A lot of people are worried about how am I going to measure employee engagement?

How am I going to know what I’m investing in, whether it’s my time or my money, that I’m going to get a return on this?

Well, in this video, I’m going to share with you how you can measure employee engagement.

Hi, my name is Jody, and welcome to another video.

One big reason why it’s so hard to measure employee engagement is because there’s no clear definition of employee engagement. Some people think it’s happiness. Some people think it’s satisfaction. Some people think if I give more money, everything’s gonna be fine. There’s no real clear definition of engagement.

And the reason that is, is because engagement isn’t a thing, it’s actually a feeling, it’s an emotion. So how do you measure emotion? It’s kind of hard to do.

Although I will tell you there are ways to do it.

As I was saying, engagement is a complex emotion. A lot of different things have to happen before an employee can be fully engaged.

For instance, you could be happy at work, but not get enough feedback. You could get enough feedback, but you don’t have any opportunities for growth. You could have opportunities for growth, but you don’t like your manager.

It’s pretty complex. It’s a balancing act. It’s a dance.

Employee engagement is a lot like a puzzle. It’s complex and it has many parts. And they all need to fit together in order for it to work.

When I was preparing for this video, I came across an organization called Office Vibe and their research showed that there are 10 attributes that help to define what is employee engagement and I want to share them with you and say a little bit about each one.

So first is feedback.

Feedback is a really important aspect of a safe environment in your organization and a very important component of what it is that millennials are looking for, that ongoing feedback. The days of the annual performance review, those are so last Tuesday, last year, last 100 years.

The feedback that they’re asking for is more immediate and relevant and in the moment. And, be sure that you’re finding what they’re doing right. When there’s an ongoing feedback, they’re less afraid that you’re going to come to make a criticism of what they’re doing wrong. Then they’re less likely to defend and protect themselves and to hide out and more likely to engage with you, particularly if you’re giving them the positive feedback of what they’re doing right.

The next one is recognition.

When it comes to recognition, it can be something as simple as, “Hey, well done.” “That’s great.” “Can you show me how you did that?” or “Why that’s important to you?”

Anything that acknowledges that you see them, that you actually recognize them, that they’re significant to you all the way up through how you recognize with Employee of the Month or some gift card to the movies or something.

Be sure that you do this across the board and you’re finding things to recognize even the shyest quietest person who’s not the superstar. Because when you only recognize and reward the superstars, other people begin to feel like they’re losers and that’s counterproductive to what we’re trying to do inside of engagement.

The next one is happiness.

It’s not enough to have cool perks around the office like ping pong tables or playing volleyball or happy hour. It’s really about people having work that’s meaningful to them.

The next one is their relationship with their peers.

In Gallup’s famous 12 questions, one of them is, do you have a best friend at work? Sometimes people go like, what do you mean do I have a best friend at work?

Well, when people do have a best friend at work, they’re more likely to want to be there, working with that person, side by side, to produce a good result and productivity in your company.

The relationship with the managers.

There’s so much said about why people leave an organization, they leave the manager or the supervisor of the organization.

So, the training that your managers get, in how to be a good manager, on emotional intelligence, even though it sounds messy, it’s probably the most important thing that they can do to keep great intellectual capital in your company.

So give your managers the training they need to be better leaders.

Personal growth.

Personal growth has to do with not just their personal growth, which is, obviously, very important, their training and development, their ability to grow in their profession, develop their skills, develop mastery, it’s also your personal growth as a leader.

Being willing to be on a constant and never ending kaizen type of personal development pathway, because as we create better employees, they have better lives. And then we have better members of society across the board.


Alignment has to do with having clear goals that everyone is aware of, that there’s a common goal that everyone can true up to. They know what’s expected of them and they’re onboard with that. They’re aligned with the values of the company. They’re aligned with the goals of the company. They’re aligned with one another. Very, very important.

Their satisfaction.

Satisfaction’s on that basic scale. The satisfaction has to do with are they being paid fairly? Are they being treated fairly? Are they being treated in a respectful way? Do they have what they need in order to be able to do their work? Basic satisfaction must be present.

Then there’s wellness.

Probably the biggest issue that people are dealing with in the workplace right now is not just stress. Although there’s plenty of that. Sometimes stress is a good thing because it actually moves people forward.

But when it switches from stress to burnout, our wellness suffers. We’re not sleeping. We’re eating too much. We’re drinking too much. We’re fighting. We’re irritable. A burnout has a very, very significant component in the workplace right now.

So promoting wellness and well-being is a very important thing to do in your business, whether you’re sharing, you know, weight loss game or you’re making sure that you have healthy snacks or that people are taking breaks.

Because, we’ve trained people to operate from, “Well, if I work late and I don’t get up from my desk and I eat at the desk, if I eat it all, then it looks like I’m engaged and I’m an important contribution to this company.”

Nananana No!

All of that leads to burnout and burnout obviously is not sustainable. Make sure that you as a leader are focused on your well-being and the well-being of your team. It used to be that we would measure engagement by how willing are they to stay late?

That’s not a measure of engagement. I’m going to give you some, but that’s not one of them.

And then ambassadorship.

Ambassadorship looks just like what it says. Are they people who would speak well of you and your company to your customers, to your vendors, to their friends and to their families?

Are they people who would say, “Hey, there’s a job opening, you should come here, I work for the best company?”

Being an ambassador and fostering an environment where people are ambassadors.

