Two female coworkers talking.

The Definition

Employee Engagement is defined by the extent to which contributors feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work.

The conditions that make some employees "satisfied" with their jobs are the same conditions that frustrate high performers.

Why is employee
important and what are its benefits?

It is defined by commitment and passion; it goes beyond activities, games, and events. Employee engagement drives performance.

Engaged workers look at the whole of the company and understand their purpose, where, and how they fit in. This leads to better decision-making. Organizations with an engaged workforce outperform their competition. They have higher earnings per share (EPS) and recover more quickly after recessions and financial setbacks. It is a key differentiator when it comes to growth and innovation. The benefits cannot be overstated. Administering a survey is one of the best ways to better understand the needs of your company.

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How engagement affects performance is seen in an organization's net income. These statistics show the benefits and how more engaged groups show these improvements:


  • 22% in Profitability
  • 21% in Productivity
  • 22% in Customer Ratings


  • 41% in Quality Defect
  • 48% in Safety Incidents
  • 37% in Absenteeism

Moreover, expectations of workers have changed. Mobile professional careers are much more common than job for lifers. Turnover costs organizations thousands of dollars each year. Retention of top talent is more difficult than before. A company that has effective strategies to improve the worker experience with programs, ideas, and initiatives is more likely to retain top performers, attract new talent, and increase performance throughout the organization. The role management and human resources plays in improving workplace morale is critical.

Employee surveys have been developed specifically to measure the performance, strategic alignment, competency, and satisfaction of contributors.

Measure what matters.

What makes a good survey? The questionnaire must be statistically validated and benchmarked against other organizations, to assess and improve drivers of engagement in your company.

This can be accurately measured with short questionnaires that contain just a few questions, but these can only provide an indication of whether contributors are engaged. They have a hard time detecting drivers of engagement or disengagement because they lack detail, leaving organization leaders and HR with more questions about motivation, unable to pin-point challenges the company, management, or specific departments face. Without sufficient information, an organization cannot develop strategies, create meaningful activities, training programs, actionable ideas, and initiatives. An effective survey can help your organization improve employee engagement with actions that count.

To get the complete picture, a survey needs to include questions that cover a broader range of relevant topics. There should also be open ended questions to further diagnose and give organizations a better picture of how to improve potential problems in the company.

What types of surveys are there?

There are many options to get meaningful feedback from your contributors. Identify high-performing teams and managers, diagnose areas that need more development and attention, and assess the effectiveness of your organization. Contact us to determine which solution is best for your organization: Focal ORG, 360 Degree Feedback, Pulse Surveys, DEI, our Team Assessment questionnaire, the Suggestion Box, or Custom Surveys.

Manager sitting, showing how to measure satisfaction.
Organization leader wondering when to measure commitment and get feedback from colleague.

When should an organization measure
employee engagement?

The best time to conduct an employee engagement survey is typically sooner rather than later.

Keep in mind that peak holiday seasons might reduce response rates. Also, conducting staff questionnaires during bonus periods or periods of high stress might skew your results either positively or negatively. The timing can influence the results in these situations. On the other hand, delay means not having a clear understanding of how engaged your workers are. We can work with HR and management to determine optimal timing to implement the process.

What are the Components of employee engagement?

There are two primary factors that drive employee engagement. These factors are based on statistical analysis and widely supported by industry research. They are engagement with the organization and engagement with "my manager."

Engagement with
The Organization

This measures how engaged employees are with the company as a whole, and by extension, how they feel about senior management. This factor has to do with confidence in organizational leadership as well as trust, fairness, values, and respect - i.e. how people like to be treated, both at work and outside of work.

Engagement with
My Manager

This is a more specific measure of how employees relate to their direct supervisors. Topics include feeling valued, being treated fairly, receiving feedback and direction, and generally, having a strong working relationship based on mutual respect. Strong leadership is critical to employee engagement.


Beyond the Two Core Engagement Factors

High performance organizations, and a highly engaged workforce, also excel in these areas:

Strategic Alignment

Do workers have clarity of purpose and direction? Do they understand how the work they do contributes to the organization's success? Improving engagement with strategic alignment begins with making sure people have clarity of purpose and direction, and that their efforts are focused in the right direction. If those efforts are not focused in the right direction, they could be wasted.

Managing Execution

The most effective managers excel not only at people skills, but they also provide clear expectations, hold people accountable, and stay focused on delivering results.

Leader and Manager Competency is measured as part of the employee survey via upward feedback. For a more complete assessment of manager competency, we recommend using a 360 Feedback Survey.

See how to improve your employee engagement

HR man with crossed arms, content about organization retention and motivation solutions.

