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How to Measure Employee Engagement

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

There’s no one answer to what makes a suc­cess­ful com­pa­ny, but one fac­tor that should be con­sid­ered across the board: employ­ee engage­ment. Employ­ee engage­ment has a direct impact on pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, job sat­is­fac­tion, and reten­tion as engaged employ­ees are more com­mit­ted to their work and are more like­ly to go above and beyond their job requirements.

Mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment can be tricky since it can be influ­enced by so many fac­tors, such as:

  • Com­pa­ny culture
  • Lead­er­ship styles
  • Job respon­si­bil­i­ties
  • Work envi­ron­ment
  • Per­son­al life

How­ev­er, imple­ment­ing a reli­able, in-depth employ­ee engage­ment mea­sure­ment sys­tem is cru­cial for com­pa­nies look­ing to meet their growth goals, create/​maintain a pos­i­tive work cul­ture, and devel­op a strong employ­er brand that peo­ple will want to be a part of.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employ­ee engage­ment is the align­ment of the men­tal and emo­tion­al con­nec­tion employ­ees feel to their work with their company’s goals and val­ues. While the employ­ee expe­ri­ence plays a role in employ­ee engage­ment, the two are not the same. Hav­ing an over­all pos­i­tive employ­ee expe­ri­ence has an impact on employ­ee engage­ment, though.

Only 36% of U.S. employ­ees are engaged in their jobs, while 13% are active­ly dis­en­gaged. This means that a vast major­i­ty of employ­ees are not emo­tion­al­ly invest­ed in their work, which can neg­a­tive­ly impact their pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and over­all job sat­is­fac­tion. On top of this, dis­en­gaged employ­ees are more like­ly to take more sick days, have high­er turnover rates, and are less like­ly to rec­om­mend their orga­ni­za­tion to others.

Com­pa­nies with high lev­els of employ­ee engage­ment expe­ri­ence a 19% increase in oper­at­ing income and a 28% increase in earn­ings per share com­pared to orga­ni­za­tions with low employ­ee engage­ment lev­els. This demon­strates that employ­ee engage­ment is a crit­i­cal fac­tor in an orga­ni­za­tion’s suc­cess and high­lights the impor­tance of mea­sur­ing and improv­ing employ­ee engage­ment levels.

Why Measure Employee Engagement

Aside from build­ing pos­i­tive work envi­ron­ment and strong employ­er brand, here are oth­er spe­cif­ic ben­e­fits of mea­sur­ing employ­ee engagement:

Gain insights into employee needs:

Think of this as a SWOT analy­sis — strengths, weak­ness­es, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and threats. By mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment, com­pa­nies will have an up-to-date sum­ma­ry of where employ­ees feel ful­filled and where there could be some improvements.

Build trust with your team:

Cre­at­ing a space where employ­ees can give hon­est feed­back is great, but it does­n’t end when the sur­vey clos­es. By imple­ment­ing programs/​initiatives that reflect employ­ee feed­back, com­pa­nies are actu­al­ly build­ing a stronger sense of trust with their peo­ple and mak­ing them feel val­ued beyond their job descriptions.

Understand trends…and each other:

Com­pa­nies learn more than just what keeps their peo­ple engaged by mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment. They’re able to pick up on com­mon trends between employ­ees and how they oper­ate as people.

Boost profitability and growth:

It’s no secret that peo­ple WANT to per­form well for their com­pa­ny when they feel engaged and val­ued. Accord­ing to Gallup, com­pa­nies with high­er lev­els of employ­ee engage­ment have a 21% increase in prof­itabil­i­ty com­pared to those with low engage­ment levels.

Before devel­op­ing a mea­sure­ment strat­e­gy, orga­ni­za­tions should con­sid­er the following:

  • What type of data to col­lect: Orga­ni­za­tions should deter­mine the type of data they want to col­lect, such as employ­ee feed­back, per­for­mance met­rics, or turnover rates.
  • How to col­lect data: Orga­ni­za­tions can use a vari­ety of meth­ods to col­lect data, such as sur­veys, focus groups, or one-on-one inter­views. The method cho­sen should be tai­lored to the orga­ni­za­tion’s size, cul­ture, and resources.
  • How to ana­lyze data: Orga­ni­za­tions should deter­mine how they will ana­lyze and inter­pret the data col­lect­ed. This can involve com­par­ing results over time, bench­mark­ing against indus­try stan­dards, or iden­ti­fy­ing cor­re­la­tions between dif­fer­ent data points.

