Even before organisational psychologist William Kahn examined what it means to be motivated at work in 1990, academics have attempted to define and redefine the exact meaning of employee engagement.
As research continues to shape our understanding of how engagement impacts our motivation and performance at work, the most important thing is how we measure and quantify that relationship.
Employee engagement can be measured in different ways. At Peakon, we believe that this process starts with regular employee feedback. Based on decades of academic research and the latest data science, we’ve developed a framework for accurately measuring the many factors of an employee’s experience at work that can impact their engagement.
Based on 14 engagement drivers that outline the key psychological requirements for human motivation at work, Peakon gives you the tools to improve employee engagement via regular employee surveys, real-time insights, bespoke manager training, and collaborative action planning.
Our platform gives you the insight to better understand your employee engagement, experience of your organisation and company culture, so that you can drive measurable improvements that support your strategic objectives.
“Net Promoter Score has been around for a while, and eNPS has rapidly become the go-to measurement for determining levels of employee engagement. This is live, real-time feedback and it’s great understanding what’s going on and being able to take relevant action quickly.”Daniel Kasmir, Chief People Officer, Talk Talk
Peakon measures employee engagement with four questions
Over the past decade, companies have been focussed on delivering great experiences for their customers. It makes sense — after all, happy customers are loyal ones, and are more likely to refer your brand to their friends.
However, understanding what drives customer satisfaction and measuring that impact is an important part of this process — which is exactly why the Net Promoter Score metric was developed.
Created by US management consultancy Bain & Company in 2003, NPS is the gold standard for gauging how well the brand is engaging with its customers. It functions by asking customers a single question on a 0-10 scale:
“How likely is it you would recommend [product/service] to a friend or colleague?”
This method of measuring customer satisfaction works because it’s simple, intuitive and correlates directly with company revenue.
However, as organisations have begun to realise that engaging their workforce should be a fundamental part of their business strategy, their attention has shifted to building great employee experiences. Employees are now thought of internal customers for their organisations, and building a great experience is key to engaging them, as well as keeping at your company for longer and creating advocates for your brand.
The inextricable link between customer and employee experience makes the NPS methodology particularly fitting to measure engagement. Employee Net Promoter Score, or eNPS, adapted from NPS to measure employee engagement, works in exactly the same way as its customer-focussed counterpart — and it’s used by Google, Apple and Salesforce. In Peakon, we use this eNPS framework to ask one initial engagement question:
“How likely is it you would recommend [company name] as a place to work?”
This question is designed to encourage employees to consider the many different factors that have an impact on engagement, such as their working environment, potential for growth and their organisation’s culture, and apply how they feel to a single question.
Building a comprehensive view of your employee engagement
However, just as you wouldn’t ask only one question to get a sense of how your employees are feeling at work, neither do we. In addition to this main engagement question, we also ask three further questions to measure the different outcomes of engagement — loyalty to your organisation, your satisfaction working at your company, and belief in your company’s products and services:
- Loyalty outcome question: “If you were offered the same job at another organisation, how likely is it that you would stay with [Company Name]?”
- Satisfaction outcome question: “Overall, how satisfied are you working for [Company Name]?”
- Belief outcome question: “How likely is it you would recommend [Company Name] products or services to friends and family?”
Together with the main engagement question, these three other factors roll up to provide one aggregated engagement score.
Peakon provides insights using two complementary scales
We gather responses to our engagement and driver questions on an 11-point scale ranging from 0 to 10. We chose this scale because it’s simple, intuitive and consistent. Survey respondents find it easy to understand at a glance that 0 indicates a low score, while a score of 10 is high.
Research also shows that an 11-point scale offers a more granular, varied data set than the commonly-used 5-point Likert scale (Leung, 2011). Measuring on a more sensitive scale means that your employees can select an answer that more closely aligns with their own experiences.
