How to know when you need an employee engagement survey

By Joseph Peterson

2024-03-11 — Read 6 min

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Employee engagement is becoming an increasingly important topic within organisations worldwide, as more and more people are starting to work remotely in hybrid work environments. Over the last decade, many organizations have started using evidence-based digital tools, such as engagement surveys, to monitor, manage, and uplift employee engagement.

However, with engagement survey initiatives being time-consuming and costly affairs, when can one determine the need to deploy engagement surveys across an organisation?

This blog outlines six signs of a changing workplace culture which may point towards the need for an engagement survey to be deployed.

Increasing Employee Turnover

Employee turnover is a key indicator of employee experience and engagement. In any organisation, a certain level of employee turnover is normal, as people inevitably leave for various reasons.

However, if your employee turnover rate exceeds the typical level for your industry and continues to rise, it could signal a serious issue with employee experience and engagement. In these situations, it is crucial to delve deeper into the situation and understand it from the employees' perspective. In such cases, deploying an engagement survey can provide valuable insights.

Increased Absenteeism

An engaged workforce is a present workforce. Therefore, when employees show signs of frequent absenteeism, it often serves as a strong indicator of a lack of engagement and commitment to their tasks and roles.

However, as leaders, you shouldn't jump to conclusions based on your perceptions of the employee, and make assumptions about their situation. When people take leave often, it may or may not be due to work-related issues. It could be a result of a genuine personal or family matter that employees often mask and hide from others.

In such instances, even if employees have a completely positive work environment, they may not be 'engage-able' due to their out-of-work conditions. Therefore, an anonymous engagement survey tool could enable employees to open up, share their situations, and seek the support they need.

Signs of poor leadership

Conflicts that arise between team members and team leaders happen more than what may be seen by the eye.

This is due to the fact that not all conflicts are those of an obvious nature, for example, some employees who do not respect their boss may quietly complete tasks to the acceptable standard, and but may not go the extra mile. Similarly, some conflicts could be visible in the form of arguments or the exchange of strong words, or complaints made by other employees.

Having said that, poor leadership is not always manifested through conflicts and arguments. It's also about a lack of direction, inspiration, support, and guidance.

Any of these indicators is a sign to explore what's happening in team environments with leaders and team members. This is particularly important as leadership has the highest impact on employee engagement.

Restructure within the organisation

As with any major period of change in life and in business, new conditions have the ability to affect engagement negatively or positively.

Often within the business landscape employees may become nervous during periods of restructuring and new conditions. For example, they may feel less secure and comfortable within their roles, unsure about having to work with new teams, systems, reporting structures, and so on.

Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on employee well-being and engagement throughout transitional periods and address any issues which may arise promptly and efficiently.

Reports of incidents

In a toxic work environment, employees' physical and psychological well-being are likely to be negatively affected in many ways. In most cases, these incidents go unnoticed, as most employees feel uncomfortable sharing their experiences.

As a leader or an HR specialist, if you see any signs of employees being negatively treated, discriminated against, or even harassed and bullied, it’s mission critical to understand the situation in depth and explore if there are any other incidents that have gone unnoticed. Without this knowledge, you will not be able to support your staff and avoid such incidents in the future that significantly affect employee engagement.

An employee engagement survey provides a psychologically safe, anonymous environment for employees to report and be open about these experiences and then build understanding and trust within teams to avoid any future incidents.

To maintain a healthy workplace

All of the points mentioned above are situations where organisations might consider deploying an employee engagement survey due to alarming signs that indicate something is not quite right with the employee experience. But does it always have to be like that? Not at all. Successful organisations never wait until things go wrong to understand what’s causing the issue. You can deploy an employee engagement survey as a way of maintaining a healthy workplace by enabling employees to speak up and come together as a team to discuss what matters the most to the team.

From an HR point of view, you could use an employee engagement survey as a benchmarking and reporting tool to keep a close eye on the vital signs of teams and how they are progressing over time against other players in the industry.

If you are an HR specialist or a leader reading this blog post, it's time for you to take a step back and reflect on these points and how they relate to your own organization. Have you observed any of the signs discussed above? What actions is your organisation currently taking to address them? Consider how implementing an engagement survey process could help address these issues in the long term.

If you already have an engagement survey process in place, question whether it has delivered the intended results or if it has fallen short. It's crucial to understand that merely deploying an engagement survey will not transform teams and organizations. There are many organizations struggling to achieve tangible results with such initiatives. The tool itself won't make a difference; rather, it's the way in which it is deployed that will have a significant impact.

If you would like to learn more about our MyTeamPulse engagement survey and how it has helped organizations create healthy and empowering work cultures, as well as how it can be customized for your specific organization, please contact our Organizational Development Lead, Angela Neely, at, today.


Published 2024-03-11

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By Joseph Peterson

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