Prioritising employee engagement may seem obvious. After all, its impact on productivity, retention, and the success of your business is significant. However, our own 2021 research revealed that, out of the 73% of SMEs who set KPIs, only 4% have measures related to employee engagement. 
If you’re wondering whether improving engagement can impact the bottom line, consider Gallup’s own research which reveals that the most engaged teams show 41% lower absenteeism, 10% high customer metrics and 21% higher profitability. Significant? Definitely. 
With this in mind, let’s explore what employee engagement is, how to measure it, and how it fits into plans for business growth. 

What is employee engagement? 

Gallup defines employee engagement as ‘the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace’. It then defines the three levels of engaged employees: engaged employees, disengaged employees, and actively disengaged employees. 

Disengaged employees 

Disengaged employees are ‘psychologically unattached to their work and company’. 
They’re sleepwalking through their workday out of a sense of duty, putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work. 

Actively disengaged employees 

Actively disengaged employees ‘aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.’ 
These employees can derail teamwork, negatively impact clients, and erode the ethos of a business. 
According to Gallup, typically around a third of employees are engaged and about 15% are actively disengaged, with the remainder (around half) disengaged. 
But how well do you keep an eye on the engagement of your own employees? 

Measuring employee engagement 

I’m going to share with you two ways you can keep your finger on the pulse of team engagement: the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and the Gallup Q12. 

The employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) 

This employee engagement measure is based on the Net Promoter Score usually used to survey customers. It’s a simple one-question survey: 
On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely is it you would recommend this company as a place to work? 
The eNPS should be anonymous. You should carry out this survey at least every six months - we recommend every quarter – and track trends over time. Simply measuring employee engagement will focus your mind on thinking of ways to improve it. 
The results will enable you to identify three groups: those who are engaged (scoring 9 or 10), those who are passively disengaged/neutral (7 or 8), and those who are actively disengaged (6 or lower). 
The ‘net’ element comes from subtracting the number of actively disengaged from the number of engaged (ignoring the passively disengaged). It is quite sensitive as an employee measure because the overall survey size is generally low – but this is good as it highlights changes in engagement. 
To gain more insight, you can add a question each time such as ‘What one thing do you like most about working here?’ or ‘What one thing can we do to improve?’. 
You can carry out the survey using tools such as Survey Monkey and a quick spreadsheet calculation. 

The Gallup Q12® 

For more detailed insights, you can use the questionnaire created by Gallup. They have devised a set of 12 questions (Q12) shown to correlate with employee engagement. They are: 
1. I know what is expected of me at work. 
2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right. 
3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day. 
4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work. 
5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person. 
6. There is someone at work who encourages my development. 
7. At work, my opinions seem to count. 
8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important. 
9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work. 
10. I have a best friend at work. 
11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about progress. 
12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow. 
Again you can run these in Survey Monkey and chart the results. This will provide a benchmark and help you identify weaknesses and strengths. If you want to benchmark against other companies, Gallup provides this service through their Q12 survey in Gallup Access85. 

Creating an employee engagement strategy 

Reflect on your KPIs. Is employee engagement part of your measures or growth plan? If not, consider how using a survey could fit into your strategy. 
Improving employee engagement is a huge area. As a starting point, take a look at the 12 questions in the Gallup Q12. These offer insight into the areas which grow employee engagement. 
Let’s take Q1 as an example: I know what is expected of me at work. Based on this question, ask yourself the following questions: Are your employees clear about what their objectives and tasks are? How do you make this clear to them? Is it working? 
Some questions are easier to tackle than others. Consider Q5. How do you make sure that your employees feel cared about? What does this look like? 
We’ve looked at measuring employee engagement in this article, but you don’t have to stop there. You can also measure whether you’ve got all the other key factors in place to enable your team members to fire on all cylinders so you can take your business to the next level. Just head across to our FREE Level Up Your Team Scorecard now. You’ll get a personalised report and a free copy of our highly-rated book: The Entrepreneurial ScaleUp System (only pay P&P). Here’s the link: 
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