Employee Engagement

Top Employee Engagement Metrics to Retain Talent

June 3, 2022
min read

Understanding employee engagement metrics is a crucial skill in today’s working climate.

One study even showed that retention is at an all-time low and traditional methods of retaining employees no longer work.

With Millennials and Gen Z dominating the workforce, a new dynamic is present in many organizations. Research by McKinsey & Co. indicates many employees now value trusting relationships, social cohesion, and individual purpose more than they do salary.

It’s no secret employees who are emotionally invested in their team and company's vision add a ton of value. Employee engagement metrics are critical because they give HR professionals insight into a key measure of organizational health.

Employee engagement surveys can be used to learn what factors influence employee satisfaction over time. You can include specific employee engagement metrics in the surveys to help measure how satisfied and engaged your people are.

Employee Engagement Metrics to Retain Talent

Here is a list of 12 key employee engagement metrics businesses can use to measure employee engagement.

1. Employee Engagement Rate

The employee engagement rate assesses an employee's emotional ties to the company and their willingness to advocate for the firm. Overall, it can be classified as a measure of employee satisfaction.

There are several ways to measure employee engagement, the most common of which is surveys.

Employee satisfaction surveys can be an excellent way to gather information and address issues making negative contributions to your work environment.

Annual employee engagement satisfaction surveys are a useful way to provide a benchmark that you can reference down the line. Yearly surveys tend to be lengthy and not frequent enough to gauge employee engagement accurately.

Pulse surveys are another useful way to track employee engagement and gauge progress. These surveys are shorter than annual surveys and are distributed regularly throughout the year.

The key to successful surveys is tailoring the questions to your specific company. In the same way, HR managers must choose a format that suits their organization.

One-on-one meetings with employees are also a great way to measure engagement. Scheduling private informal chats with each member of your team gives them a chance to discuss the matters that are most important to them.

Small group discussions can be helpful in large organizations where individual meetings are not viable. Make sure that everyone feels free to speak openly, and offer a channel for follow-up discussions about personal issues.

Stay and exit interviews for employees are an excellent way to determine what keeps people at your company and what drives them away.

Exit interviews are insightful, allowing you to better understand what you could have done to keep the employee engaged. On the other hand, stay interviews are useful in determining what keeps employees engaged.

Employee engagement rates offer HR a framework that can be used to examine the factors driving or preventing engagement.

2. Employee Resilience

Employees must be resilient to successfully manage changing environments. Employee resilience indicators include self-esteem, social support, and enthusiasm for the company's future.

Individual and organizational successes depend on how people interpret and respond to problems.

Typically, there will be a substantial difference in the resilience of employees who aim to stay with your company in the long term and those who are unlikely to stay longer than a year.

There are several components of resilience, such as optimism,  purposeful direction, adaptability, and reliance on support. Employees can be asked to respond to questions that measure these. 

3. Absenteeism

Absenteeism is defined as persistent or recurrent workplace absence that is frequently unplanned and not approved. Of course, employees may be going through personal situations out of their control. However, if their absence becomes a habit, it’s a red flag.

Platforms that automatically track working time can be used to measure absenteeism.

4. Employee Net Promoter Score

Employee engagement is quantified using the employee net promoter score (eNPS). This is similar to the market research method that asks respondents to rate their probability of referring a brand, product, or service to others.

If employees like their company, they will advocate for it, and therefore have a high eNPS. If the score is low, the organization needs to reevaluate its efforts.

Investing in company culture is an important starting place, but the entire team must be committed to improvement for the organization to reap the rewards.

The eNPS is tied directly to an employee's short- to medium-term intentions. An eNPS is determined using responses on a scale of 0 to 10. Respondents who answer 9 or 10 are promoters. Those with a score of 7 or 8 are considered passive. Those with a score of 6 or below are detractors. 

Once an eNPS has been calculated, organizations can ask further questions to better understand what causes the poor engagement among passive and detractor employees. 

5. Employee Turnover Rate

As the name suggests, employee turnover rate (ETR) reveals an organization's ability to retain its people. It also measures how long they stay with the company. A high ETR indicates a problem.

Alongside ETR, involuntary turnover rates are often measured. When an employee is let go due to a continuous inability to achieve performance-related goals, this is called involuntary turnover. 

