If you’re a business owner with at least one employee, you might be wondering how to encourage them to be as productive as possible. This is something that many companies think about. And many business owners and bosses have found that the key to productivity is upping employee engagement.
But what does high employee engagement look like? How do you know if your employees are engaged or not? The answer is creating and distributing an employee engagement survey.
To help you with this process, I’m discussing:
- What employee engagement is and why you need to focus on it
- How to assess employee engagement
- Questions to include in your survey
- How to create an employee engagement survey with Interact
When we’re finished, you’ll be ready to create and distribute a survey to measure employee engagement.
Let’s get started.
Defining employee engagement
Before we create an employee engagement survey, it’s essential to know what we mean by employee engagement. It looks different in various industries, but there are some commonalities that we can focus on.
It’s also important to understand what employee engagement is not before creating a survey. Too often, employee engagement is confused with job satisfaction, but there’s a distinct difference between the two.
Finally, think about why employee engagement matters to your business. Once you figure that out, I’m confident you’ll want to identify where your own employees’ levels of engagement fall!
What employee engagement is
Employee engagement looks at how invested your employees are in their work and your business. Do they feel that they’re a valuable part of a team? Do they feel connected with the business mission? Do they know how they’re being evaluated? When there are clear expectations and employees understand how they can advance within the business, they are more likely to feel a higher level of engagement at work.
If you’re interested in how engaged your team is in your business, there are a few areas of employee engagement to consider. Highly engaged employees feel that they have a healthy work–life balance. Their work doesn’t overwhelm every aspect of their lives, but it is a valuable part of their life. Engaged employees feel that there is open communication within the organization and that setting goals is central to the work environment. When employees are involved in setting personal, team, and organizational goals, and those goals are relevant to their work, they’re more likely to stay invested in the company.
Another element of engagement is organizational transparency. Transparency keeps them aware of what’s happening in your business—both the good and the bad. When they know about the company, it builds trust, creating a positive work environment and increasing employee engagement.
Other aspects of employee engagement relate to employees feeling valued at work. Employees like when they can make their own decisions. They also want opportunities to grow professionally, the potential for advancement, and to be recognized for their accomplishments. Of course, solid compensation and benefits go a long way in making employees feel like they’re a valued part of the team.
What employee engagement is not
There’s sometimes confusion between employee engagement and job satisfaction. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different. According to Cambridge Dictionary, job satisfaction is “the feeling of pleasure and achievement that you experience in your job.”
If your employees feel positive about their work, that is great—however, people are more engaged when they find meaning in their work. Remember though, those feelings can change. If job satisfaction drops, employees may find less meaning in their work.
Why employee engagement matters
There are numerous benefits to higher levels of employee engagement in the workplace. It can increase employee retention and productivity, as well as raise company profits. There are also impacts on customer service, sick leave (which costs the company money), and the workplace environment.
When employees are highly engaged in their work, they’re more likely to stay with the business. Studies have found that employees who are highly engaged are 87% less likely to leave their position. Since high levels of employee turnover can be very costly for a business, it makes sense to increase employee engagement.
Engaged employees are also more productive. Companies with highly engaged employees are up to 22% more productive than companies with less employee engagement. This, in turn, can lead to more profitability for the company. Companies have shown over 20% more profit due to employee engagement.
When employees are engaged in their work, they do a better job. That means that they provide better service to their customers. When customers get better service from a company, they have a better impression of the company and customer satisfaction goes up. Companies with highly engaged employees outperform companies with low employee engagement by up to 10% in customer ratings. This then impacts the company’s bottom line.
Employee engagement impacts employee commitment to their work. When they’re engaged in their work, people are more likely to go to work. Gallup polls have shown that engagement can reduce absenteeism by up to 37%. This means companies pay less for employee sick leave and people show up to work to do their work, which means the companies are more productive and more profitable.
