloitte Consulting LLP

+1 415 465 2711