Measuring Employee Engagement [Tips, Metrics & KPIs] - Oak Engage
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How To Measure Employee Engagement [Tips & KPIs]

Measuring employee engagement the right way is often something a lot of companies struggle with. Read our tips and tricks on how to measure engagement the right way to get results.

   Minute Read     Employee Engagement

How To Measure Employee Engagement [Tips & KPIs]
Table of Contents

    Measuring employee engagement the right way is often something a lot of companies struggle with. This blog will cover why measuring employee engagement is so important, what to avoid and the methods you can use to measure engagement in the right way. 

    The content in this blog includes:

    What Is Employee Engagement

    Employee engagement is the emotional commitment that an employee has to their organisation and its goals. 

    This emotional commitment means engaged employees actually care about their work and their company. They don't work just for the pay, but work on behalf of the organisation's goals, ultimately creating more success for the company

    Recommended Reading 📖: Employee Engagement: The Ultimate Guide  

    Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

    Organisations are still continuing to struggle to engage their workforce. Even with 20 plus years of employee engagement awareness,- why is this? In July 2017, just 41% of UK employees felt  aligned with their organisations’ goals, and 36% of employees were  likely to leave their jobs within one year because they’re so disengaged.

    The importance of employee engagement simply can’t be overlooked – employee engagement has been proven to:

    • Reduce staff turnover

    • Improve productivity and efficiency

    • Increase employee retention

    • Deliver higher profits

    • Boost business connectivity and performance

    • Reduction in absenteeism

    How To Measure Employee Engagement

    So how can you measure employee engagement in your organisation? 

    There are various ways to measure the level of engagement within your company. As a leader you can either:

    • Use an engagement survey

    • Measure employee engagement yourself

    • Use a hybrid approach in which annual engagement is measured by the survey provider, while pulse engagement is measured by the company throughout the year.

    That being said, using an employee engagement survey to measure engagement is one of the most successful methods. An engagement survey is not a place for random questions, you must consider the following elements when measuring engagement in your organisation. 

    1. Determine Engagement Outcomes

    An engagement outcome is a survey question that represents the behaviours or feelings of an engaged employee. These questions typically measure perceptions of organisational pride, intent to stay, and advocacy.

    Outcomes help reveal the current state of employee engagement within your company.

    These items don’t identify specific actions. Instead, they identify targets that organisations should maintain or improve.

    2. Identify What's Important

    In order to improve employee engagement in your organisation, you have to identify what's important to your employees. Engagement surveys commonly ask employees to rate their opinions of:

    • Teamwork

    • Trust in Leadership

    • Career development

    • Communication

    • Confidence in the future of the company

    • Individual needs

    • Value and recognition

    All of these drivers help your organisation to understand what impacts engagement so they can put the right strategy in place to improve.

    3. Develop a Regular Listening Strategy

    Companies who implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback. 

    Conducting regular employee engagement surveys is key to valid and actionable survey results. But how often should you survey your employees?

    Research has shown that the annual employee engagement survey is better than less frequent measuring. But behaviours and preferences change over time.

    As a result, organisations may need to survey more often and in different ways to capture all employee voices. Use pulse surveys to dive deeper into engagement results or to gather real-time feedback on any important topic that arises. Add lifecycle surveys to measure perceptions at key moments in the employee journey.

    Your findings will help you make smarter decisions and better strategies that impact employees.

    Measuring Employee Engagement: The Metrics

    Here are 5 employee engagement metrics that you need to be including in your surveys:

    1. Recognition

    Employees want to be recognised for their work. It makes them realise their worth and how their work is impacting the overall success of the organisation. According to a study by Gallup, you must acknowledge your employees at least once a week to improve the level of engagement. 

    Workplace recognition is a very important metric as it is one of the crucial elements for ensuring an engaged and productive workforce. Managers often miss out on praising their employees at work, and if that continues, it brings down their willingness to go that extra mile.

    Therefore, when creating an employee engagement survey, you must focus on asking your employees if they are getting recognised for their work. If your workforce comes out positive, that's great! You’re one step closer to achieving highly engaged employees.

