In today’s workplace, employee well-being and happiness are paramount. Why?
We’ve all seen the so-called Great Resignation play out, with millions of people quitting their jobs since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic due to dissatisfaction and more focus on health and well-being.
Moreover, research has found that businesses with highly-engaged employees are 23% more profitable and have 81% lower absenteeism.*
The ROI of employee engagement for those investing in a highly-engaged workforce can't be ignored.
But knowing that you want to boost employee engagement and happiness isn’t the same as knowing how to do it. Can something as intangible as “happiness” even be measured? Good news: it can!
With the right metrics, companies can take the pulse of their employees’ engagement levels and gain insights into where action should be taken. That means a happier and more fulfilled workplace, higher employee retention rates, a better workplace experience, and improved performance.
These are the 11 metrics you should track to get a deep, detailed understanding of the current state of your employee engagement. Then, use the insights you gather to take powerful, intentional action within your organization.
Let’s dive in.
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What are employee engagement metrics?
Employee engagement metrics are measurable indicators that HR/people ops professionals and managers can track to take the pulse of their staff and find out how engaged they feel at work.
These indicators break down the idea of staff happiness into trackable numbers, providing an objective score that can guide tangible action in the workplace.
Using employee engagement surveys — and a tool like Leapsome to deliver them more easily, with science-backed templates and analytics — is a highly effective way to do this.
Your people can respond anonymously to engagement surveys if they wish, offering more transparency into how they’re really feeling and the areas they think could be improved. Platforms like Leapsome build this feature directly into their tools, so anonymity can be preserved even if only a few people respond.
Why should you track employee engagement metrics?
Tracking employee engagement metrics enables you to take the pulse of how engaged your people feel at work. This way, you can take intentional, data-informed action to improve metrics, ultimately boosting happiness, belonging, career development, work-life balance, and productivity.
11 metrics to measure employee engagement in 2023
We recommend measuring employee engagement using these metrics, so you can get a feel for staff sentiment and take inspired action based on real insights.
1. Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)
The eNPS is an adaptation of the NPS (Net Promoter Score), created in 2003 to measure the popularity of products and services, as well as how likely customers are to recommend them to their personal networks.
As the name suggests, employee NPS measures how likely employees are to recommend their workplace as a good place to work to their friends and family. The simplicity of this metric makes it ideal for a quick check-in that employees are likely to answer.
How to measure eNPS
eNPS can be ascertained with one simple engagement survey question: “How likely are you to recommend us as a great place to work to your family and friends?”
Employees can answer on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the least likely, and 10 being the most likely.
The final score is calculated by comparing the difference between the responses from your happiest employees (promoters, with scores of 9 or 10) and the least happy (detractors, scores of 0 to 6). Those with scores of 7 or 8 (passives) are not counted in the final calculation.
💡 If 40% of your employees scored 9 or 10, 45% scored 7 or 8, and 15% scored 0 to 6, your calculation would be:
40%-15% = 25 = eNPS score of 25
The higher the score, the better.
And despite those who gave scores of 7 or 8 not being counted in the calculation, their views are still important. They can be a great source of insight as they’re most likely to have ideas for ways the company could improve and are still engaged enough to share these in surveys.
2. Retention rate
Retention rate is the percentage of employees that stay with your company over a given period. All companies have some degree of churn, as people naturally leave their jobs for various reasons — which may have nothing to do with employee engagement.
However, a high degree of churn and an inability to retain staff indicate deeper problems, such as few professional development opportunities, a lack of DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) initiatives, an unwelcoming team, or poor work-life balance.
How to measure retention rate
To calculate your company’s retention rate, take the number of employees who have left the company at the time of the survey and divide it by the number of people at the start of a given period.
For example, if 8 people left the company over a given time frame, and you started the same period with 40 people, you’d divide 32 (40-8) by 40 to get 0.8 = 80%.
Keep in mind that very few organizations have a 100% retention rate, and that’s not something you necessarily need to seek; a dynamic company with talented and engaged employees is always likely to see some shifts.
Tools like Leapsome can offer intelligent predictive analytics on the level of employee turnover rates your company can expect, enabling you to plan and preempt any gaps early on.
If people generally leave your company for genuine reasons and on good terms, a less-than-perfect retention rate isn’t a cause for concern. On the other hand, if your retention rate is low and talented people often leave on negative terms, you should take more urgent action.
3. Professional development
Happy and successful workplaces take professional development seriously. Few employees, especially talented ones, are satisfied with roles with minimal opportunities for advancement or improvement.
In fact, a Harvard Business Review study found that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if management seemed invested in their careers. What’s more, employees with access to professional development opportunities are up to 15% more engaged.
Distilling professional development into a measurable metric involves building scalable promotion processes and salary structures that offer objective scores for each staff member, showing how close they are to reaching the required level of performance (or another measurable target, like skill advancement) for promotion.