Measuring successful hires (after a trial period) can also provide valuable insight. This metric reveals the number of people who remain in an organization beyond their probation period, and serves as an indicator of how well the onboarding process works.

6. Alignment

The degree to which personnel can tie their company goals to their aspirations is the alignment employee engagement metric. 

When there is consensus between the company and employee goals, employees will be more effective, cooperative team members. Individuals become motivated to achieve organizational goals and stay with the company.

Related: The Key to Retaining High Performers at Your Company

7. Work Culture

Organizations are defined by their work culture. Healthy work cultures comprise diverse and inclusive work environments that prioritize engagement. 

Your workplace culture can strengthen or undermine your business. It is every bit as important as your business strategy. 

Positive workplace cultures have productive teams, positive recruitment efforts, and excellent retention rates.

8. Workplace Recognition 

Acknowledging an employee who goes above and beyond the terms of their contract is a great way to boost their engagement. These acknowledgements also often increase the employee’s motivation to perform well in future projects. 

Workplace recognition is a crucial employee engagement metric as it helps ensure all employees are engaged and productive.

Recognition can be measured by establishing three baselines: employee retention, levels of productivity, and company turnover.

Once a baseline is established, future data can be compared to the baseline numbers to determine the success of an organization's employee recognition efforts or the impact of a rewards program.

Many organizations have now formalized workplace recognition programs to keep employees engaged. As a company grows, employee recognition can become more complex, and leaders must consider how they can add value to reward and recognition experiences.

9. Workplace Relationships 

Employees in any company must regularly communicate with management. This can only be achieved if the company is full of positive professional relationships. Data from surveys yields valuable insight into employee relations.

Meaningful relationships are an important part of engagement, but they need time to evolve. With the majority of an employee's time spent at work, it's logical that their degree of engagement will be correlated with the quality of their professional connections.

10. Growth Opportunity and Professional Development 

Education and training should always be a key focus, regardless of an individual’s job title or business. Most employees seek to learn from their job, develop connections, and apply the knowledge gained from their work experience.

However, organizations need to know that employee learning is worth the investment. So how do you measure the success of your employee development programs? 

If you do not have a baseline, you cannot gauge improvement. A simple pre- and post-assessment can help you measure the success of a course or workshop. 

Ask employees to evaluate the training. Do they feel the training was of benefit to them? Did the training meet their expectations? Do they feel excited by future development opportunities?

Learning and development falls under performance management, and managers must provide employees with opportunities to display their abilities. Employee turnover increases when suitable opportunities are not provided.

It is also a crucial component of your organization's overall employee experience, which helps attract highly skilled people.

11. Autonomy 

Employees who are not micromanaged and have more control over their tasks are more likely to perform well. Consider the following questions:

  • Do you trust your employees' judgment?
  • Does the employee meet your expectations on every project?
  • Does the employee hold themselves accountable for all their actions?
  • Does your employee respect the boundaries that you set for them?
  • Is your employee willing to approach a leader for help if they need it?

The science behind this is straightforward: once individuals begin to direct their work, their responsibility increases. They are then less likely to make mistakes and miss deadlines.  

12. Work-Life Balance 

Work-life balance refers to an individual's level of prioritizing professional and personal activities. It also concerns the extent to which activities linked to their employment are present at home.

There is much debate around who is responsible for ensuring employees have a better work balance. 

The widespread consensus is that businesses have a moral duty to employees' health as highly stressed employees are more prone to mistakes, are absent more, and eventually become less productive. 

It is unreasonable to expect that employers achieve work-life balance on their own. Companies can implement several workplace practices that help employees find a balance. 

Measuring the work-life balance of your employees is not always easy. A survey could be insightful, as can asking employees directly.

Consider the workplace practices you implemented to improve employees' work-life balance. For example, do you offer flexible or remote working? Do you focus on productivity rather than hours? 

Do you offer perks, or have you implemented an employee rewards program?


Since the pandemic, we have seen a pivotal change in the work models of many organizations. However, much work is still needed to improve employee engagement.

Productivity and growth are essential for the success of companies. 

However, people’s wellbeing, job satisfaction, and emotional attachment to their colleagues, employers, and organizations should take priority in companies that want a positive work culture with engaged and productive workers.

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