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How should I set employee engagement targets?

Leaders in my organization want to improve our employee engagement scores next year and we want to have some targets that can be included in performance scorecards. How should we go about doing this?


Hi Josh! Great question…and your leaders are not alone :wink: Many seek to increase their engagement scores period over period, and even include them in benchmarks as a way to track.

One thing I’d encourage you and your leaders to focus on when looking for movement is not engagement overall, but rather scores on the actual focus area you’ve chosen for action. For example, if your company (or a team) decided to focus on “increasing access to learning and development opportunities” over the past 6 months via a new professional coaching program that all employees with a year tenure have access to, then you’d hope that that those who participated in the program subsequently reported having greater access to L&D opportunities…and thus expect an increase in scores on that particular question at the next survey (at least for those who participated).

We don’t generally recommend focusing on movement for engagement per se as part of a benchmark since engagement can be impacted by all different employee experiences, and the effects of efforts for improving one focus area (e.g., access to L&D opportunities) could get masked by unexpected drops in another (e.g., collaboration across geographies). For that reason, it’s important you be really clear with leaders and employees on the focus area chose, the efforts/actions being taken to enhance that focus area, and then direct any tracking for change on that specific focus area.

Further, remember to be careful about incentivizing these metrics, as that turns efforts from collecting candid and honest employee feedback into something that results in desired rewards, and thus a gaming or impression management on behalf of employees and teams in order to present themselves in a favorable light.

Hope this makes sense and resonates…would love to hear additional thoughts if you any!

This article here will give you all the nitty gritty and watchouts as you approach this with your leaders: https://academy.cultureamp.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005367965-Considerations-when-setting-engagement-targets.


Hi Josh. I am not sure this is still a relevant question for you regarding engagement targets, but in my experience your executives will be looking to link engagement to the business’s bottom line in some way. Many execs want to support engagement, not only for moral reasons but because it makes good business sense.
What I have learned working with different organizations, is that you cannot easily link engagement to the bottom line unless you create intermediary measures. The assumption is that there is a logical link between engagement and one of the key engagement factors (such as learning and development.) However, that should be validated for your org. Once you prove that link then you can ask how does learning and development impact one of our growth or operational targets. (such as overhead)
Once you can make the link between L&D and your financial targets, then you can work backward to show the impact of employee engagement. Some tools to use are regression analysis and the path diagram. I hope that helps. Michele Croci

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Thanks for the reply @michele_croci! This makes sense and I agree it is logical to look at what in the work environment is impacting employee engagement and then understand how those workplace factors may tie to Org performance.

Curious, do you have any specific examples where you have seen this link effectively made between the workplace factor (L&D) and the financial metrics/business outcomes?

Hi Josh, realize that your post is from a few years ago! However, I’m keen to hear if your company landed on any engagement targets? This conversation has come up recently. If you have any learnings to share, I am all ears.


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