Finally, employee engagement impacts the workplace environment. People who are engaged at work report less stress in their lives. The workplace is also safer with significantly fewer workplace safety incidents (48%). There are also over 40% fewer quality issues in the products created in these engaged businesses.
These benefits are interwoven and tied to employee engagement.
How to assess employee engagement
As a boss, you might wonder how to assess your employee engagement. While this can be done through extensive interviews with each employee, that isn’t always feasible. If you’re the president of a company with thousands of employees, it’s not possible to check in with each employee regularly.
For this reason, many companies choose to create employee engagement surveys that they administer regularly. This gives company leadership the opportunity to collect the data they need to assess employee engagement, make a plan to increase engagement (if needed), and make company decisions.
Your employee engagement assessment should include qualitative and quantitative data, as well as formal and informal assessments. You might administer the more formal, full employee engagement survey once a year. Your informal data collection might occur during meetings and conversations within the workplace. You can also offer short surveys called pulse surveys more frequently to get up-to-date information from your employees. Some companies administer these pulse surveys weekly to check the “pulse” of the company.
Just like at the doctor’s office, checking a patient’s—or company’s—pulse is the first way to recognize a problem.
The effectiveness of employee engagement surveys
Creating, administering, and analyzing an employee engagement survey takes a significant amount of time and effort. For it to be valid and effective, you need to take certain steps. You might be wondering if it’s worth it for your business.
Do the employee surveys provide the information that you need to measure employee engagement? How do you make sure the info is valuable? What needs to be done once you’ve gotten the results from the survey?
So. Many. Questions.
Don’t worry. We’ll answer them all.
Do the surveys provide the data you need to measure employee engagement?
You might not want to hear this, but it depends. Like any survey, you want to make sure the survey assesses what you want it to assess. When you’re creating the survey, you want to make sure that you’re asking quality survey questions. We’ll talk more about this later in the post.
Your survey should gather results from a true sampling of your population. If a sufficient number of people don’t take the survey, your results will not be true to what your employees think and feel. While you shouldn’t expect 100% participation in your survey, participation from about 75% of your employees is a solid representation of your employees as a whole.
How do you make sure the information you gather is valuable?
One of the main concerns of employee engagement surveys is that people aren’t honest when completing them. Employees might worry that their survey results will impact their evaluations or compensation, or influence their supervisor’s impression of them and the potential for advancement inside the company. Some employees might feel that the survey won’t change anything, so they don’t bother bringing up their concerns.
There are certain things that you can do to address these concerns:
- Keep the survey anonymous. If people know that they can be honest without anyone knowing the opinions are theirs, they’re more likely to fully answer the questions.
- Be transparent about the survey, why you’re conducting it, and what will happen after it’s completed.
- Be open to the full picture of the survey. The company leadership needs to be willing to hear the positives and negatives of what the employees have to say. If management immediately goes on the defensive or criticizes survey responses, individuals will not be willing to share their true thoughts in the future.
- Don’t connect the survey to any sort of performance objectives. Even with complete anonymity, offering a bonus for high marks across the board on the survey would skew the results.
- Make sure employees know that you plan to take action on the findings. Mark Murphy from Forbes discusses the idea that “most companies have the mistaken belief that the purpose of an employee engagement survey is to measure employee engagement. It’s not; the purpose of conducting a survey is to actually improve employee engagement.” It’s imperative that companies use employee engagement survey findings to solve the challenges unearthed in the survey and increase employee engagement in the workplace.
What needs to be done once you’ve gotten the results from the survey?
The first step after you’ve collected your survey results is to analyze the data. You have to understand what the data is telling you before you take action. From your questions, you could identify things that are going well within your organization. You could identify commonalities across subgroups.
After you’ve identified the positives, it’s essential to look for areas that need improvement. You might find that you need to talk with managers or employees to get clarification on some of the answers. You might gather enough data from your survey to identify areas to focus on in the future.
The next step is to develop an action plan for employee engagement. Make sure that you identify the areas you’re working on and who’s responsible for the plan. There might be a small team that’s in charge of creating the plan. If your business is a small team, it might be every person brainstorming together to develop a team that works.
