How to measure employee engagement

By Gabe Scorgie

8 min read

How to measure employee engagement
Image by Kevin Yu

There’s no question that employee engagement is key to the success of your business. Engaged employees are invested in their work, enthusiastic about the company’s mission, and they’re typically committed to going the extra mile. Obviously, this translates into a number of benefits, including increased productivity, lower turnover rates, and a boost in overall company performance.

But how can you tell if your employees are truly engaged? To understand the sentiment of your workforce and identify areas for improvement, you’ll need to measure employee engagement. This article will help you understand how to do that and equip you with the necessary strategies and tools to effectively measure engagement and create a thriving and productive work environment.

Understanding employee engagement

Employee engagement goes beyond simply showing up for work. Instead, it refers to the level of enthusiasm, dedication, and the overall connection your employees feel towards their job, their team, and the organization.

The concept of employee engagement can be broken down into three distinct components:

  • Emotional commitment: Reflects an employee’s loyalty and sense of belonging within the company
  • Cognitive involvement: Refers to their level of focus, concentration, and how mentally invested they are in their work
  • Behavioral engagement: Their willingness to go the extra mile and contribute positively to your organization’s goals

With an understanding of these three components of measuring employee engagement, companies are able to identify any areas for improvement, foster more positive work environments, and, in the end, to drive higher productivity, retention rates, and overall company performance.

Methods of measuring employee engagement

There are a variety of methods organizations can use that will provide comprehensive insights into how their employees feel about their jobs in the company. Measuring employee engagement could include:

Surveys and questionnaires 

Surveys are important as they allow employees to anonymously share their feelings and perspectives, providing you with valuable data that they may not share otherwise.

Types of surveys:

Pulse surveys: These are short, frequent surveys that require your employee’s answers on specific topics, allowing you to keep your finger on the pulse of engagement

Annual surveys: A more comprehensive survey that’s used to assess overall engagement levels and identify trends over time

Exit interviews: These interviews are conducted with departing employees to help you understand the reasons for leaving and identify any potential areas for improvement

Survey question examples:

Your survey questions should include a combination of both closed-ended and open-ended questions. Open-ended questions will help you quantify data, while open-ended questions encourage employees to share their feelings. For your survey, the majority of your questions should be closed-ended, with just a few open-ended questions included.


  • To what extent do you feel your work is meaningful and contributes to the company's goals? (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree)
  • How often do you feel recognized and appreciated for your contributions? (Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always)


  • What are the aspects of your job that you find most engaging and motivating?
  • In what ways could the company improve communication and transparency with employees?
  • Do you feel you have the resources and support necessary to be successful in your role? If not, what additional resources would be helpful?

Best practices:

  • Keep your surveys concise and anonymous
  • Communicate the purpose of the survey and how the results will be used
  • Clearly define your terms and use consistent language throughout the survey
  • Pilot test your surveys on a small group before putting them in wider distribution

Focus Groups and One-On-One Interviews

Beyond surveys and questionnaires, you can use methods like focus groups or one-on-one interviews, as this can provide you with a window into what your employees are thinking and feeling. A focus group is a small, diverse group of employees that you bring together to discuss specific engagement-related topics. It’s a method that encourages open dialogue and idea sharing, which allows you to gather better insights into the experiences of your employees.

So how do you conduct an effective focus group? Select a well-rounded group of employees with varying levels of experience and from different departments. Prepare a clear discussion guide with open-ended questions, and then facilitate the session objectively — keeping in mind that your objective is to encourage participation from everyone.

There’s also a need for one-on-one interviews, as this provides your employees with a confidential space where they can share honest feedback and concerns. This provides an opportunity for deeper exploration of their experiences and perspectives and can give you a nuanced understanding that will better help you understand the data you collect through surveys.

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

eNPS is a simple yet powerful metric for gauging employee sentiment and loyalty. There’s one core question that asks an employee, “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend this company as a great place to work for your friends and family?” Based on their responses, employees are categorized as Promoters (scores 9-10), Passives (scores 7-8), or Detractors (scores 0-6).

