What is employee engagement, how do you measure it and why is it important.

by Danique Geskus | Sep 29, 2023

In this blog, we delve into the concept of employee engagement: what it means, how it differs from employee satisfaction and why it is important for organizations. We also discuss different methods of measuring employee engagement, including surveys, interviews and exit interviews. In addition, we share five tips for effectively measuring employee engagement and explain how Learned can help measure employee engagement using evidence-based questionnaires. Furthermore, we offer insights into the importance of employee engagement for retention, productivity, absenteeism and the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). Next, we provide concrete suggestions for increasing employee engagement, focusing on the topic of “Leadership” and sharing five practical tips. Finally, download the Learned engagement model with 18 themes, 90 questions and 90 best practices to get started immediately on improving employee engagement.


What does employee engagement mean?

Employee engagement refers to the degree to which employees feel emotionally connected to their work, organization and goals. It means that employees feel committed to their tasks, are motivated to contribute to the success of the organization and have a sense of connection to the company’s mission, vision and values.


What is the difference between employee satisfaction and employee engagement?

Employee satisfaction, employee happiness and employee engagement are terms often used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings, measurement methods and impact on employee behavior.

Employee satisfaction refers to the overall sense of happiness and fulfillment employees experience in their work. It is often measured through surveys that assess factors such as salary, benefits, work environment and tasks. It focuses on assessing various aspects of work that affect employee satisfaction.

Employee happiness refers to the well-being and positive emotions employees experience related to their work. It is often measured using surveys that assess factors such as employee satisfaction, work-life balance, employee engagement and social support at work. It focuses on understanding the broader well-being of employees and the positive emotions they experience in their work.

Employee engagement refers to the extent to which employees are engaged in their work and feel a connection to their organization. It is often measured through surveys that assess factors such as autonomy, development opportunities and relationships with colleagues and supervisors. It focuses on measuring employee engagement and motivation to contribute to the success of the organization.

Although employee happiness is a combination of employee satisfaction and employee engagement, it is important to note that these terms can be measured separately and have different effects on employee behavior.

Employee satisfaction affects meeting expectations, while employee engagement is associated with proactive behavior and exceeding expectations. Engaged employees often show a more positive attitude toward the organization and feel responsible for their tasks. They take initiative and strive for improvement and innovation. In contrast, satisfied employees are generally accepting of the status quo and often wait for offered support.

Studies by Gallup and Towers Watson show that employee engagement has a greater impact on retention, productivity, Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and employee absenteeism.

In short, employee satisfaction, employee happiness and employee engagement are related, yet different concepts that each have their own metrics and effects on employee behavior.


What is the importance of high employee engagement?

Employee engagement has significant importance for organizations because of its positive impact on various aspects of the company’s bottom line. First, employee engagement has a beneficial effect on retention, which refers to an organization’s ability to retain employees over a period of time. High turnover can be costly and disruptive to business operations. Studies show a positive correlation between employee engagement and employee retention, with highly engaged employees less likely to leave the organization.

In addition, employee engagement has a positive impact on productivity. Engaged employees are 21% more productive than uninvolved employees. They show more commitment, take initiative and strive to achieve organizational goals. This has direct benefits for an organization’s performance and success.

Another important aspect is the effect of employee engagement on absenteeism. Highly engaged teams have 41% less absenteeism than uninvolved teams. Thus, engagement has a positive impact on employee attendance and reducing absences, which supports business continuity.

Finally, employee engagement also has implications for the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). Highly engaged employees are more likely to recommend their employer to others, which has a positive impact on the organization’s image and reputation.

All in all, the importance of employee engagement shows that investing in promoting engagement is beneficial to organizations. It leads to higher retention, improved productivity, reduced absenteeism and positive eNPS scores, contributing to better business results and competitive advantage.


How do you measure employee engagement?

