The ISA Engagement Scale 

This scale can be used to measure employees’ level of engagement. It was developed through three academic research studies that have demonstrated the scale to be statistically valid and reliable, and that have shown the scale to measure engagement in such a way that it is clearly distinct. Academic research generally suggests that ‘engagement’ is a positive work-related state of mind with a number of different facets or components. The ISA engagement scale is based on the view that engagement has an ‘intellectual’, a ‘social’ and an ‘affective’ dimension. Taken together, these three given an overall level of engagement for each person.

The scale can be used as part of a wider employee attitude survey to measure engagement levels and see how engagement is related to other factors in the working environment such as leadership style, communication, job design and so on, which can be measured using other questions. The advantage of the ISA scale is that it means employers can evaluate engagement as a separate factor, whereas some other widely available engagement measures tend to confound all these various items together in one scale, which means it can be difficult to know what issues are affecting engagement levels.


Participants are asked nine questions on a seven-point scale from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’.

In order to evaluate the strength of engagement, employees answer the following questions. This will give an overall engagement score, and a score for each of three facets of engagement as follows:

Intellectual engagement (questions 1-3): this measures the extent to which people are intellectually absorbed in their work, or think hard about the work they are doing. Calculate the average score for the three questions.

Social engagement (questions 4-6): this measures the degree to which individuals feel socially connected in their work environment, and share the values of their colleagues. Calculate the average score for the three questions.

Affective engagement (questions 7-9): this measures the extent to which individuals experience positive and energizing feelings about their work. Calculate the average score for the three questions.

Overall engagement (questions 1-9): calculate the average score overall for the nine questions.

The maximum average score for each facet and for the scale overall is 7. Employers will generally aim for a score of 6-7 for each facet and overall. Very low scores of 1-2 suggest a lack of engagement.

 Strongly DisagreeDisagreeSomewhat
NeutralSomewhat AgreeAgreeStrongly Agree
I focus hard on my work1234567
I concentrate on my work1234567
I pay a lot of attention to my work1234567
I share the same work values as my colleagues1234567
I share the same work goals as my colleagues1234567
I share the same work attitudes as my colleagues1234567
I feel positive about my work1234567
I feel energetic in my work1234567
I am enthusiastic in my work1234567
© Human Resource Development International (2012)

Full details can be found in the original article where the background to the research study is explained, and the scale is set within the context of wider research on engagement within the academic literature.

The scale can be used by organisations within in-house attitude surveys. However, the scale should always be attributed to the original source cited below.


Soane, E., Truss, C., Alfes, K., Shantz, A., Rees, C. and Gatenby, M. (2012 – in press) ‘Development and Application of a New Measure of Employee Engagement: The ISA Engagement Scale’. Human Resource Development International.

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