A recent SilkRoad TalentTalk research report has found that when it comes to measuring employee engagement, most businesses are still relying on outdated methods.
The State of Talent Management 2013 reveals how HR professionals are responding to the challenges of talent management on a day-to-day basis.
One of those challenges is ensuring that staff are engaged at work, something the report notes can become very important in tough economic times.
"When hiring budgets are thinner, employees are stretched to work longer hours and take less time off," says the report's authors.
This is one of the many reasons that companies look for ways to increase staff loyalty.
"Employees who are invested in their jobs are more enthusiastic, proud of their work, and ultimately create greater competitive advantage for an organisation."
A survey of nearly 600 top talent professionals found that 45 per cent had explicit employee engagement programs.
When implemented correctly, such programs can encourage staff to work together to the benefit of the company as well as promoting individual competition and reward.
However, survey participants indicated that one of the chief challenges to employee engagement was assessing the value and effectiveness of engagement programs.
When asked how they measured the success of engagement strategies, 58 per cent of participants indicated that their company carried out 'annual employee surveys'.
The next most common methods were 'holding regularly scheduled town hall meetings', 'one-on-one interviews' and 'focus groups'.
While annual surveys are great tools to measure employee engagement, what they don't deliver is constant and up-to-date information.
The report recommends "frequent two-way communication" with staff to enable management to "course-correct" if any issue with employee morale arises.
An excellent way to keep a finger on the pulse of employee engagement is by using survey software to get regular and accurate feedback from staff.