The Ultimate Guide to
Employee Engagement

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Table of Contents

Ever heard the saying ‘love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’? Well, as amazing as it would be for that proverb to ring true, even loving your job, often, isn’t enough to keep bums on seats these days. What if pay is better elsewhere? What if the benefits are better elsewhere? You get the gist. 

To keep your talent happy and committed to your organisation, you’ll have to go the extra mile, to prevent them running a mile. But how exactly do you prevent employees putting on their running shoes and heading for the door? 

Two words: Employee engagement.

What is employee engagement?

Let’s start with the basics. At its core, employee engagement refers to an employee’s emotional and cognitive affinity to their workplace. But we don’t want to talk about ‘the core’, we want to bite the apple and get over the generic strap-line to talk about what it really means to an organisation, and why it is vital to success.

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Engaged employees enjoy their work more, get more done, and stick around for longer. It’s just a fact. 

Believe it or not, according to Hay Group, engaged employees generate revenue 43% more than disengaged ones. Which makes ‘employee engagement’ an essential ingredient to your recipe for success. 

Going back to the definition of employee engagement, for the more transparent and realistic view, it should really be defined as a combination of:

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Because it’s more than just one thing or another. In fact, ask a hundred HR professionals “what is employee engagement?” and you’ll get a hundred different answers. But we’re confident that when you balance all of the above, you’re well on your way to workforce equilibrium. 

Granted, it’s not an easy job to balance all of those factors, but get it right and you’re looking at figures like…

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So how do you ‘get it right’ when it comes to employee engagement? And what exactly is it that can impact it? 

Keep reading and maybe we’ll tell you. Scratch that. We’ll definitely tell you, because we love helping organisations continuously improve their employee experience. Just ask FSCS.

What impacts employee engagement?

Employee wellbeing, learning, development and leadership are among some of the common workplace terms that factor into influencing and impacting employee engagement.

It can be a challenging task to understand what impacts employee engagement. Not just because this can change over time, but also because sometimes we have to accept uncomfortable truths and make changes to receive the levels of engagement we desire. 

But once you do know, you’ll have the crucial information you need to make effective decisions. Nobody is perfect, what matters is the willingness to understand, and refine to ultimately improve engagement levels.  

Understanding how engaged your people are, what they’re missing and how you can do better is essential to your overall success. And to start to do that, you need to know what impacting contributors to look out for. With the help of our People Science team who work closely with a wide range of customers of all different sizes and industries, we’ve gathered some common themes across the board that affect your employee engagement. 

Employee wellbeing

Employee wellbeing can be directly linked to employee engagement. Happy and healthy employees are more present and engaged with their work, whereas poor wellbeing results in less productivity and disengagement. 

Employee wellbeing focuses on an employee’s mental, emotional, financial and physical health, and can be affected by influences such as, job security, health, work/life balance, workload,, financial security and support. 

We know, it can be a lot to take in. But it should be, because no two people are the same and people have a tendency to be complex. That doesn’t mean the solutions have to be complex. Let’s look at an example that can affect employee wellbeing and a possible resolution. 

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Mental health

Let’s go with a high priority contributor to overall employee wellbeing; Mental health.

The mental health of your employees directly impacts the success of your business, and should be on every manager or leader’s agenda. Companies that encourage a culture of long hours and increased demands with under-resourced teams are more likely to burn out their workforce.

To avoid employee burnout you could introduce a flexible working policy to encourage a healthy work/life balance. You could also implement identity-hidden feedback tools like Hive Open Door, where your people feel comfortable to make suggestions and feedback. This can help to ensure everyone has the support they need from managers and coworkers by promoting an environment for people to thrive, filled with positivity. 

Organisations that invest in employee wellbeing reap the benefits of a happy and healthy workforce. That means a more productive, effective, and profitable team who take less days off sick, stick around for longer, and engage with their work.

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Learning and development

Most employees don’t just want a job. They want a career. A role where they can develop and progress is often part of the criteria when accepting a role. 

So with that in mind, it’s important for employers to invest in individuals’ personal development so they can not only feel valued, but also add value to the work they’re doing for the organisation, improving overall performance. With these kinds of investments, everybody wins. 

But how exactly do you achieve that? 

Well, employee voice platforms, like Hive, provide a safe space for employees to express their professional development goals, document their achievements, and foster a feedback-oriented culture where employees feel empowered to take control of their own learning journey. With Hive, employees can access feedback and recognition, to enhance their skills and advance their careers. It streamlines the logistics and management of the learning and development process, making it easy for employees to stay engaged and motivated in their professional growth.

