What is an Employee Engagement Survey ?

An employee survey is a powerful tool used by organizations to measure employee engagement levels. This provides your organization with insight into many areas that can be affecting business outcomes, including the performance, strategic alignment, competency, and satisfaction of contributors. These questionnaires allow staff to voice anonymous opinions about the company culture and senior leaders. Most questionnaires can be administered online, providing an extra layer of anonymity.

Benchmark questions provide HR and organization leaders with information that can be compared to organizations around the world. HR and organization leaders analyze data collected from the survey results to identify trends, patterns, and areas of opportunity.

Simply put, it is a comprehensive organizational diagnostic tool. Results provide management and HR with the data they need to implement meaningful action plans to boost morale, motivation, and retention. Improving the engagement level of your staff will improve your business.

What are the benefits of Employee Engagement Surveys ?

Organizations must be strategic to attract and retain top talent. To do so, leaders need to get insights into the attitudes, opinions, and feelings workers have about their jobs. They need to understand how employees feel about their work environment, managers, and the company culture.

How can your organization get honest, candid feedback?

Engagement surveys can provide an organization with valuable insights into how employees see and experience the workplace. And these insights can become a blueprint for action. By gathering the opinions and thoughts of contributors and acting on results, organizations can:

  • Give employees a voice.
  • Build trust and transparency.
  • Hold leadership accountable.
  • Provide a roadmap for improving employee engagement.
  • Improve work life balance.
  • Foster inclusion and ownership.
  • Boost morale and increase retention.
  • Recognize best practices and high performing teams.
  • Align company goals with employees.
  • Identify opportunities and issues within the organization.

    Survey results are a photo of where the organization is today, and they become the template for what comes next in the workplace. The benefits of employee engagement surveys cannot be overstated.

  • Engagement-Engagement

    What is the goal of an engagement survey ?

    The purpose of a staff questionnaire is to provide your employees with a means to give their organization anonymous, honest feedback about their experiences at work as well as their perceptions of organization culture and manager competency. It gives your organization a snapshot of what is working and which areas, team members, and managers need more support. This is all with a goal of improving your workplace and business outcomes.

    What does a staff questionnaire measure?

    An effective questionnaire measures various aspects of the connection, satisfaction, and commitment your people have to their work and the organization. It focuses on understanding their attitudes and perceptions to assess the overall level of engagement. This is divided into two areas: engagement with the organization and engagement with managers.

    Survey items that assess organization culture include:

  • Perceptions of senior management
  • Confidence in organizational leadership
  • Trust
  • Fairness
  • Values
  • Respect

    Survey items that measure how employees relate to supervisors and perceive manager performance include:

  • Feeling valued and how they are treated
  • The quality of feedback received from direct supervisors.
  • Motivation
  • The capacity of the managers to develop a cohesive team.
  • Defining expectations
  • Holding employees accountable
  • Focused on delivering results.

    Results can provide organizations with an action plan. Engagement is directly related to the business outcomes of the company.

    Should an employee engagement survey be anonymous?

    Anonymous feedback increases transparency, is a catalyst for multi-directional communication, and provides workers with a platform to share unfiltered thoughts. One way to ensure anonymity is conducting the process with an independent survey provider. Your organization will likely have a higher response rate. Data received will be more accurate because contributors will feel safe, given a platform to express their opinions without fear of repercussions. You will foster an environment of trust and, by doing so, learn more about the perceptions contributors have of your organization culture and manager competencies. Contributors will feel respected.

  • Are Employee Engagement Surveys effective?

    The survey is only as effective as the follow-up actions organization leaders and HR implement based on results. This means, if you are not going to act, do not ask.
    As an employee survey provider and software developer with over 25 years experience working with organizations of all sizes, CustomInsight has come to some conclusive reasons as to why an organization should conduct staff questionnaires.

    An effective process can:

    Improve feedback and communication in your company:

    Create an environment where your team members can openly share their thoughts and ideas, promoting transparent communication and building trust. When staff members believe their input is acknowledged and appreciated, they tend to become more dedicated to their tasks, ultimately resulting in improved productivity and retention rates.

    Identify high performing teams and managers:

    So many erroneously perceive survey processes like witch hunts. Not so! Just as you're looking at opportunities for improvement, so, too, are you looking for those high-performing teams. What a great opportunity to not only recognize their work but learn from what they're doing.

    Identify areas and managers that need more support:

    The questions about management will give space for staff to reflect on their relationship with their supervisor as well as their supervisor's performance. It will help organization leaders to understand and act on manager inefficiencies.

    Provide your organization with actionable insights.

    As we've said time and again, If you aren't going to act, don't ask. The results of this process can help you guide strategic decisions.

    Lead to more informed business decisions.

    You have real data to see what areas need more support, which areas are excelling, and how to develop plans, policies, and processes to address problems. Data-driven decision-making gives you a chance to make meaningful changes based on the analysis of results. Through this analysis, you can identify trends, patterns, and correlations between levels of engagement and performance indicators.

    Help reduce costs due to high turnover and absenteeism.

