Measuring Employee Engagement: The What, Why & The How

Measuring Employee Engagement: The What, Why & The How

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

Struggling to engage your workforce? Explore everything from the basics, to the in-depth issues and importance of employee engagement in our ultimate guide for 2021!

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 feel aligned with their organisations’ goals, and 36% of employees are likely to leave their jobs within one year because they’re so engaged.

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

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 a survey to measure engagement is one of the most successful methods. However, an engagement survey is not a place for random questions, therefore 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 behaviors 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 overall 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 behaviors 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 smooth.

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 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 a company intranet like Oak 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 much 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, so 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 employee engagement can be a challenging task, but this blog should have given you all the information you need to come up with some great feedback questions and ensure a high response rate for your organisation. 

Want to learn more?

Find out how Oak can work for you and start measuring engagement today.

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