Finally, make the survey findings and action plan available to your employees. This might be a brief overview of what you discovered, areas you plan to focus on, and your plan to improve employee engagement in the future.
Important note: When you share your findings and action plan with employees, do so positively. There shouldn’t be any sort of chastising for honest answers on the survey. If individuals feel worse off for honesty or it leads to more work for them, they won’t be honest on future surveys.
If leadership accepts ownership for shortcomings—instead of blaming employees—required actions on the employees’ part will be better received. This will go over even better if you place blame on yourself, instead of alienating your management team.
Types of employee engagement survey questions to ask
While Interact usually recommends 6-10 questions in a quiz, you’ll need to ask 30-40 questions in your employee engagement survey. This is long enough to cover a wide range of topics and short enough to retain employee interest. Because this survey requires a time commitment from employees, it should be offered annually. Use a shorter pulse survey to measure employee engagement more often.
When you’re creating your survey questions, decide what type of questions you want to ask. You could include statements that use a Likert scale, where employees rate how strongly they agree or disagree. These statements can go a long way in measuring levels of employee engagement or disengagement.
You could include open-ended questions, where employees share thoughts in their own words. This can provide a deep understanding of what your employees are thinking and feeling. While open-ended questions can be more time-consuming to analyze, the insights they provide about employee engagement are invaluable.
For more information on types of survey questions you can use, check out 10 Types of Survey Questions You Should Use for Business.
Questions you can ask to measure employee engagement
Knowing the right questions to ask in an employee engagement survey can be the most difficult part of the whole process. To help you out, I’m including questions that you can use to assess several areas of employee engagement. While I’m phrasing each of these examples as a question, it’s quite easy to adapt them to whatever style of question you want to ask. I include different ways that you can adapt your questions in the next section about creating a survey.
Those areas are:
- Company culture
- Work environment
- Opportunities for growth
- Recognition and rewards
There are many aspects of community culture. These questions focus on the company’s tone in relation to the company mission and its relationship with stakeholders. Possible questions that you can use are:
- How familiar with the company mission are you?
- Do you feel the actions of company leadership align with that mission?
- Do you feel that the company’s current focuses align with that mission?
- Do you feel that your day-to-day responsibilities contribute to the company’s mission?
- Do you personally feel motivated by the company mission?
Work environment can go a long way in keeping employees engaged in their work. These questions focus on how the employee feels about the environment and whether it’s a positive place to work. I offer a few question variations among the samples here:
- Do you feel that the current work environment at the company contributes to your well-being?
- Do you feel that the current work environment at the company encourages you to do your best?
- Do you feel the current work environment at the company encourages positive interactions between coworkers?
- Do you feel that company leadership contributes to a positive (or negative) work environment?
- Do you think that the company is a great place to work?
- Does your current work environment make the company a place where you want to continue to work five years in the future?
Communication is essential for employee engagement. How company leadership communicates with stakeholders reveals a great deal about how the company communicates as a whole. Here are some examples of communications questions to ask on your employee engagement survey:
- Do you feel that company leadership provides sufficient communication with employees regarding important events or discussions about the company?
- Do you feel that company leadership communicates effectively with company stakeholders?
- Do you feel that management communicates effectively with employees regarding day-to-day events?
- Do you think that company leadership is open to communicate with employees on a variety of topics (positive and negative)?
- Do you feel that management encourages employees to communicate openly regarding difficult situations in the workplace?
- Do you feel that coworkers communicate appropriately with one another?
Opportunities for growth
Individuals are more likely to stay engaged when they feel challenged. This could relate to professional development or advancement within the company. Some questions you might include are:
- Does the company regularly provide opportunities to develop your skills for your current role?
- Does the company encourage professional development outside of required work training?
- Does the company value personal development outside of the workplace?
- Does the company encourage advancement from within?
- Are you motivated to advance within the company?
