Purpose of Employee Engagement Surveys

Category: Employee Engagement.

Organizations are like ant colonies – work happens when every individual understands the role, does allotted work thoroughly, and contributes both as an individual and works with the team to get the job done efficiently. To create that ownership, synergy, and productivity, the conditions should be right.

  • Employee engagement – Meaning
  • Employee engagement and employee satisfaction- what is the difference?
  • Characteristics of an organization with high levels of employee engagement
  • Purpose of Employee Engagement Survey
  • Steps involved in an Employee Engagement Survey
  • Sample employee engagement survey questions – Downloadable free template

What is Employee Engagement?

Similarly, for employees to ‘engage’ with the organization and contribute towards its success, the organization should create conditions for a positive outlook of work and desirable employee behavior. In turn, the employees will share the vision of the organization and feel compelled to work for its core values, mission, the organization needs to measure and succeed to the best of their abilities. This process of mutual enrichment is called employee engagement.


When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute

Simon Sinek, British-American Author

Employee engagement is the state where all the employees feel one with the organization, have pride in ‘belonging’ to it, and actively participate in the process of working towards its goals and targets by taking ownership of tasks, targets, and objectives. On the other hand, the organization stays committed to the wellbeing of the employees, respects them, listens to them, creates a happy workplace, and inculcates positive employee behavior.

What is the difference between employee engagement and employee satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction and employee engagement are similar terms, but they are different in practice. Employee satisfaction is a state when employees feel happy and satisfied with the organization and their work. But a happy workforce does not necessarily lead to a productive organization.

Employee satisfaction can be a contributing factor to employee engagement, but engagement is much more than that. In addition to being happy with the workplace and satisfied with their work, employees should also be committed to the core values of the organization, treat the organization’s goals as their own and actively contribute towards achieving the same. Only then, an organization can be successful in achieving its objectives.

What are the characteristics of an organization with high levels of employee engagement?

In an organization that has good employee engagement:

  1. Employees understand their roles and responsibilities clearly.
  2. Employees know the objectives of the organization.
  3. Employees understand how their work leads to the fulfillment of the organization’s goals.
  4. Employees take ownership of tasks and know how to get their job done efficiently.
  5. Employees have a clear plan and target for the day.
  6. Employees have an intrinsic drive to work towards the organization’s purpose.
  7. Employees actively contribute their ideas and solutions for the challenges they face at work and for the challenges of the organization.
  8. Employees go to great lengths to deliver their best.
  9. Employees develop new skills and get enrolled in training programs
  10. Employees have trust in the organization and remain loyal to it.
  11. Employees feel proud to be a part of the organization.
  12. The organization respects the employees and gives them the space to reach their potential.
  13. The organization listens to them and accepts employees’ ideas before making decisions.
  14. The organization is committed to providing a safe, accident-free, and happy work environment.
  15. The organization provides employees with adequate benefits and keeps its promises to them.

Employee Engagement Survey

The organization needs to measure and understand the above-mentioned characteristics periodically to determine the employee engagement levels. As crucial business decisions are usually data-driven, understanding an important aspect of an organization such as employee engagement requires the collection of data, analysis and benchmarking, before coming up with suitable interventions that may improve engagement and pave way for the long-term success of the organization. Employee engagement surveys are the tools for collecting data and feedback from the employees.

What is the purpose of employee engagement surveys?

Employee engagement surveys are conducted for various purposes such as:

  • Measuring and monitoring the current employee engagement levels
  • Identifying the driving factors behind the current state of employee engagement
  • Finding gaps and obstacles to employee engagement
  • Giving a platform for the employees to speak out and to listen to them
  • Benchmarking the engagement levels against that of a competing organization
  • Identifying suitable measures to improve the employee engagement
  • Finding the right direction to steer the organization towards growth and success

1. Measure and monitor

Measuring and monitoring where your organization stands in terms of employee engagement is the foremost purpose of an employee engagement survey. Through the survey, you can measure the various parameters of employee engagement such as leadership, work environment, compensation, benefits, career growth, training and skill development, etc.

2. Identify the driving factors

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a commonly used phrase that suits employee engagement surveys. If something is helping you sustain/increase employee engagement, it is important to keep it. For instance, if an employee welfare measure in the organization makes your employees engaged, you should retain/improve it. But to retain it, you have to know what it is in the first place and whether it can be improved. Changes made in the organization without identifying such key factors may lead to disturbing something that is already working well. An employee engagement survey can help you identify these factors.

3. Identify the gaps and find what needs to be improved

A survey can uncover a lot of facts, including the grievances of the employees and everything else that harms employee engagement, such as inadequate opportunities, slow career growth, issues with leadership, lack of trust among colleagues, etc. The outcomes of the survey play a major role in finding what needs to be improved.