    2. Professional Development

    Career development will always be one of the top priorities for employees no matter what their job profile is. Every employee aspires to learn from their job and develop their position in their organisation. 

    Managers need to ensure that every employee is getting equal opportunities for professional development. The absence of these opportunities could result in high employee turnover which must be avoided.

    Start by integrating career development questions within your engagement survey, asking your workforce if they are satisfied with the opportunities they’re being offered.

    3. Wellbeing At Work

    If you aren't taking a proactive approach towards workplace wellbeing, then your workforce is more likely to be unhappy, unmotivated and unproductive. You need to address this immediately. After all, we all spend most of our week in the workplace (sometimes up to 40+ hours a week).

    Creating employee wellbeing initiatives should be just as important as building your brand and developing your product. You need to think about your people - think about what you are going to do to improve their happiness in the workplace. It can truly make a difference and improve employee productivity across the whole organisation.

    Recommended Reading 📖: Employee Wellbeing: A Beginners Guide

    Discover why employee wellbeing is so important and what you can do to boost a positive working culture to make your workforce happier.

    4. Work Culture

    A company is defined by its work culture. Having an inclusive work environment within the organisation helps in attracting and retaining top talent. Even the level of workforce engagement is impacted by the culture at work.

    If your organisation has a very healthy culture where everyone is respected equally, issues are taken care of with utmost priority, transparency is maintained, and communication is valued, then hardly any employee would ever like to leave your organization. But no matter what, things do change. Even if you don’t notice it, your employees will, and so you must try to know if there’s anything wrong so you can act on it to keep things running smoothly.

    5. Work-life Balance

    Employees perform the best when they can give interrupted focus on their work. This means balancing their time at work and their personal life so that they can perform to the best of their ability. 

    It’s important to keep it in check by making one of your employee engagement metrics. An example for a survey question could be “On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your work-life balance?”. This is enough feedback to make any necessary changes to your company.

    Measuring Employee Engagement: Things To Avoid

    Not every method that claims to measure employee engagement actually works. Let’s go through the most common mistakes that are made:

    Don’t exclusively use pulse surveys

    There’s no denying that shorter, more frequent pulse surveys play an important role in an organisation’s employee engagement strategy. However, pulse surveys shouldn’t be the sole foundation to measuring engagement.

    Your annual engagement survey helps you see what’s happening in the big picture across your entire organisation and helps you track important trends over time. This data is key to building a strategy that meets organisational needs.

    Don’t survey a sample population

    Sometimes companies will only survey part of their employee population to prevent survey fatigue. However, you should avoid using an annual employee engagement survey for anything less than all of your employees.

    If you have a strategic and thoughtful survey strategy, you shouldn't have to worry about survey fatigue. 

    Don't roll out a satisfaction survey

    Most commonly, a culture or satisfaction survey contains none of the essential measurement items that we discussed earlier. A survey without engagement items is just measuring employee opinions on things of little consequence to overall engagement. 

    You can use an employee satisfaction survey to simply see how happy an employee is with their job. It covers a wide range of factors that may push employees to disconnect and become less engaged.

    Don't just rely on surveys 

    Proper measurement of your workforce engagement is an essential part of your employee engagement strategy. However, surveys can't improve engagement alone - managers need to take action on this employee feedback.

    Ensure that you follow up on your engagement surveys to sky-rocket engagement and improve happiness within your organisation.

    Methods of Measuring Employee Engagement

    As previously discussed, the most common way to measure engagement is using surveys, but that's not all you should be using.

    Surveys are only a small part of your engagement strategy and only one way of measuring. Employee engagement is a complex issue that requires effort from everyone within your company. Having company intranet software such as Oak Engage can help you improve employee engagement and keep a constant pulse on your workforce engagement.

