An employee engagement survey is an investment in time and effort that can either pay huge dividends or wind up on the dustheap of other failed initiatives. Here are some engagement survey best practices to help you get lasting value from your employee engagement surveys and program.

Employee engagement survey best practices can be boiled down into three areas: Timing, Participation, and Follow-Up.

Engagement survey timing

Traditionally employee engagement surveys have been sent annually and can be lengthy affairs. Then, employees have to wait weeks or even months, for results to be analyzed by HR, for management to form a plan, and for their feedback to be put into action. In the end, it’s a lot of effort for a set of information that’s out of date by the time it’s published.

We recommend a different approach and tell our clients to survey employees only as often as they feel they can act on the received suggestions. Our clients typically choose to field our Benchmark assessment every 90 days, which offers a variety of advantages:

  • More frequent surveys enable leaders to understand what’s going on within the organisation promptly,
  • Over several quarters, the leaders will be able to use the accumulated data to identify trends and measure improvements,
  • The 90 day period allows leaders ample time to communicate results within their organisations.


Employee participation

The more employees who participate, the more valuable the data, and a great participation rate starts from the top down. Create buy-in and alignment by sharing with your leadership teams the reasons for the survey, its goals, and expected benefits. If your organisation has several layers of leadership, allow time to communicate with each.

Communicate to leaders: Communicating with your leaders is an important first step to getting great results. Provide them a clear understanding of:

  • The intentions and goals for the survey
  • Your commitment to the program and its success
  • Their part in the program and its success
  • The benefits they can expect.

Communicate to employees: The next step is to communicate to your employees about the survey. In addition to telling them when to expect the survey, and ensuring they know to watch for an email from Engagement Multiplier, it’s also important to share why the company is doing the survey.

Additionally, it’s crucial to emphasise the fact that their participation will be entirely confidential and anonymous.

Promote the survey: To gain maximum participation, ensure the survey is referenced in company communications and team meetings, and where possible, place reminders in staff areas.

Engagement survey follow-up

Lack of follow-up is the number one reason why employee surveys fail. We hear it from the leaders we talk to, who admit to dropping the ball on past attempts, and we see it in comments from employees, who are sometimes skeptical that their voices will be heard. Engagement Multiplier offers a structure and framework that is simple to follow. Our clients that stick to it often reach engaged status within their first year. Here’s how it works:

Review & align with leadership: When your survey closes, your Engagement Multiplier dashboard will enable you to quickly identify trends and insights from the feedback provided. Gather your leadership team, review the results, and align on the key actions you will take to make immediate improvements. Be sure to communicate these to your employees as quickly as possible after the survey closes – doing so will maintain momentum and energy around your efforts and gain further buy-in.

Communication: Open, honest, transparent communication builds trust, and your employee engagement survey results provide a great opportunity for transparency and candor. Engagement Multiplier’s platform even enables you to append your own message to the results, and share them with your team. However, especially if you’re introducing the program or if the organisation is grappling with some issues, we recommend additional actions, including:

  • Live discussions: Whether on video or in person, live meetings to discuss results are powerful moments for leaders – they reinforce your commitment and transparency, and provide the ideal moment to tell employees about the next steps the organisation will be taking.
    • Show the overall Engagement score, and the score goal you expect to reach before the next survey.
    • Outline the attainable goals and target score the leadership team has committed to achieving over the next 90 days.
    • Establish a balanced list of initiatives and action items leadership will work with the team on to make progress before the next survey
  • Continued communication: The old “tell’em” adage is useful in describing an ideal approach to communicating about the initiatives the company is undertaking as a result of employee feedback, and that is:
    • Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em – Achieved when you share survey results and the company’s actions as a result,
    • Tell ‘em – Provide a mid-point update, before the next survey, and tell them again what the company is doing.
    • Tell ‘em what you told ‘em – Before the next survey, share the progress that has been made, and any resulting changes or outcomes. Then, re-survey the team, identify the initiatives the company will undertake over the next 90 days and repeat the process.

Here’s a sample follow-up message we share with our clients:

First and foremost, I want to thank all those that participated in our recent Engagement Multiplier survey.

I am delighted with the feedback we’ve received. The time you invested is not only appreciated but also invaluable in ensuring we make [COMPANY NAME] a better place to work for everyone.

I’ve reviewed the feedback you’ve provided in detail. There is a lot that’s working – but several areas where we can improve.

There are 3 key areas that we will focus on next as a result of the feedback we’ve received.

  1. What you’re going to do and why, who will be accountable, what’s going to happen next, and when.
  2. What you’re going to do and why, who will be accountable, what’s going to happen next, and when.
  3. What you’re going to do and why, who will be accountable, what’s going to happen next, and when.

I hope you’ll join me in the efforts to make your experience here at [COMPANY NAME] one you value. In the coming weeks, some of you may hear from me directly, via the fully anonymous response capability in the survey platform. Don’t worry – even though I can respond to your feedback, I am unable to identify anyone personally. Additionally, your additional thoughts are welcomed via the Suggestion Box on the Engagement Multiplier platform, which is also fully anonymous and confidential.