10 Ways to Measure True Employee Engagement (part one)

By: Chris Skaggs | @chrislskaggs


Many companies have long measured employee satisfaction and net promotor scores, but is that enough anymore? Of course, ping-pong tables, catered lunches and razor scooters in the office can be fun. But does a fun office environment necessarily mean an employee is engaged?

While a happy employee may be content to come to the office to complete their work without complaining, they might not see the value of going the extra mile on behalf of the company. That’s the difference between merely satisfied employees and truly engaged employees. So, what the heck is “employee engagement” and why should you care so much?

In a recent CornerOffice column from the New York Times, RedHat CEO, Jim Whitehurst said:

“Somebody once told me — and this is some of the best advice I ever got — that for any business there are three levels of leadership. One is getting somebody to do what you want them to do. The second is getting people to think what you want them to think; then you don’t have to tell them what to do because they will figure it out. But the best is getting people to believe what you want them to believe, and if people really fundamentally believe what you want them to believe, they will walk through walls. They will do anything.”

By adopting this definition of employee engagement, you can see how measuring happiness and satisfaction is no longer enough. With the above definition in mind, it’s safe to say “engaged employees” are totally committed to and passionate about their work. They’re proactive about furthering the company’s mission, vision, and reputation.

OfficeVibe’s Global and Real-Time State of Employee Engagement report offers an all-encompassing list of the metrics of employee engagement. With over 150+ countries represented, 1000+ organizations participating, and more than 1,200,000 data points within this survey, the following five metrics will help employers begin to cultivate the right kind of employee engagement. 


Who doesn’t like to be recognized for a job done well? It doesn’t even have to be monetary – sometimes it’s the little things that really add up. In a recent BambooHR survey, nearly one-third of employees would rather be recognized for their work accomplishments in a company-wide email from a company executive than receive a $500 bonus.

So, at your next team meeting, take a few minutes to publicly praise an employee who has recently gone above and beyond the call of duty.


Employees crave genuine, real-time feedback and want to understand their managers’ expectations, which likely change more frequently than once a year. Recently several large organizations have abandoned the mostly archaic annual performance review system and instead moved to a more real-time performance management program. 

A ZengerFolkman survey showed that the top 10 percent of leaders inspire triple the level of engagement in their employees, as compared to bottom 10 percent of leaders.


A happy employee equals a happy client. No one wants to interact with Oscar the Grouch, but how can employers cultivate a culture of happiness? A large factor in happiness in the workplace must deal with relationships – both with managers and other colleagues (more on that later)! 

Some shocking statistics that should encourage managers to do their part to create cheerful employees:

  • Happy employees are 12% more productive.
  • Happy salespeople produce 37% greater sales.
  • Employees who report being happy at work take 10 times fewer sick days than unhappy employees.

Employees want the ability to grow within their organization. This is especially true for millennials who don’t want to spend their time solely earning a paycheck – they actively want to invest in learning new things to grow both professionally and personally. Talented employees want careers, not just jobs.

While growing employees puts a little more work on managers, a company’s ability to grow is dependent upon the ability to help others grow. It’s a worthwhile investment.


Satisfaction is often confused with engagement – so what exactly is the difference? Satisfaction is historically addressed through employee surveys that ask questions about basic elements of the job such as compensation, benefits, training, management, etc.

By definition, satisfied employees are content, but they also might not be motivated to do anything extra. You could even go further and say organizations might be better off without just satisfied employees. Be honest with yourself, do you want to build a team of people who just accept the status quo?

These five metrics of recognition, feedback, happiness, personal growth and satisfaction are a great start for measuring employee engagement, but wait, there’s more! You are probably wondering where you can now get the next batch, but have no fear! We will be publishing a second post discussing second half of OfficeVibe’s employee engagement metrics soon, so keep your eyes peeled for the complete list.