Employee Engagement Surveys: Timing is Everything

Employee surveys increase your understanding of and enhance employee engagement — but when is the best time to launch your survey?

Conduct employee surveys? Yes, of course! 

Did you also answer yes to this question? Then you're in good company, because 90% of companies give exactly the same answer—and have done so for around 40 years! (Frieg & Hossiep, 2018)

Employee surveys have been an integral part of companies, and especially HR-departments, since the 1980s.

After all, the most successful companies are those that have recognized employee well-being and high employee engagement as valuable drivers of corporate success — and see employee engagement as more than a simple buzzword for PR purposes. 

Profitable companies listen to their employees and listen to them equally. 

This means that the workforce is valued and their feedback as well as their wishes, worries, and needs are regularly discussed. 

These feedback findings paired with relevant company key figures then form the basis for changes that can be implemented most effectively and sustainably together with committed, satisfied and loyal employees.

If you’re curious about the benefits of employee surveys, such as lower turnover rates through employee retention, consolidation of corporate culture, and increased productivity, you can read more about it in my article here: The Basis for Successful Change Processes.

But more specifically, when and how should your survey be carried out? More on this below.

When is the Right Time to Conduct an Employee Survey?

It depends on whether you’ve planned one or several surveys per year. 

There can be a reason for several surveys due to a situation in the company, where major changes affect most employees, e.g. from one or more of these areas:  

    • Alignment of corporate goals  
    • Restructuring  
    • Site reduction or new locations  
    • Introduction of new technologies and processes  
    • Changes in ownership

However, it does not always have to be serious changes, but a review of the working atmosphere or the desire for prompt feedback, e.g. on certain projects, are just as relevant reasons for a survey. 

Many companies also attach great importance to comparing results from current and prior periods, for which regular implementation is of course a prerequisite. 

Experience has shown that most large surveys are carried out after the summer months and after the big holidays in autumn in order to present the evaluation of results in the current year to the workforce and to plan possible change processes for the coming year in good time. 

Shorter pulse surveys, for example in the form of a review of the working atmosphere, are usually suitable for current and less complex topics and are sometimes even carried out on a monthly basis. 

Pro tip!  

More than six pulse surveys per year are only recommended if they are well-substantiated in terms of content, communicated transparently, and sufficient resources are planned for the evaluation and implementation of measures.

Let's get in touch!

We have expertise in conducting authentic employee surveys that can deliver real insights and sustainable change in your organization. Contact us for a non-binding consultation on how we can work together to strengthen your employer attractiveness from the inside we look forward to hearing from you. 

How Do You Conduct an Employee Survey?

As in any project, conducting an employee survey includes a detailed plan. Depending on the scope and resources, the survey project can be carried out internally by individuals or with the support of external experts. 

The actions within the company according to the survey, on the other hand, cannot be implemented by one person alone. But armed with a plan, motivated managers as drivers of change, and of course in collaboration with a committed workforce, you’re off to a great start. 


Key steps of the employee survey


  1. Detail objectives

  2. Define the schedule, survey type, and communication plan

  3. Design the questionnaire OR use an automated HR-survey tool with an accessible, ready-to-use, scientifically sound questionnaire

  4. Conduct the survey

  5. Analyze and evaluate (monitor the number of participants with regards to valid results, data processing in Excel or SPSS, preparation of the results, creation of graphics, and formulation of recommendations for action as well as management summary in PowerPoint) OR use of an automated HR-survey tool with the possibility to finalize the results including recommendations for action at the touch of a button in PowerPoint immediately after the end of the survey

  6. Implement measures based on insights gathered from the survey

Pro tip! 

It can happen that the survey results are surprising or alarming, e.g. in sub-areas or certain departments. 

Especially in the case of sensitive, complex, or conflict-laden topics, it is therefore advisable to initiate necessary follow-up processes and to design them systematically, fairly, and neutrally for everyone.  

The support of experts, such as organizational psychologists, is often not only productive but essential.

After all, in crisis situations many companies can no longer guarantee giving constructive feedback, sharing new perspectives, or a safe working atmosphere, so that supportive advice can even be of groundbreaking importance for the future of the company. 

Dr. Salla Sorvisto-Santoro

Communication Studies (PhD) | Economics (BA) 

Business Development Manager

Xact By Rambøll

M +49 1525 321 5171