Employee Engagement Metrics: Measure And Improve Staff Engagement

by
Philip Cleave
on
May 31, 2023
Woman involved in employee engagement activity with her work colleagues

As the modern-day workforce continues to get more complex and remote, the need to track and monitor your staff engagement levels has never been more important.

Considering that the most engaged employees tend to produce the best quality work, as they typically have a more committed and motivated mindset, you’ll want to maintain the highest levels of engagement.

However, as our work environments become increasingly remote and diverse, it can be ever more challenging to keep every employee engaged compared to when everyone was working under one roof. Consequently, the demand for effective tools that you can use to monitor and measure engagement, so you can identify and provide more support to those that need it, is becoming increasingly important.

That’s where the benefits of using surveys and employee metrics comes to the fore.

What are employee engagement metrics?

Employee engagement metrics are essentially measurable indicators that HR professionals and other managers can use to track and check in with their staff about how engaged they feel at work.

These indicators help to break down staff happiness into trackable numbers and objective scores. Such measurements can help you to understand the state of employee engagement at your organization and better identify where you need to make improvements in your workplace.

How do you measure employee engagement?

From the number of lengths you swam in your local swimming pool to the number of steps you took over the course of a day. When it comes to measuring things, some areas are easily quantifiable. However, measuring staff engagement levels is not quite so simple, which is not helped by the fact that engagement is made up of a combination of things including motivation, happiness, satisfaction and commitment.

Engagement can be a complex issue. For example, a worker could be highly committed in their job, but also burnt out. Similarly, another staff member could be motivated by extra money to hit their sales target, but unhappy with their job and the company they work for overall, resulting in a lack of interest in any other company activities.

While there is no single employee engagement metric that can tell you everything you need to know about employee engagement, a mix of metrics can help you to better understand your employees, inform your decisions and help you to have more meaningful conversations with them.

So, here is a mix of metrics to consider using:

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

Highly engaged staff tend to be more positive and loyal about the organization they work for. Subsequently, the popular employee net promoter score (eNPS) metric, which helps measure employee loyalty, is a good place to start in terms of getting a handle on your staff engagement levels.

This metric can be measured by asking your employees the following question:

"On a scale of zero to ten, how likely would you be to recommend our company to others as a great place to work?"

‍(in this context those rating you closest to zero would be the least likely and those closer to ten the most likely to recommend you to others)

Following your collection and review of their answers, you can then divide your employees into the following groups:

  • Promoters – staff that rated you a nine or a ten are considered your promoters and indicate that they’re happy and engaged
  • Passives – those that responded with a seven or an eight are neither happy or unhappy. While they’re unlikely to recommend your business to a friend, they’re unlikely to say anything negative about you to others too
  • Detractors – Anyone who gave you a rating of below six are referred to as detractors and are most likely to be unhappy and the least engaged

To calculate your eNPS, you’ll need to subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters. Alternatively, for a simpler way of working out this crucial figure, you might like to try our eNPS calculator.

You should now be left with a score of between –100 and 100. Any positive score is considered good, while anything below zero should serve as a warning that you need to work harder at identifying and making the improvements you need to boost workforce engagement levels within your organizations.

Employee satisfaction

There is a clear link between employee satisfaction and engagement, with happier staff likely to have higher levels of engagement. Therefore, when you’re trying to assess your levels of workforce engagement it’s useful to try and work out your employee satisfaction score (ESAT).

You can get a better idea of your employees' contentment with your organization by asking them the following questions:

"How satisfied are you with the organization you work for?"

As part of this question, every staff member is also encouraged to rate their experience on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 which is “very dissatisfied” to 5 which is “very satisfied”.

To calculate your ESAT score you have to take your number of satisfied employees (those who rated you either a 4 or a 5) and divide this by your total number of responses and then multiply this by 100. For example, if 60 out of 100 of your employees gave you a rating of 4 or 5, your overall ESAT score would be 60.

Your total ESAT score needs to reside somewhere between zero and 100.

To get a more detailed insight into the levels of engagement within your organization, you might want to include some additional questions to the ESAT metric question, as part of a wider employee satisfaction survey.

Wider questions you could ask include:

  • How valued do you feel in your role?
  • Is your job allowing you to use the full remit of your skills?
  • Do you have a good relationship with your manager?
  • Do you see a career path to advance your career within the organization?
  • How well do you feel the organization prioritizes your wellbeing?
  • Are we delivering experiences that help keep you engaged and motivated?

Voluntary employee turnover rate

It stands to reason that happier and more highly engaged staff are less likely to voluntarily leave than those that are unhappy and disengaged. And when you consider that turnover is one of the highest organizational costs, and that a lower turnover leads to less disruption, greater cohesion and increased productivity, then being able to calculate your own voluntary employee turnover rate is very useful indeed.

To calculate your voluntary employee turnover rate, you need to take a particular period of time and add up the number of employees who voluntarily left during that time period. Next you divide this by your number of employees for that same time period and then multiple this by 100.

