10 Best Practices for Running Employee Engagement Surveys

by Srikant Chellappa May 16,2022

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Employee happiness is crucial to the success of any organization. Contented and engaged employees are more productive and driven, which may contribute to a positive and successful work environment. Thus, maintaining high employee satisfaction is vital; but, to do so, you must monitor the happiness of your workforce. 

Surveys are one of the most practical and successful solutions for measuring employee happiness. Surveys can help you understand the outlook of the employees and how well their performance is aligned with the objectives of the company.

However, having said that, a badly designed survey may be a waste of time and resources for your employees and your HR department. Therefore, it is crucial that you adhere to best practices when conducting surveys in order to improve employee engagement and get relevant data.

What is an Employee Engagement Survey?

A thorough understanding of your employees’ engagement levels is essential for determining whether or not your employees are happy. It would give you a clear idea about their inclination to stay with your company. This is where an employee engagement survey comes in handy. According to a new study of 5,000 U.S. families, just 45 percent of the employees are content with their jobs, indicating a dramatic decline in job satisfaction over the previous two decades.

Employee engagement survey questions can help you to understand a lot about an employee’s outlook; satisfaction; commitment toward his company, and the likelihood of remaining with the company. Further, an employee engagement survey can help to determine employees’ loyalty, enthusiasm, and dedication to their jobs.

It can be used to determine if employees’ opinions about their jobs, corporate culture, and management are in line with the organization’s or department’s objectives. 

All top-notch organizations prioritize and give high value to their work culture and employee engagement because highly focused and committed employees help them gain more customers while demotivated and uninvolved employees can lead to a loss of customers and negatively impact business.

Also Read: Implementing Employee Engagement Surveys

Metrics for employee engagement surveys

Employee engagement surveys are based on certain important metrics. You can use a questionnaire-based survey to elicit responses from employees in order to decide on important metrics to measure employee engagement. The metrics will focus on the following aspects associated with the employees:

  • Mental and emotional status of your employees
  • Employees’ degrees of motivation
  • Alignment of employees’ understanding with your broad strategic objectives and company goals.
  • Insights into the most effective means of enhancing employee profitability.
  • An analysis of survey responses, with an eye toward benchmarking across groups.

Employee engagement surveys and research are essential for developing a corporate culture that encourages employee loyalty and dedication. The survey should also capture all essential aspects to improve your workforce’s profitability and create a happy and productive workplace.

Why are employee engagement surveys important?

Performing employee engagement surveys is an effective method for gaining insight into what employees value and what matters to them the most. Continue reading to learn the most compelling reasons employee engagement surveys are so vital from a company’s perspective.

Organization development:

Having a clear understanding of factors like employee happiness, management/leadership performance, and company culture will enable you to set concrete improvement goals. 

You will also be able to uncover areas of best practice within your business by assessing employees’ engagement. By evaluating the employees’ engagement data, you may obtain insight into how a certain department is attaining high levels of engagement. Using department-level engagement data, you can implement the same best practices across the firm. 

Simply said, feedback from an engagement survey will provide you with valuable, meaningful data that you can use to promote organizational development.

Measure employee commitment:

The main purpose of employee engagement surveys is to determine the degree of employee engagement. You can uncover the level of employee engagement by measuring the major drivers of employee engagement. While there are no universal drivers of employee engagement, the following criteria are often evaluated: 

  1. Promotion
  2. Recognition 
  3. Future prospects 
  4. Compensation 
  5. Job role
  6. Training
  7. Workplace culture

Boost employee involvement and commitment:

Once you’ve determined the level of employee engagement, you can develop a strategy to boost it. The information received from the evaluation will enable you to discover organizational engagement strengths and weaknesses. Once you have identified the changes to be made, you may select priorities, assess resources, and develop a timetable for execution. You may design a company-wide engagement strategy or concentrate on specific action areas for each division.

Give your employees a say in their job role:

Employee engagement surveys are vital because they provide a platform for providing their candid inputs. It is a chance to build two-way communication and engage employees in the planning and growth process. By providing them direct access to the management team and allowing them to be part of the planning process, employees feel they are respected and have a stake in the organization.

Performance metrics:

By carrying out employee engagement surveys, you will be able to generate benchmark data, enabling you to compare performances. To elaborate, you may compare your findings to statistics from related industries to get a sense of how your company stacks up against others. In addition, benchmarking enables you to determine if some challenges are unique to your organization or industry-wide.

Also Read: Why is employee engagement important for your company?

What types of employee engagement surveys are there?

Employee opinion and satisfaction surveys, and employee engagement surveys, make up the three most popular forms of employee surveys.

Employee opinion and satisfaction surveys: Employee satisfaction and opinion surveys, commonly referred to as climate surveys, gauge employee perspectives, attitudes, and impressions of their firm.

Employee culture survey: The purpose of an employee culture survey is to determine whether employees’ perspectives and values conform with those of the company or specific departments.

Employee engagement surveys: Employee engagement surveys assess employees’ dedication, drive, sense of responsibility, and enthusiasm for their job and company.

Employee Engagement Surveys
Courtesy – Harvard Business Review – Getting the Truth into Workplace Surveys

How often should companies run employee engagement surveys?

Performing an employee engagement survey actually depends on your business; its present status and the goals you’re pursuing. Before deciding on a survey cycle, your Human Resources department must evaluate a myriad of factors before launching a formal feedback program, such as:

  • The size and demographic makeup of the organization.
  • How responsive are both the managers and the workforce to the survey inputs?
  • How does the organization intend to use the feedback?

The lowest levels of employee engagement are related to individuals who are requested to take surveys less than once per year. Surprisingly, even firms that do not conduct any surveys have some levels of employee engagement. 

