To make the most out of these yearly exercises, data from engagement surveys can be combined with other talent and business data - developing new metrics to manage the business. One emerging idea is the creation of a talent capability index. 

Among other things, a typical engagement survey measures an employee's feelings regarding the availability of opportunities for personal and professional development. For example, a survey might ask about the availability of training courses, stretch job opportunities, and tools and resources. Using this data at the team, business unit, or discipline level allows leaders to gain insight into employee openness towards skill development and growth. Leaders can then compare this data with that available about the consumption of training courses and other development resources across the organization. Many companies, including MicroStrategy, display this data through interactive dashboards that give insight into what courses individuals or teams are enrolled in and how employees are progressing through defined learning paths.

As a best practice, engagement surveys are administered under the agreement of confidentiality. This allows employees to express their opinions freely while giving the organization the ability to analyze data at the team, business unit, and professional discipline levels. By combining information from engagement surveys, development transcripts, and employee performance data, HR professionals can develop a talent capability index that provides insight into how different teams within an organization are leveraging professional development, and what impact that activity has on the top or bottom line.

A talent capability index has the potential to revolutionize an organization’s insight into its learning and employee development functions. Leaders can better understand the demand employees show for skill development, how their employees are engaging with existing development opportunities, and how this activity is impacting the business.