It also means that you can track the small changes that would not otherwise be visible and allow managers to see the impact of any actions they’re making to improve their team’s engagement. For example, you can track the improvement from a score of 8 to 9 on a 0-10 scale, but you would be less likely to see these changes on a five-point one. Seeing the small changes in your team’s engagement allows you to act on that insight and make changes.
“eNPS has become part of the language at Capgemini. When you see an engagement score in its raw sense, it seems positive. But eNPS allows us to look behind the high score to see the detail in it. I might be comfortable knowing 75% of our population feel supported, but what about the one in four who don’t?”Anouska Ramsay, Vice President of Group Talent, Capgemini
Peakon gives you two ways to view your engagement scores on the dashboard: your average score on a 0-10 scale, or using the NPS scale, which ranges from -100 to 100.
Both of these methods have their own distinct advantages. The first way of looking at your engagement is using the average score. It is an intuitive, simple-to-understand scale that gives you a steady and consistent measure of your teams’ engagement.
You also have the option to view your engagement score using the NPS methodology. This is built on the same framework used to measure customer satisfaction, and can give you a bit more detail on your engagement beyond your average score.
Employee responses to the engagement questions are divided into three groups: Detractors (scores from 0 to 6), Passives (scores from 7 to 8) and Promoters (scores from 9 to 10). Detractors represent your employees that are either unhappy or need more support, while Passive scoring employees, while not disengaged, may have some concerns that are holding them back from realising their full potential at work. By contrast, promoters are motivated, work with energy and enthusiasm and bring their full selves to work.
The overall score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters, giving you a score between -100 and 100. This makes the NPS scale more sensitive than the 0-10 average score view; when an employee’s response changes from detractor to passive, or passive to promoter, you’ll see the positive changes reflected in your score.
To see how these two scales complement each other in practice, let’s imagine the following scenario:
Your most recent survey round has closed, and your team of 20 employees has an average engagement score of 7.5/10. On the surface, that looks really good. However, when you look at your NPS score, it’s 0 and your NPS breakdown tells you that half of your team are promoters, and half are detractors.
This means that half of your team is extremely engaged, scoring from 9 or 10/10, while the other half is disengaged, scoring between 5 or 6/10. For leaders, this is a significant issue. Fifty percent of your employees could be at risk of leaving your organisation — something which you would not have been aware of without the ability to view your engagement using different scales. When you have the whole picture of your employees’ engagement, you can be more proactive and course-correct to reduce churn, strengthen loyalty and drive a high-performance culture.
Peakon scores are a proven indicator of business performance
In addition to measuring employee engagement, we also measure the outcomes of that engagement. Building an understanding of your company’s engagement and the key factors that impact it will mean you can make real changes that drive your business outcomes in a tangible way.
When your employees are engaged, they’re more likely to go the extra mile to deliver an exceptional experience for your customers — and happy customers spend more with your brand. Our clients have seen a 4% increase in customer satisfaction for every one-point increase in their Peakon engagement scores.
Our data proves that higher employee engagement leads to higher customer sales. Increasing your employee engagement score by one point on average leads to a 1.6% increase in sales growth.
Engaged employees are more likely to stay with your organisation than disengaged ones, and we can measure this with our Engagement and Loyalty outcome questions. On average, our customers have seen attrition decrease by 22% for every one-point increase in their Peakon engagement scores.
Peakon helps you take action on your engagement scores
Measuring engagement is an important step to achieving your strategic objectives. However, in order to drive improvements based on that insight, you also need to understand what’s causing your scores. This is why, in addition to choosing a score between 0 and 10 on the Peakon platform, employees have the option to enter a text comment to accompany their score when answering a question.
Employee comments provide a rich source of insight and add further context to quantitative survey responses. Peakon’s Topics feature uses Natural Linguistic Processing (NLP) — a form of machine learning — to surface the most common themes and issues that matter to the people in your organisation. Personalised insights are delivered to every leader, so you can drive positive change from the bottom up and help your managers take action to improve engagement in their teams.