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Asking the Right Questions to Understand Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a term that gets thrown around a lot in HR. The question is, what does it really mean and why does it matter?

If you’re hearing more about employee engagement in your office, but still wondering what it means, you’re not alone. It’s a complex topic, but our team of People Scientists at Culture Amp has a simple definition of employee engagement that makes sense:

Employee engagement represents the levels of enthusiasm and connection employees have with their organization. It’s a measure of how motivated people are to put in extra effort for their organization, and a sign of how committed they are to staying there.

Employee engagement is more than just employee happiness or satisfaction. Perhaps the most important thing to know about employee engagement is that it is an outcome. How you can impact employee engagement depends on your understanding of what’s driving it and how you can influence those drivers.

There are many benefits to having highly engaged employees, so let’s explore the questions you should ask to understand employee engagement.

Questions you should ask to measure employee engagement

At Culture Amp, we use a five-question engagement index to understand employee engagement.

These questions include:

1. “I am proud to work for [Company]”

2. “I would recommend [Company] as a great place to work”

3. “I rarely think about looking for a job at another company”

4. “I see myself still working at [company] in two years’ time”

5. “[Company] motivates me to go beyond what I would in a similar role elsewhere”

While these questions get at the outcome of employee engagement, asking more questions allows you to understand what’s driving that outcome. To get a sample of what other questions we recommend, see our blog on the 20 employee engagement survey questions you should ask.

Additional questions include things like:

  • “The leaders at [Company] have communicated a vision that motivates me”
  • “I believe there are good career opportunities for me at this company”
  • “I have access to the learning and development I need to do my job well”
  • “I know what I need to do to be successful in my role”

Why understanding employee engagement matters

Having highly engaged employees matters for the individual employee and the organization as a whole. Organizations with engaged employees have benefits like higher retention, better financial performance, and better brand reputation. People who are engaged feel energized by their work, maintain better mental health, work in a state of flow, and more.

The Harvard Business Review says employee surveys are still one of the best ways to measure engagement because they’re great predictors of behavior, give employees the chance to feel heard, and serve as a vehicle for changing behavior. Using employee engagement surveys can help us understand what’s driving engagement in our companies.

In our 2018 benchmark research we found that learning and development, leadership, and service and quality focus were top drivers of engagement. By taking action on those drivers, like setting up lunches with leaders if leadership is a driver, you can start improving employee engagement.  

The more people at your company who understand what employee engagement is and is not, the better. As Bersin by Deloitte predicted earlier this year, HR will help employees lead a better work life using data and analytics. Part of that is integrating employee engagement into the workplace and using those insights to create a better employee experience for everyone.


About the Author

As Senior Content Marketing Manager at Culture Amp, Alexis Croswell crafts stories that help companies put people and culture first. She is passionate about creating content that empowers people to use research and data to create a better world to work in.

BambooHR is the #1 HR software for small and medium-sized businesses. We set you free from spreadsheets so you can do great work.

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