Matthew Urwin | Jan 13, 2023

Many organizations realize the importance of employee engagement, but few know how to measure employee engagement effectively. 

A common method involves sending out an annual survey, but it’s hard to tell if respondents are giving honest answers. And while employees may attend after-hours events and company activities, this shouldn’t be confused with employee loyalty. Relying on strategies that merely infer how engaged employees are can lead to misunderstandings, a weakening company culture and missed chances at retaining talent over time.  

To better understand how to measure employee engagement, we’ll go over a more objective and thorough process for gathering data on employee engagement levels.


Why Is Measuring Employee Engagement Important?

Employee engagement, which refers to how invested employees are in their work and their company as a whole, can have a major impact on a company’s performance. In fact, having an engaged workforce can increase a company’s profitability by 23 percent and reduce turnover in high-turnover environments by 18 percent. 

While the upsides of high engagement are obvious, companies can enjoy several benefits just by attempting to measure employee engagement. Doing so:

  • Reveals strengths and weaknesses: Measuring employee engagement ensures your efforts are yielding real results. You’ll better understand which initiatives are effective and which need to be updated.  
  • Keeps track of changing factors: Many variables influence employee engagement. Measuring it on a consistent basis will help you adjust your strategy as your workplace evolves to accommodate new team members, processes and strategies.
  • Builds trust among employees: Dedicating resources to evaluate your employee engagement levels demonstrates that the company values its employees as individuals.
  • Creates a transparent culture: Gathering data on employee engagement levels and sharing it with teams keeps everyone informed. Employees can then offer more input for how to raise engagement levels across the company.


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How to Measure Employee Engagement

It’s important to note that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to measure employee engagement, so you should apply a range of employee engagement tools, metrics and methods to get an accurate picture of your employee engagement levels.

Steps to Measure Employee Engagement

  1. Select employee engagement metrics to measure.
  2. Choose methods for measuring employee engagement. 
  3. Determine how often to measure employee engagement. 
  4. Finalize roles and share your plan with employees.
  5. Collect data.


1. Select Employee Engagement Metrics to Measure 

You’ll want to choose employee engagement metrics based on the types of data available to you. While these metrics don’t show the full picture, they home in on specific behaviors that hint at larger trends in employee engagement levels. Be sure to select at least three to four metrics to give you the most holistic results. 

Employee Turnover and Retention Rates 

A high employee turnover rate and low retention rate signal that employees may not feel supported in your company and that it’s time to reassess your employee engagement strategies.

Absentee Rate

Be sure to check in with frequently absent employees because they could be taking extra days off in response to experiencing employee burnout or a disconnect with your company culture. 

Wellness Days and Holidays 

Reach out to employees who don’t take advantage of wellness days or holidays since overworking is a common sign of burnout and can lead to low employee engagement. 

Online Workplace Ratings

Employees may feel more comfortable sharing honest opinions about your company in anonymous online settings, so check Glassdoor, Indeed and other workplace review hubs.

Customer Reviews

Passionate and disinterested employees deliver very different levels of customer service, so scan online and social media to see if customers have left any positive or negative reviews.

Employee Net Promoter Score

The eNPS metric helps you gauge different levels of satisfaction by asking employees, “From 1-10, how likely are you to recommend this organization as a place to work to a friend?”


2. Choose Methods for Measuring Employee Engagement 

Your methods for measuring employee engagement depend on the size and capabilities of your organization. Be sure to apply multiple methods and make it your goal to collect accurate data that will help you create positive change within the office. 

Employee Engagement Surveys

An employee engagement survey combines numerical scale and open-ended questions to collect instant data on employees’ commitment to their work and perception of the company. 

One-on-One Meetings

One-on-one meetings offer more privacy and confidentiality while enabling employees to bring up matters not accounted for in formal evaluations. 

Small Group Discussions

Small group discussions offer more personalized forums to focus on specific teams or topics and are most effective when supplemented with opportunities for follow-up conversations.  

Exit Interviews

An exit interview is a great opportunity to get candid feedback about your company since departing employees may speak more freely when their jobs aren’t at stake.

