Organizational Wellness

Are Your Employees Engaged? Find Out with an Employee Engagement Survey

Nov 4, 2022
Last Updated Oct 11, 2023

Engaged employees are great for your business. They’re the cream of your crop and your top performers. But unfortunately, not all employees are engaged at your company. In fact, only 36% of your employees are probably engaged at work—leaving a whopping 64% disengaged. It gets worse. 

Disengaged employees are also breaking your bank. One disengaged employee can cost your company $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary, which amounts to $225.8 billion (with all of the related absenteeism, workplace illness, and injury lumped in). The American economy suffers as it bears the weight of $350 billion a year from disengaged employee costs. 

That’s a lot. What’s there to be done? Well, the first step to working on employee engagement at your company is to know where your employees are at. An employee engagement survey is a great way to get a good look at how your employees are really feeling about their jobs, the company, and their goals. Once you know if your employees are engaged, you can start tackling problems. 

One of the best ways to get your company to rise above the competition is to start with employee engagement. And to start with employee engagement, you need to start with an effective survey. Let’s look at what that could look like and how to get started. 

What Is Employee Engagement?

The best place to start is first understanding what employee engagement is. Employee engagement is how your employees think about, act, and interact with your company, their work, and the overall corporate goals. Let’s compare two hypothetical employees. Janet comes to work every day on time, ready to tackle her tasks for the day. She’s aware of how her work fits in the bigger picture of the company as a whole, and she knows what she does is important. And she acts in a way that reflects that. Janet is the ideal engaged employee, and her work is good, and she sets a great tone in her department. 

On the other hand, Lucille comes to work on time every day, and she keeps up on her work. But she is mostly just going through the motions and checking off the boxes. She doesn’t care what her work does for the company; she’s just ready to clock out at 5 and head home. Lucille is a not engaged employee (and about 55% of your disengaged employees are looking for new jobs). Finally, there’s Mia. She likes to show up as late as possible, actively disagree, and rant on social media about how much she hates the company. She’s an actively disengaged employee, and she’s halfway out the door already. 

Ideally, we want all of our employees to be engaged. When employees are happier, the employer is  happier. Everyone’s winning when engagement is going great. 

Why Survey Engagement? 

We mentioned earlier that surveys are an important part of measuring employee engagement, but why else should you choose an employee engagement survey? Here are just a few reasons why: 

  • Give employees a voice and say. Surveys help your employees know you value what they say, so give them that, and you’ll get insights. 
  • A great way to get an employee perspective. In management, it can be hard to know how employees really feel. A survey can give you a glimpse into that. 
  • Helps you pick out spots to improve. You know how things are, so now you can know where to improve and where to find business growth opportunities. 
  • Identify effects of a hybrid workplace. 63% of high growth companies are using the hybrid model. How’s it working for you? Find out by asking employees. 
  • Identity risks to retention and what actions to take. Retention is important, and surveys can help you get a leg up on it. 

Types of Employee Engagement Surveys

Like with most surveys, you have many options. You can choose different types of employee engagement surveys. Here are three to consider. 

  1. Annual Employee Engagement Survey

The new year is a great time to check in with most things, and engagement is another metric to check up on. But luckily you don’t have to wait for a new year to check in. An annual employee engagement survey is a comprehensive survey done once a year to determine the level of employee engagement. 

  1. Employee Lifecycle Surveys

Maybe you’re wondering how new employee engagement is going or are most concerned with your seasoned veterans. Employee lifecycle surveys could be the answer. These surveys are designed to target employees at specific moments in their career to see how engaged they are. 

  1. Pulse Surveys

Pulse surveys are a quick and dirty way to get rapid insight into employee engagement. These are regular surveys, and they’re short: just a few questions to get an idea of how engagement is looking. 

Conducting an Employee Engagement Survey

So you’ve picked your employee engagement survey type, what’s next? Conducting your survey. Wondering where to start? Here’s our guide on getting started with an employee engagement survey. 

Survey Design

Get off on the right foot with good survey design: 

  • Decide who you will be surveying and the demographics: Are you surveying every employee or just those who recently switched departments? Decide on your sample (random selection is the *ideal* way to do that if you’re looking to generalize your findings).
  • Decide on deadlines: When does the survey design need to be done? How long will respondents have to respond? When should the data be analyzed? Go into your survey with a great plan for your deadlines
  • Know what questions are critical and what ones are just beneficial: Long surveys get less completion. It’s helpful to know what your most crucial survey questions are, so you can give those questions priority. 

Identify What You’re Wanting to Measure

So you want to measure engagement. How exactly do you do that? There are some key themes you might want to look at for insights into how engagement is really going: 

  • Autonomy/empowerment
  • Career progression
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Recognition
  • Development

Don’t forget to record survey demographics as you go to get more insights. 

Create Questions to Ask

Generally, your questions should be focused on employee engagement right up front—those are your crucial engagement questions. Here you want to gauge the employees’ intent to stay at your company, their pride in the company, how they feel about their work, and how likely they are to recommend your company as a place to work. Keeping these surveys anonymous helps employees respond more honestly to questions about sensitive issues. 

Once you’ve got your employee engagement survey questions, you may want some questions that address common themes at your workplace. You might want to gauge how employees feel about autonomy, management, collaboration, communication, resources, recognition, and anything else you see could be insightful. 

Example Employee Engagement Survey Questions

Stuck on what to actually say? We get that. That’s why we have some example questions for you here to get you started with crafting a great employee engagement survey. Here are example employee survey questions: 

  1. I am proud to work for [company name]. (Have employees rank agreement)
  2. Do you enjoy working with your team?
  3. Do you find yourself excited about coming to work every day?
  4. I find my job interesting and challenging. (Have employees rank agreement)
  5. This job aligns with my career goals. (Have employees rank agreement)
  6. Do you believe you are being paid fairly?
  7. Do you feel you can communicate effectively throughout all levels of the organization?
  8. My manager cares about my development and growth in the company. (Have employees rank agreement)
  9. It’s easy to collaborate with my team members. (Have employees rank agreement)
  10. Do you feel properly informed about your responsibilities?

The Bottom Line

Overall, employee engagement is valuable, and it’s not as present in the workplace as we all hope. An employee engagement survey is a great way to get started with measuring employee engagement, but it’s only the beginning. Engagement also needs to be a focus of your benefits programs. To get started with great benefits that encourage employee engagement, talk to a wellbeing specialist today.

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Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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