Employee Engagement
Essentials Certification


Welcome to the Employee Engagement: Essentials certification. Below you will find the certification course, made up of 6 modules containing both video content, as well as further reading to reinforce learning.​

Once you have completed all course materials, click the button at the bottom of the page to be taken to the certification assessment. Click the video below under the “Module 1” banner to get started!​

Please note: your progress will not save if you leave this page, so please be sure to note where you leave off!

I’m ready to take the assessment >>

Engagement: What It Is and Why It Matters

total time: 12 minutes

Apply Your Knowledge


You are joining a new HR team, and the organization is planning to start measuring employee engagement, a new practice for the organization. Senior leadership is open to this initiative but wants to understand what impact investing in employee engagement can have on the organization.

How can you make the business case for engagement to the leadership of your organization?

Step 1. Start with the benefits.

Employee engagement can have many positive effects on your organization. Engagement outcomes include improved performance, fewer safety issues, lower turnover, and higher profitability, among others. Try to align potential engagement benefits with the organization’s priorities, positioning engagement improvement as an essential component of driving those initiatives.

Step 2. Support your argument with statistics

Strengthen your argument by using third-party proof that engagement has an impact. There are many organizations that conduct research into the effects of engagement. SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), Bersin by Deloitte, and Top Workplaces are all great sources for understanding the impact of employee engagement. Try to find statistics that are tied to the impacts that you selected in step 1. A few examples are below

  • An IBM study that reported 5X higher productivity across 5 years.
  • McKinsey showed productivity returns are 200% higher than those in the bottom quartile.
  • A joint study between Irrational Capital and Energage proved Top Workplaces outperformed the S&P 500 Index by 3X.
  • Towers Watson research indicated 6% higher net profit margins.

Step 3. Connect to how these outcomes are achieved

A quick explanation of how these benefits come about will be helpful for your audience. When employees are engaged, they give discretionary effort – effort that they would not otherwise be put toward the organization. This extra effort pushes the organization forward and leads to the benefits in step 1.

Following these three steps will help you create a compelling case to gain buy-in from leadership in your organization.

Measuring Employee Engagement

total time: 14 minutes

Apply Your Knowledge


It is a week into your employee survey, and your response rate is low.

What steps should you take to increase your response rate?

Act quickly

The first thing to consider is that time is of the essence. Since your survey is already open, you will want to move quickly to encourage employee responses.

Communicate through multiple channels

The second thing to consider is that communication is key. If employees are not aware of the survey or do not understand how their feedback will be used, they will not be as likely to complete the survey. One channel is not enough to get employees’ attention, so if you are relying only on email or company meeting announcements, consider diversifying your outreach.

Enlist others

Finally, do not go into it by yourself. Enlist the help of leadership and your internal communications team. Encourage leaders to make an announcement at a company meeting, while your internal communications team can help you with email or intranet announcements.

Connect with employees

When planning your communications, consider setting the stage for what you are planning to do with the feedback. This will give employees a reason to answer the survey.

Another concern employees may have is whether they will be singled out for their feedback. If your survey is confidential, stress the confidentiality so employees feel safe to share their candid feedback.

Following these steps in a timely manner will encourage employees to share their feedback and lead to a stronger response rate.

Engagement Survey Scoring Methods and Metrics

total time: 14 minutes

Apply Your Knowledge


Your HR team wants departmental managers involved in understanding what is driving employee engagement in their respective departments.

What should be shared with managers so that they will understand the results?

Understand the scope

Thinking about the scope of what is shared is the first step. Departmental managers should receive the detailed results of their own department to discuss with their team, as well as being part of discussions around the department they roll up to with their manager.

Before sharing this data, understand if there are some managers that will receive difficult feedback. Are there departments in your organization that scored particularly low? It may be worth discussing the survey results with that manager before sharing them.

Think about the results format

Your primary goal when sharing results with managers is that they understand the story in the data. You want them to understand in a broad sense what is going well and what could be improved in their department. This should then inform the analysis method you use when sharing results with managers.

Average score analysis is great for understanding detail and nuance in survey data; however, it can be difficult to communicate, and those details are not imperative for managers to understand. Percent positive analysis is easier to communicate and should allow managers to quickly understand where employees feel the strengths and focus areas lie for the department.