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Leadership is a significant influence when it comes to engagement, directly impacting morale, retention and engagement. I’m sure we can all recall a time where we’ve had a leader, whether that be a teacher in school or a manager, having a positive impact on our experience with an organisation. And if you reflect on what made that experience positive you’ll probably find yourself using words to describe them such as ‘supportive’, ‘encouraging’, ‘had confidence in me’. All the attributes a strong leader should possess. 

A good leader is someone who is able to motivate and inspire others—to achieve this, leaders need to become more visible, involved and open to building a rapport with employees to gain their trust. 

One-on-one check-ins with employees to help build connections is a great place to start to understand and support them and the team effectively.

Trust is a big driver where engagement is concerned. And to build trust, leaders need a platform for its people; Hive. Where they can begin to understand what matters to their people, and use this to make informed and positive changes.

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You’re going to call us predictable when we say it, but it couldn’t be more true. Communication IS key. 

There we said it, and we’re not taking it back. 

Communication is a key driver in engaging employees and we’re not just talking about regular updates from business leaders. Communication is a two way street. Employees want their voices to be heard, just as much as they want to hear the ongoings around the business and to be kept in the loop. Both are equally as important as each other. 

It’s employees who keep those fundamental cogs turning, so it’s important that you hear what they have to say and any feedback they have to offer. Allowing them to give ideas and opinions helps with feeling a sense of belonging, which dominos into them feeling more inclined to engage. You never know what ideas staff have that could be revolutionary to improving the business, so encouraging staff to speak up, and providing the right channels for them to do so is key. Yes we said it again! 

Communication IS key.

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Another key impact of employee engagement is connection. And by that, we mean feeling connected to your workplace, peers, and all the goings on around the business. 

The modern workplace, for many, sees a hybrid set up of both remote and office work, meaning some members of the team are like passing ships when it comes to being in the same room together. So to prevent a feeling of isolation, and to ensure employees feel like they’re all riding the same wave, investing in social events for employees to regularly attend where they can switch off, relax a little and get to better know and understand the people they’re working with is a great way to invoke real human connections amongst your workforce. In doing so, you can help to improve the wellbeing of your people, with the promise of better engaging them. 

As well as personal connections, a connection to the organisational goals and purpose can do wonders for performance and motivation. If your people feel inspired by your organisational aspirations, they’ll most likely go above and beyond to be a part of the team that helps to achieve them. So if connection isn’t a part of your engagement strategy, then head to your powerpoint, and add another slide for this pivotal factor.

And that rounds up some of the major and most common impacts of employee engagement. If you recognise any of the factors as potential barriers to reaching your full employee engagement potential as an organisation, or are ready to start your journey to improving engagement, book a chat with Hive today. We help organisations of all shapes and sizes measure and improve engagement with the support of our employee voice platform and People Science partnership.

What are the benefits of employee engagement?

There’s more than meets the eye where employee engagement is concerned. When you implement an employee engagement strategy, this can be the catalyst to a string of mutual benefits for both the organisation and employees.

And let’s be honest, benefits are a driver for most initiatives. You wouldn’t consider implementing new tools and strategies if they were to upset your entire workforce. So we’ll just jump straight into why you should be investing time and money into engaging your employees. 

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Engaged employees, get things done! If they’re invested in their work, their output tends to be greater than those who are disengaged. According to research carried out by Gallup, Teams with higher engagement scores are 21% more productive. 

In fact, Totaljobs, found that each disengaged employee could actually be costing your business £4,467 a year in their lack of productivity. Yes, that is a PER employee. So times that by 3,4,5 employees and you’re talking about big losses. 

So to summarise: higher engagement, leads to higher productivity, leads to things like generating more revenue. We told you it has mutual benefits. 

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Customer Satisfaction

Music to every business leader’s ears: Customer satisfaction. 

Because a satisfied customer represents a company’s mindfulness towards their customers’ experience, which can lead to repeat custom, brand loyalty, and gives higher potential for generating revenue. 

As a matter of fact, your NPS can be directly influenced by your eNPS score.

When an employee feels engaged and has an emotional connection towards the businesses aspirations and success, they in turn care about their customers. Which means they’re more likely to go the extra mile when interacting with them. 

Happy staff, happy customers. Better NPS score!

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Employee Retention

Those that are engaged in their job role usually have job satisfaction, are motivated to perform, feel a sense of belonging and are emotionally committed to their role. All factors that can contribute to an intent to stay with your company.

So why exactly is this a benefit? Of course you could just replace staff who leave, couldn’t you? On the surface, it appears to be that simple, however employee retention harbours a host of benefits other than just looking like a great place to work. Employee retention means you don’t have to spend time and money on continuous recruitment, and best of all, you get to retain your talent.

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Gaining insight into how employees view your organisation and facilitating suggestions for potential areas for improvement can be a game changer. Organisations that provide the right channels for their people to feedback and communicate with those who can deliver change can be a driver for employee engagement. 