Who should be involved in employee engagement initiatives?

HR can lead the charge to create an effective strategy, but it needs to be embraced by the entire organization.

There is often a clear gap between the perceptions and optimism of upper management and what middle managers experience with their teams. To understand the whole-organization picture, it's essential to have an effective, multi-directional internal communication strategy to improve employee engagement in the organization. Effective communication is one of the most important factors that drive company success. Organizations that thrive are able to articulate and communicate what success looks like - as individuals, teams and departments, and the company as a whole. This improves the worker experience and increases performance throughout the organization.

Drivers of
Engagement -
What matters

Surveys provide organizations with invaluable information. Knowing whether employees are engaged or disengaged is only the first step. You also need to be able to take action on the results. You need to understand the key drivers of both engagement and disengagement, and be strategic in order to be able to plan activities or initiatives that will have a meaningful impact.

Manager smiling, understanding how increase organizational performance and morale.

The elements that drive engagement are usually similar across most companies (we call these pillars of exceptional organizations), but the specific concerns and level of importance are unique and specific in every company and even in different demographic subgroups within a company.

We employ two techniques that help you identify what drives the most engaged employees in your company and to understand what to focus on and how to improve in those areas.

We look at the statistical patterns across all groups in your organization to determine which items are impacting overall engagement within each demographic group. Items with low scores that are strongly linked to engagement are the areas where you will want to focus your change initiatives and strategy.

Dig deeper. We ask targeted follow-up questions that ask employees to provide examples of problems as well as suggestions for how to improve. Once you have identified employee engagement priorities and an area that needs improvement, you can turn to the comments where you will often find detailed information that provides the specific what, why, and how so you can take action. Meaningful actions depend on effectively interpreting employee survey results.

Pockets of Discontent

Staff questionnaires can identify "at-risk" demographic groups within your company.

Even companies with high overall levels of engagement will have areas that are struggling. These problem areas can have a big impact on company performance, with high levels of localized turnover and employee apathy.

Understanding what is happening in these different demographic groups within your organization is at least as important as the overall level of engagement. When you find an at-risk group, you can quickly drill down and look at the specific issues and dynamics within that group.

Sample scores in each of the four factors related to org and worker performance are illustrated below. In this example, we see that there is a high level of engagement with managers, but there are problems with how employees feel about the organization. The most problematic area appears to be strategic alignment.

Performance = Engagement x Alignment x Competency

Graphic shows the survey results: culture of satisfaction and strategic alignment with the organization; motivating and relating to the manager and managing execution.

How It Works


Choose the Best Survey Solution for your Organization

Employee Engagement Survey, 360 Degree Feedback, DEI Survey, Pulse Survey, Team Assessment, or Custom Survey.


Conduct the Survey

Prepare your organization, communicate the reasons for conducting the survey, and share the results with your teams.


Engage & Develop Your Employees

Implement meaningful actions and policies based on survey results.

We have helped Thousands of organizations worldwide

Get proven solutions With measurable results



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What our clients say

“An amazing tool!!!!! We have used it for 10 years, without fail. It has helped us transform our culture and business results. We recommended it to our clients too. It is affordable and high quality - simply the best.”

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Lori S.

Chief Executive Officer - Software Consulting Firm

five stars

“Your solution has been a HUGE hit with our management!”

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Karley P.

GM Assistant - Leading Retailer

five stars

“I've been in the employee feedback business for 30 years and this is the cleanest app that I have ever seen. It's so easy to use!”

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Kirk H.

Director of Learning & Development - Fortune 500 Corporation

five stars

“CustomInsight has probably been the most helpful and responsive vendor partner we have worked with in all our thirty plus years in business.”

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Carolyn T.

Founder & CEO - HR Consulting Firm

five stars

“Your employee feedback system has been transformational for our business. We have come back to it again and again and would have made bad decisions without it.”

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Eileen L.

VP of Culture and Talent - Technology Company

five stars

“We are super happy! This is going to be a game changer for us. We had very good participation and the tool has been fantastic. Your personalized service has also been fabulous and has made this so easy for us.”

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Dan C.

Director of HR - Professional Service Firm

five stars

“We had an awesome response from our employees, saying this was the best survey they've taken. Our CEO was blown away by the data he now has at his fingertips and how actionable it is. We are very impressed and will definitely recommend the platform.”

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Angelique A.

Sr. Director of HR - Global Non-Profit

five stars

“We were really impressed by CustomInsight's feedback tool and strongly recommend it to other organizations that are serious about continuous improvement. The ROI has been huge!”

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Will G.

HR Leader - Global Manufacturer

five stars