Employee engagement has a massive ROI for your business, but only when leaders make a concerted effort to improve it. And because engagement levels are steadily dropping, that improvement is necessary.
The first step to improving employee engagement levels is to measure engagement in all its forms so that you can see where your employees are at and where you should focus your efforts.
Only after accurately measuring how engaged your employees are will you know where you can improve. This allows you to adjust your engagement strategy and ensure your people are continually engaged in their work.
What Is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is the level of emotional attachment and care an employee feels toward their work and their workplace. Engaged employees are invested in their daily tasks and want the company to succeed.
The impact of having engaged employees is huge. Consider these benefits:
- Employees are 17% more productive
- Employees are 21% more profitable
- Turnover drops by 31%
- Absenteeism drops by 81%
- Sales increases by 20%
Who doesn’t want a piece of those advantages? Now let’s look at the indicators of employee engagement.
What Are the Key Indicators of Employee Engagement?
The first way to measure employee engagement is to look for these key indicators at your company. If they’re present, you can assume that your employees are at least somewhat engaged—if they’re not, you may have some work to do.
Employee engagement indicators include:
- A low turnover rate because employees enjoy the work they do
- Good reviews from employees on Glassdoor, Google, etc.
- Employee referrals for open positions
- Plenty of collaboration between employees and teams
- Work that gets done on time or ahead of schedule
- A culture of fun and positivity
- Employees who are reliable, punctual, and trustworthy
- Employees who rank highly for job satisfaction
These indicators are a good barometer for initially measuring employee engagement. Now let’s dive into the meat of the question.
How to Measure Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement may seem nebulous or abstract, but there are ways you can measure it and improve it. Here are some strategies to try.
Technology makes it much easier than ever to measure employee engagement. Tools such as pulse surveys, polls, and feedback platforms are great for getting an idea of how engaged your people are.
Analytical tools can help you track some of the engagement key indicators as well, such as turnover, absenteeism, performance, and satisfaction.
Hold Exit and Stay Interviews
Exit interviews are perfect for finding out what is causing your employees to leave. These interviews help you see which engagement strategies are working and which aren’t. Getting honest feedback from employees who are leaving is crucial in developing engagement.
However, stay interviews can be just as impactful. Frequently interview employees who aren’t quitting to see why they stay. What do they enjoy about their work and the company? What would they like to see improved?
With both exit and stay interviews, you can get a comprehensive look at who is engaged and why.
Craft Employee Engagement Surveys
Employee engagement surveys are more robust surveys that focus specifically on the engagement/disengagement of your workforce. Here are some ideas for creating an effective survey:
- Decide the goals of your survey—what do you want to learn and measure?
- Plan a cadence for the survey—one annual survey, a quarterly culture survey, and a monthly pulse survey is a potential schedule.
- Build your survey with thoughtful, insightful questions (examples below).
- Guarantee anonymity so that people are more open and honest in their responses.
- Limit the length, even for a comprehensive annual survey—your employees are busy, so try to keep the number of questions below 40.
- Incentivize participation in a fun way that maintains anonymity.
- Share results to prove that employee responses are actually looked at—and share how the results will shape the next steps/improvements you make.
Whether you’re planning a short pulse survey or a long engagement survey, these guidelines will help you craft something that employees will get excited about. As promised, here are some example questions to include:
- Do you feel your manager recognizes your contributions and capitalizes on your strengths?
- Do you feel that company leaders have your best interests at heart?
- Is your feedback of the company taken seriously?
- Do you have fun at work?
- Do you understand the core values of the company?
- Do you know how your work contributes to those core values?
- Would you recommend the company to a friend?
- Do you get along with and respect your manager and coworkers?
- Are you satisfied with your work-life balance?
- Do you ever feel confused about what you should be doing with your time?
- Do you have opportunities to learn new skills and grow as a professional at work?
- Are you aware of your path of upward growth?
- Have you received recognition in the last month?
- Do you feel valued and appreciated for your work?
- Do you feel trusted and empowered to do your best?
When it comes to engagement, three key areas have the greatest effect: whether employees feel supported, whether they enjoy their work, and whether they have development opportunities. When creating your surveys, focus on questions that center on these areas.
Utilize Managers and Leaders
Managers account for 70% of variance in employee engagement. In fact, the single highest driver of engagement is whether employees feel their managers care about them. Leadership plays a crucial role in employee engagement, and they can help measure it, too.
Have managers hold one-on-ones with their employees to discuss things like their happiness, their individual goals, their career roadmaps, and their satisfaction with their teams. If needed, have them clarify expectations, offer feedback, and provide guidance.
Managers need to offer personalized support in order for employees to stay engaged.
The Future of Employee Engagement
The reason engagement is such a buzzword nowadays is because it’s becoming more and more important. Employee expectations are evolving—they crave work that is meaningful, cultures that are supportive, and work-life balance that is manageable.
On top of those changes, the workplace is evolving with the growth of remote and hybrid work. Creating a culture of engagement with remote employees can be challenging, but not impossible. By following the above strategies, you can measure and improve engagement for everyone, regardless of where they work.
In 2022, employee engagement dropped to 32%, the lowest it’s been in decades. It’s time to adjust our strategies, realign our expectations with employees’, and create the business cultures needed to keep modern-day employees happy, satisfied, and supported.