- In five years, do you feel that you could potentially be in a higher position within the company?
Recognition and rewards
When employees are given recognition for positive work performance, they are likely to feel valued. The questions below focus on the different forms recognition and rewards can take:
- Do you feel that company leadership adequately recognizes individual or team contributions to the company?
- Do you feel that your immediate manager adequately recognizes individual contributions to the company?
- Does your current team encourage and recognize positive contributions to the company?
- Do you feel your current benefits and compensation encourage positive contributions to the organization?
- Do your current salary and annual increase motivate you to stay with the company?
- Does the current bonus structure provide adequate motivation to positively contribute to the company?
However you choose to structure your questions and whichever ones you choose to include, you’ll be able to assess the current state of your employee engagement and know where you need to focus for improvement.
Create an employee engagement survey with Interact
Since there are several steps to setting up your employee survey in Interact, I’m going to walk you through the whole process. You don’t have to figure it out on your own!
To create your employee survey in Interact, first decide what type of quiz you prefer. While lead generation quizzes are often personality quizzes, a scored quiz is a better option for an employee engagement survey. This type of quiz allows you to weight answer choices, and the quiz automatically calculates employee engagement levels according to the categories you set.
To set up your quiz, go to the Interact dashboard and choose “Create a Quiz.” From there, decide if you want to begin with a quiz template or create a quiz from scratch. Quiz templates are a great place to start because they are sorted into categories. Interact offers more than 50 different quiz template categories, ranging from Lifestyle to Holiday to Food and Drink.
For your employee engagement quiz, you might choose either the Career category or the Self-improvement category. Then, pick one of the many quiz templates available that best matches your topic and the number of questions you want to ask.
Many of the quiz templates are Personality quizzes, but that’s not a problem. You can easily switch to a Scored quiz at the bottom left of whatever quiz template you choose. When the pop-up appears, choose the Scored quiz. Because it deletes all of the answer correlations, you have to confirm that you want to switch before you can proceed.
You’re now ready to change the title and quiz description to match your survey. Let your employees know what to expect from the quiz and why you’re requesting that they take it. You can include an image or use a text-only cover.
Once your cover is ready to go, add questions to your employee engagement survey.
Adding survey questions
There are a few different ways to phrase questions to collect employee feedback. You could ask only one type of question or use multiple question types in your quiz. You can organize your questions around the different topics listed in the question section above or intermix them to keep your audience engaged. Your survey setup is completely customizable.
One option is to set up your questions with a modified Likert scale, where you make a statement and offer answer choices of Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Neutral, Somewhat Disagree, and Strongly Disagree. For example:
I clearly see how my day-to-day responsibilities align with the company mission.
Then the survey-taker selects from the five answer choices according to how they feel about that statement.
When you add a question into Interact, set the answer scores for each answer. This is how your survey will tabulate your employee scores. Above the answer choices, you’ll see the option to “Set Answer Scores.” When you click that, the pop-up opens with the different answer choices. Assign a value to each choice based on how you want them scored.
Notice how I give 5 points for Strongly Agree all the way down to 0 points for Strongly Disagree.
This does not mean that any person who chooses that answer gets the answer “wrong.” It means that their points total will be significantly lower if they select several of those answer choices.
Another option is to have your employees choose which statement they agree with the most. You can include two opposing statements like “I feel free to share my thoughts and ideas at work” or “I do not feel free to share my thoughts and ideas at work.” The first statement might get 5 points and the second statement might get 1. You could also include more statements that your survey-takers have to choose from. For example:
- I get sufficient opportunities to explore my professional interests.
- I get some opportunities to explore my professional interests.
- I do not receive opportunities to explore my professional interests.
The answer scoring for these might be A – 5 points, B – 3 points, C – 1 point.
Other options for your survey questions are creating job satisfaction questions with ratings of 1 to 5 or agree/disagree questions. You might include a question like “On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the lowest), how satisfied are you with the level of collaboration within your team?” Another survey question might be a true/false question like “The bonus structure within the company motivates me to work to earn the bonus.”
