We sometimes hear from leaders who curiously observe that their team’s drivers went up, but their overall Engagement Score went down. This can be confusing and deserves an explanation.
First, it’s important to note that engagement and drivers are distinctly separate scales in 15Five's engagement model.
Engagement is a psychological state that people can be in when they’re performing their work. The Engagement Score measures this state of engagement using a psychometrically validated set of statements, or items. Individual employee’s scores are combined into groupings and then displayed to you as a group Engagement score based on your grouping criteria (assuming 15Five's minimum threshold for confidentiality – the Rule of 5).
Alternatively, drivers are predictive characteristics (you might call them features) of the work environment and employee experience. 15Five has curated its drivers from numerous scientific sources which offer empirical evidence that these drivers are related to employee engagement. Currently, 15Five's engagement model includes 17 drivers, each with its own individual scale of items.
Second, to help remove confusion, refer to the “Influence” feature located at the top of the Heatmap and on the Engagement Drivers table. Influence reveals which drivers have the highest and lowest statistical correlation with the organization's Engagement Score. High influence drivers are mathematically most likely to line up with engagement scores for your people.
Low influence drivers, while certainly valuable, are less likely to have an impact on the psychological state of engagement for your team. Therefore, while you may experience gains in many drivers, you may still experience a decline in your Engagement Score if these drivers have low correlation with the actual state of engagement for your team.
Finally, while engagement drivers are intended to be representative, they are not exhaustive. Therefore, it is feasible from time to time that you may perform actions (or fail to perform actions) which might impact the state of engagement but won't register with any single driver.