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How do you really know? Measuring employee engagement

Why the hot topic?

As a Human Resources professional, employee engagement is a popular topic that comes up frequently. Engaged employees are most likely to go above and beyond, thus pushing the organization forward toward its goals. Sadly, the average level of engagement is at a whopping 32 percent, which is precisely why it’s a popular topic with HR. The relentless pursuit to raise employee engagement starts with one thing – measurement.

What employees want

As you peel away all of the layers of the onion we call an employee, their engagement gets its spark from three things:

· They want to feel valued as an employee

· They want satisfaction with their work and life

· They want to feel secure in their future with the company

If you can nail these three topics for every employee – you have nailed employee engagement! It all sounds so easy, but how do you measure where you’re lacking? That’s where it all goes fuzzy because measurements vary from one organization to another.

Covert measurements

To get an indirect idea of levels of employee engagement, you already have some measures available that might give you a hint if you are okay on the topic of engagement or if you need to dig a little deeper to find some root causes.

Attendance records and turnover rate

Attendance and turnover are two key indicators of employee engagement. They don’t tell you “what’s wrong,” but they will tell you if you need to investigate. If employee turnover exceeds ten percent or frequenting a specific team, that may say something to the team morale or the leadership in that group since 75% of employees leave their manager, not the company.

The next thing to investigate is unscheduled absences. Engaged employees are present and eager to make a difference. If you notice absenteeism rising and no flu bug running rampant, this is another hint at lack of engagement.

Net promoter score (NPS)

You can ask this directly to your entire employee base, but we are talking covert methods, so be sure to include this question in exit interviews at the very least. Online resources also review employers to those considering applying or joining a company. is one example that is popular for researching potential companies, but there are others.

These questions go something along the lines of: “How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend or colleague?” with a likelihood scale of 1-10 to be answered.

Resist the urge to write off all exiting employees as disengaged. Engaged employees are ones that will recommend a company to another. Yes, even engaged employees leave a company if they have limited opportunity and something better comes along, for example. They will still recommend the company as an excellent place to work.

Sort by promoters and detractors

· For every answer 9-10, these people are considered promoters

· For every answer 0-6, these people are the detractors

· 7 and 8 are considered passive, neither promoting or detracting

Calculate your NPS by subtracting your detractors from the promoters, then dividing the result by the total number of responders (including the passives).

Employee NPS =

A positive score indicates that plenty of people will still recommend your company as a good place to work. If your score is negative, then there is more to investigate as to why few people would recommend your company.

Transparent measures

When you are ready to get a true count of the voice of your employees, there are a few different ways to consider:

Ye olde suggestion box

It may appear archaic, but it’s still a thing because it is inexpensive and easy. The suggestion box is not at all scientific. However, it can be used to identify trending topics submitted. Some may be reluctant to participate for fear of being observed making a deposit.

Face to face

Conducting interviews with employees or holding focus groups can get a sampling of current moods across the organization, but unless participants are entirely random, the deck can easily be stacked by those selected. There may still be an intimidation factor about speaking out if something is wrong, so several may say everything is fine.

Pulse surveys

Short and frequent email surveys can provide a consistent pulse or mood in your office. They don’t have to be complicated at all, 5-10 quick question smile sheets. Always give an open answer section to note anything that they would like to change.

Larger surveys

Some companies conduct a comprehensive annual survey focused on employee engagement. These should be anonymous with the only identifying factor to be the specific department an employee works to identify any regional trends within the organization.

Focus on what is important

Whatever method, focus your questions on the three things your employees want to feel engaged.

Measuring is only one step

After the measurement is complete, the transparency must continue as a means of encouraging engagement. Send employees a message of thanks after they complete the exercise. Communicate your results with employees, with one or two things you commit to improving and the expectations from there. Don’t take on too much too soon, but set goals and deadlines to address other topics if you can.

As improvements are made and noticed, it’s time to conduct a follow-up survey to make sure that your improvements are on point with improving their engagement and the pulse in the workplace. The only way to confirm if your efforts are working is to continue seeking feedback.

Work2Live gets two out of three

The Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA) program from Work2Live meets two of the three needs of your employees to feel engaged. With a thoughtful recognition program including the LSA, your employees feel valued for their efforts above and beyond the standard compensation when they go above and beyond your expectations.

Next is our contribution to their work/life satisfaction. Work2Live’s experiential award choices offer your employees a vast selection of different experiences to enrich their lives with activities they may not otherwise treat themselves. It’s experiences like these that have the potential to change a person’s very being.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how we can enhance your employee engagement!

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