7 Surprising Employee Engagement Metrics to Track for Frontline Employees

7 Surprising Employee Engagement Metrics to Track for Frontline Employees

10 August 2020

Internal communications

It's become common knowledge that employee engagement makes or breaks success at every level of an organization.

But frontline employees in industries like retail, hospitality , manufacturing and logistics tend to be left behind by the employee engagement parade, despite being just as crucial to a company's success as their office-based peers.

It's time to turn that around.

Related Download: A Guide to Retail Employee Engagement

Retail Employee Engagement Ebook Download

 

Employee Engagement for Frontline Employees: Why Does it Matter?

If we've learned anything from COVID-19, it's that business continuity depends on the work done by frontline employees every day.

So when frontline employees feel disengaged, the quality of their work inevitably suffers, which then damages the company's bottom line.

And unfortunately, lack of engagement is still the status quo for frontline employees in most industries.

Measuring the engagement levels of frontline employees isn't as easy as pushing out an employee engagement survey or seeing how many people turn up to your weekly Zoom happy hour.

And therein lies the issue. It's not easy to measure how engaged frontline employees are - without the right approach.

The problem isn't that organizations are blind to the importance of employee engagement: 80% of senior business leaders believe that employee engagement is critical for achieving company goals.

Rather, the issue is a lack of awareness into precisely how engaged or disengaged frontline staff are feeling, and a lack of understanding about what frontline staff need to feel engaged.

Ebook Restaurant Employee Engagement YOOBIC

And that brings us to our main point .

You should be quantitatively measuring employee engagement.

 

Why Measure Employee Engagement?

  • Get a pulse on how your organization is feeling over time

  • Identify feelings of disengagement early and perform root cause analysis to make meaningful change

  • Target your least engaged groups of employees and boost their engagement levels

  • Build data-driven business cases when it's necessary to invest in new tools, platforms or programs that support employee engagement: for example, an internal communications platform or employee wellness program

  • Retain valuable knowledge and expertise by reducing employee turnover as well as costly rehiring and retraining expenses

Quantitative measurement takes employee engagement from an HR buzzword that generates a few eye rolls to a concrete, measurable and actionable strategy that supercharges company-wide improvement and growth.

Here are 7 employee engagement metrics that every company with frontline employees should be tracking.

 

1) Employee interactions with internal communications content

How employees interact with content you share internally through your company intranet (or better yet, a company newsfeed) reveals a lot about how engaged they are.

That's because employees who feel their voices are heard are more likely to read and respond to internal comms content, and 4.6 times more likely to perform their best work.

Frontline employees are left out of the loop when it comes to internal communications, because they typically don't have a company email address and may never meet some of their peers in-person.

And that's why measuring if and how they interact with internal content is so key.

Do employees think company news and updates are relevant to them?

Do they think it's worth their while to comment, ask questions, like and share?

Measuring internal communications metrics can answer these questions. Here are a few to get your started:

  • Percentage of employees who read each post, newsletter or update.

    Pro-tip - with an employee engagement platform like YOOBIC, you can track read receipts on everything your company shares internally.

  • Total comments, likes and shares per post

  • Sentiment of comments and questions. Are they positive, negative or neutral?

  • Number of positive and negative commenters

2) Employee Net Promoter Score

Employee NPS measures how many employees are promoters, passives or detractors by asking your workforce how likely they'd be to recommend your company as a great place to work.

To calculate your employee NPS score, subtract the percent of detractors from the percent of promoters.

Employee NPS is a great engagement metric to start with, since your engaged employees are most likely to recommend the company as a great place to work.

Calculate and compare your eNPS scores for different teams, locations and regions for the most insightful data.

And don't forget to compare scores over time to help you track the progress of employee engagement initiatives.

Broaden the scope of the questions you ask employees beyond the standard eNPS questions. A few good ones are:

  • How strongly employees feel their managers support their professional development on a scale of 0 - 10

  • How clear the company's mission and values are to them

  • Overall mood ranking on a scale or using emojis

YOOBIC customers with predominantly Gen Z and millennial workforces are big fans of the Moodscale eNPS feature, where employees pick an emoji that represents how they're feeling about everything work-related.

 

YOOBIC Moodscale eNPS

 

3) Customer Net Promoter Score

Engaged employees enjoy going above and beyond every day.

This attitude is bound to rub off on customers: even more so when employees are on the frontlines with them.

Closely monitor your customer NPS scores to spot any changes that could be tied to employee engagement.

Interactions with staff are what make or break a customer's experience. Customers aren't shy about shouting this from the rooftops on review sites and in surveys. 

This opens up a goldmine of data.

