How to Measure & Improve Employee Engagement

employee engagement
As human resources consultants, we are often asked for HR solutions on how to measure and improve employee engagement. At its essence, employee engagement is an indication of how passionate your employees are about your company and how aligned they are with your company’s mission, vision and purpose.

Do your employees live and breathe the company’s values on a daily basis? Are they stark, raving fans of your company?  Will your staff defend your business if push comes to shove, doing whatever it takes to act in the best interests of the company and ultimately your customers?  Are they taking the extra effort to meet & exceed customer expectations because they truly stand behind your company?

An engaged employee is committed because they believe in the overall purpose of the company and because of the contribution they are making by working there.

How to create engaged employees

The question is then, how do we create engaged employees?  Here are some important factors:

  1. Clearly articulate and define your company’s purpose – why does the company exist?
  2. Define the culture that needs to be present to achieve your purpose.
  3. Define the type of people who will fit and succeed in your culture.
  4. Define the attributes of what an engaged workforce looks like in your company.
  5. Determine what you can do to create this engaged workforce.
  6. Measure your ability to create the environment where employees can be engaged.
  7. Consider the following factors when deciding on metrics:
    • Ability to contribute to something bigger than yourself or the company
    • Providing opportunities for growth and advancement
    • Connection to others – staff, customers, the community
    • Alignment of personal values with the company’s values
    • Freedom and autonomy – freedom to do their job, without being bogged down by rules, restrictive processes or policies that cater to the lowest common denominator.  Ability to choose to stay with the company if it’s the right fit, but also making it easy for someone to leave it they don’t fit.

How to measure employee engagement

When we talk about employee engagement, it’s often hard to measure because we’re dealing with human nature. Here are a few of the ways that companies are measuring employee engagement:

A. Say, Stay, Strive

Aon Hewitt conducts the annual Best Employers Survey for large employers, which measures three elements: say, stay and strive. They find that employees are engaged when they:

  • Say positive things about the company to co-workers, potential employees and customers,
  • Have an intense desire to continue to stay at the company, and
  • Strive to go beyond what’s expected and make the extra effort to contribute to the company’s success.

B. Gallup Q12 Survey

Gallup offers their Q12 Survey to measure employee engagement, which includes the following questions:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  3. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  4. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  5. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  6. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  7. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  8. I have a best friend at work.
  9. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  10. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  11. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

C. Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)

This is a simple framework to measure employee engagement taken from Bain & Company. Ask your employees this straightforward question: “On a scale of zero to 10, how likely is it you would recommend this company as a place to work?”

Those that answer 0-6 are considered detractors; 9s and 10s are considered promoters and 7s and 8s are passives. To calculate your score, you subtract your detractors from your promoters (ignoring passives) and divide by the total number of respondents.

eNPS = (promoters-detractors)/total respondents

The best possible score is +100, and the worst possible score is -100. A positive number is considered to be good (more promoters than detractors) while a score over 50 is considered outstanding.  You can also follow up with “What could we do to increase the score?” to generate feedback on how to improve your culture.

D. Pulse Surveys

Pulse surveys are frequent, real-time polls that are used to monitor the “heart beat” of the company as it relates to employee engagement and attitude. Questions could be as simple as “How do you feel at the office today”, with the answer rated on a scale of 0-10. By getting frequent, real-time feedback, companies can quickly make changes that impact employee engagement.

Conducting polls and surveys to measure employee engagement is important, but they are ultimately useless unless you’re willing to listen to the feedback received, share the results with your employees, take action to make improvements, and continue the feedback cycle.

If you would like expert human resource management assistance in improving and measuring employee engagement in your Vancouver-based small business, please contact Clear HR Consulting.


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