But engagement isn’t just about work and performance. It also covers basic requirements, such as whether an employee has the tools and resources necessary to complete their job, whether they see themselves reflected in the company’s diversity efforts, and even whether they have friends within the office. If you’re looking for a more detailed definition of employee engagement and how it’s different from employee experience, then see our article: “What Is Employee Engagement?”
Employee Satisfaction Survey vs. Employee Engagement Survey
It’s further important that we define the distinction between employee engagement surveys and employee satisfaction surveys, since the two are often used interchangeably. While there is a conceptual overlap between the two, employee satisfaction is best seen as the emotional component of employee engagement.
An employee satisfaction survey only gathers feedback around one element of engagement—how satisfied or content your employees are. While it functions as a good proxy measure for engagement, it does not measure the full scope of an employee’s experience, including the level of long-term dedication they feel toward your business or their belief in overall company goals.
An employee engagement survey provides a full understanding of your organizational climate. It’s possible to be satisfied in a job without necessarily feeling particularly engaged, such as when an employee’s workload is low or they have good social connections. Conversely, an engaged employee feels completely connected to their work, their colleagues, and the wider business.
How Employee Surveys Increase Employee Engagement
The wider industry recognition that employee experience (EX) is of equal importance to customer experience (CX) has brought greater attention to employee engagement. But what’s the relationship between employee engagement surveys and engagement scores? And how does gathering feedback help increase employee engagement?
First and foremost, you can’t seek to improve what you can’t measure. Without accurate, regularly updated data and feedback from your employees that covers the whole employee life cycle, identifying potential problem areas is nigh on impossible. Increasing employee engagement requires gathering employee sentiment with a smart, real-time methodology.
A tool such as Workday Peakon Employee Voice also provides additional support to managers. By enabling managers at every level of the business to have greater oversight on teams and their changing sentiments, you open up space for constructive feedback. More than that, thanks to the recommended actions Workday provides automatically, you can help your managers take meaningful steps toward change.
When you collect employee feedback you also implicitly signal to your people that their voices matter. While there are several factors that influence employees’ feelings of self-worth at work—opportunities for career development, remuneration, and recognition chief among them—often what employees desire most is to be heard. Giving employees space to provide honest feedback, listening to that commentary, and then taking action is the only way to consistently help improve engagement.
How We Measure Employee Engagement at Workday
Asking your employees the right employee engagement survey questions is a good first step, but it’s important that the responses to those questions are measured accurately and reliably. There are several schools of thought on how best to measure employee engagement from those results. This is ours.
Our employee engagement survey platform, Workday Peakon Employee Voice, sends out surveys at a regular cadence—typically either weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Our question algorithm calculates the correct number of questions to send out based on that cadence, rotating the questions an employee receives during each survey to ensure that the smallest number of questions are deployed to each employee at any one time, therefore reducing survey fatigue. If an employee scores particularly positively or negatively in one area, the algorithm will automatically add a related follow-up question to provide richer details.
Each of those survey questions are answered on a scale of zero to 10, giving businesses the flexibility to either measure engagement and its drivers as a mean score out of 10 (to one decimal place), or to instead use the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) scoring system. Many organizations like to use eNPS scoring as an alternative way of viewing data, especially if they use a similar methodology for customer satisfaction measurement.
This allows responses to the “advocacy” question below to be divided into promoters (9-10), neutrals (7-8), and detractors (0-6) to gauge employee sentiments and behaviors around advocacy for the organization, which is a key component of engagement.
Workday Peakon Employee Voice allows users to instantly switch back and forth between mean score and eNPS scoring for engagement (or any other survey questions) to gain an alternative viewpoint. A mixture of both of these scoring methods is often the most powerful. To survey employee engagement, we calculate a mean score based on an average of the four questions listed below. However, eNPS scoring is based solely on the first question.
“Advocacy” outcome question: How likely is it you would recommend [company name] as a place to work?
“Loyalty” outcome question: How likely is it that you would stay with [company name] if you were offered the same job at another organization?
“Satisfaction” outcome question: Overall, how satisfied are you working for [company name]?
“Belief” outcome question: How likely is it that you would recommend [company name]’s products or services to friends and family?
Going Beyond Measuring Employee Engagement
Measuring employee sentiment isn’t as simple as asking employees how engaged they are at work. Our research shows that to survey employee sentiment properly, you have to provide your employees with a far more extensive series of questions—45 of them, in fact.
The Workday question library used in our survey software includes the four previously mentioned questions to measure engagement—one of which (advocating for the organization as a place to work) can also be used to calculate eNPS—plus 14 driver questions and 27 subdriver questions. The rest of this article will break those questions down into topics, explaining the research and reasoning behind their usage.
As you will see, each question prompts an employee to consider one facet of their working life and whether their feelings toward it are positive or negative. That way, the mean scores you gather are easily categorized and aggregated. However, in order for a more nuanced picture of employee sentiment it’s important to enable employees to provide written feedback.
In Workday Peakon Employee Voice, respondents can use the comment boxes provided to elaborate on the score they have given. These answers are always confidential. Not only can managers read and respond confidentially, but our natural language processing technology further enables instant comment analysis and automated translations in over 20 languages, dynamically creating focus topics based on your employees’ responses. In any instance, ensuring that your employees can provide further color to their responses—both positive and negative—is essential.
How “Drivers” Drive Employee Engagement Surveys
When we discuss employee engagement, we do so under the wider umbrella of EX. Organizations have to consider how every aspect of that experience can impact engagement, from the shared company culture, to the educational resources available for training, to how HR teams collect data and feedback for their people analytics program.