How to Measure Employee Engagement

Employ­ers should con­sid­er the fol­low­ing strate­gies and tech­niques before mea­sur­ing employ­ee engagement:

Identify what’s important to your employees:

Employ­ers should iden­ti­fy the key fac­tors that con­tribute to employ­ee engage­ment with­in their com­pa­ny, such as career devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, work-life bal­ance, recog­ni­tion, and rewards. These fac­tors can be mea­sured using rat­ing scales or surveys.

Use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data:

Employ­ers should use a com­bi­na­tion of quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive data to gain a com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of employ­ee engage­ment lev­els. Quan­ti­ta­tive data can include met­rics such as employ­ee turnover, absen­teeism rates, and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty lev­els, while qual­i­ta­tive data can be gath­ered through sur­veys, focus groups, or one-on-one interviews.

Collect data frequently:

Employ­ers should col­lect engage­ment data fre­quent­ly to ensure that they are aware of any changes in employ­ee sat­is­fac­tion or sen­ti­ment. This can be done through pulse sur­veys, which are short sur­veys con­duct­ed on a reg­u­lar basis, or through ongo­ing feed­back mech­a­nisms such as sug­ges­tion box­es or employ­ee feed­back apps.

Benchmark against industry standards:

To help iden­ti­fy areas for improve­ment and pro­vide a basis for set­ting goals and tar­gets, employ­ers should bench­mark their engage­ment lev­els against indus­try stan­dards to deter­mine how they com­pare to oth­er organizations.

Use technology to streamline the process:

Employ­ers can use tech­nol­o­gy to stream­line the engage­ment mea­sure­ment process, such as by using online sur­veys, auto­mat­ed data analy­sis tools, or employ­ee feed­back platforms.

Some specific metrics or KPIs that can be used to measure employee engagement include:

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS):

This is a met­ric that mea­sures how like­ly employ­ees are to rec­om­mend their orga­ni­za­tion as a place to work. It can be cal­cu­lat­ed by sub­tract­ing the per­cent­age of detrac­tors (employ­ees who would not rec­om­mend the orga­ni­za­tion) from the per­cent­age of pro­mot­ers (employ­ees who would rec­om­mend the organization).

Employee engagement index:

This is a met­ric that mea­sures over­all employ­ee engage­ment lev­els with­in an orga­ni­za­tion. It can be cal­cu­lat­ed by com­bin­ing mul­ti­ple engage­ment-relat­ed ques­tions from a sur­vey into a sin­gle index score.

Turnover rate:

High turnover rates can indi­cate low employ­ee engage­ment lev­els, as dis­en­gaged employ­ees are more like­ly to leave their jobs. Employ­ers can cal­cu­late their turnover rate by divid­ing the num­ber of employ­ees who left the orga­ni­za­tion by the total num­ber of employees.

Employ­ers should use a com­bi­na­tion of strate­gies and tech­niques to mea­sure employ­ee engage­ment, includ­ing iden­ti­fy­ing what’s impor­tant to their employ­ees, using a com­bi­na­tion of quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive data, col­lect­ing data fre­quent­ly, bench­mark­ing against indus­try stan­dards, and using tech­nol­o­gy to stream­line the process. Spe­cif­ic met­rics and KPIs, such as eNPS, employ­ee engage­ment index, and turnover rate, can be used to mea­sure employ­ee engage­ment lev­els and iden­ti­fy areas for improvement.

Common Methods Used to Measure Employee Engagement

Pulse Surveys:

Pulse sur­veys are short, fre­quent sur­veys that gath­er data on employ­ee engage­ment lev­els. The goal of pulse sur­veys is to get a quick snap­shot of how employ­ees are feel­ing about their work, work­place, and over­all sat­is­fac­tion. Pulse sur­veys are effec­tive because they are short and easy to com­plete, which makes it more like­ly that employ­ees will par­tic­i­pate. They also allow for more fre­quent data col­lec­tion, which can help employ­ers iden­ti­fy trends and changes in employ­ee engage­ment lev­els more quickly.

One-on-One Meetings:

Not only is this a great way for man­agers and employ­ees to get to know each oth­er, one-on-one meet­ings are a great way to dis­cuss per­for­mance, career goals, and any con­cerns the employ­ee may have. These meet­ings are effec­tive for mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment because they pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for open and hon­est com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Employ­ees can share their thoughts and con­cerns with their man­ag­er, and man­agers can pro­vide feed­back and sup­port. This can help iden­ti­fy areas for improve­ment and increase employ­ee engage­ment levels.

