“Am I measuring employee engagement the right way?”
If this is a question that’s ever crossed your mind, then you have come to the right place!
Measuring the engagement levels of your employees is the best way to understand what actions need to be taken to retain employees, boost productivity, attract good talent, and improve employee engagement itself.
But it is not as straightforward and easy as it sounds because, what your employees feel about the organization is influenced by multiple different factors.
It is almost like you can easily measure how much time a person has actually worked in a day, but concluding how committed and productive they were during the same time period is exceptionally hard to determine.
But it isn’t impossible either.
Since engagement depends on multiple factors such as work-life balance, work environment, and autonomy, you can understand the engagement levels at your organization by delving deep into each of these aspects.
However, no HR leader can manually get to the bottom of these aspects and gauge engagement levels.
That’s why you need employee engagement surveys.
Employee surveys help you collect feedback from multiple employees at once and on various aspects. These insights collected will help you measure the engagement level of your employees, no matter what the size of your organization is.
Measuring employee engagement is essential for the growth of any organization. As you already know, it helps you improve the productivity, efficiency, and retention of your employees. At the same time, it continues to be a challenging task for a lot of HRs and requires a data-informed employee engagement strategy to see real results.
Here’s what we think: even though it's a challenging task with the right data collection approach, frequent employee surveys, and a tangible feedback action plan, you can overcome the challenges of measuring engagement and see some fantastic results.
But back to where we started: how do you tell if you are measuring employee engagement the right way or not?
Buckle-up. We’ll tell you all about it right here.
What is employee engagement?
In today’s fast-growing and competitive world, retaining top talent has become a major challenge for organizations.
“How do I keep all my employees happy and retain them?” is a question that secretly lurks in the minds of all HR leaders.
If you ask us “whether employee happiness and satisfaction alone are keys to employee engagement?” our answer is a clear - NO!
Just because your employees seem to be happily participating in all the engagement initiatives like casual Fridays, potluck, etc. isn’t enough reason for them to stay back at your organization if they are offered another job opportunity. Employee engagement is so much more than that.
In reality, the actual definition of employee engagement is when an employee is emotionally invested in the success of his/her team and company such that he/she goes that extra mile to get things done for the company.
And that too, today, with the world slowly adapting to the post-pandemic work culture, engagement has become a more vital aspect for the success of any business.
Almost every HR leader would agree to the fact that engaged employees are productive and profitable for the company they work for.
“44% of businesses think improved employee engagement would lead to them better being able to retain, whilst 36% think it would have a positive impact on recruitment” (CBI)
But engagement does not happen on its own. It is important for HRs and managers to carefully nurture and sustain it. And for that, measuring employee engagement and coming up with data-backed strategies is crucial.
If you scour through the internet, you might find hundreds of definitions for “What an employee engagement is?” from various HR thought leaders across the world. That’s because employee engagement is a multi-faceted psychological construct, and it depends on multiple factors.
Now that makes measuring employee engagement equally complex.
But before we get to the how of measuring engagement, let's understand why measuring employee engagement is important.
Why does measuring employee engagement matter?
The first step to improve a metric is to measure it the right way because what gets measured gets managed better.
Truth be told, when it comes to employee engagement, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. That is why what might work for people at Google or Facebook might not work for your employees.
And for the very same reason, that employee engagement is a constantly fluctuating metric that is dependent on multiple factors that vary from organization to organization makes measuring it regularly a necessity. And once you start measuring employee engagement regularly, you’ll get unique insights about your organization and that will tell you what to improve.
But what supersedes the frequency of surveys is your ability to take action on the feedback received from your employees at a faster rate, because there’s nothing worse than asking your employees for feedback and being ignorant about it.
Now let’s discuss some of the benefits of measuring employee engagement:-
- Lets you identify your strengths and weaknesses - Gauging employee engagement helps you stay informed about your strengths so you can develop them furthermore and will also point you towards your weaknesses, so you know what needs to be improved to create a better company culture.
- Increases commitment towards work - Once you start listening to your employees’ feedback regularly, and act on it, there’s a greater chance that they would be more committed and productive at work.
- Lowers absenteeism - Engaged employees take their jobs very seriously and also care about their team, company, and customers. So naturally, they would have a lower rate of absenteeism.