Analyzing Engagement Survey Results

total time: 10 minutes

Apply Your Knowledge


You receive your survey results, and you are looking to communicate the main drivers of engagement across the organization.

In what order should you review results to get to the story of your data?

Start from a broad view, then dive into specifics

The first question you will likely be asked after running an employee survey is “What were the results of the survey”? You will want to have a concise answer for this question that demonstrates the highlights without getting into too much detail.

Your first stop should be looking at the overall results:

  • What is your engagement score?
  • How does it compare to your benchmark?
  • Is it up or down relative to your previous survey?

Understanding engagement is not enough, however. Engagement is an outcome, and not directly actionable. To get to the story of your data, it is necessary to understand what is driving engagement. Digging into the themes or individual drivers of workplace culture will uncover the primary story of your survey.

For example, your story may end up looking something like: “Our score dropped a bit since the last survey but is still above our benchmark. This seems to be driven most by a drop in scores around formal training and manager scores around professional development.”

Knowing what is driving the overall scores, supplement with the details

Once you understand your top-level scores and what themes and drivers are contributing to it, you can then dig into the details. Are there large departments that are driving the overall scores? Are there a number of departments that are aligning around certain concerns or celebrations? Anything notable that you find can supplement your story.

After looking at departments, it is important to understand if there are similar experiences across the organization shared by employees in a given demographic group. Are there significant strengths and focus areas shared by new hires or by part-time employees? These can also supplement your story.

Now your story may look more like: “Our score dropped a bit since the last survey but is still above our benchmark. This seems to be driven most by a drop in scores around formal training and manager scores around professional development. Because we have many new sales team members, it seems that this is straining our ability to train and managers to support their development.”

The Importance of Employee Survey Comments

total time: 9 minutes

Apply Your Knowledge


As you are presenting results to your leadership, leaders are getting hung up on a few open-ended comments that are not necessarily representative of the overall feedback.

What strategies can you employ to focus leaders on the most impactful areas of employee feedback?

Recalling the scenario from module 4, this is another area where it is essential to have a grasp on the story within your data.

There may be employee comments that connect with a leader’s concerns and priorities but may not reflect the broader employee feedback.

To manage focus, be sure to bring things back to the story in your data. If you can, use examples of open-ended feedback to support your story.

Employee comments can help connect detail to the trends you see in your scores. One way to incorporate employee comments into your story is to leverage technology to tag and categorize comments. You can use this categorized open-ended feedback to add specific recommendations or challenges raised by employees to leadership. It will bring the story of your data to life and may present opportunities for direct action to address employee concerns and help leaders focus on the feedback that can be most impactful to your organization.

Taking Action on Survey Results

total time: 13 minutes

Apply Your Knowledge


You found the story in your data, and now you want to improve your organization. Many within your organization will have opinions on what is most important.

How do you maintain focus on the areas of your culture that matter the most?

Remember: it is worse to conduct a survey and do nothing with the feedback than to not survey at all. That raises the question: how do you best get to action?


The first part of that answer is focus. There will be many opinions from leaders or team members on what should be done as a follow-up action from the employee survey. Pick one or two actions that can be completed quickly to gain momentum coming out of the survey.

Include employees

Second, include your employees in the planning process. Employees have given you their feedback, they also likely have suggestions for how to improve the organization. While not all of these will be possible or useful, bringing employees into action planning will provide a sense of ownership over follow-up actions.

Follow up and celebrate

Keep the momentum going by following up on improvement actions often and celebrating those that are completed. When employees feel that their feedback and suggestions are being taken seriously, they will be more willing to help move improvement actions forward and are likely to become more engaged.

Finally, it is important to understand the effect that these actions are having. That is where a pulse survey, or running another engagement survey to measure progress can tell you how your organization has progressed.

Become a certified
Employee Engagement Specialist

Now that you know the employee engagement fundamentals, take the final step and become a certified Employee Engagement Specialist (EES): 

  • Complete the EES assessment.
  • Access your EES badge.
  • Get tips for using and promoting your certification.

Complete your certification now

Regular price: $149.  Introductory offer:


Is your organization an Energage customer?

You have free access to the certification! Go here for more information.