How to measure employee engagement

How to measure employee engagement? We have already discussed about the importance of employee engagement so now it’s time to deep dive into the details of measuring engagement.

Measuring Employee Engagement – Guidelines

Measuring engagement is a continuous task and getting the bigger picture means analysing data from multiple sources. This sources can be: onboarding surveys, exit surveys / interviews, pulse surveys, satisfaction / engagement surveys, performance reviews, etc. You must be able to understand different angles from different employee groups. For this you need a feedback culture. But, this is another story that we will further discuss in another blog post.

Measuring engagement, usually means, using one of two following methods:
1. Engagement (satisfaction, motivation) surveys
2. Stay-in interviews.

There are three important stages that determine how successful your research will be:
1. Pre-research stage
2. Ongoing research stage
3. Post-research stage

Pre-research stage

Before launching the research (survey or interviews) you need to roll out a very well thought communication plan. The stake of this step is very important as it will determine the level of honesty and the level of willingness to participate in the research.

Your objective in this stage is to gain trust. Employees need to trust that it is safe to offer honest feedback. Also, they need to understand that no personal negative repercussions will follow. This is why engagement surveys should be anonymous.

Another important thing that needs to be communicated is the importance of offering feedback. The: What’s in it for them should be straightforward. Which leads us to the next point.

People need to understand that positive actions will be taken based on their feedback. Otherwise, it will not be worth their time and energy.

Another important factor is survey history and experience within the organization. So, before launching an engagement research think about your past communication. Think, also, about the actions you took based on previous research results. Be sincere, as this can save the day.

Who should be involved in this communication initiative? It is a team work to have an effective communication, so every actor play an important role. Long story short you should involve the CEO, HR team, senior management and line managers.

Ongoing Research Stage

This is when you launch your research, whether it’s a survey or a stay-in interview. In this stage you need to send formal invitations and reminders. These usually are not enough for a good percentage of participation. So, you should reinforce the key messages discussed above, through all the channels available. Also, you should inform the employees how the research is going. Transparency is important as it can contribute to the employee decision to participate. Using the right messages, of course.

Post-Research Stage

If you’ve done a good job in the previous two stages then you should congratulate yourself. Really, you now have a lot of valuable information. Information that can act as a healthy base for your future HR projects. Both quick wins and long term projects can be extracted from a good engagement research.

Communication in most of the companies stops when the research stops. But this is a huge mistake. The communication process is ongoing and you should link the results with the projects that will be launched.

So, in this stage we also have a few key messages that we want to send among the organization.

The first message should be a thank you for the effort and willingness to give honest feedback.

Afterwards, we should communicate a summary of the results and the plan for improving the results. Be specific in terms of timelines, prioritization and follow up.

Honesty is also appreciated. It’s not an issue to admit that certain subjects are much easier to be tackled. Remember to keep a healthy balance between the positive and negative things.

In conclusion, communication is an ongoing process. This process stops when issues are successfully solved not when the survey or research finished. A new engagement research can start while you have measures in place to solve a past identified issue.

How to measure employee engagement – dimensions

Which are the subjects that should be approached in an engagement research?

Summarizing on the available theories, engagement can be described as a construct that refers to a psychological work related state of an individual. This state includes perceptions, emotions and most of all, behaviours. Also, engagement is associated with energy and willingness to be involved in the successful completion of work tasks.

There are a lot of frameworks available as well as research regarding the factors influencing engagement. In essence there are three factors that impact engagement:
1. Organizational factors which relate to leadership styles, rewards etc.
2. Job factors which relate to work culture, task characteristics, etc.
3. Individual factors which relate to physical energy, self awareness, etc.

The concept was first proposed by Kahn in 1990s and since then there were a lot of developments on the topic. It is worth mentioning that there is no standard nor agreement regarding the definition.

However, engagement frameworks explore employee perception on more or less the same dimensions.


1. Leadership: trust in the leadership and management team ability to drive the company towards it’s mission
2. Autonomy: the ability to select what, when, how and with whom to complete a task
3. Authority: the ability to make decisions
4. Respect: how do employees perceive they are treated
5. Reward: how is the reward (compensation) system perceived by the employees
6. Resources: do employees have all the material and physical resources to do their job effectively
7. Processes: do the processes facilitate a culture of high performance
9. Development: do employees have professional development to stay relevant and career advancement opportunities
10. Clarity: do employees know what’s expected of them
11. Relationships: is there a culture of collaboration
12. Safety: does the company offer a psychological safe environment in case of difficult times
13. Strategy: do employees, know, understand and agree with the management decisions that affect their work
14. Employee Net Promoter Score: do employees recommend the company as an employer to their relatives or friends

How often should we Measure Employee engagement?

The common practice was once a year. So, companies ran usually an engagement survey once a year. Although effective, stay-in interviews are not as common as the surveys in terms of tools that measure employee engagement.

Measuring once a year is not as effective as you might think because respondents tend to think at their most recent experiences when answering the survey. As a result, their responses may be influenced by recent events or by the long periods that passed from the events.

In conclusion, recent best practices recommend an agile approach. An approach focused on measuring more often with pulse surveys linked to different HR initiatives combined with shorter dedicated engagement surveys.

Employee Vibe Offers Everything You Need To Measure Engagement In The Most Effective Way.

Our software helps you create custom surveys and quickly extract insights from the received feedback.
Also, our software can act as a tool for stay-in interviews.
Our experienced consultants can help you create the best questionnaires or interview guides. Moreover we can help you create the best people oriented programs to boost your employee engagement level.

Contact us for more info