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The Ultimate Guide to Elevating Employee Engagement Index

8 min read   |  
Last Updated on
employee-engagement-index

There’s a lot of talk in HR circles about employee engagement
lately. Companies are investing in team-building activities, recognition programs, and new office designs - and shelling out big money for fancy consultancies.

But how do you really know if all that engagement spending is paying off? Enter the employee engagement index.

Key Takeaways

  • The employee engagement index is a powerful metric quantifying staff's discretionary effort and emotional commitment based on survey responses.

  • Scores are calculated by summing all employee response points, dividing them by the total possible points, and then converting them to percentages.

  • Index components should evaluate key aspects of engagement like enthusiasm, commitment, job satisfaction, alignment, and willingness to put in extra effort.

  • While higher scores always signal better engagement, 70%+ is a good target, indicating most employees are engaged.

  • Insights from associated survey questions enable organizations to pinpoint and address the root causes of declining discretionary effort rather than just receiving an abstract index statistic.

  • Ongoing index measurement empowers data-backed investments into targeted engagement initiatives that motivate higher performance and retention.

What Does the Employee Engagement Index Mean?

The employee engagement index is a KPI that puts a number on your workforce's discretionary effort and commitment level. It’s calculated using survey responses to reveal how enthusiastic, dedicated, productive, and loyal your people feel toward their work and organization.

Care for the definition,

“Nokia Siemens describes employee engagement as “an emotional attachment to the organization, pride and a willingness to be an advocate of the organization, a rational understanding of the organization’s strategic goals, values, and how employees fit, and motivation and willingness to invest the discretionary effort to go above and beyond.”

Why Care About Employee Engagement Index?

Plenty of research shows engagement directly transforms key performance outcomes like retention, productivity, safety, and profitability.


Highly engaged employees at work make it to a point of showing up and staying at work. The study shows that engaged employees show an 84%

When the index is high, it means people are stoked to crank out projects.

But when engagement crashes, employees start phoning it in, meeting the bare minimum, and then rushing home.

Turnover spikes, and so do mistakes. Companies end up bleeding money from low productivity and high hiring costs.

Here's an attempt to explain the importance of the employee engagement index using easy-to-understand bullet points:

  • It's Like an Office Magic 8 Ball - This index predicts whether employees will go above and beyond or dial it in. No crystal balls or palm readings are needed!

  • Spots Morale Dips, Fast - Scores dropping? Pinpoint before widespread disengagement tanks results. Then, revive spirits quickly.

  • More $$$ - Engaged companies simply make more profits because happy employees deliver better work.

  • No More Guessing Why People Are Checked Out - Index clues directly reveal what drags down engagement so you can pick the right solutions.

  • Guides Smarter Investments - Ever wonder if swanky new offices actually get used? Index verifies what engages staff most before investing deeper.

  • Proof Your Efforts Work - See engagement, retention, and performance all rise after perks like career growth programs kick in.

  • Your Secret Culture Crystal Ball - Peek whether remote work, new hires, or change efforts actually vibe with employees.

  • Brings Numbers to People Priorities - Hard statistics help justify people's investments to number-crunching executives, too!

The bottom line,

This simple metric gives priceless intel on discretionary effort and linking people's plans to real business results. That's an HR superpower right there!

How do Calculate the Engagement Index?

To calculate the employee engagement index, it is important for employee engagement survey questions to evaluate engagement components like job passion, goal alignment, willingness to go the extra mile, and intent to stay.

Employees rate feelings across these areas. “Strongly agree” might equal 5 points to “strongly disagree” with 1 point for instance.

All responses get tallied, divided by the maximum possible score, and then converted to an overall percentage.

If everyone answered 100% engaged, the index would hit 100%, too.

But since workplaces have mixed views, scores settle between poor (30% or less) and best in class (90%+). Many aim above 70%.

The total score for each question is calculated by tallying points from all employees surveyed.

Then, the overall engagement index score is derived by adding the total scores and dividing that number by the maximum points possible.

This is, if all employees answered “Strongly Agree” to every question.

This percentage reflects the engagement index.

Here is an example calculation:

Survey Statements & Total Points from Employee Responses

  • I am enthusiastic about my job = 326 points
  • I feel committed to the organization’s goals = 298 points
  • I am satisfied in my current role = 275 points
  • My work gives me a sense of personal accomplishment = 315 points

Maximum Possible Points Per Question

(If all 100 surveyed employees had answered “Strongly Agree” worth 5pts)

  • I am enthusiastic about my job = 100x5= 500 points
  • I feel committed to the organization’s goals = 100x5= 500 points
  • I am satisfied in my current role = 100x5= 500 points
  • My work gives me a sense of personal accomplishment = 100x5= 500
  • Total Actual Points = 326 + 298 + 275 + 315 = 1,214
  • Total Maximum Possible Points = 500 + 500 + 500 + 500 = 2,000

Employee Engagement Index
= (Total Actual Points/Total Maximum Possible Points) x 100
= (1,214/2,000) x 100 = 60.7%

So, an index of 60.7% indicates a moderate level of employee engagement across the organization based on the survey responses.

Now, let’s break down the formula itself.

Employee engagement index formula

Employee Engagement Index = Total actual score achieved from all survey responses / Maximum possible total score based on highest response options X 100

The total actual engagement score sums points from actual staff responses
The total maximum possible engagement score sum points if all employees gave the highest rating on the survey

This index is typically expressed as a percentage, making benchmarking over time or comparing across companies and industries easy.