You can also include multiple-choice questions that give your employees the opportunity to answer situational workplace questions. Providing multiple answers of varying degrees of engagement allows you to identify where employees are in their engagement. Again, it is essential that the employee engagement survey is anonymous, so your employees feel free to answer truthfully. In the example below, note how the top answer choice is the most engaged and the bottom answer choice is the least engaged. Don’t forget to assign a point value for each answer based on the levels of engagement!
Finishing up your engagement survey
Traditionally, when you create a quiz with Interact, you want to provide powerful quiz results for your quiz-takers, telling them something about themselves and providing value.
But that isn’t the purpose of the employee engagement survey. It’s not a tool to assess the attitudes and behaviors of your employees. It’s an avenue for employees to “offer honest feedback to their employers.” The survey is a method to identify the current state of the company in relation to its employees and figure out ways to improve. You don’t have to create result pages.
To have the program automatically score the survey and identify the result for each quiz-taker, you do need to assign quiz results. Since you’ve entered the score for each question (you did that, right??), the score automatically adjusts to evenly split the scores between the number of results in your survey. Let’s say I decide to have three results for my survey—Not engaged, Somewhat engaged, and Highly engaged. According to my answer choices, the lowest points totals are with the “Not engaged” result. As I totaled up all of the points with my questions, there were a total of 97 points possible. The automatic settings break it evenly between those 97 points, as shown in the picture.
While this distributes the points evenly, you might prefer to manually change the number distribution to one that matches more closely with what you’re trying to do. You might not consider someone who scores 67% “Highly engaged.” You might prefer to keep the highly engaged label for those who score 85% or higher. Since it’s your survey and you have a general idea of where your employees might be, adjust it however you want.
To do this, click on one of the results in the side menu. Scroll down to the bottom of the results page. Click on “Result Settings.” When the pop-up opens, you can adjust the numbers however you want. Once you’ve adjusted one, it redistributes the points between the remaining results. Repeat the process for each result until you have them where you want them and you’ve distributed all of the points.
While you’re adjusting the score ranges, decide if you want to display the score. This only matters if you’re going to show your survey-takers a quiz result. Since the survey isn’t for them and you aren’t trying to provide value to them in your quiz results, there isn’t a need to do this.
What I recommend instead is to redirect your survey-takers to a “Thank You” page. On this page, thank them for taking the time to complete the survey and further discuss what you plan to do with the information you receive through the survey. To redirect to a ”Thank You” page, click on “Redirect Results” in the menu at the left. In the pop-up, click “Redirect All” and then enter the URL of your “Thank You” page for each result. Once you “Save Redirection Settings,” publish your survey and share it with your employees.
As a reminder, since the survey is anonymous, there’s no need to turn on lead generation or the social share settings. Those are only for encouraging your audience to share your quiz in the hopes that you’ll get new subscribers through it. Since the survey is only applicable to your employees, you don’t want to encourage sharing it with others.
When you are sharing your survey, you can either embed it on a website within the company or share the URL to the quiz directly.
Make your employees aware of the survey before you send the link and be very clear about its purpose. Let them know that you’re interested in their honest opinions, the results are anonymous, and company leadership and human resources will look at the employee feedback to make positive changes within the company. You should also set a clear deadline as to when you want the survey completed to motivate people to get it done.
Get ready for excellent insights through your new employee engagement survey!
Summing it all up
That’s it. You now know how to make an excellent employee engagement survey. No matter what the survey reveals, you’ll be more aware of your employees’ thoughts and feelings and better able to create a work environment where people are engaged and your company can flourish. If during data analysis you have further questions for your employees, you can ask for additional feedback through open-ended questions.
To review, we discussed:
- What employee engagement is and why you need to focus on it
- How to assess employee engagement
- Questions that you want to include in your survey
- How to create an employee engagement survey with Interact
I know your survey will be great!