Employee Engagement…measuring success

Image: CC_Matthias_Rhomberg_Busy_ReflectionsIn the previous article in our short series on employee engagement, we reported on the overall views as expressed by participants in the autumn 2012 edition of our UK Reward Management Survey

In this, the second article, we consider what people told us about how engagement is measured, what good engagement looks like and how they identify if their organisation has a problem with engagement. To do this we analysed the responses to our survey. Most people mentioned more than one indicator or mechanism but some common themes were evident.


By some margin, employee surveys were cited as the main way people assessed employee engagement. Two-thirds said they used a survey to measure engagement and most saw this as the main way to identify if they had a problem. The vast majority operated surveys annually although two organisations reported six-monthly surveys. Several respondents referred to an overall engagement score.


A quarter of responses mentioned that attrition levels were an indicator of how engaged people were. A few added that high absence levels tended to reflect poor engagement.


Various performance-related indicators were identified in about a quarter of responses. Meeting targets, delivering programmes and increasing productivity were all seen as signs that people were engaged.

Other forms of feedback

Many organisations mentioned both formal and informal feedback mechanisms other than an employee survey. These ranged from communications forums to appraisals and exit interviews. 


Several people mentioned that they assessed engagement through informal perceptions of attitude. Examples included where there was a “feel good factor” or where people “embraced change” and more than one mentioned the importance of “open communications”. Others cited employees being keen to “go the extra mile” to do a good job. 

One person said that they judged their people were engaged if they were “motivated, focused employees […] proud of the organisation they work for and […] happy to engage in work related activities.” Another talked of people “embracing change and understanding the end game.”

The overall picture suggests that organisations use a variety of methods to measure engagement, with few relying on a single mechanism. Furthermore there is a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques used. These range from formal, regular surveys to quite subjective gut feel judgements.

In the next article we will look at the actions our respondents have taken, or are planning to take, to help promote employee engagement.