Wanna Calculate Your Employee Engagement ROI?

By Hollie Nishikawa

The #1 topic on the minds of CEOs and senior HR leaders is ‘culture & engagement,’ according to Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends Report. Employee engagement can be defined as proactively and passionately adding value while aligning with the company mission. Or according to Deloitte, “culture describes ‘the way things work around here’, while engagement describes ‘how people feel about the way things work around here’.”

Engagement can be hard to quantify, but an engaged employee wears it on their face and demonstrates it in their work and in their communication. 

You may know that employee engagement is important, but do you know how it can impact your bottom line due to less turnover and absenteeism, and higher productivity?

That’s why we’ve created an easy to use Employee Engagement ROI Worksheet, designed to help you quantify what a fully engaged team can do for your business. Enter your email on the popup to crunch your numbers and see just how much your disengaged employees are costing your company each year.

Download the free Excel/Numbers template: The Employee Engagement ROI Worksheet. Click here.

Employee Engagement Is Not a “Nice to Have.”

When company leadership is committed to improving employee engagement, results are seen in a variety of ways. Engaged employees appear more focused, they work more efficiently, and communicate openly about their experiences, triumphs, and challenges. This makes sense, since someone who genuinely cares about their work is not going to let anything stand in the way of their success.

How can you actively increase engagement? A study by 15Five found that the vast majority of employees who receive little or no feedback from their managers were actively disengaged. Engagement went up dramatically when employees received feedback about their weaknesses, and even more so when they received feedback about their strengths.

Increased engagement has been linked to these business outcomes:

– According to Gallup, businesses with highly engaged teams experience a 20% lift in productivity.

– According to the Workforce Institute on Absenteeism, businesses saw a drop in absenteeism (unearned PTO) by 41% when teams were engaged in their work.

– On average, highly engaged teams will experience a 40% improvement in turnover. This improvement can vary from 24% in high-turnover organizations to 59% in low-turnover organizations. You can find more details about this in the Gallup Q12 Meta-Analysis Report. (For the turnover rate calculation below, we used the median).

When you access the Employee Engagement ROI Calculator, you will be prompted to enter your company data. In our fictitious example, we entered the following:

employee engagement roi insert values

Higher Engagement is Related to These Outcomes

Using the information entered above, you can expect to see the following improvements in the areas of turnover, absenteeism, and productivity when you commit to boosting employee engagement at your company:

employee-engagement-calculation

Revenue per employee is a simple calculation that divides annual company revenue by the average number of employees. It measures how efficiently a particular company is utilizing its employees. In this case higher engagement increased revenue by 20%.

Cost of absenteeism per employee. On average, 1.2% of total working days (3 days per year) are unearned paid time off. To calculate your costs due to absenteeism, take 1.2% of revenue per employee and add that to 1.2% of average employee salary. This represents the individual impact to the business when an employee is absent with unearned PTO. For more on these figures, see Absenteeism: The Bottom Line Killer

Total cost of absenteeism represents the business impact of absenteeism company-wide.

Turnover rate is calculated by dividing the number of employees that left during the year by the average number of employees during the year. (Wanna check our math? Go here.)

Turnover rates vary by industry. To compare your turnover rate with others in your industry, go to this link.

Number or employees that leave in a year is the turnover rate multiplied by the average number of employees. As you can see, with an engaged workforce turnover was cut almost in half!

Average cost to replace an employee. According to The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6-9 months of the replaced employee’s salary. The formula in this template uses 9 months. For executive positions, replacement can be as high as 200% of the employee’s annual salary. This calculation doesn’t account for the other factors such as costs of on-boarding, lost productivity, lost engagement, training costs, and cultural impact on the organization.

Total cost of employee turnover multiplies the average cost to replace an employee by the number of employees that quit or were fired last year.

What’s Your Employee Engagement ROI?

Your Total ROI value is the amount of revenue added due to a 20% increase in employee productivity, plus the money saved from a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 40% decrease in turnover:

total business roi employee engagement

With increased engagement, our pretend company might very well see an additional $50k in revenue per employee. This translates to over $6Million in additional revenue per year! With less absenteeism and turnover, the company may also see a significant savings of nearly $400k.

Our results are consistent with other research findings. Willis Towers Watson reports that companies with engaged employees enjoy a 19% increase in operating income; without engagement, operating income decreases by 30%.

No one can put a price on the value of employees; their contributions, skills, or who they are as people. Our intent is not to propagate the myth that employees are nothing more than resources. Instead, we hope that this data will support the notion that you can increase employee engagement and satisfaction by communicating with your teams regularly and by always putting people first.

Download the ROI Worksheet. Find out what a fully engaged team can do for your business. Download here.

Check out our free Employee Engagement ROI Calculator and see how better engagement can improve performance for significant impacts to your bottom line.

Image Credit: Andrea Allen


hollie-nishikawaHollie Nishikawa is Demand Generation Manager at 15Five, she keeps our marketing profitable and her jelly bean jar full. 


Know the pulse of your team each week and improve employee engagement with 15Five.


  • It’s so great to see this put into a dollars-and-sense formula. This takes it out of the “nice to have” and puts it into the “must-have” set of KPIs every business owner should be tracking. Thoughtful and easy to understand, even for non-money marketing types like me. Well said!

    • Hollie

      Thank you Elizabeth! I agree with you that these should be a must-have set of KPIs for every business today.

  • jimjr11

    Gallup does not state companies see a “lift”, rather as with all the other studies they are merely saying that companies with higher levels of EE perform better. I can’t find a single study that claims that EE is the cause of the better performance. Leadership is the cause of the better performance and consequently the better engagement. There isn’t a single recognized study that compares the EE levels before an improvement initiative with the financial results after the initiative. You are reading the studies to make a point which they do not make. The cause of the low EE scores is the same as the cause for the high EE scores, leadership and that doesn’t change much from an HR sponsored survey. Here’s a challenge, try to find a single company that has realized any of the results you ascribe to EE improvement. Different products, different sizes, different locations, different markets, different leadership different quality, different politics, and different cultures. Can you imagine giving your presentation to a CEO and being asked where had this occurred anywhere in the world. Recall, none of the studies refer to a transformation, only to the static state of EE at those companies in the study. There is no value in corollary justification, what happened over there is not likely to happen over here. It’s exactly like saying every business that buys a computer from IBM will generate the same profit margin. Sounds kind of silly don’t you think.

Employee Engagement

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