What is a "good" Engaged Index score?
Now that you've gotten responses to the Engaged Index, the next step is to interpret the results. Keep in mind that any score in the positive range (0 - +100) means you have more moderately and strongly engaged people than you have disengaged. You also should consider the population of people that answered the questions. We often find that the more stereotypically optimist groups (sales or marketing) tend to score higher than more stereotypically skeptical populations (engineers or technicians). So, if you lead an IT team, don't take it personally if your team's Engaged Index is never as high as the HR group.
While we always say you should measure against your own prior score ("Is the score going up or down?"), we generally say a score of 50 or higher is a "good" score.
My score looks bad, what do I do?
First, consider that the Engaged Index is on a -100 to +100 scale. Sometimes managers will have a strong negative reaction upon seeing their team's Engaged Index is 30 - not remembering that means you have 30% MORE engaged people than disengaged. [Click here to remind yourself how the Engaged Index is calculated].
If you are concerned about your team's score, your next step should be to dig in deeper. Did you see a drop of 50 in the score? That COULD be because you have 50% more detractors. That would indicate something big is happening. Alternatively, it COULD mean that 50% of your most engaged folks became more hesitant and started answering 7 or 8 rather than 9 or 10. That change is still something to look into, but it isn't as dire a circumstance.
Next, consider which of the four indicators was rated lowest, or has dropped most. This is especially helpful for groups taking the Engaged Index for the first time. Is there an event or a reason that would explain that? For example, did you just announce a hiring freeze and as a result responses to "willingness to recommend the work environment" dropped? Sure it did! No need to panic. You can make note of the change, talk to your team about those circumstances, and watch to see that that score goes back up next time.
On the other hand, let's say your "likelihood to stay" indicator shows a decrease and you aren't sure why. That might cause concern, but the good news is that you know something is shifting and you can be proactive.
Get the "story behind the numbers."
Now that you have your scores set up time to talk to your group - all together or in smaller groups. Share the results and ask if they have any insight on why the score is changing - remember to approach the question with curiosity rather than accusation. If you suspect the team won't want to share thoughts out loud you can chat with people in your one-on-ones to gain insight. You can even use the time honored "Suggestion box" - physical or a survey version - to allow for anonymous feedback.
I have a small group. Does that make a difference?
The one difference to consider with a smaller group - say less than 10 people - is how much more volatile the scores can be over time. The weight of one person's experience will have a bigger impact in a small group - so while a group of 100 people may see 1 or 2 point swings over time, it's more common to see movement of 20 or 30 points in small groups.
What does this score say about me as a leader?
This is often what people are concerned with when they see their team's Engaged Index score. We recommend you build in time to review your team's score and process the information before sharing the results. That way, when it is time to share and discuss, you can be more objective about the results.
Regardless of how it feels when you see the score, keep in mind how many factors influence the responses of a team outside of your direct control. For instance, they may be questioning:
- Do I have confidence in the direction of our company as a whole?
- Is this industry still the best place for me in my career?
- Am I having a personal disagreement with one of my colleagues?
While it is important to know where a team stands in their engagement both negative and positive, results may not be due to issues you alone can manage.
What can I do to get my Engaged Index score higher?
First a warning. DO NOT indicate to your team that you want your "scores to go up." This might send a message that the next survey you'd like everyone to just score a 10 (wink, wink), regardless of how they are actually feeling. If your team gets the impression that you want your scores to be different than their actual experience, you will lose the ability to learn what is actually happening. The ability to remove blindspots or get ahead of a cultural trend is one of the most powerful part of a survey, so getting honest answers is essential.
Now, assuming you are ready to make changes happen in the environment that allow for a higher Engaged Index score, your best tool is conversation. When most people take a survey, they are as concerned about what will be done with the results than what the numbers will actually mean. Just sharing the results and providing time for people to consider and discuss the results will do a great deal to build trust and a more engaged culture. [Click here to learn more about talking about your results with your team.]