Here are a few metrics to help you tap into that goldmine:

  • The sentiment of comments left in customer surveys

  • What's mentioned in comments and how many times (e.g. personalized advice from staff, staff members mentioned by name)

  • Average ratings on Google reviews, Yelp, Tripadvisor and changes in scores over time

  • Sentiment of comments left on review sites (this is also a great way to recognize and reward employees who go above and beyond for customers)

Take these metrics even further by correlating them with the other 6 metrics here, as well as operational KPIs like compliance scores.

YOOBIC's reputation dashboard consolidates reviews from Yelp, Google, TripAdvisor and Facebook Pages, giving you an instant overview of customer feedback - and your brand’s reputation - across your entire network.

 

YOOBIC Review & Reputation Dashboard

4) Adoption rates for new technologies

What does employee engagement have to do with adopting new tech?

When we look a little deeper, they're closely linked.

If you were given a tool that might help you do your job more efficiently and less painfully, would you use it?

You would if you were motivated to go above and beyond in your role.

You probably wouldn't use the new tool if going above and beyond wasn't your thing, which also indicates a lack of engagement.

So when a new tool or platform is rolled out, a high adoption rate signals that employees are engaged in their roles and understand the value the new tool will bring: to themselves as individuals, to the rest of their team and to the entire company.

When adoption rates are low, it could mean that the company hasn't done a stellar job of showing employees and values and benefits of using it.

Even so, a low adoption rate likely means that employees are not engaged, so the same old way of doing things is good enough for them.

Related: 5 Best Practices for Boosting Adoption of New Tech for Retail & Hospitality Employees

 

5) Employee productivity

Engaged employees are more productive.

That's because engaged employees find meaning in the work they do and understand how it contributes to the bigger picture.

Whatever they do and whatever industry they work in, engaged employees have quantitatively higher outputs than their unengaged peers.

Here are a few of the best productivity metrics to start measuring:

  • Number of sales

  • Conversion rate and basket size (for retail employees)

  • Products produced and projects completed in a given time period

  • Number of product defects

  • Number of errors (disengaged employees make 60% more errors than their engaged peers)

  • Time-to-resolution on troubleshooting and customer service requests

  • Number of safety incidents and accidents

6) Absenteeism and turnover

Everyone needs a day off every now and then, and even the most engaged employee might move on for a new job opportunity.

But as a rule, engaged employees will avoid no shows or taking days off (unless they really need to) because they care about and enjoy their work.

For the same reason, engaged employees aren't as likely to voluntarily leave their jobs and will have a lower turnover rate.

Industries employing frontline employees - especially retail and hospitality - have some of the highest rates of absenteeism and turnover out there, as well as some of the lowest levels of engagement.

Coincidence? Probably not.

Related Downloads: A Guide to Retail Employee Engagement & A Guide to Restaurant Employee Engagement

Companies with high engagement levels have 41% less absenteeism.

And while 73% of unengaged employees are open to looking for new opportunities, only 37% of engaged employees are.

Absenteeism and turnover rates aren't just a measure of employee engagement.

They're also a measure of productivity, expertise, and revenue lost to costly rehiring and retraining.

 

7) Profitability

This is what it all comes down to at the end of the day.

Engaged employees are more successful, which makes the entire company more profitable.

Studies have proven this over and over again.

One stipulation, however: employee engagement initiatives won't skyrocket your profitability metrics overnight.

That's the reason why we've left this metric until the end. It takes time to start noticing meaningful change here.

Even so, the work frontline employees do - like helping customers and manufacturing products - can make or break your business' profits.

So it's important to start monitoring profitability metrics on a granular level (e.g. per store, restaurant, field team, warehouse) ASAP, so you have a baseline to compare your findings with once you ramp up your employee engagement initiatives.

A few examples are:

  • Sales per square foot

  • Customer lifetime value

  • Average transaction value

  • Units per transaction

  • Gross profit per location

  • Net profit per location

And at a higher level:

  • Operating profit

  • Break even point sales

  • EBIDTA

Monitoring and comparing profitability metrics for both individual business units and the entire company gives you complete visibility into potential causes of increases or decreases.

Remember, correlation is not the same thing as causation.

 

Tracking these 7 metrics is only the first step. It's what your business does with them afterwards that really makes a difference.

There's no one-size-fits-all employee engagement model - especially for the wide range of work frontline employees do.

Each business and employee base is different. One employee engagement initiative may work wonders for one group of employees but have zero impact for another.

That's why measuring employee engagement is so crucial. It shows you what's working and what's not so you can make data-driven decisions that serve and support your employees.

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Engage and empower your frontline, wherever they are, with YOOBIC's engagement and internal communications platform.

It's never been easier for frontline employees to chat, collaborate and stay in the loop with company news - all from an app that's as as fun and easy to use as social media.

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