Stay Interviews

Stay interviews allow you to talk one-on-one with long-term employees about what keeps them at your company and areas you can improve to enhance your employee engagement strategy. 


3. Determine How Often to Measure Employee Engagement 

Think about how often you want to receive insights from your employees, and select methods that match your goals for feedback frequency. Since employee engagement constantly evolves, you’ll want to vary your approach with a range of methods. 


Pulse surveys and quick five-question surveys don’t require much time from employees and are ideal for tracking incremental changes in employee engagement levels. 


Surveys that ask employees about topics like satisfaction, company culture and individual performance should be limited to a monthly basis to avoid survey fatigue. 

Annually or Biannually

In-depth surveys that ask about individual and peer performance and one-on-one meetings can occur on a once-or-twice-a-year basis to allow employees to reflect over a longer period.    

As Needed

Small group discussions, stay interviews and one-on-ones can occur whenever is most convenient to your company, and exit interviews only happen when an employee voluntarily leaves.


4. Finalize Roles and Share Your Plan With Employees 

Before getting started, meet with HR representatives, department heads and C-suite executives to delegate roles and clarify what tasks you need each party to perform. Work together to set realistic goals and timelines for the study and make sure everyone has the resources they need to gather the necessary data. 

After sorting out the details, be sure to communicate your plan to the rest of your workforce as well. If all employees are kept in the loop, they’ll be more likely to cooperate and provide thoughtful, sincere feedback. 


5. Collect Data 

The number one job for you and other data collectors is to listen. Encourage your managers, HR reps and other facilitators to let employees have plenty of talking time during small group discussions, stay interviews, one-on-ones and other face-to-face formats. For written surveys, make sure that you provide a variety of questions that involve number scales and open-ended questions that cover various aspects of your organization. 

Keep your facilitators and employees updated throughout the process, so everyone remains mindful of any deadlines you have for collecting data. Make sure that as many employees as possible participate, so your results are reflective of your workforce as a whole.


What to Do After Measuring Employee Engagement

Once you’ve collected the data, it’s time to put it to use. While you can’t guarantee you’ll meet all your goals, you need to make a serious effort to do so. Use the following guidelines to round out your approach for measuring employee engagement.


1. Analyze Employee Engagement Results

How engaged are your employees currently? Is there any concerning feedback that requires immediate action? Do any teams or departments seem to be at  risk for attrition? Keep in mind that exceptionally low scores in a particular area shouldn’t be your top priority unless multiple employees agree. If there are only a few reports of unhappiness regarding work hours, encourage managers to address business hours with employees individually.


2. Establish New Employee Engagement Benchmarks

After you’ve analyzed the data, determine your organization’s benchmarks using common employee engagement metrics, such as your eNPS. Identifying these data points is crucial to assessing your progress.


3. Create a Plan to Improve Employee Engagement

Once you’ve identified your organization’s areas for improvement, revisit — or develop — your employee engagement strategy. Circle back on your initial action plan to ensure that the necessary teams and backstops are in place. Make any necessary adjustments to the proposed budget and timeline, and clearly outline the responsibilities of the individuals involved.

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4. Communicate the Results of Your Employee Engagement Assessment and Next Steps 

Just as important as providing context ahead of the assessment is communicating the results after. Send out a formal report to the entire company, or organize a town hall meeting to review the data with the team. Go over each stage of your plan to improve employee engagement and the reasoning behind your decisions. Take time to address any concerns to ensure everyone is on the same page and understands the next steps.


5. Thank Your Employees

Express your appreciation for your team’s participation and their honest feedback. This can be done via a company-wide email or as an announcement at your next all-hands meeting. If your evaluation process was time-intensive, consider providing participants with a small token gift, such as a five dollar gift card to a nearby coffee shop. 


6. Reassess Your Employee Engagement Strategy and Repeat

A successful employee engagement strategy is ongoing. You should continue to measure employee engagement using a combination of the methods mentioned and reference the data to evolve your strategy. Compare new results to benchmarks and older data sets to gauge your progress and understand how your team engagement levels have changed.


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