    How much is turnover costing your organization? How many sick days are your people taking? An HR mantra is recruit, reward, retain. Results from the questionnaire give your company the real data to understand what makes your staff tick. What factors motivate your people? Where is disengagement a problem? Which departments have higher rates of turnover and absenteeism?

    Highlight areas where employees feel they need more training or support.

    Not being able to get the job done is a key factor that demoralizes people in your organization. Workers need the resources (training, technology, tools) to meet their job requirements. Oftentimes, a survey can identify where staff is feeling like they need more support.

    Here are some common questions we receive regarding employee engagement surveys:

    What is the main purpose of employee engagement?

    Employee engagement drives business performance. A company's biggest asset and most important resource is its workforce. People make organizations, not things. Their abilities, knowledge, and experiences have a direct impact on business outcomes. They provide a company with business continuity. Motivated workers who show discretionary effort drive innovation and work hard to reach organization goals. They are brand ambassadors and have a direct effect on the public perception of your company.

    Just as an organization invests in updating software, infrastructure, and equipment, it must dedicate resources to its workers. They are the backbone of the company.

    A critical first step to implementing meaningful actions and programs is understanding the needs and desires of workers. Get honest, data-driven feedback with an anonymous employee engagement survey.

    How long should an employee engagement survey be?

    Very short surveys that contain just a dozen or so items do a great job of identifying whether you have problems, but they might leave you with more questions than answers. We recommend conducting a more complete baseline questionnaire once a year, and then using shorter progress checks (pulse check surveys) every few months.

    Our flagship product, Focal Org, has between 35 and 40 employee engagement survey questions and takes approximately ten minutes to fill out. This length of the questionnaire provides you with the information you need to successfully measure employee commitment and strategic alignment within your organization.

    We provide the assessment infrastructure, analytical tools, and expert advice to help you understand what matters most to your contributors and to identify what you need to do to increase performance and reduce turnover. Get a complete picture of employee engagement in every part of your company. Identify hidden trouble spots deep within your organization. Find out what is broken - and how to fix it.

    Why use an independent engagement survey provider?

    Objectivity and Unbiased Feedback:

    Independent survey providers bring a level of objectivity to the process. This impartiality encourages employees to provide honest and candid responses, leading to more accurate insights into the organization's strengths and areas for improvement.

    Expertise and Best Practices:

    Established independent survey providers specialize in employee engagement measurement and analysis. They bring expertise in survey design, administration, and analysis, ensuring that the survey is well-constructed and follows industry best practices. They can advise on the right types of questions, survey frequency, anonymity assurances, and data analysis techniques, leading to more meaningful results.

    Benchmarking and comparative data:

    Comparisons with benchmark data from other organizations are crucial to come to meaningful conclusions. Employee surveys work a lot like personality assessments. Both are developed and statistically validated in more or less the same way, and both rely on benchmark (normative) data to determine whether scores are high or low. An independent survey provider will have access to industry benchmarks, allowing for a more accurate assessment of what's happening in your organization.

    Anonymity and confidentiality:

    Employees may be more willing to share their opinions and concerns when they know an external entity is managing the survey process. This can lead to more open and honest feedback, which in turn helps the organization better understand the real issues affecting employee engagement.

    How do you carry out an employee engagement survey?

    Is your organization ready? Conducting a survey without proper follow-up can be worse than never doing one in the first place. When you ask contributors for their opinions, you set the expectation that you will listen to and take action on the results.

    Get ready:

  • Get buy-in with senior leaders and managers. Highlight the benefits to each team member: increased morale and performance, reduced turnover, and enhanced leadership impact.
  • Define goals and objectives of the process and communicate them with your workers.
  • In an introductory email, explain when results will be shared.
  • Create an implementation and communication plan to determine roles and schedules during and after the staff questionnaire is administered.


  • HR initiates questionnaire, monitors participation, answers questions.
  • HR sends reminder emails as needed.
  • If the response rate is low, it may be necessary to extend the end date. (Remember a low response rate, too, is indicative of the level of trust workers have that the process will make a difference.)

    After the results are in:

  • Send a communication, thanking employees for their time and giving them an approximate timeline for when supervisors and leaders will share the results.
  • Be fair and honest with what you share, keep your tone neutral. Use discretion.
  • Analyze the data (see below for a more detailed explanation of how to do this.
  • Develop action plans.

    Actionable results:

  • This is the crux of an effective engagement survey process. They make it clear what action should be taken to make specific and measurable improvements in your company culture.
  • HR and company leaders can use results to make data-informed decisions.
  • Each organization is unique. Even departments within the same organization are unique. Results can give HR and organization leaders a custom-made template to develop strategies and effective action plans. This can drive positive outcomes specific to your organization.

    Sustainable implementation and strategic communication:

  • Establish a pattern of regular communication about senior leadership's commitment to employee morale and satisfaction.
  • Share progress toward goals, milestones reached, and other activities related to the action plan.
  • Ongoing communications drive accountability.


    In short, it's a tool to gauge the commitment, passion, and discretionary effort your staff put toward their work. It's a way to understand what motivates contributors, detect best practices within departments, recognize achievements and challenges managers have – all in order to develop action plans. The results of become a template to implement meaningful actions and changes. This can become the roadmap to an organization's success.