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    How to Measure Employee Engagement [5 Tips]

    7 mins

    You’ve probably heard the buzz around employee engagement, how it benefits the bottom line, increases productivity, and reduces turnover. It may seem too good to be true, and while it certainly isn’t the miracle cure for every problem, the benefits of high employee engagement can’t be overstated. Want evidence? Check out these employee engagement statistics:

    • Engaged workplaces are significantly safer, because engaged employees are more aware of their surroundings. 70% fewer incidents occur in highly engaged workplaces.

    • Turnover is drastically reduced when employees are engaged: 24% less turnover in high-turnover industries, and 59% less turnover in low-turnover industries, according to Gallup.

    • In the same poll, Gallup found that organizations with engaged employees regularly achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.

    • Highly engaged workplaces enjoy 21% greater profitability overall.

    What Is Employee Engagement?

    Simply put, employee engagement is a measurement of enthusiasm, dedication, and investment workers feel for their jobs. It’s not necessarily job satisfaction or happiness, though these things do usually go hand in hand. An engaged employee is showing up for more than just a paycheck. They care about the work they’re doing, feel like that work makes a difference, and are more productive and committed to their work as a result.

    By tracking and measuring employee engagement, your organization is taking the first step toward increasing engagement and building an environment of tangible success. Happier customers, higher quality work, and increased retention all follow when your employees are engaged.

    5 Tips for Measuring Employee Engagement

    1. Utilize both Quantitative and Qualitative Results

    As you measure employee engagement, you’ll be getting a lot of numbers: survey responses, retention rates, eNPS scores, and more. A flat number is great in its simplicity, but if qualitative measurements are not included alongside it, it’s practically useless. By understanding the why and how of a particular number score, you can more easily zero in on the policies and practices your organization needs to reinforce or reform to improve employee engagement.

    • Don’t rely on pulse surveys alone. Conduct 1-on-1 interviews or focus groups to get a more detailed look into how your employees feel.

    • In your surveys, include comment sections so respondents can elaborate on their answers.

    • When you look at raw number results, be sure to ask yourself why your organization may have gotten them. Did an increase in employee retention occur in a quarter where a major change was made? Was a sudden rise in absenteeism tied to a company decision or flu season starting?

    2. Conduct Engagement Surveys with Care

    The bread and butter of measuring engagement, an employee engagement survey can give you insight into an employee's commitment to the company and their sense of purpose in their work. By conducting employee engagement surveys with care and knowing how to look at the data, you can glean a lot of useful information.

    Consider the following when crafting an engagement survey:

    • Use a mix of question styles -- dichotomous, Likert scale, and open-ended comment questions to get a full picture of your employees' experiences.

    • The questions you present will speak to what your organization values most. Keep both the content of your questions and their order in mind.

    • Use neutral to positive language in questions to avoid prompting negative responses. Keep questions productive, and don’t ask “gotcha!” questions like, “Do you look forward to coming to work on Monday?”

    • Anonymity is important. Your employees will be less likely to complete surveys if they don't feel that their answers are confidential.

    An remote employee having a virtual meeting with her team
    FatCamera via Getty Images

    3. Examine Your eNPS

    An Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) is a purely quantitative assessment of employee loyalty that can be wrapped into a larger engagement survey. How is it done?

    • Pose the following question: “On a scale from 0 - 10, how likely are you to recommend this organization to others as a place to work?”

    • Once you have the results, answers are sorted into three categories:

    • Detractors, who answered 0 - 6

    • Passives, who answered 7 - 8

    • Promoters, who answered 9 - 10

    • To calculate your eNPS, subtract the percent of detractors from the percent of promoters. Any score above 0 is a good thing, with a score of 0 being completely even.

    Your eNPS tells you whether or not your employees would be willing to recommend your organization as a place to work – a pretty clear indicator of engagement. Again, though, remember to follow up on that score once you have it with interviews and focus groups. Find out what employees like and what they feel could be improved.

    4. Measure Absenteeism and Consider its Causes

    Divide the number of days an employee was absent, excluding scheduled absences like vacation time, by the number of workdays there were in that same period. Multiply that number by 100 and you’ll get that employee’s absenteeism rate – the amount of time an employee did not come to or remain at work as scheduled.

    By tracking this metric, you’re getting one piece of the engagement puzzle. High absenteeism rates can indicate low engagement and are often caused by poor work conditions, poor leadership, or lack of work-life balance opportunities.

    As we mentioned above, remember to also examine the causes of absenteeism when considering this data. If employees are sick, especially if they are contagious, feeling empowered to take the time off necessary to recover is both a good sign for your company’s culture and better for you and your employees overall.

    However, if employees are taking unscheduled time off due to stress or exhaustion, or if you’ve got employees who show up but produce low-quality work, you’ve got data that is pointing to lower engagement.

    5. Measure and Compare Retention Rates

    The data shows that engaged employees are the sort of employees that stick around. They’re more likely to ride out hard times with your company and reject outside job offers. So, by measuring employee retention, and voluntary termination specifically, you can get a pretty clear look at where employee engagement is in a given time period.

    To get the most out of your retention rate data, measure in smaller chunks – quarterly, for example – and then compare time periods. If retention was significantly lower in one period than another, consider the causes – was there a change of some sort at the organization? Perhaps there was a flurry of new hires at the same time?

    With these actionable tips in mind, you’ll be able to better measure employee engagement and have the insights to see where your organization can make changes and improvements. Creating a positive, empowering work culture allows your employees to thrive, and in turn, allows the company to thrive.

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    Kristina Dinabourgski
    Has a passion for demystifying benefits 🎉

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