Implementing eNPS:

  • Decide on the frequency of your eNPS surveys – do you want to run them quarterly, annually, etc.
  • Keep the survey concise and anonymous to encourage honest responses
  • Clearly communicate the purpose of the survey and how the results will be used

Analyzing the results and taking action:

  • Calculate your eNPS score by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters
  • Analyze open-ended feedback along with the score to identify areas of strength and weakness
  • Develop action plans to address concerns that were raised by Detractors and leverage the enthusiasm of your Promoters

Key metrics to track

There are a variety of metrics you can use to measure employee engagement that will provide you with a holistic picture of their well-being and performance. Here are some key areas to focus on:

Job satisfaction:

  • Measurement: Use surveys that include questions about enjoyment of work, sense of accomplishment, and alignment with company values
  • Impact: High job satisfaction correlates with increased engagement, productivity, and retention

Employee Turnover Rates:

  • Calculation: Use the number of employees leaving the company within a specific period and divide it by the average number of employees during that period
  • Implications: If you have a high turnover rate, it can be a sign of low engagement and lead to significant costs
  • Engagement Strategies: Use your engagement data to identify reasons for leaving and address factors like lack of development opportunities or poor work culture

Absenteeism Rates:

  • Measurement: This is the percentage of employees who are absent from work on a given day or period
  • Engagement Connection: High absenteeism can indicate disengagement or low morale
  • Engagement Solutions: Invest in initiatives that address underlying issues, such as flexible work arrangements or improved well-being programs

Productivity Levels:

  • Measurement: Tools like project management software, sales figures, or customer satisfaction ratings can provide insights
  • Engagement as a Driver: Engaged employees tend to be more productive and generate higher quality work.

Feedback and Recognition:

  • Measurement: Surveys or tracking systems can gauge employee sentiment towards feedback and recognition programs
  • Importance: Regular feedback and recognition are crucial for employee motivation and engagement

Tools and technologies for measuring engagement

If you equip yourself with the right tools and technologies, you can help streamline your employee engagement measurement efforts. Here are some key options to consider: 

Survey tools:

Popular platforms like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, and Qualtrics offer user-friendly interfaces for creating and distributing surveys. Look for features like customizable question formats, branching logic for personalized experiences, and real-time data analysis to gain instant insights.

Analytics platforms:

HR analytics platforms go beyond basic surveys. Tools like Tableau or Microsoft Power BI allow you to integrate data from various sources, such as employee demographics, performance reviews, and absenteeism records. Having a broad overview enables you to analyze engagement metrics alongside other factors, identify trends and uncover root causes of engagement issues.

Employee feedback platforms:

Platforms like 15Five and Culture Amp offer a more continuous approach to employee feedback. They provide features for regular check-ins, pulse surveys, and anonymous feedback channels, allowing employees to share their thoughts and concerns in real-time. These dedicated platforms foster a culture of open communication, providing valuable data for ongoing engagement improvement efforts.

Analyzing and interpreting engagement data

Before you can take action, you’ll need to extract the insights your engagement data has provided. There are several techniques you can use:

Data collection and management:

  • Implement a system for secure data collection and storage
  • Ensure data privacy and confidentiality by anonymizing responses and adhering to data protection regulations

Data Analysis Techniques:

  • Qualitative Data: Analyze open-ended responses from surveys and interviews to understand employee perspectives and concerns
  • Quantitative Data: Use statistical methods like calculating averages, medians, and correlations to identify trends in closed-ended survey responses

Identifying Trends and Patterns:

  • Look for patterns over time, across departments, or in different demographics
  • Use these insights to identify areas of strength and weakness in your engagement strategy 

Taking action based on engagement data

The power of employee engagement measurement is in using the data you collect to drive a positive change. To translate insights into action, do the following:

Develop action plans

Analyze your data to identify specific areas for improvement. With that understanding, develop targeted action plans with clear goals, timelines, and ownership. Set realistic and measurable goals that track employee progress and show the impact of your initiatives.

Implement engagement initiatives

Based on the needs you’ve identified, choose relevant engagement initiatives. They could include leadership development programs to address any concerns about communication, or wellness programs to improve employee well-being. Whatever you decide to do, clearly communicate the purpose of these initiatives and actively solicit employee feedback throughout the process.

Continuous improvement

Employee engagement doesn’t end, it’s an ongoing journey. You’ll need to regularly measure engagement through surveys, focus groups, and other methods to track progress and identify areas for ongoing improvement. Create a culture of continuous feedback and improvement, and demonstrate your commitment to fostering a thriving work environment for your employees.


The business world is incredibly competitive, so a highly engaged workforce isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. By effectively measuring employee engagement, you can gain valuable insights into the thoughts and feelings of your team. But you need to use this knowledge — with the power it gives you, you can create a positive work environment, boost productivity, and ultimately drive organizational success.

Hopefully, this article has equipped you with a range of strategies and tools to help you get started. From preparing insightful surveys to analyzing the data they provide and finally implementing necessary initiatives, you should have a roadmap in place that will help you develop a thriving and engaged workforce. So don’t wait — put these strategies into action and then reap the rewards of a truly engaged team. 


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Gabe Scorgie

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