Measuring and understanding employee engagement

Luke Fletcher, Dilys Robinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Employee engagement has generated interest in many stakeholder groups ranging from academics (e.g. Kahn, 1990; May et al., 2004; Schaufeli et al., 2002), HR practitioners and consultancies (e.g. Harter et al., 2002; Masson et al., 2008), to government policy-makers (e.g. MacLeod, Clarke 2009). As this interest in employee engagement has rapidly increased over the last decade (as highlighted by Wilmar Schaufeli in Chapter 1 of this volume), so has the desire to measure, evaluate, and benchmark levels of engagement within and between organizations.
Measurement is powerful, because ‘what gets measured gets attention’ (Eccles,
1991: 131). Performance dashboards, of which the ‘balanced scorecard’ (Kaplan, Norton,1992) is a well-known example, attempt to ensure that all the major factors contributing to an organization’s success are being measured – related to operations, customers, finance and employees. A performance indicator that represents the extent to which employees are engaged can constitute a useful headline measure for the ‘employee’ section of the dashboard or scorecard. However, there has been a lack of a unifying definition or framework (MacLeod, Clarke, 2009; Truss, Mankin and Kelliher, 2012) and so there exists a wide range of ‘employee engagement’ indicators.
Therefore, this chapter aims (a) to provide a review of the main ways in which employee engagement has been measured; (b) to give insight into issues that may occur when designing and implementing such measures; and (c) to consider implications in regards to presenting and interpreting engagement scores. Whilst covering academic material, this chapter is designed with the practitioner in mind. Two short case studies illustrating how employee engagement can be measured and evaluated in practice are discussed at the end of this chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmployee engagement in theory and practice
EditorsCatherine Truss, Rick Delbridge, Kerstin Alfes, Amanda Shantz, Emma Soane
Place of PublicationLondon (UK)
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-203-07696-5
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2013


  • engagement
  • measurement
  • questionnaire survey


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