In no way should this mean that you should never conduct a survey of your employees; rather, it emphasizes the significance of developing a thorough listening strategy that seeks useful inputs and feedback from employees continually.

Once your employer has built a listening strategy that emphasizes implementing employees’ inputs, perform surveys four to five times per year for best outcomes. 

Add pulse and lifecycle surveys to a yearly employee engagement survey to measure the performance of your HR efforts. Ensure that you take actions based on your findings to increase employee engagement and development.

Employee Engagement Survey

What are the best practices for running employee engagement surveys?

Given below are some of the best practices you can employ while conducting employee engagement surveys.

  • Begin the survey with clarity:

A survey must always have a clearly stated purpose. Your employee satisfaction survey questions should measure the attitudes, motives, and views of your employees and help you to determine how they feel about their job and the company.

Hence, before you begin drafting your survey questions, you must have clarity about the following aspects of the survey: 

  • What is the best way to obtain relevant information and insight into employee engagement? 
  • Are you interested in finding out employee contentment levels in your organization, or are you trying to figure out ways to increase it?
  • What are you attempting to learn or quantify? 


  • Choose a relevant audience:

Once you have clearly defined goals, you may discover that not every employee needs to participate in your survey. Depending on your objectives, it may make more sense to concentrate on a certain group of employees. Whether you want to focus on a certain department, new recruits, or low-level managers, narrowing your survey to a specific group will give you more accurate results.

  • Be more specific while drafting questions to get relevant answers: 

Creating an interesting questionnaire that augers well with everyone is difficult, although surveying the whole organization may first seem simpler. Asking the same set of questions to upper-level managers and team members renders the entire process of surveying employees futile. 

Instead, employ highly targeted surveys that will enable you to ask more specific and important questions, hence increasing the relevancy of each survey.

  • Increase Participation Rates:

Creating an outstanding survey can be challenging, especially when employees do not feel compelled to answer your questions. Without a high participation rate, you would not get accurate and relevant information. 

In fact, 29% of employees believe such surveys are useless. With an average response rate of 30%, it is essential that as many employees as possible participate. 

While there are several methods for increasing response rates, keeping surveys brief is the most effective. Surveys that take more than 7-8 minutes to complete have a 20% abandonment rate.

Offering rewards is another approach to increase involvement. Fuel the competitive spirit of your employees by organizing a contest amongst the employees, working in the various departments or locations of the company. 

Rewarding the employees or department with the highest participation rate with a prize will encourage them to take part in future surveys. At the end of the survey, don’t forget to thank participants, as this would make them feel valued.

  • Assure Confidentiality:

If you want direct and honest responses to your questions, you ensure your employees may complete the survey anonymously. Employees will provide candid feedback and express their true feelings without fear of reprisal or judgment if confidentiality is maintained. Assure your employees that their responses will be kept strictly secret to increase response rates and get honest feedback.

There are many methods for conducting anonymous surveys. You can perform anonymous voting through online software such as Engagedly solution, which allows to conduct employee surveys with neither the survey author nor the administrator able to see employee choices.

  • Select the appropriate questions:

The nature of your inquiries will impact the nature of the responses you get. While Yes/No questions may be useful, including a combination of multiple-choice and open-ended questions will be much better.

You need to strike a balance by using the Likert scale type of questions, based on an agree/disagree answer format (agree, strongly agree, neutral, strongly disagree, and disagree) with open-ended questions. Ensure that the survey is both simple to complete and informative.


  • Using Pulse Surveys:

Adopt a rapid and regular Pulse Survey in lieu of an annual survey that will take an hour to complete. Annual surveys, although being standard and providing more extensive responses, are not the most effective method for measuring employee happiness. Instead, shorter and more frequent Pulse Surveys are more effective.

Despite the newness of pulse surveys, they may give a real-time evaluation of employee happiness over time, making it simpler to identify engagement patterns. 

When performing a pulse survey, choose four to ten specific questions depending on your objectives. The questions should include topics related to engagement, happiness, workload, emotions about the firm, and work-life balance, among others.

Also Read: The Complete Guide to Employee Pulse Surveys
  • Utilize an easy-to-use platform:

Conduct the survey on a platform that employees may find easy to understand and use. 

Software such as Engagedly is easy to use and allows the employees to reply to the survey questionnaire quickly and without interruptions.

  • Share the findings with employees:

Lastly, remember to share your findings with your employees! Even if the outcomes are not as expected, it is essential to discuss them with your employees if you want them to feel appreciated and make them believe their ideas matter.

Moreover, openness demonstrates that management is receptive and willing to make required adjustments.

  • Show the intent on taking action.

Finally, until you take action after the employee engagement survey, conducting the survey is meaningless! The data you unearth must be translated into concrete initiatives that would increase employee happiness in your firm. 

Build employee trust in your leadership by concentrating on a few simple improvements that show your willingness to act while crafting a more thorough strategy for the larger challenges.


Conducting an engagement survey should be part of a broader effort to boost morale among employees. The thoroughness with which you execute your engagement survey and solicit responses reflects the rigor with which you approach the overall employee engagement survey process.

You can use a software such as the one offered by Engagedly to conduct Likert scale and Pulse Surveys and to provide feedback to the employees anonymously so that they can work on the areas of weakness. Using software would also encourage more employee participation, as it would be conducted anonymously.

But most significantly, you must transform the insights you unearth into tangible initiatives that increase employee happiness within your firm. Build employee trust in your leadership by concentrating on a few simple improvements that show your willingness to act while crafting a more thorough strategy for the larger challenges.

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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