- Increase in retention rates- With all the employee feedback initiatives being taken in the process of measuring employee engagement, an HR leader can quickly analyze the employee’s problems and find a solution for it at a faster rate, which makes them feel valued and thereby increases the retention rate.
- Improves transparency within the organization - The whole process of anonymous employee feedback makes the fact true that "From a CEO to a janitor, every employee’s voice matters" and this enables employees to give un-filtered feedback about their work environment anonymously thereby enabling transparency in the organization.
There are a number of reasons why you should measure employee engagement. But if not done right, your entire employee engagement strategy can backfire.
That is why investing in a people analytics tool can be your best bet. Let’s see how to measure the engagement levels of your employees the right way.
How to measure engagement?
To measure employee engagement, you would ask your employees a few relevant questions related to their workplace engagement, analyze their feedback, and take action on it.
Not as easy as it sounds though especially the ‘analyze the feedback’ part!
No matter what the size of your organization is, to truly measure the pulse of your employees, you need to have a proper measurement strategy that covers all bases of your workplace engagement. Plus, it should provide you with accurate and in-depth insights into your existing levels of employee engagement.
Here’s where you can start, with some best practices that can help you measure the engagement of your employees the right way:
- Establish an employee engagement goal for you to chase and communicate it with your team.
- Decide the engagement drivers you want to measure.
- Curate employee survey questions and conduct anonymous employee engagement surveys.
- Measure and track productivity and engagement metrics using the feedback received from the surveys.
- Set up one-on-one meetings to obtain better clarity on your engagement.
Establish employee engagement goals
Even before you start measuring employee engagement, set an engagement goal or target.
When it comes to measuring employee engagement, what you would want to do is to see where you currently stand and what you can improve in terms of your organization’s employee engagement to reach the set engagement goal.
Isn’t it always better to know what you are chasing than randomly flail your arms in all directions - maybe it is a 10% increase in your engagement rate or a 5% increase in your retention rate.
To start with an engagement goal is more important than anything else so you know you are working towards a quantifiable goal and can constantly measure and track your progress.
But, before you set the engagement goal, you also need to be aware and prepared for the following:
- Do you have a person or a team to follow up and take actions based on the insights you’ll receive from your measurement strategy?
- Do you have the right tool for measuring employee engagement?
- Can you sustain engagement?
These are common, overlooked holes at the bottom of the boat that you need to plug before you set sail with your employee engagement strategy.
Now, you might be wondering how you can decide on an employee engagement goal or a standard to chase?
Let us clear the air around that.
Engagement does not have a one-size-fits-all approach, and it varies from organization to organization. Thus, there isn’t a magic number we can point you to as a target for your engagement strategies.
Every organization's engagement goal is dependent on various factors - their employee size, existing organization culture, CEO’s influence on the organization, and more. That is why it is essential to select an engagement goal that is directly aligned with your desired business outcomes.
Now, continuously monitoring your progress on the employee engagement front and tracking your engagement scores in real-time isn’t quite possible without a people analytics software.
This is where a platform like CultureMonkey can be of help.
CultureMonkey is an end-to-end employee engagement software that lets HR leaders listen to the feedback of their employees, measure the engagement score from the feedback received, and auto-recommends actionable feedback insights.
Further in the post, we’ll tell you in detail how an employee analytics software like CultureMonkey can help you measure the engagement of your employees.
Engagement drivers you need to measure.
Measuring employee engagement is like estimating the mileage of a vehicle. It is not just dependent on one but a number of factors including the speed of the vehicle, an engine’s capacity, the pressure in the tires, and much more.
Similarly, to measure your employee’s engagement you have to measure various factors that influence the engagement of your employees.
So, once you have your engagement goal in place, the next thing to do is to decide on these factors that you want to measure.
For example, CultureMonkey measures engagement through these 15 essential employee engagement drivers:
- Work-life balance
- Growth & Development
- Social connection
- Purpose alignment
- Meaningful work
You might be now wondering - “How you could possibly measure all these drivers that influence employee engagement?”
Enter - Employee surveys.
Employee engagement surveys
Employee engagement surveys offer one of the quickest and most effective ways to measure employee engagement i.e to ask your employees how they feel about their work by using different scales of rating and collect real-time data about how they feel.
Let’s dive deeper into how we can leverage employee feedback surveys to measure engagement.