Tools like Hive Open Door where your people have constant access to say what’s on their mind, and have ongoing communications with their identity protected can encourage those conversations.

We spend too much time at work to not enjoy the environment we’re in, so ensuring your employees feel comfortable and confident enough to speak up is crucial to their engagement. That feedback could initiate positive change in the ways in which your business operates, improve culture, or help to achieve goals more effectively.

As we said, employee engagement has many benefits, and as instrumental as the ones listed above are, these are just some of them. There is lots to gain from engaging your employees. So what are you waiting for? Find out for yourself. Book a chat with Hive today and explore the tech that will have your employees buzzing! Pun very much intended. 

How to measure employee engagement

So you’ve got your head in all things employee engagement, and it’s come to the point of measuring your own organisation’s engagement. A great place to start is with employee engagement surveys

But what do you ask? How do you know your staff will engage in your survey? How do you know what you’re asking will reveal current engagement? Don’t worry about any of that, because we’re going to guide you through some of the metrics you can use to measure your employee engagement effectively. 

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Common engagement measurement metrics

Before you even begin coming up with your questions, you should consider what makes an engaged employee in your organisation, and from this you’ll be able to get into the crooks of what factors you should look to measure. 


Looking at Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) can be a telling metric when gaging employee engagement. This represents internal advocacy of your organisation, and their likeness to recommend you to friends and family. Low eNPS scores warrants an investment in improving your employee engagement efforts.

And it’s extremely achievable when you have the right tools and strategies in place. Through identifying a need for frequent on the pulse surveys Hive helped Travelodge to increase their eNPS score and reduce turnover


Are your employees proud to work at your company? Ask them!

If your people are proud to work for your organisation, this can positively impact their happiness at work, productivity, motivation, and can show they live the company values. This can be a great metric for discovering your employee engagement.


Do you provide an environment that makes your employees feel inclined to stay? There are many reasons employees look to find jobs elsewhere. Progression, salary increase, a new challenge, are some of the factors that can affect loyalty. 

Asking questions around whether your people would actively look for roles in other companies, can reveal how engaged they are in their current role, and could give insight into areas you need to improve to prevent employees being a flight risk. 

Employee Recognition

Employee recognition can be a big factor in engagement. If you don’t feel appreciated or acknowledged for the work you’re doing, is there any motivation to do it to go the extra mile? 

That validation that comes with completing work you put effort into can change someone’s day, and perspective of their job. Lack of recognition can be crucial to engagement levels, though it actually happens to be one of the cheapest engagement strategies. 

Implementing a peer-to-peer recognition tool like Hive Fives, where you can recognise those that go the extra mile could have a profound effect on employee engagement.

How to improve employee engagement

Improving your employee engagement is fourth in the line to understanding what it is, how to measure it, and the impacts it can have on your workplace. 

To improve your engagement, you need to know what areas matter the most, and you can uncover that through employee engagement surveys. Through these surveys, your people can give real insight into how engaged they are and potentially what it is that’s affecting their motivation to engage.

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Once you’ve carried out your surveys and gathered your engagement metrics, you can use this insight to inform your employee engagement strategy and roll out a plan to make sure your employees do what they love, and love what they do. 

For example, let’s say you ran a survey, and it revealed that your people had lots of suggestions for areas to be improved. They may not feel comfortable telling their line manager in person, so this provides an opportunity to implement an identity protected feedback tool like Hive Open Door, that allows employees to feedback whatever they feel, whenever they feel, without disclosing who they are. This encourages those ongoing conversations, which could lead to ongoing improvements within your organisation. 

This anonymity can give a voice to those who may not be confident in sharing their opinion. It can also lead to positive change, and engagement when future suggestions or concerns arise. 

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Read more about those drivers and how to use them to inform your employee engagement surveys. 

Strings attached

Where employee engagement is concerned, this isn’t a one time survey check-in and you’re done. No, no no. This is continuous and on-going so you can always keep tabs on where you can improve. Because nobody’s perfect, and let’s face it, things change all the time.  

Best practice would be to run continued surveys, take action on the feedback given in order to improve, and review whether the changes made are in fact improving the organisation. This cycle should continue regularly to keep employees engaged and a part of the changes that will affect their day to day. 

One solid way to ensure your people are inspired to feel engaged is to implement the correct tools and tech like the Hive Platform – Where employees have constant access to voice their thoughts, and where HR leaders can gather this insight and action change. So what are you waiting for? Start engaging, today.

Free EBook

7 Survey Questions Proven to Track Employee Engagement

Inside this guide, you’ll find 7 scale survey questions that are proven employee engagement trackers; making them awesome core questions for surveying.

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