Best practices for employee engagement

Steve Bennetts

The concept of job satisfaction was popularised in the seventies and was the first real way for businesses to directly influence performance. In the past three decades, HR professionals have started to realise that satisfaction isn’t enough for people to unlock their potential value to an organisation.

As a result, businesses have started to work on improving employee engagement because of the increasing understanding that deeper employee engagement leads to higher productivity and improves the overall lifetime value of their people.

Employee engagement has since become the industry benchmark for how committed people are to their jobs.

Measuring employee engagement comes down to four key variables:


  1. Pride in the company.
  2. Intention to stay with the company.
  3. Likelihood to recommend the company to friends or family (known as the employee net promoter score or eNPS).
  4. Motivation to go above and beyond for the company.


While this may sound simple, the truth is that each of these variables is affected by a plethora of other influences. Every organisation is responsible for creating an environment conducive to engagement.

Some of the factors that influence engagement, known as engagement drivers, can include:


Autonomy and empowerment: Whether people can act on their own authority and innovate
Career progression: Opportunities to grow
Collaboration: Working with other teams and colleagues without barriers
Communication: Feeling listened to by the organization as well as getting enough information from the company
Leadership: Trust in senior leaders
Pay and benefits: Fair compensation isn’t limited to salary alone and can vary according to individual circumstances
Quality of products or services: Whether people believe in what they’re providing
Recognition: People naturally crave appreciation
Resources: People need the right tools to do their job, as well as enough team members to let them achieve a work–life balance
Strategy alignment: Whether employees understand and buy into the company’s direction
Supportive management: How good managers are at supporting their teams to be successful
Training and development: Whether people feel they have the training they need to do their job.


Not all drivers are necessarily relevant to all organisations’ needs. It’s important to understand which ones are relevant to the company and focus on these. The best and most direct way to understand which drivers are important is to ask employees via an engagement survey.

For the survey to be effective, it needs to be relatively easy to complete. Around 10–15 minutes is ideal in most cases, although a longer or shorter survey may be more useful depending on what the organisation needs to explore. If the survey expands to 70 questions or more, it’s likely to be too burdensome for employees to complete and the resulting data will be too complex to be useful.

Read:  4 pillars for Employee Experience Success

To cull questions in a survey and bring it down to the ideal 40–45 questions, it’s useful to ask four key questions:

  1. Is the business prepared to act on the question?
  2. Is the question repeating something that’s already been asked?
  3. Does the question reveal something useful as opposed to something interesting?
  4. Is the question relevant to all parts of the business?

By designing and administering a targeted, well-thought-out engagement survey, businesses can get a clear understanding of where engagement sits currently and what areas to focus on to improve engagement.

By acting on the issues brought up in the survey, companies can demonstrate that they have listened to employees, value their opinion, and are willing to make changes. These factors alone can improve productivity.

Combined with the action taken on key issues, this process can dramatically improve loyalty and performance outcomes.

Employee engagement is a competitive advantage for organisations and while addressing employee concerns is a top priority, measuring engagement should also be seen as an opportunity to identify ways to further improve your employees’ overall experience regardless of the eNPS score.


About Qualtrics

Qualtrics is a rapidly growing software-as-a-service company and the leader in experience management. More than 8,500 enterprises worldwide, including more than 75 percent of the Fortune 100 and 99 of the top 100 U.S. business schools, rely on Qualtrics. Our solutions make it easy to measure, prioritize, and optimize the experiences organizations provide across the four foundations of business: customer, product, employee and brand experiences. To learn more, and for a free account, please visit

For more from Qualtrics, download their whitepaper entitled Employee Experience Management:  4 Pillars for EX Success.