Employee with short grey hair and glasses filling out a survey at her work desk.

Measuring Employee Engagement with Surveys  

If an employee isn’t already on vacation, they’re probably daydreaming about it. Summer often leaves employees with an increased desire to be outside, enjoy leisurely activities, and spend time with friends and family. While employee engagement typically dips in the summer, sustained drops can harm a company in the long run. Measuring employee engagement can go a long way towards improving retention and organizational success.  

Employee engagement refers to an employee’s sense of connection and alignment with the company’s goals and values, which affects their commitment to the organization. Employers should learn how to measure employee engagement with surveys and what to do with survey results in order to improve future retention, employee wellbeing, and productivity.  

Benefits of engaged workers 

Investing in employee engagement pays off. Engaged workers:  

  • Go the extra mile;  
  • Make conscious efforts to improve their work and optimize processes;  
  • Increase customer satisfaction;  
  • Yield higher profits; and  
  • Contribute to strong retention rates.  

Employee disengagement is remarkably high  

Most employees in Canada and the US are disengaged. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2023 Report, 52% of Canadian and U.S. workers are quiet quitting. Quiet quitters are disconnected from their workplace and employer, resulting in minimal productivity and higher chances of stress and burnout. Meanwhile, 17% are loud quitters, that is, employees who are actively disengaged. Active disengagement is a more severe issue for an organization because it can directly harm it. Loud quitters distrust their employer or do not meet the requirements for a role, resulting in taking on behaviours that oppose their leaders and goals.  

An organization with a disengaged workforce is at risk of experiencing dissatisfied customers, low productivity, and high turnover. Regularly measuring employee engagement can help you identify early signs of disengagement so you can address problems before they escalate.  

Obtain employee feedback through surveys  

Employers must not mistake low engagement as a cause when it’s a symptom. As an employer, you’ll need to identify what the real issue is. That’s where surveys come in. Surveys are a quick and easy way to measure employee engagement and identify associated issues. An effective survey:  

  • Asks the same set of questions to better show trends in engagement levels over time;  
  • Provides room for employees to elaborate or explain their answers in additional comments; and  
  • Is not too long. 

You may be surprised or inspired by the responses you receive from employees. Gallup’s report showed that employees around the world want to see the most change in their workplace’s engagement or culture (41%). Respondents noted they would change their workplace to make it better by:  

  • Giving everyone recognition for their contributions;  
  • Having more approachable managers they feel comfortable talking to;  
  • Receiving more autonomy at work; and  
  • Promoting employees fairly.  

Analyse results to identify root causes  

Administering surveys is only the first step in measuring employee engagement. You’ll also need to analyse results to identify the root cause. The information employees share in surveys can allude to a problem, but you may need to read between the lines to get at the heart of an issue. For example, an employee may complain about poor communication, but that doesn’t mean it’s the root cause. Poor communication may stem from a lack of accountability and structure in the organization.  

Take appropriate action to remedy a root cause once you’ve identified it. Increasing communication may resolve the employee’s issue in the short term, but it will not address the root cause. In this example, you should investigate why communication is poor within the company, and then implement systems for accountability that encourage better, more meaningful communication.  

Create your own employee engagement survey 

Citation Canada, formerly HRdownloads, offers a number of tools you can leverage to easily accomplish HR tasks in a few clicks. Download a customizable survey template from our library of thousands of HR documents, or create your own, distribute it to your teams, and track results with our surveys and forms tool.  

See what our experts have to say on boosting employee engagement and designing effective surveys:  

In most cases, hosting a pizza party won’t fix your workplace engagement issues. Measuring employee engagement with surveys is essential to identifying root causes and potential solutions. But failing to act on the feedback you receive from employees can result in losing the trust of your employees, who may decline to provide feedback in the future. Neglecting to make changes also won’t fix engagement issues. Discover how you can improve engagement in our FREE Guide to Employee Engagement Surveys. This guide covers when you should administer surveys, how to analyse results and trends, meaningful actions to improve engagement, and communication strategies.