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Surveys & Engagement

How to measure employee engagement | Top tips & strategies

Leapsome Team
How to measure employee engagement | Top tips & strategies
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Measuring employee engagement is pivotal for companies that want to stay adaptable in the face of constant change. Engagement is a leading predictor of resilience* in a turbulent economy, and 74% of disengaged employees report that they’re actively looking for other work.

While these insights highlight the need for companies to be proactive — not reactive — in their engagement strategy, many factors drive employee engagement. This means your company’s approach to measuring those factors should be equally dynamic.

Measuring employee engagement takes more than just running an annual employee engagement survey.

It requires creativity and openness to innovation, which motivated us to compile a list of 11 strategies you can use to gain deeper quantitative and qualitative insights into your employee engagement. Then, you’ll be well-positioned to set goals to boost employee engagement in the long term.

*Gallup, 2021

A team of five employees sit at a white table and look at a computer screen at the end. A whiteboard in the background is covered with yellow and pink notes for tasks.
Engaged employees feel that their ideas and work play an important role in company growth
⭐️ Streamline your employee engagement with Leapsome

From measuring employee engagement to uncovering data-driven insights, Leapsome lets you automate the whole process from start to finish and empower your team to grow together.

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What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement — as laid out in 1990 by organizational behavioral psychologist Dr. William A. Khan — refers to the physical, cognitive, and emotional ways that an employee contributes to and connects with their organization. Companies value it because of its unique effect on productivity, profitability, retention, safety, and well-being.

Employee engagement goes beyond job satisfaction and happiness: Highly engaged workers feel that their ideas and contributions help drive company growth. In contrast, disengaged employees often report a lack of support and a disconnect between themselves and their company’s mission.

Engaged employees know that their work matters, feel like an important part of the organization, and go the extra mile. This doesn’t mean that an engaged employee is one that works extra hours; engagement can be shown by their optimism, innovative ideas, and involvement with initiatives beyond their core responsibilities. Engaged employees are more proactive than those who are just satisfied with the status quo.

On the other end of the spectrum are the actively disengaged employees. They can bring down workplace morale and show opposite behaviors to those of an engaged employee. Disengaged employees can have a negative attitude instead of looking for solutions and acting like team players.

Why should you measure employee engagement?

You should measure engagement to understand the nuanced factors that drive and improve employee engagement;
doing so also reveals what engagement initiatives you need to implement.

For example, do your employees get the impression their ideas matter but don’t feel a sense of cultural belonging? Are they mostly satisfied but want you to prioritize diversity and inclusion? Measuring engagement can yield subtle insights you might otherwise miss and steer you in the right direction for action.

Measuring employee engagement: 11 strategies

Understanding what keeps employees involved, committed, and enthusiastic at work requires collaboration, planning, and openness to learning — but so many employee engagement measurement strategies have already been tried and tested. Here are 11 of our favorites.

1. Implement pulse surveys

A pulse survey reads "Weekly Minute Pulse Check" and shows a circle chart with an average score of 5.7 out of 10 for the weekly survey round.
Pulse surveys are short questionnaires focusing on specific topics

Pulse surveys are short questionnaires companies use to collect feedback and gauge employee sentiments on specific topics — like remote work, DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), or new company policies or processes.

Conducting pulse surveys lets organizations easily gather more recurrent and specific employee data and insights to stay ahead of potential pitfalls and mitigate risk.

How you set up your own pulse survey will depend on your specific goals and the company policy or initiative you want to measure. Running surveys too often may yield data that’s difficult to measure and cause survey fatigue — but running them too infrequently may not give you the chance to address issues before they get out of hand. We recommend using a survey tool with pulse survey templates to help you get started.

🔍 Uncover what’s driving your employee engagement

Leapsome’s intuitive engagement surveys let you collect actionable insights that are often hidden — including sentiment analysis.

