How to measure employee engagement - key metrics and strategies

Last updated:
January 31, 2023
February 26, 2024
min read
Nikola Sekulic
measure employee engagement
Table of contents

Employee engagement is a comprehensive concept that encompasses the relationship between the brand and its employees, the level of motivation and zeal in the workplace, and the overall sentiment your employees exhibit for the work they do. Therefore, employee engagement is one of the most important things you need to measure, improve, and nurture in your organization.

Why? Elevating engagement in the workplace is the key to building a thriving employee collective and taking your company forward as a whole.

It’s also a prerequisite for a high talent retention rate, and can help you during recruitment as well. If nothing else, high employee engagement builds a powerful employer brand.

All right, you understand the benefits involved here, so how do you measure and improve employee engagement? That’s exactly what we’ll be tackling today. Let’s dive in.

What are the key employee engagement metrics?

Before we discuss the concrete tips and best practices you can use to elevate employee engagement, let’s first note some key metrics.

Knowing your employee engagement metrics is crucial for putting all the data you collect in the right context and for creating actionable reports you can actually use.

In order to gather relevant employee data and measure certain metrics, you will need to use the right employee time tracking software, survey software, rewards and recognition tools, and comprehensive HR software.

With that in mind, the metrics you should monitor are:

  • Voluntary turnover. How many people are leaving the company willingly? Look into your HR software data for this number, put it in a specific timeframe, and use the data from exit interviews to find out why they’re leaving.
  • Employee retention. How long do people stay on average? Why do they choose to stay and what are the key factors that influence this decision? Use pulse surveys and annual interviews to find out.
  • Employee absence. Are people skipping work, or are they simply too absent too often? Sometimes, they will have concrete reasons, but sometimes it might be that they’re not engaging and are quitting silently - your HR software will track absence accurately.
  • Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). Use the employee net promoter score to gauge the sentiment around your employer brand and whether or not your people would recommend you to other talented job seekers.
  • Employee satisfaction. Pulse surveys and one-on-one interviews are perfect for measuring employee satisfaction on an individual level. You can then organize the data into common traits and trends in order to tackle the problem head-on.
  • Employee performance. Measuring employee performance is easy when you have the right employee tracking software that logs hours, engagement, productivity, task completion, and more. Be sure to put this data into concrete time frames and follow up with a one-on-one to find out exactly what has driven poor performance for the individual. You can then come up with a plan to help them get back on track.
  • rating. Manage your Glassdoor account diligently, and monitor the feedback. Analyze negative feedback and include it into your employee engagement strategy.
  • ROI on employee engagement. Are the people who are more engaged producing better results? If not, then they might not be truly engaged, just generally “okay” with their job. Keep in mind that engagement needs to drive productivity and zeal in the workplace.
  • Customer happiness. Are your customers happy with your customer-facing staff? This is a clear indicator of how engaged these teams are, and how much effort they put into delivering rewarding brand experiences. 

When people are engaged in their workplace, they tend to stick around, give high eNPS scores, and generate happier customers. All of these benefits should reflect in these metrics, and needless to say if one of them is low, you need to make some changes.

So, let’s take a look at the best practices to measure and improve employee engagement. 

1. Start using pulse surveys

Keeping your hand on the “pulse” of your employee collective provides invaluable insights into the culture that they share, the sentiment they have towards the employer brand, and how engaged they are throughout the year. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The truth is that a pulse survey can uncover vast amounts of data you can use to improve engagement, but also improve productivity and help your employees build a better work-life balance. So, what is a pulse survey exactly?

A pulse survey is a brief and concise questionnaire that you send to your employees regularly throughout the year. Unlike a typical engagement survey, a pulse survey aims to capture data in real time and stay on top of the general sentiment and engagement levels in the workplace.

The emphasis here is on the real-time factor, because you should use a pulse survey to actively monitor the state of your employee collective. 

When designing a pulse survey, you should:

  • Choose specific questions around a specific topic;
  • Announce the survey every time;
  • Make it anonymous to incentivize honest feedback;
  • Make the questions short and keep the number of questions below;
  • Make sure to act after each pulse survey to show your employees that their answers matter.

