Selecting the Right Employee Engagement Index

Using the Right Engagement Index is Critical to a Successful Engagement Process

The ultimate purpose for finding the most precise index for measuring and benchmarking employee engagement is to ensure accurate identification of actionable management factors that cause employees to want to work harder, stay longer and care more. In other words, the most important question to be answered is:

What can managers and leaders do, at every level of an organization, that could cause employees within that area of influence to be more motivated, committed, and conscientious?

This question cannot be answered reliably without the most accurate and appropriate engagement index.

Forty years of experimentation, research, validation and consulting experience has led Workforce Science Associates to a refined understanding of what makes the most valid and useful employee engagement index. The key criteria we rely on for item identification and inclusion in our extensive research are as follows: 

Face Validity

Each item should be logical and easily understood by employees.


Engagement is a relatively stable factor when measured across an entire workforce. If the items are overly influenced by factors such as mood, contentment or fun, for example, the scores may fluctuate too much or too quickly, and the analysis may yield a misleading result.

Predictive Validity

Most critically, the final combination of items making up the index correlate with and predict workforce performance. In other words, to determine whether a combination of items will be included, we ask: Does the particular combination of items chosen represent the best reflection of those data points a company uses to asses workforce performance?

Item Type

Each item in the engagement index should be a broad, summary item so the priority analysis is not biased toward identifying any individual action item from the wide variety of likely choices.

To learn the items that follow the rules and those that break the rules and therefore limit the impact of the engagement survey process, read: The Engagement Index, A Critical Factor in your Engagement Efforts Guide by Bill Erickson, Principal, Workforce Science Associates.