Staff retention rate

Closely related to your turnover rate is your staff retention rate, which focuses on measuring the number of people who stay at your organization, and therefore indicates their engagement.

The higher your retention rate the better, as firstly this helps you to cut down on the costs of onboarding a new employee. Secondly, it also helps increase productivity, as the longer someone is with your organization, the better their understanding of internal processes. Employees that understand this tend to do things faster and with greater accuracy too.

Finally, a good retention rate will enable you to build solid teams and a stronger organizational culture while developing the same group of people.

To calculate your employee retention rate, you need to take your number of employees and subtract them from the number of employees who left, divide this by your total number of employees and multiple that figure by 100.

Absenteeism

This is another useful metric that can be used to help you measure levels of engagement within your organization.

Workplace absenteeism can be an indicator of many things including poor working conditions, bad leadership or the lack of a healthy work balance. But it can also be an indicator of issues with staff contentment and engagement, as high absenteeism rates tend to correlate with low employee satisfaction. The problem with absenteeism is that it’s a behavior that can also have a serious knock-on effect for the rest of your business resulting in a greater workload for other staff, which in turn can turn into a vicious cycle of more stress and job dissatisfaction.

So, you need to find ways of improving staff satisfaction and engagement, in order to reduce absenteeism rates.

However, the first thing you need to do is learn how to calculate your absenteeism rate. To do this you need to take the volume of your absent days and divide this by the total number of workdays in a year, before multiplying this figure by 100.

Employee engagement survey participation rate

Issuing an employee engagement survey to your staff, is still good way of gaging the levels of engagement among your workforce, as well as any triggers that could be affecting it.

However, you can’t improve your employee engagement if no one responds to them. So, in part, measuring your survey participation rates can actually be an effective indicator of how engaged your staff members are, or at least, how much time or inclination they have to take part in your company processes.

Generally speaking, the more engaged the staff member, the more likely they’ll be to take a few minutes out of their day to take part in these surveys – unless of course their workload is too heavy to do so.

Yet, even if you experience a low engagement response to your survey, it’s not the end of the world, as it can actually provide an opportunity for you to try to understand why their rate is low and improve it. In this case you would need to ask yourself questions such as:

Are our surveys too long?

Are our staff too busy to complete them?

Do we send out our surveys too often?

Whatever insights you gather as part of this process, they could be extremely useful in helping to better understand your working environment and the different pressures your staff face.

Customer happiness

You may not think it, but the levels of happiness among your customers can be an indicator of the levels of engagement among your workforce. As such, a low staff engagement rate can trigger low customer satisfaction and the other way around too.

Consider a situation where you were dealing with a customer services department. You’re more likely to be satisfied at the end of that call if the person you were speaking to was calm, friendly, and went the extra mile to help you, as opposed to them coming across as moody and disinterested.

However, this metric must only be taken into consideration after other more important employee engagement metrics have been explored. This is because sometimes customers can still be happy, even if the employee they’re dealing with at the end of the phone sounds a bit distant, due to issues such as staff burn out. So, it’s important to strike a balance in your reasoning around these issues.

Glassdoor.com rating

Finally, another interesting, but less obvious way of assessing how engaged and contented your employees are, is to see what they’re saying about you on external sites such as glassdoor.com.

Having established itself as the leading employer review site and authority on assessing workplace satisfaction, Glassdoor is now the go to website that job seekers go to when checking out which companies they should apply to. Subsequently, this also shows the importance of staff engagement and satisfaction beyond just an internal audience, in this case the ability of an organization to attract talent externally.

Ratings on Glassdoor are based on the following 5-point employee feedback scale, where those offering a rating of:

  • 0.00 – 1.50 are “Very Dissatisfied”
  • 1.51 – 2.50 are “Dissatisfied”
  • 2.51 – 3.50 are “Okay”
  • 3.51 – 4.00 are “Satisfied”
  • 4.01 – 5.00 are “Very Satisfied”

Glassdoor also uses an algorithm to emphasize recent reviews, which gives them more weight. This is to give readers the most up-to-date satisfaction score for the company.

Typically, the rating you see on a company profile will be the overall rating of all approved reviews that the company has ever received after applying the proprietary algorithm, which among other factors weights recent reviews more heavily than older ones.

Measuring employee engagement should be an ongoing process

Much like any business strategy you employ, if you’re going to give yourself the best chance of success any employee engagement activities that you implement must be performed on an ongoing basis, not just as a one off.

While each of the metrics we’ve outlined here will present you with a different view of staff engagement levels within your organization, every business is different. So, you’ll need to find the right mix of metrics to meet your requirements.

Engaged employees are highly motivated and productive people, who help bring out the best in their organizations. Consequently, if you’re tracking and monitoring them with engagement metrics it will be easier to keep them engaged, as you’ll be better able to spot and resolve any issues early on. So, even if you’re only currently using a few metrics, you should be doing better on the engagement front, than if you were using nothing at all.

Delivering positive experiences can boost staff engagement too

If you’re to improve employee engagement you need to be generating positive experiences, alongside your tracking and monitoring of staff. However, to do this, you also need to be using the right survey tools.

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