Employee engagement and teamwork

A 5 Step Guide to Measuring Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is key to keeping employees motivated, connected and inspired in today’s landscape. Listening to our employees and using their feedback to drive meaningful change has never been more important.

Bianca Talbot

Chief Executive, The WOW! Awards

It’s widely accepted that organisations that have a high level of employee engagement perform better. They have employees who are not only happier, motivated and more fulfilled, but are also more likely to drive productivity, improve customer service and ultimately protect your bottom line. Research shows that highly engaged teams can equate to a 10% increase in customer loyalty and engagement.

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.

Steven R. Covey

Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Before we can evolve our employee engagement, we need to know what we are doing well and areas of weakness. Knowing how to measure engagement is the first step to improving it. Yet that’s more easily said than done. In this blog, we provide a 5 step guide to measuring employee engagement for a more motivated workforce.

1. Decide what metrics you’re going to measure:

To effectively measure employee engagement, you first need to decide which metrics are relevant and important for your organisation. These might include:

Diversity and Inclusion – do you have a welcoming company culture for everyone that retains and attracts top talent? Are your rewards and recognition schemes free from unconscious bias?

Recognition and how valued your employees feel – do you have an effective recognition programme to help your employees feel appreciated? The WOW Awards! help to create a more motivated workforce, benefitting your bottom line as a result.

Employee absenteeism and turnover rate – examining absenteeism and turnover rate can be a good indicator of employee engagement and market research shows that we should be aiming for less than 10% turnover rate.

Professional growth and career opportunities – we’ve talked previously about money not buying engagement and we know that learning and development is a key driver of engagement. In fact, a study by Udemy found that 80% of employees said that learning and development opportunities would help them feel more engaged at work.

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) – originally a metric of customer satisfaction and loyalty, eNPS asks the same of employees – “How likely is it that you would recommend working at our organisation?”. The score is calculated based on the difference between your most and least engaged employees.

Engagement with employee newsletters and internal comms – measuring data such as open rate of newsletters and click-through rates of emails, provides an important insight into how well internal comms are performing, how interested employees are in the company and ultimately how engaged they are, helping to inform future messaging and employee communications.

Work life balance – Many studies prove the direct link between employee wellbeing and performance, showing a healthy and happy workforce is more productive, motivated and engaged.

Ariana Huffington

Founder of Huffington Post.

2. Decide on how you’re going to measure employee engagement

So now you know what you’re going to measure, the next step is to decide on how you will measure it.

Annual Surveys – Many companies use annual employee satisfaction surveys as a way to measure employee engagement. They tend to be in-depth and provide lots of useful information but they can be time-consuming to undertake. The most important thing is to ensure that the questions align with the metrics you’ve already identified and that you utilise the data in an effective way.

Pulse Surveys – When it comes to measuring employee engagement, Pulse surveys offer quick and actionable insights. They are short, focused questions around a specific topic and they garner greater response rates than longer surveys. In fact, Pulse surveys themselves make employees feel valued, driving employee engagement.

Polls – Use polls as a more frequent check-in with your employees around a specific issue. Quick to complete and with immediate results, employees tend to enjoy taking part in them and having their say.

One-to-One meetings – Regular ‘360’ reviews, either virtually or in-person provide more detailed and meaningful employee feedback at an individual level.

Focus Groups – Using a representative sample from across your organisation, focus groups are a valuable tool to gauge employee likes, concerns and attitudes. They are particularly useful for larger organisations where one-to-one meetings may be more difficult.

Exit Surveys – When approached openly, exit surveys provide an honest insight into the reasons employees have left the company, allowing you to reflect on why employees are leaving and avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over.

3. Interpret the data

The data is in, now comes the vitally important step of interpreting the data, and using that information to drive real, meaningful change.

Sticky notes on the wall with a team analysing the data

Analysing and interpreting the data, particularly if managed in-house, can be a daunting task. Try to gather an objective picture of the story your employees are telling you. Identify the trends emerging from the data and pull out the key areas to focus on – the things your employees are telling you matter most.

Compare the data to previous results, industry standards and competitors. What are you doing better? What needs to improve? Have your results declined in any areas? Where have they increased and what do you attribute it to?

In order to identify the key issues to action, your managers, HR and leadership team must all be involved in this stage. Interpreting responses isn’t easy and can be prone to assumptions and bias. Steps should be taken to minimise bias when interpreting the data, to avoid heading down the wrong path of action.

4. Act on the information

You’ve gathered the data, you’ve identified the key areas to work on, so what now?

It’s time to build your employee engagement strategy. We now have an understanding of what affects employee engagement and what is important to our employees. This is the focus of your strategy. Create actionable goals that are centred on this knowledge.

For example, perhaps your employees have told you that they don’t feel valued. We know that companies with formal recognition programmes have 31% lower turnover, and are twelve times more likely to have strong business outcomes. So now is a great time to review our employee reward and recognition strategy. Recognising hard work and excellence is one of the best ways to make your employees feel more engaged.

Consider implementing an independent scheme like The WOW! Awards. By running an employee recognition scheme externally, you’ll gain an unbiased, inclusive, and easy-to-manage programme that will uncover the very best of your company. We make it easy for customers and co-workers alike to nominate people for their excellent service, and every entry is read and considered by an impartial third party.

Since working with The WOW! Awards, one of our customers:

  • Increased customer satisfaction from 4.1 to 4.8 (out of 5)
  • Reduced employee turnover by 6%
  • Reduced staff absenteeism by 10%
  • Scored 78% on their employee engagement survey (higher than the majority of benchmarked companies by The Institute of Customer Service).

Once you have begun actioning your goals, don’t forget to regularly check in with employees with polls, focus groups or pulse surveys to see if your changes are working.

5. Share your findings

It can be hard sharing your findings, particularly if they are negative, but openness and honesty is best when communicating results. Be transparent. You have an action plan in place to address the key issues and employees will appreciate this. It will also set the tone for a culture of openness and continuous improvement.

Timing is key. Try to share results when it is still fresh in employees’ minds. Sharing results demonstrates to employees that their feedback has been taken seriously and prioritised, helping them to feel valued and that their time investment was worthwhile.

Be clear on the next steps and set realistic expectations by communicating your areas of improvement and plans simply. You may have some actions that are ‘quick wins’ but others will take time, such as changing organisational culture. Communicate the importance of shared responsibility and emphasise the importance of accountability. One person cannot be responsible for improvement initiatives and provide opportunities for individuals to be involved in employee engagement activities.

Finally, celebrate your wins! Shout about your success stories and the positives your research has found.

Team receiving a WOW! Award

Create a positive workplace culture

The WOW! Awards can help you create a positive workplace culture, where service excellence becomes a part of your everyday. Unlike TrustPilot or Google Reviews, our programme allows feedback to go directly to the individual employee who delivered the service on behalf of your brand.  Take a look at our case studies to see how we’ve helped clients increase employee engagement, motivation and morale.