Four surefire ways to measure employee engagement

People Analytics

February 6, 2020

Dave McKean

X min


The best way to measure engagement is to create benchmarks against which to check your progress – or regress (hope not!). A great way to do that is through surveys.

Four surefire ways to measure employee engagement
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Table of Contents

Is your team engaged?

By now, most HR pros and executives understand the importance of employee engagement. (If you’re a doubter or aren’t sure what we’re talking about, here’s a good overview on why engagement matters and even some tips on how to achieve it. Bottom line: employees that are truly engaged are more productive, make customers happier, and are less likely to leave their organizations.)

How do you measure engagement?  

The best way to measure engagement is to create benchmarks against which to check your progress – or regress (hope not!). A great way to do that is through surveys. (There’s also another way we’ll let you in on at the end of this blog.) Let’s look at three types of surveys.

Net Promoter Score

Simple. Fast. Powerful. The NPS® lets you know the overall mood of your team, which in turn will give you an idea of their level of engagement. Check the whole team or get snapshots of subgroups by department, location, etc. to see micro trends.

The NPS is based on the idea that every employee can be put in one of three categories: promoters, passives, and detractors.

You simply ask the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend [your company] to a friend or colleague as a great place to work.” It really gets to the point, doesn’t it?

Responses are measured on a 0-to-10 point rating scale:  

  • Promoters (9-10) are definitely on board. Count on them to go the extra mile.
  • Passives (7-8) are okay with things but not exactly pumped. You’ll get decent effort out of them.
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy employees. Their lack of buy-in and low effort could affect morale and actually damage your company. Look out!

Your NPS is the difference between the percentage of promoters and detractors (passives don’t factor into your score). The NPS is not a percentage; it is an absolute number between -100 and +100.

Here’s an example: if you have 30% promoters, 50% passives and 20% detractors, your  NPS is +10. (30 minus 20.)

What’s a good score? According to the creator of the NPS, Fred Reichheld, the average American company scores less than +10 on the NPS, while superstar employers get between +50 and +80. But these may vary a lot depending on your sector and other factors like culture. But remember, you are benchmarking, so what matters most is the change in your score over time – per month or quarter, for example.  

It is important to note that “Net Promoter” is a registered trademark of Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix. If you do use the NPS in your engagement benchmarking, you should provide an acknowledgement in the small print.

Pulse Surveys

Fast. Frequent. More in-depth. An employee pulse survey asks simple questions of your team weekly or monthly. You get a quick take on the health of employee engagement at your company, hence the name 'pulse'. A pulse survey is more in-depth than the NPS, but still simple enough. You’ll get the most honest results if you make the survey anonymous (highly recommended!).  

You know this type of survey. You present a number of statements, and ask team members to rate their agreement on a scale: Strongly Disagree (1 point), Disagree (2), Neutral/Neither Agree or Disagree (3), Agree (4), Strongly Agree (5).

Pulse survey questions on employee engagement  

Here are the questions we use at Kudos to help us measure employee engagement. Of course, you can ask any questions you want. These are just the ones that work for us.

Leadership Questions – looking at how employees see senior leadership
  • Our senior leaders are committed to making our organization a great place to work.
  • I trust our senior leadership to lead the company to future success.
  • I believe our senior leaders are honest and trustworthy.
  • The leaders of this organization set a positive example.
  • Our senior leaders inspire me to do my best.
Purpose Questions – about vision, mission and values and how they relate to individuals
  • I have a good understanding of the mission and the goals of the organization.
  • I understand the importance of my role to the success of the company.
  • Our work environment is designed to help employees do their best work.
  • I find my job interesting and challenging.
  • I know what is expected of me at work.
Respect Questions – about an employee’s relationship with their immediate supervisor or their team  
  • I trust and respect my immediate supervisor.
  • My opinions and input are sought and seriously considered in decisions that affect me.
  • My manager values and regularly recognizes my contributions.
  • I have a close and trusting relationship with one or more of my coworkers.
  • If I contribute to the organization’s success, I know I will be recognized.
Opportunity Questions – about how an employee feels about their growth and career opportunities  
  • I see ways to grow and learn in my current role.
  • My job allows me to utilize my strengths.
  • My immediate manager cares about my development.
  • I see professional growth and career opportunities for myself in the organization.
  • The organization makes investments to make me more successful.

To get your overall score, just add the values of all the responses. Divide the total by the number of your employees to get an average per person score. Of course, you can also check your score against each subsection. Based on the responses, you‘ll get an idea of which areas you may need to make improvements in order to increase engagement.

Delivering NPS and pulse surveys

As for conducting an NPS or pulse survey, there are a variety of survey tools, such as Survey Monkey that make it easy to gather data. We will be including the NPS and pulse survey capabilities in Kudos in the near future. But don’t let that stop you from gathering the data now and sharing it with your team through Kudos.

Comprehensive Surveys

Need to dig deeper? If you find that the NPS and pulse surveys just scratch the surface on organizational employee engagement, try an in-depth annual survey. Search online and you’ll see that there are many organizations that specialize in workplace surveys. They can design, conduct, and prepare detailed reports with insights and actionable strategies to address issues.

P2P recognition: another way to measure engagement

Kudos, our online employee experience and culture platform, provides several ways to help you measure employee engagement. Everyone in your organization can see the Engagement Leaders module, which tells you your company’s top senders and receivers of Kudos. Your leaders with admin privileges can see a variety of data showing how individual employees, departments or the whole company are being recognized by their peers for demonstrating engagement-related values like collaboration, communication, passion and accountability, for example (you can set your own values with which to measure your team on). You can easily see and track this data over time, so benchmarking is a breeze.  

More important HR-related analytics    

Here are some handy links to using data to understand and manage your people better:

How to Use Employee Feedback for Business Growth

Are you missing out on the benefits of HR analytics?  

Make it happen!

Whether you use NPS, pulse or comprehensive surveys, or the many benchmarks in Kudos, make a commitment to stay on top of employee engagement in your organization. Looking for tips on how to improve engagement?  We have some great ideas here and here.            

Want to talk?

At Kudos, we help hundreds of companies around the world improve employee engagement. Talk to us (well, to our chatbot first – it’s down in the bottom right part of the screen and it's amazingly helpful), and we'll let you know more about our easy-to-use online tool and how we can help you!

About Kudos

Kudos is an employee engagement, culture, and analytics platform, that harnesses the power of peer-to-peer recognition, values reinforcement, and open communication to help organizations boost employee engagement, reduce turnover, improve culture, and drive productivity and performance. Kudos uses unique proprietary methodologies to deliver essential people analytics on culture, performance, equity, and inclusion, providing organizations with deep insights and a clear understanding of their workforce.

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