How to measure professional development
Professional development and the levels of achievement required to reach promotion are often company-specific and also vary depending on department and skill set.
Using a dedicated people enablement tool like Leapsome to measure professional development can help. It enables you to build your own criteria based on flexible templates and set up automated cycles for learning and development. Our Learn module lets managers personalize content to individual team members, enabling staff to level up when the time is right.
Besides investing in learning opportunities, performance reviews might include feedback from several people — like managers, reports, colleagues, or even clients and external partners. Leadership can also measure criteria like readiness for promotion to better support their reports in getting to the next career stage.
Suppose your company has 10 criteria for promotion, and a manager judges that an employee achieved four of them; in this case, they might focus on offering training for the remaining six.
In contrast, if the employee achieved nine criteria, they’d almost be ready for promotion, and the manager would want to consider whether any appropriate opportunities were available to them.
4. Work-life balance
“Work-life balance” has become a buzzword in recent years, and for a good reason: the World Health Organization (WHO) officially categorized burnout as an “occupational phenomenon” in 2019.
Research found that 72% of US employees consider work-life balance to be very important, and a 2021 study by the WHO and the International Labor Organization found that working more than 55 hours per week increases the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.
Measuring work-life balance could be a key metric for your company, letting you check that employees have a fulfilling life both within and outside the workplace.
How to measure work-life balance
The easiest way to monitor work-life balance is by simply posing the question: “How satisfied do you feel with your work-life balance?” and asking for a score between 0 and 10 (0 meaning “not at all satisfied” and 10 meaning “completely satisfied”) in your staff surveys.
But there are other creative, insightful questions you could ask to yield similar responses. For instance:
- How satisfied are you with the amount of time you have outside of work to pursue hobbies or spend time with family and friends?
- How satisfied are you with the time you have outside of work to rest and recharge?
Low scores may indicate that:
- Staff are overworked or held to unrealistic expectations
- HR needs to bring more team members on board
- There’s a culture of presenteeism that needs to be addressed
Employee absenteeism rates can also offer some insight; still, we recommend tracking those metrics with caution (rather than in a punitive way), as burned-out employees are likely to have higher habitual workplace absences.
Measuring how often staff members take leave voluntarily — and if they take their annual allotted amount, if applicable — may also indicate levels of work-life balance and how comfortable your people feel with their workload and ability to take a break.
A workplace that regularly recognizes staff achievement is likely to thrive. After all, it’s only human to respond positively to good feedback! If staff feel they’ll be praised when they do well, they will likely work harder and improve their performance.
It’s essential to create a culture of regular gratitude for employees, and not just when someone goes completely above and beyond. Rewarding your people for consistently doing good work within the scope of their roles is also important.
How to measure recognition
A key way to give employees recognition is by promoting a culture of continuous feedback and improvement, giving employees the chance to share praise with their colleagues.
A people enablement tool like Leapsome can help with this, as it includes features specifically designed to foster appreciation — like a Praise Wall where employees can dish out public praise in specific, customizable categories (like “Outstanding Work” or “Colleague Support”).
This employee feedback is also visible to managers via Leapsome’s Manager Dashboard, so leadership can reinforce those same wins on a more direct level (for example, during 1:1 meetings). Visibility on staff recognition can also feed into other metrics, such as readiness for promotion.
Few people enjoy being micromanaged. Instead, most appreciate the feeling of being trusted in their role and having the freedom and autonomy to manage their own time.
How to measure autonomy
Autonomy is one of the more subjective metrics on our list, but surveys can help teams dig into it with direct questions like: “How satisfied do you feel with the autonomy you’re given at work?” or “How free do you feel about managing your own time and responsibilities within your role?”
Another way to measure autonomy is to assign staff specific tasks and score them on how independently they achieve them — just keep in mind that this is not an excuse to leave your people hanging without adequate help.
You could also offer team members opportunities to take ownership or leadership of specific tasks (like regular meetings) and keep track of their performance. Staff with higher levels of autonomy are likely to feel more trusted, competent, and secure in their roles.
7. Alignment with team OKRs
Aligning staff around your mission means ensuring everyone knows, understands, and believes in your company goals. Just like in a tug of war game — the winning team is the one where everyone works together and pulls in the same direction.
Establishing alignment on OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) gives individual employees and the organization as a whole the chance to set measurable goals that fit with their core values.
How to measure alignment
Goals can be defined on a regular cycle — e.g., every quarter or another sprint time that makes sense for your business.
Objectives and key results can be quantitative, like “hiring 10 new employees,” or qualitative, like “‘improving listening skills during client calls.” They can also correspond directly to company values.
You can set goals on company, team, and individual levels, as well as personal development objectives that can be reviewed during your regular 1:1 meetings and development talks.
A tool like Leapsome enables teams to easily track goal achievement, offering an at-a-glance snapshot of how each employee, team, and department is doing at any given time.
