How to Measure Employee Engagement: Tools, Tips and Tricks
Measuring engagement among your employees is not easy, we know. That’s why we’re here to help: read this article to find out which steps you should take to not only sit down with your employees and find out what they think and how they feel about your company, their devotion to it, and how likely they are to recommend it as a workplace to a friend, but also how to act on the feedback you get from them, and drive employee engagement up.
Measuring employee engagement is no easy task due to the fact that employee engagement itself is difficult to define and nail down. Personal growth, happiness, satisfaction, recognition, wellness, and relationships are only a few of the most important metrics that you should consider in this context.
Every company will have a different way of measuring the engagement of its employees. Still, the probably most efficient and effective way is to go with pulse surveys and a simple 1 to 10 scoring system.
After that, one-on-one interviews are the best way to get the details about the results you obtained in the surveys and design an action plan for improving your score.
Important note: While a scale from 1 to 10 might feel a bit simplistic, the upside is that you’re left with a workable number that you can work on improving over a period of time.
How and how often should you measure employee engagement?
What’s important here is to focus on improving your scores month in and month out. These surveys are easily implemented and collected, so setting smaller goals and measuring the impact of the changes you implement won’t take too much time, and it’s pretty straightforward to get done as well. However, they can have a significant impact on revenue.
There are a lot of vanity metrics out there that companies waste time fussing about. As you can see, employee engagement is not one of them.
In addition to pulse surveys — which give you a concrete number to work with — there are other ways of measuring employee engagement that gives you an idea about what to work on and how. These include the one-on-one interviews we mentioned earlier, stay and exit interviews, and the employee Net Promoter Score.
Employee pulse surveys
Most companies still focus on yearly or quarterly surveys, which are not very reliable for measuring employee engagement. For one, they offer a glimpse into an employee’s current feelings, which is then applied to a considerable period (a quarter or a year). Basing a year-long strategy on this is not what you should be doing.
Secondly, these surveys can take a long time to complete. After a while, your employees will get frustrated with filling it out, and their answers will not reflect their true feelings.
That’s why we suggest doing employee pulse surveys — short surveys that employees can complete in a couple of minutes, which means that you can seriously up their frequency.
Again, we suggest designing them as opinion scales from 1 to 10. The result is a numerical value that gives you a quantifiable result and a tangible and practical number to act on.
Surveys, whenever possible, should be anonymous to allow the respondents to answer what they genuinely mean without fearing repercussions. However, to truly understand the engagement of your employees, it’s crucial that you do talk to your employees.
And the best moment to do that is during one-on-one meetings: here, your managers can hone in on specificities and see what needs to change and which issues need to be addressed for the engagement to go up.
Pro Tip? You can easily design and send out simple pulse surveys through the Ambassify platform. This way, you don’t have to invest in creating your proprietary survey software, nor do you have additional expenses of using another third-party provider.
Aside from performance reviews and other structured interviews, managers in your company should take the time to talk to employees about various aspects of engagement. These meetings should be less formal, and the employees need to be told that they can be as honest and as forthcoming as they want to be.
Make clear from the start that the goal is not assigning blame but finding out which improvements can be done to facilitate, encourage and drive employee engagement. Assure your people that your employees’ wellness and wellbeing in the workplace are your priority, and they will open up to you.
Since these meetings are personal, managers really get a chance to sit down with an employee and get personal. They will be able to get to know their team members a bit better and dig a bit deeper into every sub-metric of engagement and get actual pointers about the direction the company needs to go in.
In and of themselves, these meetings are a great way to show that you are invested and that you care. And this, of course, should go a long way toward proving to people that you’re interested in their personal growth, what they have to say, and in increasing their overall satisfaction with their workplace — all three very important sub-categories of the employee engagement metric.
One of the essential tools for measuring employee engagement (and drilling into it) are exit interviews — that is, with employees who are leaving the company to find out why they are exiting.
However, a better practice is scheduling interviews with the employees and finding out why they are still sticking around. Exit interviews are great, but, at that point, whatever you do might be a little too late.
On top of that, these so-called “stay interviews” give you a chance to have a frank conversation with an employee about what makes them still contribute to the company. More often than not, you will find out the company’s strong points and the things that need to be improved on as you move forward.
If you’re asking yourself which questions would be good ones to ask during these interviews, here are a few examples:
- If there’s one thing that you could (or could have) improve(d) about your work environment, what would it be?
- What’s one specific thing that you dislike about your workday?
- What makes you especially happy about coming to work?
- What are some of the things that make you stay in your job? Why do you work here?
- What are some of the things that you find frustrating about your job?
Employee net promoter score
If there’s one thing that we at Ambassify obsess over, it’s the Net Promoter Score — a metric that helps you gauge how loyal your employees are and to what lengths they would go to promote your company.
It’s the one employee engagement metric you should focus on getting up, even if you’re not working on anything else.
On a scale from 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this company as an excellent workplace?
This is the question you should be asking, and getting anything below a 9 here is nothing to write home about — a score of 8 means that the employee is neutral, and anything below 7 means that they are an actual detractor. They might be even going around telling people to avoid your company!
If your employee NPS is low, don’t just ignore it and hope that it gets better. Actively seek out the reason/s why your employees wouldn’t recommend you. Ask them if they were to give a hypothetical 7 or less to answer this question; what would the reason be?
Again, make sure that the setting is informal and non-confrontational — you want a truthful answer, but the employees need to be reassured that their truthfulness won’t be counted against them.
Alright, so now you’ve measured employee engagement — what’s next?
Now it's time to act!
If you make your employees jump through hoops by filling out surveys and coming into interviews, and then decide not to act on what you’ve learned, you’re going to hurt employee engagement — the very thing you set out to improve. No one likes to be peppered with questions, only for their opinion to be disregarded entirely.
Which is why after measuring employee engagement and having an idea of the points and issues your company should improve on, the next thing to do is act on it!
✔ Thank everyone for participating and share the results — this gives the employees an insight into where you stand as a company and brings it a little closer to home when it zooms in on their department. They now know what to expect in terms of where the focus will be for the following month.
✔ Pick one or two sub-metrics to improve — you definitely won’t be tackling everything in one push since that’s a recipe for getting nothing done. Instead, focus on one or two metrics and work on improving them.
Remember, even incremental increases are acceptable because they can have a profound impact on the bottom line.
✔ Make time for one-on-one meetings — surveys check the pulse of your employees. Now, it’s time to dig deeper. Have managers randomly select employees to ask for advice on what to do to improve the outcomes of future surveys. Remember to keep everyone in the loop even after a course of action has been set — being transparent and open with your employees in every step you take can only benefit you and your company.
✔ Repeat the process — measuring employee engagement is not a one-off process. As we said, you need to keep at it and constantly compare your results to the previous months. That’s the only way to grow, implement changes and cultivate truly engaged employees.
Now that you know how to measure employee engagement, are you excited about implementing the steps and allowing your employees to shine?