Before you send employee surveys, you must make sure that you are asking relevant questions to them in the survey, that capture their opinions with clarity and allows them to give honest feedback.
Curating survey questions from the internet and using google forms to send surveys may not be the most reliable way to measure engagement as it can be way too time-consuming and lead to manual errors.
Again, that’s where an employee engagement software like CultureMonkey can be of particular help.
CultureMonkey lets you choose employee survey questions from its library of 50+ carefully researched survey templates and allows you to send surveys to your employees, with just a click of a button.
Not only that, CultureMonkey lets you create custom survey templates and add questions to your existing survey template because you know best what to ask and not ask your employees.
That said, let's see what are the types of surveys you can send to your employees to measure their engagement.
As the name suggests, pulse surveys are short, quick surveys that let you collect feedback from your employees and that give you an immediate snapshot of your employees’ mood, that too with just a few sets of survey questions asked frequently.
And when it comes to the frequency of a pulse survey, based on your organization’s engagement strategy you could time it to a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis.
The fact that pulse surveys let you collect real-time, frequent feedback from your employees enables you to assess what needs to be improved in workplace engagement and at the same time, lets you be more attentive to the issues faced by your employees.
And conducting a pulse survey alongside an annual engagement survey will help you compare insights to strategize a comprehensive employee engagement strategy for your employees.
If you’re looking for some pulse survey questions to send to your employees, refer to the article here.
Employee lifecycle surveys are one of the best ways to leverage employee surveys as an engagement tool because it helps you cover all the bases in an employee’s lifecycle in the organization, from onboarding to the exit stage.
Employee experience starts right from when a candidate is being onboarded into your organization to after he/she exits the organization. All the insights you gather in between these stages are what will help you to measure, improve and maintain your engagement with your workforce.
CultureMonkey’s employee survey platform lets you automate your employee lifecycle surveys, which means you can sit back and relax while the survey software gathers valuable insights from your employees about their work experience with you.
Furthermore, CultureMonkey gives you lots of other insights and stats like the participation rate for your surveys, so that you can figure out what needs to be done to improve your employees’ survey experience.
Speaking of improving employee experience, certain surveys are quintessential for measuring employee engagement for instance the employee onboarding and exit surveys.
Employee onboarding surveys are what HR leaders generally use to gather information about how the new hires are settling into their organization, to ensure if their onboarding has been smooth. But, there’s much more you as an HR leader can do to further leverage onboarding surveys.
For instance, you can ask questions to gauge what kind of work environment a new employee is expecting in their new(your) organization. These insights will help you understand their mindset even better, and this tactic could certainly help you to understand the expectations of the new generations - millennials and Gen-Zs.
Now, let’s talk about how employee exit surveys can help you measure engagement.
Employee exit surveys are one of the best ways to get honest feedback from your parting employees.
Comparing the results of these surveys with the previous exit surveys will help you identify any pattern in your company’s turnover, and armed with that insight, you can improve the retention rate at your organization.
With exit surveys, you can ask your parting employees questions on “how your current company culture can be improved?” and take suggestions from them to create a better work environment for your existing employees.
Employee net promoter score surveys
Net promoter score is a metric used by organizations globally to measure the loyalty of their customers towards their brand.
Quite similarly, employee net promoter score or e-NPS is an important engagement metric that needs to be tracked to identify the ambassadors of your organization and to understand the engagement levels of your current employees.
Unlike other employee engagement metrics, eNPS is great for getting a precise engagement score. Basically, you ask your employees survey questions like - How likely are they to recommend their family or friends to work in your company? (And that’s a rating question on a scale of 1-10)
Based on their responses to the e-NPS survey, your employees are classified into three groups - Detractors(who vote between 0-6), passives(who score between 7-8), and promoters(who score between 9-10).
Detractors are employees who might think that your organization’s work culture needs to be improved and are highly likely to leave, whereas promoters are the actual ambassadors of your organization who bring you more employee referrals.
Although e-NPS surveys do not exactly tell you why your detractors don’t recommend your organization for work, you at least get a snapshot of the health of your organization.
CultureMonkey’s people analytics platform measures and calculates the e-NPS by gauging the difference between the percentage of promoters and detractors. The e-NPS is not expressed in terms of percentage but as an absolute number lying between -100 and +100.