4. Let the employees speak

Employee engagement is measured not just in numbers; it is more than that. Listening to employees, letting them voice out their concerns and grievances, and acting upon them are vital aspects of engagement.

5. Benchmark against competitors

Engagement is a key determining factor for employee turnover. If the employees cannot identify themselves with the vision of the organization, or if they are not happy with the organization for any reason, they will naturally look for workplaces where they get what they want. Benchmarking against the competition can help you find where they excel and what you can learn and adapt from them. It helps you make your organization better and attractive for work so that you can retain your workforce better.

6. Identify suitable measures to implement and customize

The outcomes of a survey should always lead to action. An employee engagement survey can help you identify suitable measures to implement and customize the measures to suit your organizational DNA

7. Find the direction

When you conduct a survey and analyze the findings, you get to see the bigger picture. You can see the trends and patterns, which all help you find the right direction in which the organization should move to enjoy prolonged success. Based on the outcomes of the survey, you can frame policies, set objectives, develop engagement strategies, identify and implement best practices and gain actionable insights on achieving organizational growth.

What are the steps involved in an Employee Engagement Survey?

1. Have an objective for your survey

Employee engagement is a broadly defined term, and a multitude of factors lead to contribute to it. You cannot measure all of them at the same time. You can be selective about what you want to measure and what you want to address. You can choose your area of focus and select your objectives based on that. Following are some examples of areas of engagement that you can focus on:

  • How engagement levels are impacted by the way management interacts with the employees
  • Career development potential in the organization
  • How employees identify themselves with the goals of the organization
  • How proud the employees are to work in the organization

Focused surveys help you keep it short and accurate. Conversely broader surveys do not provide ac

2. Plan your survey

Identify the parameters that are relevant to your objective and list them. Get inputs from the team members in charge of the survey and the senior management. Plan how and when you want to conduct the survey. Allot roles and responsibilities to each team member involved in the survey. Communicate the plan with the employees so that they will remain prepared.

3. Prepare the questionnaire

List down both closed-ended and open-ended questions. Frame the questions in simple and easily understandable language. Keep the questions short and focused on your objective. Retain the questions that are essential for continuously evaluating engagement during every survey, so that you can compare the results from different surveys and track the progress of the organization in terms of employee engagement. You can take a look at a sample employee satisfaction survey here.

4. Find the means to conduct the survey

There are numerous online survey tools available, including mobile apps that let participants reply anonymously. You can maintain confidentiality using these tools.

5. Motivate employees and ensure participation

The survey can bear fruits only if a sizeable amount of the workforce replies to your questions. Only then the answers would represent a true picture. So, motivate your employees to participate in the survey and bring about a change they want in the organization.

6. Collect data and analyze results

Collect all the data and analyze the results with the team to build a bigger picture of employee engagement in the organization. Report to the management regarding the findings and discuss the suitable measures to improve employee engagement.

7. Announce the results

Ensure complete transparency and announce the results of the study to the employees, so that they can look into the findings and start expecting the management to address their concerns.

8. Implement suitable measures

Retain the measures you had implemented previously and have worked well. Implement new policies, practices, procedures, and benefits that address the concerns that the employees had voiced out in the survey. It is extremely important to implement these promptly to earn the trust of the employees. A survey is a great opportunity for the employees to share their feedback. If the survey is not backed by action, the employees will feel that the management does not listen to them, making the whole exercise counter-productive.

9. Follow-up

After implementing these measures, verify if they are working well to increase employee engagement. Follow-up through informal conversations with the employees during meetings, training, and casual interactions. Carry out course correction, if necessary.

What employee engagement survey questions can you ask?

The questions you can ask in an employee engagement survey depend on the objectives of the survey and your area of focus. You can have many closed-ended questions that require a simple yes/no. When you want a clear rating, define the rating scale clearly. Ask a few open-ended questions that capture the legitimate concerns and suggestions of the employees without any restrictions.

For example, if you are focusing on employee retention, you can ask the following questions:

  1. Are you happy with your workplace?
  2. Are you happy with your work?
  3. Are the employee benefits adequate?
  4. Are you happy with the incentives?
  5. Are you satisfied with your career development?
  6. What new skills have you learned?
  7. Do you have enough opportunities to learn and upgrade your skills?
  8. Do you feel respected?
  9. Do you feel recognized?
  10. How frequently do you get recognized?
  11. Do you have the freedom to realize your full potential?
  12. Are your ideas, feedback, and suggestions accepted?
  13. What would make you look for opportunities outside the organization?
  14. Would you refer someone to join the organization?
  15. Where do you see yourself in the organization in 3 years?
  16. What change do you want to happen in the organization?
  17. What change do you want in your work?
  18. Do you have any feedback or suggestions?

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