These are aspects of employee engagement. So before we go in to talking about how you measure this, there’s a few other things I want to share with you.

Employee engagement and looking at how to measure it is not something that you do once, so that you can check it off. It’s an ongoing business strategy. Let me repeat that. An ongoing business strategy.

Think of it like marketing your company. You would never stop marketing in your company.

Engagement is the same. You would never stop working on engagement if you understood the business case for why it matters.

With the focus on technology in the workplace, naturally, I wondered what software, what apps, are there that are out there that we could use to measure the return on investment in employee engagement.

So I did a Google search “Best software to measure employee engagement.” And guess what? It came up.

There is a site called – “Employee Engagement Software, The best employee engagement software in 2019.”

And, it has a list that has a graph with all the different things that it can actually measure. And it tells you which ones have this and what their ratings are. And there are plenty of them out there.

Now, the seduction is to go straight to technology and start to use an app.

Employee engagement is a big business. I mean, even Sir Richard Branson is in this game with Virgin Pulse and their software, and app.

So these tools, remember, are just tools and they’re not a substitute for actually going in and having the conversations and doing the hard work of actually engaging with the people on your team.

Now they’re good and they’re important and you should go investigate it. And there may be one that’s a good fit for your company. As I said, this Capterra site actually had a good graph with a number of different softwares. And you can see, yes, this is important to me. That’s important to me. Costs. It compares all of these.

And then there’s the somewhat old fashioned surveys. So let me talk a little bit about surveys and doing the quantitative and objective assessments and the qualitative and subjective assessments of employee engagement.

Here are some areas that you can measure.

Of course, you’re gonna have to create a benchmark from the onset as you go through and measure, but these are some of the metrics that you can measure in your company:

  • One is absenteeism.
  • Another is profitability.
  • Another is productivity. How much work is actually getting out in this period of time?
  • The retention of talent.
  • The customer survey scores.
  • Safety and the reduction of injuries.
  • The mistakes or errors that happen.

These are some areas where, once you’ve benchmarked them, you can start to track over time, or even go back in and pull some data from the past, because you probably have some of these metrics, like absenteeism, or you might have been tracking incident reports of safety.

Once you’ve benchmark that, then you’ll put in an employee engagement component and then start to track its growth. Perhaps you’re doing that on a monthly basis or quarterly basis. So this is, again, it’s not a one time check off, it’s more a part of your ongoing business strategy.

So you’ll keep these kinds of metrics and you can do that on your own, creating a simple dashboard.

Some of the more subjective pieces are a lot harder to measure. So if you have a survey, you know, how engaged are you and your workforce and you get a seven out of 10. What does that actually mean?

It doesn’t really mean anything.

And so, we have to be careful the way we ask a question, because there’s no direct answer.

As I’ve shared earlier, engagement is an emotion. It’s a feeling. So how do you measure a feeling?

But, you can feel, when you come into an environment, the energy in that environment. Every one of us has walked into a business where it was either flat, like half dead, no one said hello to us for the first 5, 10 minutes we’re in there in their facility, to a vibrant, alive energy.

And, I always say you can’t hide energy. So, you kind of feel it, but you may not be exactly able to measure it.

You have to ask yourself what measure is going to be useful to me and is going to help me to achieve my business outcomes?

In the end, I think it’s a mixture of both.

If you have an app that is actually measuring what’s going on with that employee, and they can send feedback to you on an ongoing basis, through an app, that could be very useful. Especially if you can take it and dissect it into actionable items that will improve employee engagement.

And, there’s no substitute for face to face.

So, if you’re going to create an interview, or a feedback, with employees, you want to craft the questions carefully, so that they actually point to that person’s engagement and level of engagement.

A lot of it is displayed in the body language. And many times as business leaders we’ll ignore body language that’s off, because we’ve got so many other pressing things that we need to take care of, but, really being with someone and their body language and then, checking it out is also important because, you know, the other day I was asking somebody like, “Are you upset? Are you mad?” Because he had his arms crossed like this, and he said, “No, I’m actually cold and my neck is bothering me.”

And because I know him and I know that he has neck issues, I could believe him when he said that. But if I hadn’t asked, I might have made the assumption, “Oh, he’s not engaged in this conversation and what I’m saying.”

So, notice the body language, and then also check it out.

When you create the survey, be sure that you actually are writing that survey to be what’s relevant to you.

If you ask questions that are passive, like “Are you engaged at work?”, you’re going to get answers that point to the environment, that point outside, if they’re not happy, if they’re not engaged.

A better set of questions would have to do with, “Did you do your best at…?”, which is inward focusing, where people would take responsibility.

So, the crafting of the questions is a very important aspect of your survey.

So in the end, measuring the ROI on employee engagement can be an app, can be face to face conversations where you’re actually engaging with people and they can be surveys. All of those combined will point to something.

And then the actual hard numbers come from, you know, growth in profitability, retention of talent, improvement in sales results. Those are hard things, but it’s not the only thing.

So to wrap up, employee engagement, emotional, soft skills, but it actually does have a very hard ROI, and if you’re committed to it, and it’s a part of your ongoing business strategy, you’re going to find the methods that will work best for you and your organization.

Thank you very much for watching this video.

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About the author,

With 14 years of experience in working with small and medium sized businesses to help them grow, Doug is committed to seeing business owners thrive. Business coaching is what drives Doug.

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