    Here are some methods you could be measuring employee engagement on a regular basis:

    1. Pulse Surveys and Polls

    Gather real, actionable insights that your business can use to improve employee engagement and enhance your employee experience. Pulse Surveys allow your business to gauge interest, understand opinion, gather feedback and more. An extremely versatile tool, Oak Pulse Surveys give you everything you need to collate valuable data from your people, all within your own dedicated intranet solution.

    Oak intranet also provides polls as a feature. A poll is designed as a collaborative tool to increase employee engagement, productivity and efficiency. Companies no longer have to gather information by email, but can start a poll on their intranet. It may be used to get an understanding of what your people want, involve more employees in conversations or leverage a poll to generate content. 

    By targeting specific employees, polls can generate data or content that could be reused to increase employee engagement. After all, people are more likely to invest in content that they helped create.

    2. One to One’s

    Another great way to measure engagement is through one-to-one meetings with your employees. 

    Having regularly scheduled meetings where you can have an informal chat with each member of your team is a great way to get a sense of how they're feeling and address any issues that may arise.

    The advantage of having these meetings is that you’re able to collect feedback in person, therefore you'll get a more detailed conversation about each issue that's addressed. 

    3. Measure Retention Rates

    Research sponsored by Achievers and published in the Harvard Business Review demonstrates the direct relationship between retention and engagement. Measuring retention rates lets you view the overall arc of your engagement levels. 

    This approach provides you with a wider viewpoint, offering insight into the gradual effectiveness of efforts that you introduce to improve employee engagement. Focusing on retention rate also helps you think more clearly about employee engagement because anything you do to improve your retention rate will automatically also increase your staff's engagement. 

    Measuring engagement of remote workers

    With the return to the office brings with it a range of working models. Hybrid working and remote work is here to stay for many organizations. Leaders and management must ensure they measure the engagement of remote workers. Focus on utilising digital tools. Use your intranet and it’s tools to connect with your employees and assess employee engagement

    Pulse Surveys

    If you want to gain a perspective of employee engagement send out a pulse survey.

    Pulse surveys should be done every few weeks in order to give a quick insight into the health of your company. Don’t let the fact your company is working remotely stop them from reaching your employees.

    There are plenty of topics to use in employee engagement surveys. You could ask how employees are finding remote working. How has your company supported them? Ask them if there is anything you can do to improve employee engagement or if they need any tools.

    Pulse surveys allow businesses to gather data on employees’ opinions. They are a chance for managers to get feedback and insight into how they’re feeling. A major positive aspect of pulse surveys is that they require minimal effort. They're short, simple and usually multiple choice. They can be completed in minutes, perfect for quick communication!

    Once you have gathered all your data, use it to identify any problems. Make a discretionary effort to use data quickly to form the basis of your next project. This helps increase employee engagement and have a positive impact on business outcomes. 

    Your workforce will see that their opinions are valued and keep employees engaged. It shows that managers and leaders are listening to what employees have to say. This creates trusting relationships between leaders, management and employees.

    Recommended Reading: 24 Pulse Survey Questions To Ask in 2021

    Schedule regular virtual meetings

    It’s important to have regular contact face to face. Remote working can be very isolating, especially if employees aren’t surrounded by their manager and colleagues every day. 

    Having a chat with other workers is crucial to employee wellbeing, humans are social beings by nature! When employees are working remotely it’s important to make sure they’re engaged. Schedule regular catch ups to help boost morale, motivation and keep everyone positive.

    Use these meetings as a chance to speak to members of your team one on one and ask them how they’re feeling. If you feel the time is right, use it to discuss their performance and development and touch upon any areas of concern if they seem disengaged. 

    It’s an opportunity to gain feedback from your employees on ways that you can improve the workplace. One to one meetings are designed to make sure managers and employees are on the same page and help employee engagement.

    Don’t forget, these meetings don’t have to be focused around work or development. They can be a friendly conversation between you and your employee about anything. Ask what they're watching on Netflix. What book they’re currently reading or what they’re doing at the weekend.  

    As mentioned, lack of contact is one of the hardest aspects of working from home. It can impact employee engagement massively. Giving your employees a chance to have a normal conversation away from work could be the pick me up they needed. Communication is key and maintaining social interaction will help employee satisfaction.