👉 Learn more about
Leapsome’s engagement surveys

2. Calculate your eNPS

Similar to the NPS (Net Promoter Score), companies use the eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) to measure how likely their people are to recommend the company as a great place to work. eNPS helps businesses understand how employees feel about working there and what they can do to improve.

The eNPS calculation reveals the difference between your happiest and least happy employees. We recommend running eNPS surveys to accurately measure employee engagement.

Because eNPS surveys are a type of pulse survey, you can keep them very short and limited to one question like:

  • How likely are you to recommend us to your family and friends as a great place to work?

And a follow-up question such as:

  • What was your main reason for giving that score?

3. Hold regular one-on-one meetings

A screenshot of a  weekly 1 on 1 meeting with Liz and Leslie shows the meeting agenda and what they plan to discuss in the meeting
Using a one-on-one meeting tool or template before and after meetings can help gather qualitative engagement data more easily

One-on-one meetings are crucial for fostering engagement. Managers rely on them to coach and provide regular feedback to their employees, while employees need them to feel a sense of belonging and support at work.

In our one-on-one meeting template, we provide frameworks you can use to guide and individualize your own meetings so that you can gather the specific engagement data you need before and after the meeting.

💡 The way you measure success should be just as structured and intentional as your one-on-one meetings — a meeting tool that lets you share notes on your agenda post-meeting can help.

4. Run employee exit surveys & interviews

Amid a rise in employee turnover in the US and other countries, investigating retention statistics is another essential way to measure how engaged your employees feel and what factors motivate their engagement and satisfaction. Look at your data and ask: “What do the employees we’ve lost have in common? How did we lose those employees, and how can we avoid it in the future?”

Employee exit surveys and exit interviews are offboarding tools that can yield similarly useful insights. They can also help you get to the bottom of issues that the employees may not feel comfortable sharing in engagement surveys.

⭐️ Top tip: Use these work-from-home survey questions to learn how employees feel about your company’s work-from-home or hybrid setup.

5. Combine data sets

If you’re conducting regular surveys and meetings, don’t let the engagement data you gather live in a vacuum; bring those data sets together to give you a holistic view of each employee, team, department, and the company at large. 

Why should you combine your data sets? Because different measurement strategies can yield different perspectives about what elements influence engagement. Relying too heavily on one approach will give you an imbalanced picture of your employee engagement status. 

6. Analyze your continuous praise & feedback channels

Screenshot of feedback shared between employees within the Leapsome platform
To boost engagement, make your praise just as specific and actionable as your feedback

You’re probably already on board with the positive impact of continuous praise and feedback on employee engagement and retention — especially in the world of remote work. But have you thought about how you can use them to measure engagement?

Have a look at the feedback and praise shared between employees (in case you’ve already adopted a continuous praise and feedback tool) to get a deeper understanding of what keeps team members feeling appreciated and valued. Maybe your feedback culture isn’t as strong as it could be, or you need to create more balance between showing appreciation and investing in areas for improvement. 

You can also ask employees what is or isn’t working for them in this area or make it a part of your next pulse survey. Just don’t miss out on this crucial opportunity to gather engagement data.

7. Run diversity surveys

The results of a quarterly diversity are shown with high scores out of ten based on questions from a questionnaire
Diversity surveys give companies a sense of how psychologically safe their employees feel at work

Organizations that prioritize DEI best practices know that investing in ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives leads to better employee engagement and retention. And we put this strategy in a category of its own because it is integral to creating a psychologically safe workplace

Running a diversity survey should be a company priority. This way, you can measure to what degree employees feel their workplace is safe and inclusive for people of every race, gender identity, ability, and sexual orientation.

8. Create a focus group

Like pulse surveys, companies can put focus groups together to learn how employees feel about specific company policies or initiatives.

While pulse and engagement surveys are crucial, focus groups are an “extra” that can help supplement numerical data with additional people-centric learnings.

