Five Easy Ways To Measure Employee Engagement – Right Now

I confess to being a data geek. Those who know me well often use more unkind words to describe that trait (you know who you are) – and I’m often surprised when People talk to me about measurement challenges and the astronomical amount money they are prepared to spend to solve the

Fundamentally this challenge is about recognising the assets you already own – and too often the communications and HR groups I work with struggle with taking those assets and turning them into action.
So here’s a quick guide for quick wins on data.

First – the ones everybody thinks of first, the active measurement techniques for engagement. Bluntly speaking this typically revolves around an employee survey being sent around the organisation – then presenting the results from the survey tool.

You know the ones I mean – if it’s not four questions buried in the dreaded “98 Question Employee Opinion Survey” – it’s a generic one asking such questions as “How would you best describe your level of interaction with your immediate manager/leader/annoying boss”.

Then the team responsible starts looking for ways to spin the data.

If you have 33 people that love their job, 33 that think it’s OK, and 33 that hate it. You could say that two thirds of employees are happy in their job. Then you go on to group all the ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’ together for the next one to make things look better. ARGH!

If you’re going to measure engagement with a questionnaire, then make sure you tailor it to your company, and focus on capturing the emotion of the participants. Set a target for participation and consider that to be your best measure of success – lack of response is an indicator that those being surveyed don’t expect any action to be taken, and don’t see the value in giving you their opinion.

But wait – that brings us to passive measurement – and that’s a much more powerful tool, especially in the early stages of determining levels of engagement. You already know your participation statistics for other surveys you’ve completed over the years – so plot that on a chart and you’ll get a rough engagement measure to start with, and it will even show you changes over time.

Read on, but beware, because we may get a little more geeky….here are just five (of many) common nuggets of engagement gold you already have in your systems….

Do you have performance management tools? Do you have an annual window of participation when managers have to complete them? Is there a ‘free text’ field along with the review. Great! You have a very powerful engagement statistic just waiting to be measured.Who is more engaged? The manager who completes the review process in the first week of the window, or the one who completes on the last day. The manager who writes 500 words on the employee, or the one that writes 20? So get a report from whoever the administrator of the system is on manager, completion date and length of the text field. Then play about with both measures in excel and rank them. It’s honestly not that hard.

Do you have an intranet? Does it have company information on there? Information about your board of directors? Products? Good news, that’s another statistic for engagement just waiting to be tapped. Your IT folks can send you a report that shows you the number of hits on any specific pages that everyone in the org has recorded. If Mabel has 300 hits on the intranet a month, Geoffrey has 5 – who’s more invested in learning about the company?

Way to go Mabel – step up, you’re taking the time to use the resources available. I know who I’d ask about what info employees need. Oh, and guess what – you know have another ranked list of engaged employees.

Compliance training system? Online education? Opt-in leadership development program? Who completes the required training after the first email? Who leaves it to the last minute? As long as you know when each email is sent you can see who responds – that helps with both communication strategy and determining engagement levels.Optional training is an even better measure. Take those that complete the training that you don’t send reminders for and you can bet they are a darn sight more interested in the wellbeing of the company (and their own career) than those that don’t. Another one to add to the  list.

How about a recognition system? Many companies have mechanisms where employees and managers can give a shout out for good work done by others in the organisation. Recording the recipients will show you who shines at making extra effort – but recording those that give rewards will show you who’s spending their cycles being more engaged. Add them to your list.

And finally – if you’re progressive enough to have some form of internal social media tool – maybe Chatter or Yammer – then you have a gold mine of information about activity and participation. Those that spend time sharing information, setting up groups and responding will add even further value to that list we’ve been creating – and the best news is that the system administrator can just push a button and send all the info you need straight to you.


Trying to work out who is the most engaged person in your company is not a good idea. It won’t be of ANY value and it’s just creepy.

But looking at who scores highly in each of those categories will give you an idea of whether you’re on the right track. I’d bet good money that if you have someone with high scores in each of those, you already know they’re a good ‘go to’ person.So what do you do with that list? Back to excel – and plug in your organisation report. The one you have with ‘who manages who’ and ‘which division’ and ‘which country’.

Put a score next to each name from your list.

Now group up by country, division, or senior manager and take an average. You’ll find you can find those hotbeds of engagement very easily – and once you really know where these groups are you can start work on finding out WHY they do so well. But that’s a subject for another blog.

If you want some help dragging information from systems and making sense of it, just let me know – drop an email to and I’ll respond.

You CAN start to measure engagement already, without spending anything. Be brave!

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