There are several methods that can be used to measure employee engagement:

  1. Employee Satisfaction Surveys: This is a common method where surveys are used to gather information about various aspects of work that may affect employee engagement. These surveys may include questions about salary, work hours, workload, job satisfaction, relationship with managers and colleagues, opportunities for professional growth and development, recognition and appreciation, and work-life balance.
  2. Individual or group interviews: Conversations with employees, both individually and in groups, can provide valuable insights about their satisfaction and engagement. These conversations can be either formal, such as during performance reviews, or informal, such as during coffee breaks. By encouraging open and honest communication, organizations can better understand employee engagement and identify any concerns or bottlenecks.
  3. Observation and direct engagement: Managers and supervisors can observe and evaluate employee engagement through direct interaction and involvement in daily work. By participating in team meetings, projects and other activities, managers can assess employee engagement based on their actions, commitment and motivation.
  4. Exit interviews: When employees leave the organization, exit interviews can provide valuable insights about the reasons for their departure and their overall satisfaction during their employment. These interviews can provide information about any deficiencies in employee engagement and satisfaction, allowing organizations to make targeted improvements.

Combining multiple methods can provide a more comprehensive picture of employee engagement within an organization. By measuring regularly and taking employee feedback seriously, organizations can take targeted actions to increase employee engagement to create positive effects on the bottom line.


How does Learned help measure your employee engagement?

Learned provides companies with the software to conduct modern employee satisfaction surveys. Conduct surveys based on evidence-based questionnaires and get the insights you need to take action.


Tips for measuring your employee engagement

Through employee engagement surveys, you can gain insight into your team members’ opinions on various aspects of their work. Whether it’s an annual survey that focuses on benefits, or a survey conducted every two weeks to measure employee engagement, by surveying your employees frequently, you’ll keep up with their engagement levels. Here are some tips for measuring employee engagement. Want to know more about this? Then read Learned’s take on modern employee engagement surveys.


Here are five tips to effectively measure employee engagement:
  1. Measure continuously: Instead of measuring annually, conduct regular surveys. Ongoing feedback can help you identify trends and address problems before they escalate.
  2. Use science-based questionnaires: Using questionnaires designed and validated by researchers ensures more reliable results. These questionnaires often have a better question structure and have been thoroughly tested. For example, use the Learned employee engagement model with 90 questions.
  3. Anonymous surveys: Make sure surveys are anonymous and use tools that ensure this anonymity. This can encourage employees to be more honest and open in their responses. Read more about the drawbacks of free tools such as Google Forms regarding anonymity here.
  4. Track results and take action: Measuring employee engagement is useless if no action is taken based on the results. Analyze the results, identify areas for improvement and develop an action plan.
  5. Involve your managers: Managers play a crucial role in promoting employee engagement. Make sure they are involved in the process, from understanding the importance of employee engagement to acting on survey results.


What can you do to increase employee engagement?

Improving employee engagement is a crucial part of a successful business. However, before you begin implementing measures to increase engagement, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the current state of engagement within your organization. By starting with a thorough survey, such as an employee engagement survey, you will gather valuable data that you can use to base your plans on. So it depends on the results of your employee engagement survey what actions you will need to take.

In the Learned engagement model, we have defined several best practices for each of the 18 themes. So should your organization be able to develop on one of the themes, you can immediately see what you can do to get started with it. For example, one of the themes is:

“Leadership” refers to the ability of an individual or group to influence, guide and lead others toward achieving common goals and objectives while exhibiting effective behaviors and qualities that inspire and motivate followers.


Here are 5 practical tips to improve leadership:


1. Develop a leadership training program

A leadership training program can help managers develop the necessary skills to effectively lead and manage their teams. Training can include communication skills, problem solving and conflict resolution (Buckingham, 2023). Training can include communication skills, problem solving and conflict resolution (Buckingham, 2023).


2. Promote a culture of trust and transparency

Leaders who are transparent and honest build trust with their employees. By fostering a culture of trust, leaders can encourage open communication, collaboration and employee engagement (Jorgensen, 2022).


3. Provide regular feedback

Regular feedback helps employees understand how their work contributes to the success of the organization and in what areas they can improve. Managers should provide timely and constructive feedback to help employees grow and develop (Panel, 2021).


4. Lead by example

Leaders who model the behaviors they want to see in their employees can positively influence workplace culture. Leaders should demonstrate a strong work ethic, a positive attitude and respect for others (Schrage, 2017).


5. Encourage employee involvement in decision-making

Involving employees in decision-making can increase their sense of ownership and commitment. Leaders should seek employee input and allow them to contribute their ideas and expertise (Half, 2023).


The Learned model for employee satisfaction

Download the Learned engagement model with 18 themes, 90 questions and 90 best practices here and get started improving your employee satisfaction.

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