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How to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey That Kickstarts Change

 How to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey That Kickstarts Change

A 6-step plan for a successful employee survey.

Now more than ever, it is important to get a pulse on how your employees are feeling and how you can best support them. Amid the Great Resignation, employees are on the hunt for workplaces prioritizing their people.

One of the most important steps leaders can take to demonstrate employee support is launching an employee engagement survey to gather candid and confidential feedback.

An employee engagement survey will help you determine:

  • How employees are feeling
  • What matters to them
  • What they need to feel supported and valued

The answers to these questions will help you improve employee engagement and improve employee retention.

What is an employee engagement survey?

An employee engagement survey is exactly what it sounds like: a way for you to measure how engaged your employees are – both with the work they are doing and with the overall organization – and equip yourself with key insights and feedback.

At Great Place to Work®, we recommend taking surveying a step further to measure employee experience. Measuring employee engagement, while important, is just one part of the puzzle.

How an employee engagement survey helps you improve company culture

An employee engagement survey is the crucial first step to understanding and improving your company culture. An employee engagement survey provides an aerial view of your organization’s strengths and areas of opportunity, feedback that is essential for identifying where you need to focus your attention and action.

An employee engagement survey also measures the degree to which your employees feel motivated and excited by their work, your organization and its mission – and where you can make changes to improve company culture.

A 6-step plan for an effective employee survey

1. Find the survey tool that best serves your needs

Identify what you want to learn from your employee survey results and ensure that the survey tool you choose will help you uncover those insights.

  • Do you want to understand how employee engagement varies across organizational departments?
  • Do you need to diagnose which demographic groups feel less engaged in their work than others, and why?

Our employee experience survey enables you to customize your survey with demographic questions unique to your organization, equipping you with actionable insights to improve employee engagement.

2. Get buy-in from key leaders within your organization

Convincing executives that company culture matters can be difficult, but it is possible.

Many executive teams are curious about employee opinions but do not have access to the frontline or middle management in a meaningful way. A focused survey is a great way to get executives preliminary feedback so they can understand where they may want to dig deeper.

For best results, talk to key leaders within your organization to determine what is most important to them:

  • What kind of data do they want to see from an employee engagement survey?
  • What are the organization’s goals for the year and how does an employee engagement survey fit into those goals?

This should determine some of the survey questions and demographics (such as department, locations etc) you might want to add to your employee engagement survey.   

A successful survey starts and ends with great communication

3. Drum up excitement among your people

Now that everyone is aligned and you are ready to prep and launch your employee engagement survey, communicate to employees why you are asking for their feedback.

Emphasizing the why will ultimately increase engagement and survey participation. Knowing and believing the “what’s in it for me?” will make employees eager to provide honest, direct and detailed feedback.

A successful survey starts and ends with great communication as it leads to more engagement and buy-in from all areas of the business.

4. Launch your survey

When you run an employee survey through Great Place to Work, you will see real-time participation numbers, which allows you to remind or encourage employees to submit their responses. You'll also gain access to the most comprehensive employee experience data set, spanning over 30 years of surveying employees around the country and the world.

5. Benchmark your results

Compare the experience of your employees with credible benchmark data and gain an independent perspective about how well you perform compared to other companies.

By measuring your employee engagement scores against benchmarks such as the Best Small & Medium Workplaces™ or the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®,100 Best Companies to Work For®, you can identify what employees expect from industries and companies. This is vital intel for closing culture gaps and improving employee engagement and retention.

Benchmarking can also help you define a clear employee value proposition by understanding what makes your organization unique relative to others. A strong and distinct employee value proposition will help you stand apart from other workplaces, refine your marketing messages and attract the right candidates.

6. Analyze and share the results

You have completed your survey and uncovered a treasure trove of valuable employee feedback. Now, the work begins: Using your results, you must figure out where your strengths and areas of opportunity lie.

First and foremost, thank employees for participating in the survey and sharing their candid feedback. Let them know you appreciate their responses and will be spending some time diving into the results.

Once you have developed a robust list of questions, curiosities and observations about your data, it’s time to share them with the wider company. Interpreting results is a key first step, but creating a clear action plan to share with employees is crucial.

With our employee survey tool, you can easily download reports with meaningful charts and benchmarks that make it easy to present the results to the broader company and identify your strengths and what is undermining your culture.

To improve your employee experience, measure your employee experience

If you have questions about running employee experience surveys, or you’re ready to launch your own, reach out to us. We’re here to help gather the information you need to make the right decisions for your employees and your organization.

Keep an eye on the best companies in your region or industry and meet employees' needs and expectations with our employee experience survey and benchmarking.


Danielle Vabner