8. Employee engagement survey participation rate
It may seem obvious, but you can’t improve employee engagement with surveys if no one responds to them. Measuring participation rates can be a good indicator of how engaged staff members are — or at least, how much time or inclination they have to take part in company processes.
More engaged team members with manageable workloads are more likely to take a few minutes out of their day to take part in these surveys.
Low engagement might seem like purely bad news, but it’s actually an opportunity for companies to understand why their rate is low and improve it. Perhaps surveys are sent out too often? Or are they too long and your employees are too busy?
Even figuring this out could offer valuable insights into the working pressure your people face.
How to measure employee engagement survey participation rate
Monitoring employee engagement survey participation rate should be a simple case of checking how many responses you receive or your completion rate. A dedicated tool like Leapsome tracks survey participation rate automatically, so there’s no need for manual calculations.
It’s worth noting that longer employee engagement surveys will likely yield lower response rates.
Best practices for sending surveys
• Alternate long employee engagement surveys with shorter pulse surveys that aim to measure the health of your employee engagement.
• Use an employee survey tool like Leapsome to send both kinds of surveys (and many more).
• Dedicated tools can offer your people an easy, fun, and intuitive way to participate in surveys — and you’ll have access to state-of-the-art analytics.
Learn how to send engagement surveys, pulse surveys, and many more with Leapsome’s free step-by-step guides.
9. 1:1 meetings & team check-ins
A thriving company should have a culture of regular 1:1 manager-employee meetings and team check-ins to build strong internal relationships, encourage manager coaching, and provide ongoing development support.
How to measure 1:1 meetings & team check-ins
Individual teams can decide how frequent 1:1 meetings and team huddles need to be — we do, however, recommend having them at least every two weeks. You might also schedule monthly meetings for larger departments or across teams.
It makes sense to keep track of when your internal meetings take place, embrace them as a key aspect of your company culture, and maintain records of decisions made and goals to work on before next time.
Tools like Leapsome make this process much easier to implement, with specially-designed features to help you keep track of decisions, bring up previous meeting notes (which can be shared or private), and schedule meetings automatically.
Leapsome enables you to run any kind of meeting — from 1:1s between managers and reports to OKR check-in meetings and team discussions — and to rate the quality of your meetings!
10. The quality of professional relationships
The quality of the relationships employees have with their colleagues plays a big role in their engagement — even if the team is remote or working across different countries and time zones.
Keeping an eye on manager-report and employee-employee relationships is a good way to ascertain the strength of a team and increase employee engagement.
How to measure the quality of employee relationships
Beyond the 1:1s and team meetings mentioned above, establishing good team communication is vital — for example, with a messaging app like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Employees who feel comfortable speaking with each other regularly and casually are more likely to feel part of a community.
When team members use these systems to share praise, it can also boost links between employees. Leapsome’s Continuous Feedback feature can embed this process within Slack and Teams, making it efficient and intuitive.
To understand how team members are getting along in your department, you might track engagement in different channels or purposefully ask non-work-related questions to spark conversations. You could even tag people who don’t speak up as much to encourage them to get more involved.
You can also implement (and measure how employees feel about) regular coffee chats where people are encouraged to schedule short meetings with each other, giving them a chance to build connections with colleagues who they may otherwise not communicate with much.
This might mean encouraging how many coffee chats team members should set up per month or operating a buddy system where employees automatically get allocated a coffee chat partner.
You can then measure the success of your coffee chat initiative and determine how it’s being received by employees by adding a question about it in a pulse or engagement survey.
11. Uptake & popularity of employee perks
Offering staff perks — like gym memberships or corporate memberships for apps or well-being services — can be a great way to boost employee morale.
However, measuring how much staff members actually use their perks can tell you more about employee engagement and willingness to participate.
How to measure the uptake & popularity of employee perks
Regularly check in with staff regarding how popular the perks you offer are. This might include adding a question to your employee engagement surveys, such as:
- How satisfied are you with our employee perks, such as [X, Y, Z]?
- How often do you use [X perk]?
- What perks do you wish we had?
If employees are using their perks regularly, you might even consider investing in more. If they’re not being used as much as they could be, you could promote the benefits you offer more or implement a company-wide challenge to encourage usage.
Tracking key engagement metrics: Automate your processes
Few companies will measure all 11 of these metrics at once. Instead, we recommend choosing those that feel most relevant and feasible or only focusing on a few specific metrics over set periods.
Using a dedicated employee engagement tool like Leapsome can make this process much easier.
That’s because it includes templates for surveys scientifically proven to prompt staff participation and offer reliable results, enables managers to automate surveys and analyze responses, and keeps all metrics within a single, secure, digital platform.
Having an automated, streamlined process that makes it easy to keep track of your chosen metrics will make your company more likely to quantify employee engagement accurately.
It’ll also ensure you have a rich array of measurable data at your disposal so you can take insightful, powerful action for higher engagement, a happier workplace, and better business results.
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