The latest employee engagement evidence

How do you measure employee engagement? If your 2017 plans include increasing your knowledge of employee engagement and finding examples of who’s doing what, you’re in the right place.

engageforsuccessI’ve blogged about the topic numerous times over the past eight years, and will share lots of resources at the end of this article.

Earlier this year Engage for Success, the movement committed to the idea that there is a better way to work, updated Nailing the Evidence.

I can see from the search terms being used to reach my blog that many comms pros are in planning mode at the moment, so I hope this helps you.

A quick history: In 2009 the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills here in the UK published Engaging for Success, which is more commonly known as the MacLeod Report. It’s a study by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke of organisations across the UK demonstrating high employee engagement and high performance.

They concluded the common factors in them all were the Four Enablers of engagement, which are pictured below.

If you’ve never read the MacLeod Report and are interested in knowing more about employee engagement, it’s a must-read.


(I can also see you’re looking for jobs – check out my jobs page to keep an eye on what’s being advertised).

What happened this year
Further Evidence 
was published by Engage for Success in April 2016, building on Nailing the Evidence.

It offers commentary on the evidence base, advice on how to approach the topic, and thought-provoking and practical guidance for organisations seeking to build their own business case.



Further Evidence showcases 11 new, robust case studies which add to the evidence base for Engagement being linked to Performance in organisations. They come from both public and private organisations, across sectors. They focus on measures related to Productivity, Customer Impact, and Wellbeing.

Further Evidence discusses the continuing definitional challenge of Employee Engagement, concluding that what matters more than the choice of measure and model is the organisational response, and the Change Management capabilities within the organisation.

It shows that while some evidence points to links with performance, the really compelling case studies show a Return on Investment against the cost of improving engagement.

It asks, if links exist with performance, why evidence is not easier to find. It offers advice to organisations wanting to build their own business case, highlighting the value of ‘light’ and ‘full fat’ business cases and how to go about creating them.

Further Evidence Case Studies:

In the higher education sector, a study by ORC International showed that higher levels of employee engagement of University staff is linked to higher level of student satisfaction.

The Cooperative Group has established links between engagement of colleagues and customer satisfaction in stores. Their top quartiles stores (by engagement) outperform the bottom quartile by an average of +0.2% overall customer satisfaction, and +0.3% on ratings of “friendly and helpful service” (both differences are statistically significant), by an average of +4.2% sales over budget (equating to £14,000 of additional sales), and an average of -0.2% short-term sickness. Links to lower sickness absence were also identified.

msMarks and Spencer established a strong correlation between employee engagement and customer satisfaction, as well as employee absence. Stores in the top quartile of engagement scores are more than twice as likely to achieve the highest service score rating compared to stores in the bottom quartile – 43% of stores in the top quartile of engagement scores achieved the top rating of ‘exceed’ compared to only 19% of stores in the bottom quartile. Absence levels of stores in the top quartile of engagement scores were 25% lower than those in the bottom quartile. M&S also found from analysis of this year’s survey results that the engagement level of stores in the top quartile of Manager theme scores was 11% higher than those in the bottom quartile.

A retail client of AonHewitt provides an anonymised case study, where a 5% increase in engagement in one year led to a 0.4% increase in customer satisfaction the next year, which corresponded with an increase in store sales of over $15,000 per store.

In the financial services sector, RBS has established links between employee engagement and business performancecustomer service and employee well-being. The top 10% of business units compared to the bottom 10% by Engagement delivered twice the business performance, incurred half the voluntary turnover, had Customer Service scores 5% higher, and had absence rates 2% lower.


I hope you find the evidence useful to help with your planning.

Find out more
Check out the Engage for Success website to find lots of resources, research and case studies to help you find out more about employee engagement. They also publish a regular radio show and host various events throughout the year. You can find them on Twitter @engage4success.

A recent case study from Metropolitan Police: Kingston Borough here in London is worth exploring to see how the enablers work in reality:

Learn more

Want to learn more about internal communication and employee engagement? Sign up to an All Things IC Masterclass.

These are one-day courses in London designed by and for professional communicators.

There are still some places left on the upcoming Masterclasses and I cover employee engagement in both the Internal Communication and Strategic Internal Communication course.

Jane Shaw, International Employee Engagement Director at NBC Universal attended the Strategic Internal Communication course a few weeks ago.

She said: “I found the Strategic Internal Communications Masterclass exceptionally useful as I plan our strategy for 2017. What an interesting and diverse group of IC leaders and I love Rachel’s learning style. Definitely worth attending and I look forward to joining future All Things IC masterclasses.”

If you work for a nonprofit organisation, use the code NFP20 to save 20 per cent off. See the Masterclasses website to find out more and save your place.

What is it like to attend a Masterclass? Read Advita Patel’s blog to find out.

Further reading via the All Things IC blog about employee engagement:

Read the Further Evidence case studies

A new model for engagement and wellbeing
How to strengthen employee engagement through comms
The role volunteering plays in engagement
A focus on: All things employee engagement
Link wellbeing and engagement to boost performance
Is gamification a winner for employee engagement?
Tips on employee engagement for leaders
Employee engagement and social media
The call centre dials up engagement methods
Employee engagement – the evidence
Engagement, Engagement, Engagement
Employee engagement gets qualified
Engaging for Success in Italy
Ready for National Employee Motivation Day?

Thank you for stopping by,


Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 29 December 2016.


  1. Heidi says:

    Hello Rachel,

    Thanks for the excellent resources. Would you consider hosting a Webinar / or online course for international attendees? I’d love to take your course in London and need to stay in the Bay Area right now…

  2. […] The latest employee engagement evidence […]

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How can we help?

All Things IC helps practitioners around the globe increase their knowledge of internal communication.

There’s a variety of ways we can support you including trainingconsultancy and 1-2-1 support to boost your skills and confidence.

Or visit the shop to see everything we offer.

Who has hired All Things IC?

Clients say working with All Things IC leaves them feeling inspired, motivated, full of ideas and ready to turn plans into action.

We’re proud to have been invited to work with, and advise, some of the world’s leading brands.

Get in touch...

Would you like to work with All Things IC? Do get in touch below. Please note we only accept guest post ideas from in-house IC pros who have read the blogging guidelines.

Asking for advertising, back links or pitching services? We do not offer these and will not reply. Thank you.