Great frontline leaders are the unsung heroes of any organization.
They’re responsible for leading deskless teams, managing resources, and critical processes that can impact health and safety—all while often working long hours and under tight deadlines.
But they’re also responsible for something just as important: employee engagement. This is mission-critical for frontline organizations in particular, as poor relationships with managers is the fourth-biggest reason for frontline workers quitting (the other three were either related to pay or COVID).
To compound the challenge, employee engagement is where frontline organizations face even more difficulties than desk-based companies. When workers are dispersed, rarely engaging with email (let alone surveys) and sometimes even with each other, how would you know if they’re engaged or not?
This is why employee engagement KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are so important for frontline leaders, and need to be carefully thought-out for feasibility within the constraints of frontline life.
In this guide, we'll explore what employee engagement KPIs are, why they’re important, and which ones you should be tracking as a frontline leader.
We'll also show you some easy-to-implement strategies to help boost productivity and morale among your team members - so let’s get started…
What Is an Employee Engagement KPI?
First, the basics. Employee engagement KPIs are metrics that measure how often and effectively employees are engaging with their organization.
They provide insight into how teams and departments are working together, how motivated and productive team members are, and what factors contribute to better employee engagement.
Do you need Employee Engagement KPIs?
If you’re leading a frontline team, the short answer is yes.
Workday Peakon Employee Voice data shows that an employee’s engagement metrics will typically reveal warning signs nine months before they actually leave an organization.
Measuring employee engagement allows you to pinpoint when and where problems originate, and gain specific insights into your team’s current strengths and weaknesses, so you can implement employee engagement strategies to increase retention, drive productivity and motivate employees to stay with you for longer.
In other words, tracking this data regularly and consistently lets you spot patterns - and those patterns unlock the ability to be proactive, rather than reactive, on employee issues.
7 Of The Most Important Frontline Employee Engagement KPIs
Absenteeism is an important KPI for frontline leaders because it reflects how often team members are taking time off, which can be costly. In fact, in just one large organization almost 11,000 hours are spent by line managers dealing with absence annually, which costs the company £98,458.
Within this amount, conducting disciplinaries costs £41,149 alone. HR administration time concerned with absence represents £44,882, and £93,193 is spent on Occupational Health Services. The remaining £1,815 is spent on line manager training.
Absence rates are vital when assessing engagement, as high rates could be indicative of a lack of motivation, engagement or even employee wellbeing, while low absence rates can mean that employees feel more connected to their work and colleagues.
For example, 70% of frontline workers have either suffered from burnout or felt at risk of burning out. So if, as a frontline manager, you notice that your dispersed team members are frequently taking sick days, it could be a good sign that they are feeling overworked or disengaged. You can then take the necessary steps such as introducing Intuitive Scheduling policies to help improve morale, boost engagement and reduce absenteeism.
2. Turnover rate
In short: an engaged workforce has higher employee retention rates and lower employee turnover rates.
Measuring annual employee turnover rates across departments can help you identify any patterns that could indicate a lack of engagement. For example, if one particular department has a higher turnover rate than the rest, it could be a sign that those employees are feeling undervalued or disengaged in their role.
In this case, leaders can take action to address the issue by introducing team-building and employee engagement activities, investing in more professional development opportunities, and creating better employee support systems, such as easy-to-access employee apps.
3. Employee net promoter score (eNPS)
Evaluating employee sentiment is a great way to measure engagement: employee net promoter score (eNPS) can help as a metric that measures how likely employees are to recommend their company as a place to work.
By using eNPS, leaders can receive direct feedback from both current and previous employees and use this to take the necessary steps to improve engagement.
By collecting eNPS data across departments and tracking how it changes over time (doing this at regular, consistent intervals is critical), frontline managers can get a better sense of the overall sentiment in their workforce, as well as any areas of improvement.
4. Employee survey results
Frontline leaders can use regular Employee Surveys to identify what creates satisfied employees, and how to increase job satisfaction among their team members.
Those managers who are particularly ambitious can even use these surveys to collect data on employee engagement levels and calculate an ‘Employee Satisfaction Index’ across different departments in the organization. Having this metric at your fingertips can help you identify any areas of improvement, as well as keep tabs on the overall level of engagement in your organization.
This is another area where things are much tougher for frontline organizations in comparison to desk-based teams. Employee survey response rates for frontline workers are notoriously low, because accessing a desktop computer during the work day is rare (and paper surveys are often lost). It’s therefore critical to adapt the experience to frontline life through ensuring a mobile-first survey experience.
5. Successful hires
On the frontline, the first few months of employment are critical - ‘year one attrition’ being a common and costly problem in hourly roles.
