Survey Best Practices: How To Properly Measure Employee Engagement

Survey Best Practices: How To Properly Measure Employee Engagement

June 14, 2018

Engaged employees do not stop at performing the duties expected of them and being satisfied with their contributions. It goes beyond this. Employee engagement is the extent to which employees are intrinsically committed to driving their organization’s success through their job function. It is these engaged employees who catalyze business outcomes like increased productivity, profitability and customer satisfaction.

The What

To properly measure employee engagement, we must first consider what we’re measuring. We know we want to gauge the level of employee engagement, but what metrics lend insight into engagement? In general, elements that affect employee engagement include career progression, diversity and inclusion, recognition and sense of influence, compensation and benefits, nature of work and team and support. We can gain this information by conducting a classic, attitudinal study with employees that requires self-reporting through a survey.

To surpass perceived levels of employee engagement, Harvard Business Review’s “A Primer on Measuring Employee Engagement” has a few specific metrics that are worth considering measuring as well. These track actual behaviors that are directly related to engagement.

The amount of work that happens outside of normal business hours (i.e., evenings and weekends) shows discretionary effort.


The number of networked connections and time spent with employees outside of the workplace is a sign of high engagement.


The percentage of participation in ad-hoc meetings and initiatives (as opposed to recurring commitments) indicates heightened interest.


Time spent collaborating directly with customers outside the normal scope of work demonstrates the willingness to help colleagues regardless of being recognized for it.


The How

There are several best practices to consider to put together an employee engagement survey yourself. These tips will ensure your survey gets a high response rate and the outcome is valid and reliable.

The shorter the survey, the better. It needs to be comprehensive enough to measure employee engagement accurately, but try to keep it to five to 10 minutes maximum, so you do not lose your respondents’ interest.


Do not use any technical jargon. You want everyone to understand what you are asking to use the simplest language to get your point across.


Avoid double-barrel questions; ensure each question only addresses one topic. (For example, do not say, “How satisfied are you with your compensation and benefits?)


Start and end the survey with easier questions; the middle should have the most sensitive questions. The flow is essential, so respondents ease into it.


Avoid having open-ended questions because it makes the data analysis more challenging.


For multiple-choice questions, the choices should be comprehensive and mutually exclusive.


The overall survey should look uncluttered and be user-friendly to navigate.


There are some benefits to considering a third-party company to build and conduct the survey:

It eliminates any potential bias (even subconscious bias).


It provides a fresh perspective that may spur innovation.


It gives you access to advanced survey and data aggregation tools you may not otherwise have.


It saves time and allows you to focus on strategizing instead of conducting research.


It creates a greater sense of anonymity for respondents, which leads to higher response rates.


It often provides scientifically validated results.


Regardless of how you decide to conduct the study, measuring employee engagement will be key to creating a plan of action to improve employees’ overall well-being – and positively impact your company’s bottom line.

Need support laying out your next employee engagement assessment? Check out GQR’s People Intelligence solutions!

Learn More About People Intelligence


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wynden Stark Group Acquires NYC Venture-backed Tech Startup, untapt

Learn More!