Employee engagement is a critical human resources concept that helps to paint a clear picture of how employees feel about both their job and employer. More engaged employees tend to be more productive, loyal and have higher levels of satisfaction. This trickle effect can influence almost all aspects of the employee experience and positively impact retention.
But when it comes to measuring and tracking engagement, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what metrics are the best indicators of performance. Especially when you’re trying to track data across multiple engagement initiatives.
As with any set of metrics, the ones you track are going to vary greatly based on your business goals, as well as the specific engagement tactics you employ. Plus, you may already have a set of metrics that you continuously keep tabs on. Either way, it’s important to zero in on the ones that are most important and will help you accurately evaluate the business impact of your efforts.
To help you narrow it down, we identified the top 10 employee engagement metrics that you should always have on your radar.
How are employee engagement metrics captured?
There are both qualitative and quantitative observations that can be used to track employee engagement and give you insight into how your employees behave within the working environment.
Quantitative insights, such as employee turnover or absenteeism, can be easily gathered using a talent management software tool. If your organization doesn’t use this kind of solution yet, this data can also be extracted manually.
Qualitative or behavioral insights, such as employee satisfaction, can be collected through interviews, surveys or empirical observation. This can include:
- Pulse surveys: These are short, frequent check-ins that are administered on a continuous basis. Pulse surveys typically include less than 5 questions and are meant to capture employee sentiment about a specific initiative or the company as a whole.
- Engagement surveys: Delivered quarterly or bi-annually, these longer-form surveys take a broader view of employee sentiment with questions aimed at diving deeper into certain subjects or aspects of the business.
- Employee net promoter score (eNPS): This is a simple, point-based scoring method that allows you to assign a numerical figure to employee feedback.
- Manager/direct report communication: The manager/employee relationship is one that can yield many insights about employee engagement. As part of management training, managers should be encouraged to seek out candid feedback from their direct reports during regular check-ins.
To truly understand engagement within your organization, a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics is necessary.
10 essential metrics for tracking employee engagement
Without metrics, it’s nearly impossible to understand whether your employee engagement efforts are actually making an impact. Also, keep in mind that employee engagement often overlaps with your other people metrics — such as hiring and L&D — so you will most likely need to plug and play insights from these areas of the business too.
Overall, here are the essential metrics to have on your HR dashboard, that will guide your employee engagement strategy:
This metric shows you what proportion of your employees are leaving your company within a given time frame. How much of your workforce is leaving the company and why provides you with insight into the successes and failures of programs and processes across your organization, such as L&D initiatives, workplace culture and more.
Voluntary employee turnover
For better insight into why employees are leaving, it’s important to distinguish between involuntary and voluntary turnover. Involuntary turnover – such as termination for poor performance– is less of an indicator for engagement, whereas voluntary turnover demonstrates a lack of employee engagement in some capacity since the individual made the decision to leave.
New hire 90-day failure rate
In addition to understanding the rate at which new employees are leaving, it’s important to understand why they’re leaving so you can draw better conclusions on how to address the issue. This is where exit interviews become invaluable tools for digging deeper into the factors that may have contributed to a new hire’s departure. Again, be sure to distinguish between voluntary and involuntary turnover when tracking this metric.
eNPS surveys are popular because they enable you to assign a score to employee satisfaction and engagement. Typically, these surveys score engagement by asking employees to rate various experiences within the company on a scale of one to 10.
- Are you proud of the work you do here?
- Do you feel supported in your goals by management?
- Do you have adequate access to growth and professional development opportunities?
An eNPS score alone isn’t enough to gain a big-picture understanding of how your employees perceive your business. However, when evaluated alongside some of these other metrics, it’s a quick and simple way to gain a broad understanding of engagement.
One major benefit of L&D is boosting employee engagement. Employees who participate and take advantage of your workforce education and upskilling programs typically have higher engagement levels. Monitoring this metric and working to increase participation can influence employees’ motivation and morale.
Investing in your people’s career advancement helps to foster a deeper connection and gives them a higher sense of purpose when they're able to grow and develop their skills at work.
Put simply, whether or not your employees are coming to work is a great indicator of their engagement. While a certain level of absenteeism is normal, it’s important to keep a close eye out on this metric as it can be indicative of a bigger problem.
With the exception of workers with chronic illnesses or other barriers to a consistent schedule, missing work regularly may be a sign that employees are not feeling connected to their job or the company.
Employee satisfaction is a broad identifier that speaks to the general sentiment among your workforce. Whether it’s through surveys, 1-on-1 conversations, or other feedback methods, you’ll want to employ both qualitative and quantitative data to paint the most accurate picture of how employees truly feel about working at your business.
How well your employees are doing their jobs and whether or not they are growing is another key indicator of engagement. Highly engaged employees tend to be more motivated and perform better as a result. When performance suffers, it’s a warning sign that warrants a closer look. You should also look at performance at the team level, which can be indicative of a greater problem, such as poor management.
This data can be easily captured with a performance management system, or through other methods such as performance reviews or a skills gap analysis.
Online company ratings
Third-party review websites such as Glassdoor are more than just an employer branding tool. Reviews from past or current employees on these career sites can give you candid insight into employee sentiment. You can even use these reviews to inform questions you put on surveys for current employees.
There are a number of factors that influence customer happiness, but it can also be a telling metric for employee engagement. This is especially true if you have a big population of customer-facing employees that are interfacing with your customers on a regular basis. When enthusiastic and engaged, employees typically provide a better customer experience. Similarly, if an employee is disengaged, their performance in front of customers may suffer.
Your company likely already solicits customer feedback in some form, be it through surveys or less formal methods. As part of this process, consider incorporating a line item that prompts the customer to share their level of satisfaction with employee performance.
The ROI of employee engagement
There's rarely a straightforward, easy way to see a "return" on employee engagement efforts — yet it’s still worth it.
Simply put, happy employees are good for business. So, as with any business strategy, you need to be able to point to real outcomes that impact business results to secure buy-in for your efforts.
Employee engagement is no different.
As your business evolves, the metrics you prioritize likely will, too. What’s most important is understanding that no singular data point is enough to paint a full picture of the business impact of having engaged employees. It's going to take gathering data, monitoring the right metrics and keeping a close eye on how they influence broader talent goals such as retention, absenteeism, customer satisfaction, productivity and profitability.
Looking for more employee engagement resources? Stay up-to-date on what’s trending with this roundup of the top employee engagement statistics to know in 2022 and beyond.