Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee Engagement Surveys measure whether employees are fully involved and enthusiastic about their work and company. Intellectually and emotionally engaged employees help to create satisfied, more loyal customers and improved business performance. Employee Engagement Surveys gauge the degree of employees’ attachment to their jobs, colleagues and organization, helping to determine their willingness to go beyond the basic parameters of their job. They can also be used to understand what factors have the greatest impact on engaging employees and to predict employee retention. Employee Engagement Surveys are closely linked to customer engagement and are measured in similar ways.

How Employee Engagement Surveys work:

Employee Engagement Surveys help companies identify and build on the strengths and talents of their workforces to gain a competitive edge. Managers should:

  • Evaluate a variety of data sources to understand key drivers of engagement. Key data sources often include anonymous surveys, employee suggestions, predictive modeling based on previous surveys, in-depth discussions with employees at all levels and social media. Engagement motivators usually include employee satisfaction with the impact of their work, rewards, relationships, values, mission, sustainability and working environment.
  • Translate key engagement motivators into a short survey that respects employees’ time and yields the most important insights.
  • Conduct the surveys frequently enough to generate a steady stream of information about engagement levels and ideas for improvement.
  • Make sure employee engagement is a top priority for frontline managers and employees themselves, with reliable procedures for quickly responding to feedback and developing solutions to key issues.
Related topics Bain capabilities

Companies use Employee Engagement Surveys to:

  • Develop more productive, satisfied and motivated employees by instilling a sense of purpose and autonomy, as well as a strong affiliation with the company and its offerings
  • Create an emotionally safe environment, with the right tools to perform work for fair compensation
  • Understand what investments will have the greatest impact on employee engagement
  • Cultivate more satisfied and loyal customers by improving employee engagement and overall business performance
  • Increase workforce retention, reducing the costs of turnover and training

Selected references

Fraser, John, and Betty J. Simkins (eds). Enterprise Risk Management: Today's Leading Research and Best Practices for Tomorrow's Executives. Wiley, 2010.

Frigo, Mark L. "Strategic Risk Management: The New Core Competency." Harvard Business Review, January 2009, http://hbr.org.

Funston, Frederick, and Stephen Wagner. Surviving and Thriving in Uncertainty: Creating the Risk Intelligent Enterprise. Wiley, 2010.

Hampton, John J. Fundamentals of Enterprise Risk Management: How Top Companies Assess Risk, Manage Exposure, and Seize Opportunity. AMACOM, 2009.

Hubbard, Douglas W. The Failure of Risk Management: Why It's Broken and How to Fix It. Wiley, 2009.

Lam, James. Enterprise Risk Management: From Incentives to Controls. Wiley, 2003.

Monahan, Gregory. Enterprise Risk Management: A Methodology for Achieving Strategic Objectives. Wiley, 2008.

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Random House, 2007.

Taleb, Nassim N., Daniel G. Goldstein, and Mark W. Spitznagel. "The Six Mistakes Executives Make in Risk Management." Harvard Business Review, October 2009, pp. 78-81.

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