    Social engagement

    Measure employee engagement by seeing how your employees engage with your digital workplace. Frequent likes and comments on content suggests that your employees are staying engaged. Utilising features of your social intranet to improve employee engagement.

    Have you noticed a decline in members of your team interacting with content? It may be an indication that the levels of employee engagement are starting to slip. If this does happen, take time to reach out to those members of staff who aren’t engaging. Ask them how they are feeling about work and try to determine whether there is a problem that needs fixing. Measuring employee engagement is often a case of being proactive rather than reactive.

    Stay Interviews

    You know about exit interviews, a process usually carried out by HR when an employee leaves. The intention of an exit interview is to find out why employees are leaving. You should be finding out how to make changes to improve employee engagement. However, employees can be hesitant to talk honestly about their job satisfaction. Especially if there are underlying issues.

    Rather than being honest about their feelings, disengaged employees search for another job. This can be detrimental to businesses. They lose their top employees and must search for new talent. In so many instances these situations can be resolved. 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable. If management knows how an employee truly feels, they can help. By providing commitment, motivation and resources to help employees stay engaged.

    This is where stay interviews come in. It’s so much easier to talk to current employees about improvements that can be made. Much easier than discussing why they are choosing to leave. Stay interviews are perfect for gaining honest feedback from current and motivated employees.  They give you a good insight into what actually makes your employees want to work for you.

    Make sure you have a range of questions ready to ask. Let employees express what they love about the company, what motivates them, and what they don’t love so much.

    Daily Scrums/ Stand Ups

    Daily stand ups are a great way to keep your team connected and improve employee engagement. Scrum meetings help employees to plan work efficiently, resulting in high productivity. Make a commitment to schedule scrums for the same time each day. First thing in the morning is perfect as it sets the agenda for the rest of the day. Every employee takes turns to go through their plan for the day.

    Have a set list of questions for each person to cover:

    • What did I do yesterday?
    • What will I be working on today?
    • Are there any roadblocks affecting your progress?

    These discussions connect teams, improve collaboration and improve employee engagement. If you find that daily scrums are too much for your team, do what works for you. Maybe once or twice a week is ample for your team.

    KPIs to measure employee engagement 

    Measuring employee engagement is an important step in improving employee experience. It can be hard to measure employee engagement. It’s not as simple as just sending out an employee engagement survey once a year.

    There are many drivers of employee engagement and it’s important to consider a range of them. This will give you a better understanding of engagement within your organization. Here are some key KPIs you should consider when measuring employee engagement:

    Employee NPS 

    Working out your Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a quick way to get a  view of employee engagement. It’s a great KPI to start with because it’s so easy to communicate and you’ll get a high response rate. Assess the engagement of your employees are by asking them one simple question:

    On a scale of 1-10 how likely are you to recommend our company to friends and family?

    How do you interpret employee engagement based on people's answers? Employees are sorted into three categories based on the score they give:

    • Scores 9-10 (Promoters): Promoters are highly engaged employees. They’re loyal to your company and happy with their job role.
    • Scores 7-8 (Passives): Passives are relatively engaged employees. They’re happy with their job role. However it’s not uncommon for passives to be actively looking at other roles.
    • Scores 0-6 (Detractors): Detractors are not engaged employees. They’re not satisfied with their role or the company and are likely to talk about their work negatively.

    When all employees have answered, you can calculate your overall company eNPS. Passive employees are taken out of this calculation. Detractors are then taken away from the promoters. It looks like this:

    • eNPS: %Promoters - %Detractors = eNPS

    If your company is 70% Promoters and 20% detractors, your overall score will be 50. This is an incredible score and shows you have engaged employees. With eNPs scores you want to be aiming for between 10 and 30, anything above this means your company is doing great. Your company can score anywhere from -100 - +100, but you should be at 0 or above.

    It’s an easy and quick way to measure engagement and you can monitor engagement levels over time.  When starting to measure engagement, we would recommend starting with this one. We also recommend including a couple of open text questions to follow such as:

    "Why did you give us this score?" and "How can we improve?"

