Engagement Surveys

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Survey Design Best Practices, Pt 1

After an extensive search through industry-related websites and media platforms, details about the best practices for external survey design benchmarking, with a specific focus on employee engagement surveys in the tech or media industry do not appear to be available in the public domain. However, the research team was able to gather valuable insights about the best practices for survey design in general. Details regarding these practices have been provided below.

Survey Design Best Practices

  • Surveys should be between 5 and 10 minutes to keep the respondents engaged. The length of a survey can have an impact on the response rates of employees. It is important to take into consideration that an employee goes out of his way to fill out a survey; therefore, their time should be taken into account.
  • Technical jargon such as human resource terminologies should not be used in employee surveys. Simple language should be used to ensure that all employees understand the questions.
  • Close-ended questions should be used in surveys because they make data analysis easier. In addition, respondents can easily answer these questions within a short time. Closed-ended questions could be checkbox or multiple choice questions.
  • Images should be used in employee engagement surveys since they drive engagement. Long paragraphs can be broken down with icons and images that make the survey visually appealing. Examples of images can be emojis and graphic sliders.
  • Surveys should not have leading or biased questions. Questions should not influence responses in a manner that alters a respondent’s actual experiences.

Research Strategy

After an extensive search through media platforms and industry sites, such as Survey Monkey, Qualtrics, and People Goal, we did not find the requested information. We initially attempted to focus on employee engagement surveys in the tech or media industry but our search proved to be futile. In addition, we attempted to look at Fortune 500 tech and media companies and their best practices when it comes to external survey design benchmarking for employee engagement surveys and use them as proxies, however, no relevant or useful information was found. For these reasons, we concluded that the information is not available in the public domain.

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Survey Design Best Practices, Pt 2

Best practices for pre-survey communications concerning employee engagement surveys in the tech and media industry could not be determined even after looking through industry reports, articles and case studies in the public domain. Some helpful findings, as well as the methodology used for this research, can be found below.

Helpful Findings:

  • Pre-survey communication should begin long before the launch of an employee engagement survey. It should be done at least 3-4 weeks before the administration of the survey.
  • A way to prepare employees for an engagement survey is through the use of all-employee advertisements. An introduction to the survey and its purpose, as well as a preview of the survey, can be featured in these advertisements.
  • Organizational changes that have been brought about by previous employee engagement surveys can also be highlighted in all-employee advertisements to reinforce the usefulness of the surveys and make the employees feel that their opinions matter.
  • Another way to prepare employees for an engagement survey is through the use of frequently asked questions (FAQ). Employees need to have general information such as what to expect from each of the survey's stages in a way that is easily accessible to everyone. This may be through a website or a newsletter.
  • Things to clearly communicate to employees before the launch of an employee engagement survey include the start date of the survey, intended outcomes, guarantee of anonymity, deadline for providing feedback, channels for asking questions, the method and date of the announcement of results, and the process for following-up on the survey.

Research Strategy:

To determine the best practices concerning pre-survey communications concerning employee engagement surveys done by companies in the tech and/or media industries, we looked for industry reports and news features on what experts in the tech and media industries concerning this. We were able to find that one best practice for pre-survey communications on engagement surveys is to identify the reason for running the survey and to clearly provide stakeholders and ambassadors with what is expected of them during the survey administration. We were also able to gain insight into the importance of All-Employee Advertisements for a company's employee engagement survey. However, these practices were not specifically recommended for companies that meet this request's criteria.

We then attempted to look for case studies of companies in the tech and media industries who were able to successfully conduct employee engagement surveys. This was done so that we could gain insights into what these companies did concerning pre-survey communication and how it helped them conduct the employee engagement surveys successfully. We were able to find takeaways from the annual employee engagement survey run by Edelman and a case study on the employee engagement survey by ITV, however, these revealed no insights relevant to this request as it contained no information on pre-survey communications. No other relevant source was found through this strategy.

As a final attempt, we looked for case studies of tech and media companies that successfully increased employee engagement. We did this under the assumption that these case studies may give insight into the process of how the companies handled their employee engagement survey and in turn give insight into how they handled pre-survey communications for the survey. We were able to find case studies that made mention of employee engagement surveys however none were found that gave insights into pre-survey communication best practices. We have opted to report general insights into some best practices concerning pre-survey communications for employee engagement surveys as helpful findings for this request.
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Survey Design Best Practices, Pt 3

After looking through industry reports, articles and case studies such as Mckinsey, Deloitte, Forbes, and Business Wire, the team couldn't find the best practices specific to tech and media companies that have between 10,000 and 20,000 employees, which we attributed to the extremely niche nature of the industries. However, we did find some sources that discussed general best practices that apply to all industries and companies of all sizes. We found an article that gave a list of fortune 500 companies that conducts communications in all aspect of employment engagement surveys. We took the best practices followed by these companies and then corroborated the findings from other supporting sources to provide four best practices. Sensible timing, mid-survey reminders, leadership talking points/updates, candid feedback, and confidentiality assertion are some of the best practices for how to conduct communications surrounding in-progress employment engagement surveys.

Sensible timing/deadline

  • Two weeks is marked as the perfect length to allow employees to respond to and complete a survey.
  • This timing provides employees sufficient time to meet up, and a day or two before the expiration of the time frame, they are reminded.
  • Employers need to ensure that there is an appropriate start and endpoints of the survey.
  • Also, employers should make sure that space is given to employees to respond to the study as they deem fit.
  • It is usually best to limit survey length to about 25 to 30 questions and survey time to 30 minutes or less.
  • The survey time ensures that on average, it takes no more than one minute to answer a question.
  • Employers also should reinforce the importance of employee participation in the survey.