Measure employee engagement metrics like productivity and retention rates of your employees
Now here comes the real deal which is, measuring your employee engagement using people analytics software.
Let’s assume you are an organization of almost 500+ employees, and you launch a survey using a regular survey tool. Now after you get the survey data, you will realize how painful it is to calculate the engagement score using mere spreadsheets.
This is where a people analytics tool steps in and saves the day for you.
Let us take CultureMonkey for a reference here, and see how a people analytics platform can efficiently help you with number crunching.
CultureMonkey’s employee engagement platform helps you send engagement surveys and gathers feedback from your employees.
Once the feedback is collected, our feedback app analyses each response received using AI/ML algorithms and matches it with the 15 employee engagement drivers that we discussed earlier, and populates the engagement score for those drivers respectively.
The average of all engagement driver scores gives you the employee engagement score of your organization.
With that being said, it is not only an HR leader’s job to measure and sustain employee engagement but a manager’s job too.
That’s why CultureMonkey’s engagement platform has dedicated manager dashboards that let managers keep a tab on their individual team’s engagement levels and also monitor their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to managing the engagement of their employees.
This particular aspect of CultureMonkey’s manager dashboard enables the individual managers to introspect into their leadership style better and provides a sustainable chance for them to improve their game.
Speaking of improving the engagement levels from an individual manager’s perspective, CultureMonkey enables managers to set target engagement scores, which empowers them to strategize their engagement plan on a more personalized level to execute it and improve engagement.
Personalization is the key to any employee engagement strategy and nothing beats a one-on-one meeting with your manager, where he/she gets to coach, mentor, and gives clarity to you, and even lets you express what needs to be improved to increase your workplace engagement to them.
With the pandemic forcing most of the organizations to work remotely, employees are in non-sync with their managers now more than ever, and this has made it essential for you, as a manager to have regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with your employees.
Moreover, nothing beats a personalized engagement approach, where you sit with your employee and listen to what they got to say.
Also, employees are more likely to share detailed and actionable feedback with you when you’re meeting one-on-one with them.
That too, when you compliment the traditional one-on-one meetings with the employee surveys, you will have a higher chance of driving employee engagement in your organization.
Now, while setting up a one-on-one meeting with your employee, there are certain things you need to make sure to get valuable feedback from them:
- Open up with an ice-breaker conversation, to make the conversation lighter and make the employee feel comfortable with the process.
- Get rid of any distractions while speaking to them and put your complete focus on what they say.
- Talk about their interests, this makes them feel that you care about them and they will trust you and give honest feedback.
- Make sure that - the interaction and the feedback received remain confidential.
What to do after you measure engagement?
Your actual work of improving employee engagement starts only when you are done with measuring it. One might have utilized any method to gauge the engagement, but it is pointless if you do not collate the data collected and start acting on it in the first place.
Taking actions to resolve the feedback received should be the first step you need to take to enhance the satisfaction, productivity, and engagement of your employees.
“60% of US employees say they have ways of giving feedback about their experience, only 30% say it’s acted on by their employer.”
Let us walk you through some of the best measures you can take to make a better impact with your survey results.
Leverage the survey data
When you use a good employee analytics software, you get access to multiple dimensions of survey data and engagement scores that you can leverage to come up with an employee engagement strategy that is data-driven and suits your needs.
For instance, if you get a lot of employee feedback regarding the lack of communication from the leadership, you instantly know what you need to do to make the changes.
Also, don’t get overwhelmed with all the varied employee feedback you receive. Instead, pick the low-hanging fruits first i.e feedback that is easily resolvable with just a little intervention from your end.
Ask yourself questions like:-
- How can I improve the productivity of my team using the survey data?
- How engaged are my employees right now?
- Are there any common trends that you can see from the feedback results that need your immediate attention?
Create an employee engagement strategy
Once you are done with your employee engagement survey, you get to compare the results with the engagement goal that you set in the beginning as a north star metric.
You can then analyze the areas you need to improve on and assess what is working for you in the areas where you are performing great.
Based on these observations from the survey results, create an improvised employee engagement strategy that would enable you to strengthen your engagement with your employees and meet your engagement goal.
Remember - speed is of the greatest essence in this stage, so it is recommended you address the survey results while they are still relevant.
Communicate the results and engagement plan
You cannot generate trust amongst your employees if you don’t be transparent with them about the process of employee engagement.