2. A good engagement tool makes all the difference

In our modern day and age, it seems that there is a tool and a piece of automation software for every need. While you can never fully automate employee engagement management and analytics, you can definitely make the HR department’s job a lot easier by implementing the right tools.

After all, if marketing, sales, support, and operations can all use dedicated software, so should your HR experts. Using employee engagement tools means having the ability to collect and store feedback on a unified platform, track rewards and recognition, develop employee advancement programs, and integrate the tool with other business tools.

There are numerous other features and functionalities your tool can have, so it’s important to do your research and find a system that works for you. Luckily, engagement tools are nowadays highly specialized for different industries, so you should have no problem finding the right software with niche features. 

That said, you have to make sure that the tool has a comprehensive analytics suite. This ensures that you can easily plug in the data, monitor the metrics we mentioned above, and create reports quickly. 

3. Gauge engagement potential during recruitment

Many business leaders tend to overlook the engagement potential of an individual during recruitment. It may sound odd at first, but think about it.

Typically, HR experts and decision makers will focus solely on measuring engagement in their existing employee collective. Great, but that’s only one side of the proverbial coin. The other side is gauging the potential engagement of the individual before they join your brand.

Every potential employee has a unique personal brand, identity, and personality that they bring to the company. Some are naturally more involved and engaged, and some are just not cut out to be a part of your culture. 

If you want to attract and retain employees and the top talent in your industry, you need to take all of these things into consideration during recruitment. Experienced recruiters and HR experts will know exactly how to analyze individual personalities, and tell you how likely someone is to respond positively to your culture and the engagement tactics you use.

This process will save you a lot of time and money, and most importantly, will allow you to bring in people who will positively affect your collective as a whole. 

4. Promote and incentivize two-way feedback

Honest, transparent, well-natured, and timely feedback is the key to achieving many wonderful things in your organization. From improving productivity to better communication and cross-department collaboration, taking and providing feedback is a way to implement change quickly and effectively.

But what about engagement? If you incentivize your people to give honest feedback while encouraging them to welcome honest feedback in return, you are creating a culture of continuous improvement. You are also getting direct information about their engagement and sentiment around certain topics, giving you the tools you need to act right away.

Feedback is also crucial for effective recruitment, and you can use recruiting CRM software to integrate feedback and turn it into actionable data for your clients or your own recruiting process. This point ties into our previous one on how you can use gauging engagement potential to source the right people for your company. 

5. Analyze and minimize stress in the workplace

It should go without saying that stress is one of the key culprits in low employee engagement. There are many reasons why an employee might feel stressed, some of which are out of your control. But that doesn’t mean that you as the employer should not do everything in your power to create a stress-free work environment.

Lowering stress in the workplace will improve people’s productivity and performance, and will set the stage for higher long-term engagement. If you’re dealing with sensitive data, you can minimize stress with better cybersecurity measures to keep your employees safe.

Implement better cybersecurity measures and check passwords with a password tool to make your employees feel safer when handling sensitive information. You can apply this principle to any and all stress triggers in your organization, such as poor communication or a lack of a unified collaboration platform.

The key is to implement the tools and tactics to reduce stress at work, and then introduce quality of life changes that will create a more relaxed and productive workplace. 

6. Visualize the data and create actionable reports

Last but not least, remember that measuring and improving employee engagement is a continuous process. Your goal should be to analyze the data you collect on your employees throughout the year and visualize your findings into the types of reports that will give you a comprehensive overview of employee engagement on every level and in every sector. 

You need to have all the data neatly organized in visual reports to make it easy for the decision makers in your company to act on these insights with minimal back and forth communication. The better the reports on employee engagement, the easier it will be to implement concrete changes quickly.

Have everything organized on a shared dashboard that everyone can access, and use a reporting tool that allows you to discuss reports in real time, leave notes, and set up action plans.

Over to you

Measuring employee engagement throughout the year is an essential process that will fuel your engagement strategy and allow you to quickly and yet methodically improve engagement to achieve lasting results. The long-term benefits for the individual and your company as a whole are numerous, so don’t miss this opportunity to take your organization forward.

Use these metrics, create actionable reports and insights, identify the key pain points, and start implementing the best practices we talked about today to start seeing results right away.

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