A group of five employees sit around a small round table in discussion.
Focus groups are another effective way to measure engagement around a specific policy or topic affecting your company

Here are simple steps to help you start creating an employee engagement focus group:

  1. Determine the purpose statement of the focus group and the facilitator guidelines
  2. Get executive and stakeholder support and input
  3. Create a process guide, which includes your session outline and questions
  4. Choose a discussion facilitator and note-taker
  5. Select employee participants and invite them to the discussion
  6. Conduct your focus group meeting
  7. Study and report on your findings

9. Conduct “stay” interviews

While exit interviews can give managers invaluable employee engagement data, the “stay” interview helps leaders nip issues in the bud before their talent leaves. And managers can use them to ask employees directly: “What do you like about working here?”

Stay interviews should happen between manager and report, and are driven by questions about the positive and negative aspects of an employee’s role and career.

Your “stay” interview should focus on two areas: Positive aspects of an employee’s job and opportunities for improvement. 

Here are a few example questions:

  1. What makes you excited about your long-term career at [company]?
  2. What are the outstanding aspects of our work culture?
  3. What aspects of our work culture would you change or improve?
  4. What can we do to make your job better or easier?
  5. What is one reason you imagine someone might leave your current role?
The hands and arms of three employees are shown, and they are sitting at a table with papers on it, seemingly in an interview.
“Stay” interviews can give companies insight into what keeps employees working there

10. Organize team-building discussions

Team-building discussions can help drive engagement and enrich employee engagement metrics with qualitative observations — and they can be as spontaneous as you want. Alternatively, you can prepare a detailed agenda and questions ahead of time to make discussions more formal and focused.

Just be sure to record your meeting or take notes so that you can save and distribute any valuable data you gather and send recordings to team members who can’t attend.

⭐️ Another tip for measuring engagement with discussion: Ask for clarity in an anonymous employee survey by starting conversations in the survey comments.

11. Start an employee ambassador program

Your eNPS tells you how likely employees are to recommend your company to other jobseekers — but what about asking employees to be actual company ambassadors? 

While the term may sound too formal, employee ambassador programs don’t have to be. Employee ambassadors simply talk about their team and company in public forums or social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter. That helps companies measure engagement by observing what their employees say about them to the rest of the world. 

For companies starting ambassador programs, we suggest providing employees with templates or frameworks to help with their first social media posts. Companies should also make sure they only encourage — not force — participation. 

Two professional women are smiling and laughing at work.
After measuring engagement, leaders should use their data to drive action that boosts employee engagement

Following up: What to do after measuring engagement

Employee engagement data is only as valuable as the actions that come from it. Even the most engaged employees will eventually become disillusioned if they feel their employers are collecting engagement observations with no intention of turning insights into action.

So, what should companies do after thoroughly measuring employee engagement? 

Analyze & synthesize the data

Identify improvements and opportunities for growth in employee engagement. We created our people enablement and engagement surveys tool to help companies integrate data from multiple sources and obtain actionable insights for improvement.

Action plan recommendations based on engagement survey results in the Leapsome platform
With a people enablement platform like Leapsome, you can obtain actionable insights for improvement based on your survey results

Share your data story

Determine who would benefit from your analysis. Do you need to share your insights company-wide, with your team, or only with one person? 

Then, create an agenda ahead of your one-on-one or team meeting, covering what you’ll be discussing and why it matters.

Also, don’t forget to contextualize your data. If you’re delivering a presentation on employee engagement to C-level executives or leadership, what background will they need to understand what drove your process and led to your observations?

Bring engagement into development frameworks

Collaborate with your team or colleagues to improve your development frameworks backed by your employee engagement data. That could mean assigning engagement skills to your leadership’s development goals.

And keep in mind: Experimentation is always fruitful, even if it leads you to discover that a new strategy isn’t that helpful for your company. You may find that certain engagement strategies may not work for you and your team — and that’s okay.

⭐️ Streamline your employee engagement with Leapsome

From measuring employee engagement to uncovering data-driven insights, Leapsome lets you automate the whole process from start to finish and empower your team to grow together.

Book a demo

Written By

Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.
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