How to Structure Employee Engagement Surveys

Lexi Blog

Surveying employees is all the rage right now, and employee surveys can be an incredible tool when used correctly. But most companies aren’t asking the right questions or structuring them effectively – and they are suffering because of it. Let’s take a deeper look at how you can make the most of your employee surveys.

Think broader.

What’s the first thing you think of when you think employee engagement? The amount of work getting done or level of productivity? Amount of participation in company-wide activities? These are great considerations, but let’s step back and address some broader themes first.

For example, cultivating relationships is often not seen as an engagement metric, but research shows that having friends at work can lead to higher engagement. It’s important to know if employees respect their direct supervisor and have personal relationships at work – Gallup included those ideas in their Q12 Questionnaire, which is considered one of the most effective measures of employee engagement. But you can go even broader than that. Don’t forget to ask about their thoughts on the company as a whole.  Are they familiar with the company’s mission? Do they feel like their job is helping the company achieve the this?  Doing this allows you to identify employees who might not be in it for the long haul.

Keep it Short.

The more time it takes for an employee to complete the survey, the more likely they won’t do it. Employees lose interest in surveys quickly if they don’t feel like their feedback is taken into consideration.  Include simple responses and give them a way to elaborate if they choose.

Shorter surveys, if done correctly, are easier for the senior leadership and management team to review. Because longer surveys take longer to complete, it’s inevitable that they’ll take longer to review. It’s a win-win situation. Keeping it short and concise shows benefits for all parties involved.

Survey Frequently.

Want an easy way to keep the surveys short? Survey more frequently and only ask questions that you can realistically act on. Initial surveys are great for baseline measurements to align your engagement strategy goals, but you need to stay consistent. One survey won’t show change over time. Therefore, you should have consistent follow up surveys in order to track results from your efforts. Taking a survey at least every quarter can help you gauge how successful your efforts have been to increase employee engagement and show you the areas that you need to work on.

Assure Honesty.

Whenever you’re asking an employee to rate their own performance or loyalty, it leaves room for error. A devoted, hard-working employee may be too shy to recognize their own efforts while a lazy one may be overzealous in their self-approval ratings. To help assure honesty, there are some steps you can take:

  • Keep responses 100% confidential. Reassuring your employees that you need their honesty and that no consequences will result from it will help you cultivate trust.
  • If appropriate, give an incentive for completing it and make sure to remind them how they will benefit. Will they be able to get better resources? More recognition? Will their answers influence the company in some way?
  • You can choose to allow your employees to make their answers anonymous. If you choose not to, these surveys can be a great tool to go over with a manager or mentor for peer performance evaluations. Anonymity or using these surveys to encourage a better workplace help assure honesty in response.

Surveying your employees helps you gain a better understanding of your workplace. It can cultivate a sense of trust and value, showcasing your employees that you truly want their input to make your workplace a better place.


Looking for a tool to test out surveys? Talk to an engagement specialist today to learn how our pulse surveys can integrate with your employee engagement strategy.