    This allows employees to individually give feedback and reasoning for their answers. You can then focus on how you’ll do further research on employee engagement. As well as how you’ll develop your engagement strategy.

    Employee Absenteeism

    If absenteeism levels are high it can be very disruptive for your business. It impacts productivity levels, employee engagement and can be very costly. Absenteeism is when employees are frequently absent but these absences are unexplained.

    This is different to employees requesting time off from work or having holidays. We all need time off to rest and relax! Frequent and unexplained absences are an indicator that something isn’t quite right. Disengaged employees have a high level of absenteeism. An engaged employee has a low level of absence.

    The main thing with absenteeism is to find out what is causing employees to be absent. It could be a whole host of things:

    • Bullying and harassment
    • Stress and burnout
    • Mental health problems
    • Low morale
    • Bereavement
    • Illness

    It’s important that you work out your absenteeism rate and then work out a long-term action plan on how to reduce it.

    Work out your absenteeism rate using this formula:

    • Absenteeism Rate = (Average # of Employees X Missed Workdays) / (Average # of Employees X Total Workdays)

    Ideally, you want a low absenteeism rate. This shows that your employees are engaged and know how to report any absences properly. However if your absenteeism rate is high then you’ll need to make some changes.

    Provide extra support for your employees and have a long-term wellbeing strategy. Managers  also need to show employees how to report absences clearly. This helps to identify future patterns with absences.

    Turnover Rate

    Your staff turnover rate shows the percentage of employees that leave your organization. Disengaged employees are costing the UK £340 billion. An employee retention strategy is a must if you want to improve employee engagement.

    When your employees are engaged and want to stay with the business, this is when your company will thrive. Investing in employee retention will keep your turnover rate low.

    Work out your staff turnover rate:

    • Staff turnover per month = (Total # of leavers per month / Average number of employees in a month) x 100
    • Staff turnover per year = (Total number of leavers in a year / Average number of employees in a year) x 100

    Identify if your turnover rate is high or low and if something needs to be changed in your organisation. Make sure you’re hiring the right employees and recognising their efforts.

    Also consider that  your employees need a positive work life balance. Give them opportunities to develop and grow. Focusing on your company culture and offering attractive employee perks doesn't go unnoticed. Placing a big focus on wellbeing has a huge impact on employee engagement.

    Online company ratings 

    Nothing says transparency quite like an honest review! Research found that there is a correlation between employee engagement and Glassdoor scores. Sites such as Glassdoor give a clear indication of how employees truly feel about their job.

    Reviews are a window into your employees daily routines and the company culture. These reviews are authentic. They’re coming straight from the most important people, your entire workforce. It shows how engaged your employees really are about your business and your culture.

    Active intranet users

    If your intranet is your primary form of communication you need to be measuring the number of active users. Assess how your employees use your intranet.

    Do people use it for communication with their team? Do people like the social aspect of the intranet? Do managers and leaders use it regularly for business updates? 

    Make note of how employees use your intranet to see how engaged they are.

    Your timeline is the biggest giveaway. If your intranet is busy with posts and interactions, this is a good sign. If posts are limited and there’s no sign of activity, this shows your employees are disengaged.  This signals a problem with employee engagement in your workforce.

    If you are struggling with employee engagement and communication? Take a look at our blog post. It’s full of tips and tricks to help boost engagement and create a sense of community.

    These KPIs will help give you an overview of engagement across teams and the workplace. Use data to assess how your employees feel. Use the feedback to inform your engagement initiatives and engagement strategy. 

    Once you start focusing on and measuring employee engagement you’ll see the benefits. Employees will be happier, go the extra mile and you’ll see high performance in your workforce.

    Want to take the next step?

    Check out our blog and start improving your workforce engagement with an employee engagement action plan today.



    Vic is one of Oaks Content Marketing Specialists. She specialises in communication and marketing and is also a host on the Comms In A Nutshell podcast for Internal Comms & HR professionals.