Employee engagement surveys: The secrets to success

Planning to survey your employees on their engagement? Here are a few secrets.

Employee engagement surveys are vital to a company’s success and growth, but you knew that right! And you probably know a few reasons why employee engagement surveys are important. But do you know how to create a 100% guaranteed successful survey?

Neither do we. After all, don’t they say there are no guarantees in life?

But we can help you put together the best darn employee engagement survey possible.

The first is to know all the reasons why they’re important. The first one is easy: They measure engagement.

But then you have other reasons, like they give employees a voice. This is vital because it establishes a two-way communication road with the management team, giving them an active role in company advancements and a stake in the company and its future.


Employee engagement surveys also increase engagement because employees’ answers to your surveys will show you where your strengths and weaknesses are and give you the opportunity to improve your engagement strategies.

Finally, it allows employers to benchmark themselves so they can see if they’ve improved since the last survey, and compare themselves to similar organizations with industry-specific data.

Creating effective employee engagement surveys

The first thing you must know when creating an employee engagement survey is it’s not something you can sit down one afternoon and whip together. It takes planning, like any other project endeavor a company embarks on.

Think about how you’d start other company initiatives. You determine what you want to achieve in the end. For engagement surveys that’s identifying where your company excels and where you can improve.

What’s the big deal over employee engagement?

It’s been shown that engaged employees are better employees because they produce higher-quality work and results. And continually upping employee engagement means upping productivity and results.

So how can you improve upon your engagement?

With a kick-butt survey.


We already said that you need to start with the end in mind. After that, according to Qualtrics, an experience management company, you need to:

  • Ask employees for their honest opinion on how things are going! This will give you a baseline to measure all future surveys against. But get ready to hear some negative feedback. No company is perfect, and you can’t get better if you don’t know what areas need improving. This opens the communication dialogue that you need to improve your overall engagement and company culture.
  • Make sure C-suite, supervisors and managers are on board. Leadership must be on board from the get-go or your survey won’t be effective. They need to be involved in the planning of the survey so goals can be identified together with HR. Also, having them involved gives them a vested interest in the results and advancements of the survey. One way to get their involvement when planning the survey is to ask them what they feel their role should be in the survey and the resulting engagement process. Another question to ask: “What does success look like to them.” This will drive home the “value” of the survey and what it’ll do for the company.
  • Be selective with goals. You can’t wave a magic employee engagement survey and fix all things that need improvement. It’s a step-by-step process. Do your baseline survey to find out where your biggest successes and holes are. Then identify which hole needs to be filled immediately. Then look at your successes and what makes them successful, and apply that to your top-priority hole that needs improvement. Keep your survey short, sweet and to the point. Don’t overwhelm employees with tons of questions. Focus on one thing at a time, and take into consideration everyone’s opinion.
  • Be clear about the what, why, when and how of the survey process. When you’re honest about why you’re doing the survey, employees will be honest with their answers and give you better data. If employees think you’re being sneaky in any way, you won’t get honest answers and the data will be useless. And emphasize the results will be anonymous, so employees can feel the freedom to be blatantly honest without any retribution.
  • When designing the survey, use the KISS principle. Keeping it simple will help ensure employees finish the survey and won’t rush through it. A survey should take less than 15 minutes to complete. Most employees nowadays with staffing shortages are super busy and don’t have time for lengthy surveys. And since you want to collect qualitative and quantitative data, ask open- and close-ended questions.
  • Share survey results with employees. If you want employees to feel like part of the process, they need to know what you found. Qualtrics suggests holding smaller meetings with leaders and their employees so they’re part of the “finding answers to the problems” process.
  • Walk the talk. Once you’ve gathered the results, shared them with employees and listened to their suggestions. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Set objectives and goals on what you want to improve and how. And again, share that with employees so they see you’re doing something with the survey results and can help you reach your goals.


Renee Cocchi


                           Renee Cocchi                            Renée Cocchi has a passion for learning and helping other professionals do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. She earned her Master's Degree from Drexel University, and she’s spent the past few decades working as a writer and editor in the publishing industry. Her experience covers a wide variety of fields from benefits and compensation in HR, to medical, to safety, to business management. Her experience covers trade publications, newsmagazines, and B2B newsletters and websites. When she's not working, she spends her free time just chilling with her family and volunteering at a local dog shelter. Her goal in life is to help all shelter dogs get happy, loving homes!                                                    


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