That is why you must convey your survey results and the follow-up engagement plans to them through a company-wide meeting or town hall so that everybody is informed about what is happening.
This aspect of you being transparent towards your employees will drive great survey participation rates in the future and act as a reminder to trust you as a leader who genuinely cares about the employees.
Also, take time to get feedback from your employees about the engagement practices you conduct and improve as per their feedback - for example, if most of your employees feel that their pulse surveys should be more frequent, you know what you need to do then and there.
Follow-up and repeat the plan.
As a people leader, when it comes to improving engagement, you need to frequently and quickly follow up with your employee feedback, because a successful workplace engagement strategy is a cyclical journey of constant improvement.
Comparing the new results with the older ones to see how far you have come, making improvised engagement strategies, and providing a great work experience for your employees - is what it takes to become a great place to work for.
Thus, keep rinsing the existing strategy and repeating it to sustain and improve employee engagement in your organization.
Thank your employees for participating
Express your gratitude and appreciation towards your employees constantly. Because, without their support and cooperation, there is no engagement strategy you can pursue.
This gesture of yours, makes your employees feel more involved and motivated in the process of measuring engagement.
Common mistakes that happen while measuring employee engagement
Here are some common mistakes you, as a leader, can avoid while measuring employee engagement.
- Not managing the frequency of your employee engagement surveys
Engagement is not something you just measure annually. As we discussed earlier - it's a constantly fluctuating factor based on your employees’ feelings towards their work environment.
For instance, the state of your employees who once used to see work from home as an incentive might have probably changed now due to prolonged remote work.
Moreover, when you have long gaps between surveys, you miss out on important feedback and by the time you have your hands on the feedback and try acting on it, it would have been too late.
That is why conducting employee surveys frequently, matters.
- Solely relying on pulse surveys to gauge engagement
Yes, pulse surveys help you get short, frequent, and instant feedback from your employees. However, pulse surveys shouldn’t be the only weapon in your arsenal when measuring engagement.
We agree that an annual engagement survey is a once-in-a-year activity and that it can’t offer insights in real-time, but they gather a lot of useful information that enables you to see the bigger picture in terms of your organization’s engagement which a short pulse survey could possibly not provide.
Even employee lifecycle surveys can help you reduce the friction between annual engagement and pulse surveys by measuring the engagement of your employees at each stage of their lifecycle.
- Conducting employee survey only for a sample employee population
Surveying just a sample population is one of the worst mistakes you could do while measuring engagement. Because the survey results that you receive by getting feedback from that sample audience will skew your overall engagement metrics.
Some companies don’t include blue-collar employees and other executives as their survey participants because, at times, these guys don’t have access to emails and reaching them with a survey is hard.
This whole concept of excluding certain employees from participating in employee surveys defies the whole purpose of conducting the survey, which is to enable all your employees from the CEO to a janitor to voice out their opinions transparently.
- Chasing numbers when it comes to employee engagement
Your engagement survey results are indeed valuable as they give a metric for you to understand the success of your efforts. But most companies derail from their actual engagement initiative while chasing employee engagement scores.
If you are overcome by the need to show your leadership a fabulous engagement score, then check yourself. What measuring employee engagement should ideally do for you is, help you track, improve and sustain engagement.
There really is no point in chasing numbers (Engagement scores). Instead, use these numbers or these surveys to drive change within the organization - to consistently improve employee engagement.
An engagement survey’s sole purpose is to listen to the feedback of your employees, and it's not a tool for you to just calculate a final score that you can boast about. But rather, using it as an opportunity to reach or sustain high levels of engagement.
Because employee engagement is a very dynamic area influenced by a lot of factors, it is constantly changing. So getting a high engagement score once does not ensure your score remains the same forever. Rather, looking at the engagement score consistently as a metric that shows the impact of your engagement strategy is what we would recommend to you.
Now that we’ve discussed all the measurement strategies and action plan to improve your organization’s employee engagement, it's all in your hands as a people leader to pick up the strategy that works best for your organization and put it into action.
But remember, at every stage of the process of measuring employee engagement, it is essential that you collect accurate data because that is what will drive you in the right direction in improving your employee engagement.
Pssst… If you’re really interested in measuring your employees' engagement the right way - do check us out here.