By measuring the number of successful hires versus unsuccessful ones, frontline leaders can track the success of their onboarding process and identify areas for improvement.
Frontline managers should also pay close attention to employee feedback during exit interviews, which can provide insight into why employees are leaving the organization. This information can be used to make tweaks in the recruitment process to ensure that future hires are more successful.
6. Internal promotion rate
By tracking internal promotion rates, leaders can identify how many employees have been successful in their current roles and have moved up within the organization.
This metric gives insight into areas of success among your team members and demonstrates that employees are being recognized for their hard work and achievements. It also highlights any areas of improvement, such as lack of opportunity for career development or limited resources available to employees. Providing management training, upskilling staff or putting managers on even employee engagement training programs can support in this area.
Promotion (or lack thereof) plays a key role in frontline employee turnover, so tracking this data can be extremely useful for retention efforts.
7. Active users
Frontline managers can use active users of employee engagement tools as a quantitative measure of engagement. By tracking these numbers, you can determine how many employees feel motivated to engage with their manager, HQ - and each other.
By having access to these Employee Analytics, frontline managers can also gain insight into which types of engagement content are most effective, and make adjustments in order to ensure that all teams are on track.
How To Use Employee Engagement KPIs
Benchmarking employee engagement KPIs is essential for any frontline manager looking to make improvements in the workplace. By benchmarking your team against other similar teams, you can identify areas for improvement and set goals for future development.
For example, by looking at the internal promotion rate of your team versus another similar team within your organization, you can see how successful each team has been in terms of developing employees and creating opportunities for career progression. This type of benchmarking helps frontline managers identify areas of strength as well as weakness and make informed decisions about how to improve employee engagement in the long-run.
Track metrics over time
To gain the most value from employee engagement KPIs, it’s important to track them over time. This will help frontline leaders identify trends in their team and put plans into place to tackle them.
For example, tracking active users over time can give insight into which communication types are the most popular among employees, enabling frontline managers to make informed decisions about what inspires the most engagement.
By tracking employee engagement KPIs on a regular basis, frontline managers can not only identify areas of improvement but put plans into place to ensure that employees stay engaged and motivated in the long-term, too.
Employee engagement KPIs can help frontline managers identify areas of focus - particularly key when there might be numerous challenges to tackle at once. By looking at internal promotion rate, active users and other data points, frontline managers can get an accurate picture of which areas they need to focus on in order to provide employees with the best opportunity for progression and retention.
Employee engagement KPIs can also be used to inform the hiring process. By looking closely at active users, internal promotion rate and other metrics, frontline managers can get an accurate picture of which traits or skills have been most successful within their team in the past.
This information can then be used to assess new candidates during the hiring process, and to attract the right type of talent to the team. This ensures that employees are being hired with the same values in mind, further supporting employee engagement and collaboration within teams.
By making informed changes to your recruitment processes and using employee engagement KPIs to guide decisions, frontline managers can ensure that their teams are made up of the most productive and engaged individuals possible.
With this guide, you now have a better understanding of how employee engagement KPIs can be used to measure the success of your team and identify areas for improvement.
By tracking these metrics over time and using them to inform decisions related to recruitment, development and more, frontline managers can ensure that their teams remain motivated, productive and engaged in the long-term.
How can Blink help?
Blink’s Frontline App helps frontline managers track and measure employee engagement KPIs in real-time, enabling them to make informed decisions about recruitment, development, communication and more. Our interactive Frontline Intelligence dashboard allows you to quickly assess active users and other engagement metrics all at once.
And for your frontline workforce, our app provides everything in one easy-to-use platform. From Secure Chats and Employee Recognition to a Hub for critical documents and the Blink Feed for company or team updates, Blink ensures that your frontline teams have everything they need to stay engaged and collaborative in the long-term.
Get started today and see how easy it is to start tracking and improving employee engagement with Blink!
Employee Engagement KPI FAQs
What is the KPI for employee engagement?
Perhaps the most common KPI for employee engagement is the employee net promoter score (eNPS). This metric measures employees’ willingness to recommend their employer to others, making it a great indicator of overall satisfaction and loyalty. Other KPIs include turnover rate, absenteeism, and successful hires.
What are the key indicators of engagement?
The key indicators of employee engagement include a sense of purpose, job satisfaction, trust in leadership, and feeling valued. Additionally, meaningful work and strong relationships with colleagues are also important indicators of efficient employee engagement.
How do you measure employee engagement?
Employee engagement can be measured in a variety of ways, such as through employee surveys, eNPS scores, and monitoring active users of communication apps. Additionally, tracking metrics over time and benchmarking company culture can also provide valuable insight into levels of employee engagement in your organization.