Mid-survey reminders

  • Getting a 100% participation from employees is usually unlikely but in situations where the rate of participation is very disappointing, employers should send reminders to their employees.
  • These reminders could be email reminders, weekly reminders, or intranet reminders. The company's social media channels are another means of sending out reminders.
  • Also, there is the utilization of calendar invitations, which goes a long way in helping employees set enough time to complete the survey.
  • Employers send out reminders frequently but the last reminder should give details about the final collection of data.
  • Furthermore, to encourage the rate of participation and completion of the survey, the management team should schedule blocks of open time for employees to complete their surveys.

Leadership talking points/updates

  • Leadership updates, talking points, and highlights of response rates are usually brought up by managers, leaders, and supervisors during group meetings and check-ins with individuals.
  • These points and highlights should emphasize the importance of employees' participation and feedback.
  • The leadership updates and meetings are also crucial as it shows how supportive the organization is and how seriously they take employee feedback.
  • The leaders must also teach employees how to participate and how to solve problems related to completing the survey.
  • As the study progresses, employees need to be assured of the organization's commitment to act on the results of the investigation.
  • At the end of the survey, information on the next step of action and time to expect survey results should be made available to the employees.

Candid Feedback and Confidentiality

  • Confidentiality is paramount if the organization wants to get the honest opinions of the employees.
  • Emphasis should be placed on the fact that the survey is highly secured and confidential, and as such, the identity of each respondent is kept anonymous.
  • Some survey questions need to be left open-ended with spaces so that respondents can freely put down their thoughts, hence providing valuable feedback.
  • Also, open-ended questions, unlike multiple-choice, provide detailed feedback and answers to questions that the organization may not have thought to ask.
  • The respondents need to understand that individual surveys cannot be reviewed or linked to names.
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Survey Design Best Practices, Pt 4

Thanking employees for their participation in the study, sharing survey results, and discussing the results transparently, and committing to act upon the results are some of the best practices for post-progress survey communications concerning employee engagement surveys.

Thanking Employees for Their Participation in the Survey

Sharing the Survey Results

Discussing the Results Transparently and Committing to Act upon Those

Research Strategy

To find the best practices on conducting communications on post-progress employment engagement surveys, specifically for companies in the technology and media industries having between 10,000 and 20,000 employees, we first looked at articles/blogs published by industry experts, HR/top executives, survey results around the topic and reports published on media/technology related sources. However, most of the sources only discussed general communication best practices applicable to all industries and companies of all sizes.

During our research, we came across an article that discussed the cascaded communications approach that many of the businesses listed in the "Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®" list implement for communicating post-progress employment engagement surveys. This list included technology and media companies such as Adobe, SAP America and Activision Blizzard, which met our criteria of ~10,000 and 20,000 employees. Hence, we took the best practices followed by these companies and then corroborated the findings from other supporting sources to provide three best practices.


From Part 04
  • "Many of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® roll out survey-driven changes using a cascaded approach. This process often begins with an organization-wide communication from the CEO that might share high-level results, thank employees for their participation and commit to taking action."
  • "Next, leaders at all levels take the opportunity to discuss results transparently with their teams, ideally in a way that shares more relevant details about organizational and departmental level results and allows for an open dialogue to begin."
  • "Leaders at all levels can conduct listening sessions with employees in order to gain more specific insight to make meaningful improvement throughout the organization."
  • "For example, survey results that reflect improvement opportunities in communication may indicate a need for meaningful dialogue (asking questions, being present, eye contact) rather than a need for more meetings and emails."
  • "The most common approach to rolling out survey results is a cascade approach, which balances executive communication with select access to data by department managers. After reviewing and analyzing their department results, managers are expected to openly discuss the feedback and trends with their teams, and then finalize department-level action plans, which can be sent to higher-level leadership or tracked by HR."
  • "Activision Blizzard total number of employees in 2018 was 9,900, a 1.02% increase from 2017. "
  • "We generally assume that companies will share some of the survey results with employees. Not sharing at least some high-level results reinforces many of the things that have a negative impact on employee engagement and satisfaction. Sharing some of the results with employees signals trust, openness, and most importantly, respect."
  • "Establish a pattern of regular communication about senior leadership's commitment to employee morale and satisfaction. Share progress toward goals, milestones reached, and other activities related to the action plan. Don't expect employees to automatically know everything that is being done or to simply observe the changes that are being made."
  • "Ongoing communications can also help drive accountability. When employees are reminded of promises that were made and goals that were set, the people responsible for delivering on those promises are more likely to follow through. It is as simple as peer pressure and can be a useful technique to impose on yourself and others."
  • "To maximize the value and trust you create out of conducting and employee survey, you must communicate results as soon as practical. How and when to present also depends on if you are doing pulse surveys (as described in the section above), or annual engagement surveys."
  • "In larger organizations, you may want to tier the results and tailor the data to different audiences. In these instances, communicate the process ahead of the results to maintain interest."
  • "Sharing details on how the feedback will be used for action planning will not only help generate support and engagement in the follow-up period, but also show your people that their feedback is meaningful and useful. After all, your people are the ones who will need to make changes to realise those improvements. In addition, it also has a positive effect on the response generated during the next survey."
  • "A simple thank you to the workers that took the survey, especially if it was voluntary, demonstrates that you appreciate them taking the time and effort to answer the questions. An email from your organization's leadership, ideally the CEO, also goes a long way in expressing that appreciation. With 79% of employees citing a lack of appreciation as a key contributor to leaving an employer, it’s obviously in an organization’s best interest to extend a heartfelt thanks."
  • "Once leadership and management have pored over the survey results with HR, identified areas for improvement, and discussed possible courses of action, then it's time to discuss the results with the workforce. It's usually helpful to designate a single person to lead the communication, hitting highlights like sentiment analysis and satisfaction scores to give employees a broad overview."