How to measure employee engagement


To measure employee engagement, an organization should design an engagement survey.

This survey should be given to all employees and should be done on a regular basis.

Some companies choose to perform an in-depth engagement survey once a year, then use pulse surveys on a more frequent basis to check in on employees. Other organizations choose to have engagement surveys much more frequently.

It all depends on the needs of the organization and the situation inside that particular industry, country, or the world.

Pulse surveys

Pulse surveys can be used to explore individual topics more closely or look further into how specific teams or departments are feeling, delivering real-time feedback from employees that can be used to measure the efficacy of new policies to drive employee engagement, but are less in-depth than an employee engagement survey.

If there has been an event inside the company, such as a change in leadership, disruption in the industry, or some other large event (such as COVID-19), then an engagement survey can be a great tool to help leadership understand how the employees are feeling.

Engagement surveys

The engagement survey is an important starting point for measuring employee engagement, but organizations can also use more continuous strategies to get data more frequently.

Using engagement surveys, pulse surveys, and one-on-one techniques can help an organization have a more complete understanding of employee engagement.

The goal of the engagement survey is to better understand your employees thoughts and feelings about the organization, find where there are problem areas or areas of particular strength, understand trends within the organization, and show your employees that you care about their thoughts and want to improve the organization with their help.

With a survey like this, it is important to design it from the end. It is useless to give your employees a survey if you don’t know what to do with the information you will receive from it.

Think about what you will do with the survey results.

  1. Who will be in charge of following up on the results of the survey?
  2. Who will be leading the action based on the results?
  3. How much action are you willing to take?
  4. What will the action look like?

Smart organizations also direct their management teams to measure engagement on a more individual basis, using one-on-one techniques to better understand how members of each manager’s team are feeling.

Employee engagement metrics

There are many metrics that can be used to measure employee engagement, but keep in mind that every company is different and these metrics will differ year to year, or even depending on the season, especially if your organization has one time of year that is busier or more stressful.

1. Employee turnover rate

Your organization should keep track of the employee turnover rate, as it will give you valuable information about any problem areas within your organization.

There is no one turnover rate that should be aimed for across the board; it will be different for various industries, departments, and levels within an organization.

Consistently high turnover rates within one team or department could be an indication of an engagement issue.

Engaged employees stay with their company, as they are plugged into the greater goals of the organization and want to work to help achieve them.

2. Absenteeism

This metric is closely associated with the turnover rate.

As stated above, engaged employees show up to work, and want to put in the effort so that the organization will succeed.

If there is a high percentage of absenteeism within your organization, you should take that as a sign that your employees are not engaged.

3. Employee net promoter score

This is a simple, but effective, metric that simply consists of asking employees if they would recommend working at your organization to friends, colleagues, or family.

It is scored on a 0 to 10 scale, with 6 or less being classified as a ‘detractor’, 7 to 8 being considered ‘passive’ and 9 and 10 being considered ‘promoters’.

Survey your employees on this question, subtract the detractors from the promoters, and you will have your organization’s score.

A negative score will tell you that employees, on the whole, don’t recommend your organization as a place to work, while a positive score shows good employee engagement.

4. New employee engagement

Look at the rates of new employee 90-day failure, as well as employee engagement with onboarding content.

If your employees are failing right out of the gate, this is a key indicator that they are not being set up for success within your organization. This can be traced back to a lot of factors, including a bad onboarding process, lack of training, or bad company culture.

Employee engagement survey questions

We have mentioned that it is important to create a well-designed survey, but what questions should be there?

Employee engagement survey questions should cover the following areas, and should be rated on a scale from one to five:

1. Individual needs, feelings and beliefs

Good examples of this type of question:

  • I feel like I am compensated fairly for the work that I do
  • I am proud to work here
  • I would recommend this organization to friends and colleagues
  • I feel motivated by my role, team or workplace

2. Trust in team, management and leadership

These questions could include:

  • I feel valued by my manager and team
  • I trust my colleagues and management team
  • I enjoy working with my team
  • I feel that the goals of the company are aligned with my own
  • I trust the leadership of this company

3. Teamwork focused questions

Some example questions are:

  • I feel that my team is effective
  • I trust my colleagues to do their jobs well
  • My team helps me complete my work
  • I know who I can turn to for help

4. Career development and support

Questions like:

  • I am given the proper time and resources to do my job well
  • I feel that I have been trained properly for my role
  • I know what is expected of me
  • I see myself working here in five years
  • I am excited by my work

5. Value and recognition

Questions like:

  • I am recognized for my work
  • I feel like I am valued by my organization
  • I think I am rewarded fairly for my effort

6. Confidence in the future

Questions like:

  • I believe this company will be successful in reaching their goals in the long term
  • My leadership team is effective
  • My organization’s long term goals match my own

All of the questions in these categories can be adjusted to better suit your particular organization.

The purpose of the employee engagement survey is to get a deeper understanding of your unique organization, and so there is no pre-made survey that can achieve that. For example, if there has been a recent shakeup of leadership, the survey might have more questions about trust in leadership than one for an organization that has had the same leadership team for decades. Consider what areas your organization needs to focus on, and design the survey with that in mind.