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Defining Engage and Equip

Engage and Equip: Two Critical Points of Measurement in the Employee Experience

The WSA employee experience model is made up of two components: Engage and Equip. These two concepts, when taken together, explain the likelihood that employees have both the willingness and the ability to perform at their fullest potential. Engage equals “want to” with respect to this issue and Equip equals “able to”. The Engage component is best defined as the extent to which employees “want to” work harder, stay longer, and care more. (motivation, retention, and consciences) More on that in a minute. The Equip component is defined as the employee’s awareness of being “able to” access the basics such as equipment, training, and a comfortably safe work environment necessary to perform at their best.

On balance, the engagement component is the most dominant and impactful of the two. Engage rises above Equip because it’s pretty clear that in most companies, most people are already equipped to do their job at least a little bit better than what they are currently doing. From experience, we have learned that most organizations can make the most immediate, cost-effective, and significant impact on organizational performance by focusing on Engage.

The role of Equip in your survey strategy

 The Equip component of the employee survey varies, sometimes significantly, for each organization. Every business plan is different in terms of what exactly is needed for the work to get done. For example, the safety demands of an airline or a heavy equipment manufacturing facility are very different from the safety demands for software developers or customer service representatives.

The Equip demands a business whose success depends on helpful, friendly service might well be very different from those of a business where accuracy and timeliness are the top determinants of success. These various needs for each unique business are what we study to determine what Equip items are needed on your survey. The Equip component is always the most customized portion of the survey.

The Science of Engage in your survey strategy

The single most critical factor in the success of an employee survey process is the inclusion of an accurate measure of engagement. Our forty years of research and experience have resulted in a four-item index that we believe is the single best indicator for measuring organizational performance. This index has been validated, over and over again, as the very best predictor of the smart numbers you use to judge the performance of your workforce. Words matter and the importance of getting this right cannot be over-emphasized.

Again, the purpose of the Engage portion of the survey is to identify those actionable factors that managers and leaders, at any level, can most effectively address that cause their employees to be more motivated, committed, and conscientious. Therefore, the second most critical component of the survey itself is the inclusion of an appropriate representation of items that measure the most likely drivers of employee engagement.

Our extensive and longitudinal research has identified the six most likely drivers of engagement across industries, geographies, demographics, and cultures. Although there are likely to be other factors that you choose to include as possible drivers of engagement, at the risk of missing something critical, these six factors should never be omitted.

With these critical components, the science can then determine which of these six potential drivers is most critical for your unique organization and/or if there are other factors such as change management, diversity, or performance management, for example, that are uniquely important for your company.  Through the application of the right science, we will identify the five to seven factors that are currently most critical to the performance of your specific workforce.

Once these critical drivers have been identified, our consultants can help to clarify the path forward for all your managers and leaders to ultimately optimize the impact of the process on levers like customer satisfaction, retention, error or renewal rates, per person productivity, and more.  Ultimately, this inevitably leads to stronger growth, higher profits, and greater opportunity. If the model you are utilizing isn’t doing this—we need to talk.

Listen to Bill Erickson, co-founder of WSA explain Engage and Equip.