Now, which survey questions to include?

While standardized models like Gallup’s Q12 can be leveraged, it is also important for organizations to incorporate customized questions that probe engagement issues specific to their corporate culture and needs.

Components of the Employee Engagement Index

According to report for Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace, only 15 percent of employees are engaged in the workplace.

While exact survey questions might vary across companies, certain key components fundamental to measuring engagement should be evaluated in the index.

1. Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm encapsulates the level of passion, positivity, drive and motivation employees feel regarding their roles and organization. Sample survey questions could include:

  • I am enthusiastic about my job
  • I feel energetic coming to work most days
  • The work I do here is meaningful to me

2. Commitment

Commitment reflects employees’ sense of loyalty and willingness to align efforts with company goals, as well as an intention to persist despite challenges. Survey statements may cover:

  • I would recommend this organization to others as a good place to work
  • I feel committed to helping the organization succeed
  • I plan to continue working for this company for at least the next 3 years

3. Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction evaluates contentment and fulfillment with elements like the type of work, interactions, growth opportunities, leadership, pay, policies, work environment, and more. Respondents can rate satisfaction levels on these key aspects.

4. Discretionary Effort

This element examines willingness to “go the extra mile” beyond formal job duties and minimum expectations. Survey statements could ask about putting in extra hours when needed, volunteering for additional assignments, and finding ways to improve performance continually.

5. Alignment

Alignment determines how connected employees feel to the organization’s vision, values, and goals. Survey questions may gauge understanding of the company mission, connection to the corporate purpose, and belief that individual roles contribute to strategic priorities.

By measuring each fundamental engagement pillar, organizations get a comprehensive and actionable view through their engagement index rather than just a vague statistic.

By examining key benchmarks, let’s examine what constitutes a “good” index score versus poor engagement.

What is a Good Employee Engagement Index Score?

While there is no definitive benchmark, research shows that an employee engagement score above 70 percent indicates employees are reasonably engaged, on average.

Scores lower than 70 percent may signal opportunities to improve engagement through focusing on things like company culture, recognition, career development, and management relationships.

It's important to note that engagement surveys offer helpful but limited data.

Engagement is best assessed using a combination of metrics like retention, absenteeism, productivity, and survey findings.

Also recognize the inherent limitations of self-reported data in surveys. View engagement scores as directional inputs for focus areas, not precise performance indicators.

While generically aiming for over 70% engagement is wise, understanding what is realistic and attainable for your company’s current stage allows for setting motivational rather than discouraging goals.

The key is determining what constitutes average and best practice scores specifically in your industry for your business size.

Targets are based on relevant comparisons rather than arbitrary numbers.

This is where benchmarking against available internal data, industry statistics, employee surveys, best employer lists, and third-party research becomes essential.

Employee Engagement Index Benchmark

Employee engagement benchmarks allow companies to evaluate their workforce engagement against industry standards and best practices.

By participating in standardized surveys, companies can compare their results to normative scores that quantify employee perceptions of their workplace experience.

Exceeding benchmarks typically indicates strong performance while lagging behind signals opportunities for improvement.

Rather than focus on specific scores, wise organizations use this comparative data for self-assessment, to spur meaningful dialogue, and to track progress against their unique engagement goals over time.

Benchmarks supply useful context for internal improvement efforts.

What Survey Questions Get Used?

Standardized models are common, yet I recommend blending customized questions tailored to your organization's distinct culture and engagement hurdles.

Gather insights from past surveys, exit interviews, or informal discussions for a more targeted approach.

Evaluate enthusiasm, commitment, and discretionary effort - areas tied to performance.

How Does the Employee Engagement Index Connect to Actions & Employee Engagement?

The index eliminates speculation about employee disengagement, pinpointing issues via survey data—identifying policies, leaders, or workflows sapping engagement.

This method strategically fixes root problems, akin to using evidence, not hunches, like an X-ray for moral issues.

The Employee Engagement Index directly links to employee engagement by enabling a focused understanding of underlying issues.

Through associated survey data, it identifies policies, leadership concerns, training gaps, or workflow issues that diminish engagement, allowing strategic fixes.

It acts as an evidence-based X-ray, pinpointing and addressing morale issues for effective treatment.

This approach directly fosters a more engaged workforce and addresses underlying workplace engagement concerns.

Additionally, tools like Vantage Circle also offer insights and solutions for enhanced workplace employee engagement.

Features like ‘Manager Insights’ provide a comprehensive view into team dynamics, performance metrics, and areas for improvement, empowering managers to make data-driven decisions.

Its robust analytics tools enable the platform to foster engagement through recognition programs, rewards, surveys, and communication tools for a thriving workplace culture.

Does all this Number-Crunching Work?

Absolutely! If calculated correctly, the index helps leaders prioritize engagements and investments proven to motivate productivity, like nurturing supportive managers, enriching advancement programs, and improving communication, for instance.

Checking pre-post intervention index scores builds the accountability and commitment to double down on what works.

The employee engagement index takes the pulse of organizational culture and provides prescriptive insights on remedies.

That transforms vague vibes into an actionable scorecard promoting performance.

This article is written by Vaishali Goswami, a member of the content team at Vantage Circle. Between being an active writer and a traveler, Vaishali can be found in books about psychology and human behavior. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com.

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