Focus Groups:

Focus groups are group dis­cus­sions led by a facil­i­ta­tor. The goal of focus groups is to gath­er in-depth feed­back and insights from employ­ees on a spe­cif­ic top­ic, such as a new pol­i­cy or pro­gram. Focus groups can be effec­tive for mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment because they cre­ate a safe space for open and hon­est dis­cus­sion in a group set­ting. This can help iden­ti­fy com­mon themes and issues that may not have been appar­ent through indi­vid­ual sur­veys or meetings.

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS):

eNPS is a met­ric that mea­sures how like­ly employ­ees are to rec­om­mend their orga­ni­za­tion as a place to work. The goal of eNPS is to under­stand how employ­ees per­ceive their work­place and whether they are like­ly to rec­om­mend it to oth­ers. eNPS can be effec­tive for mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment because it pro­vides a sim­ple and easy-to-under­stand met­ric that can be tracked over time. It can also help iden­ti­fy areas for improve­ment based on the feed­back of detractors.

Over­all, each tool and method for mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment has its own strengths and weak­ness­es. Employ­ers should con­sid­er using a com­bi­na­tion of these tools and meth­ods to get a more com­plete pic­ture of employ­ee engage­ment lev­els and iden­ti­fy areas for improvement.

What to Avoid When Measuring Employee Engagement

While mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment can pro­vide valu­able insights for orga­ni­za­tions, there are also some watchouts to keep in mind to ensure that the mea­sure­ment process is accu­rate and effec­tive. Here are some things to avoid when mea­sur­ing employ­ee engagement:

Relying solely on quantitative data:

While quan­ti­ta­tive data, such as sur­vey scores and met­rics, can be help­ful in mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment, it’s impor­tant to also col­lect qual­i­ta­tive data through open-end­ed ques­tions, focus groups, and oth­er meth­ods. This can pro­vide more in-depth insights into the rea­sons behind engage­ment lev­els and help iden­ti­fy spe­cif­ic areas for improvement.

Using a one-size-fits-all approach:

Engage­ment lev­els can vary based on fac­tors such as job func­tion, depart­ment, and senior­i­ty. There­fore, it’s impor­tant to tai­lor engage­ment mea­sure­ment approach­es to spe­cif­ic groups with­in the orga­ni­za­tion to ensure that the data col­lect­ed is rel­e­vant and accurate.

Focusing too much on the numbers:

While met­rics such as employ­ee Net Pro­mot­er Scores can be help­ful in track­ing engage­ment over time, it’s impor­tant not to rely too heav­i­ly on these num­bers and over­look the qual­i­ta­tive data and feed­back that employ­ees provide.

Lack of action:

Mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment is only valu­able if it leads to action and improve­ment with­in the orga­ni­za­tion. It’s impor­tant to com­mu­ni­cate the results of engage­ment mea­sure­ment to employ­ees and devel­op an action plan based on the data col­lect­ed to address areas for improvement.

Inadequate follow-up:

Mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment should be an ongo­ing process, and it’s impor­tant to fol­low up on the results of pre­vi­ous mea­sure­ments and track progress over time. This can help ensure that engage­ment lev­els con­tin­ue to improve and that the orga­ni­za­tion is meet­ing the needs and expec­ta­tions of its employees.


Mea­sur­ing employ­ee engage­ment can pro­vide valu­able insights for orga­ni­za­tions, but it’s impor­tant to take action based on the results of the mea­sure­ment of employ­ee engage­ment lev­els. By ana­lyz­ing the data col­lect­ed, orga­ni­za­tions can iden­ti­fy areas for improve­ment, make changes to poli­cies and pro­grams, and address issues and con­cerns raised by employ­ees. Tak­ing action based on the results of engage­ment mea­sure­ment can lead to high­er lev­els of employ­ee sat­is­fac­tion, increased pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and improved reten­tion rates. Ulti­mate­ly, it can help orga­ni­za­tions cre­ate a pos­i­tive work­place cul­ture and achieve long-term suc­cess. It’s impor­tant for employ­ers to com­mit to tak­ing action and fol­low­ing through on their engage­ment mea­sure­ment efforts to ensure that they are mak­ing mean­ing­ful improve­ments for their employ­ees and the orga­ni­za­tion as a whole.

To learn more about how to imple­ment pro­grams that boost employ­ee engage­ment, go to fringe​.us/​t​a​l​k​-​t​o​-​o​u​r​-team.

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