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Advanced Guide to Employee Surveys

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Here at TINYhr, we get the question all the time from clients or prospective clients:

  • How do I make a really good employee survey?
  • How many questions is too many questions?
  • How frequent should I send a survey out?
  • What’s the best thing to do with survey feedback?

And, frankly, we’re not surprised that so many people ask this question. Do a quick Google search for "employee survey," “how to conduct an employee engagement survey,” or “best employee surveys” and you’ll get a broad range of articles. Some are incredibly generic and fail to offer any real guidance. Others require you to have a Ph.D. in statistics to understand the content.

After hearing the same questions asked repeatedly, we wanted to help people sort through these and some of the other commonly asked questions. This guide highlights best practices and tips for creating engaging and effective employee surveys.

We hope you enjoy reading it. We even threw in some fun stories to show you how any organization — whether it’s in healthcare, education, financial services, or some other industry entirely — can successfully use employee surveys to create a better, more engaged workplace that leads to improved retention, recognition, and results.


Raise your hand if you’ve ever ignored a survey.

Well, you’re not alone. Many employees ignore or despise employee surveys because they’re usually long and because of the real or perceived thought that their responses won’t lead to positive change. On the flip side, even the managers and HR leaders who employ traditional employee survey approaches get frustrated because collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the results is time consuming and overwhelming.

Yet, we still seem to get surveyed all the time. It’s because surveys are the most cost-effective and efficient way to collect feedback. And it’s because of this exact reason that online surveys get constantly abused. Managers can field surveys with little budget impact, planning, and foresight. That’s why we’re writing this guide to share how to avoid this common trap and to properly plan, strategize, and execute a successful employee survey.

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!" — Ben Franklin

We can help you make a better survey.

HubSpot, Livingsocial and National Australia Bank

TINYpulse has helped 300-plus organizations around the world survey their employees and has collected hundreds of thousands of responses. Organizations like HubSpot, Livingsocial and National Australia Bank leverage TINYpulse to help them get a pulse on how happy, frustrated, or burnt out their employees are before retention sinks and issues fester. Based on this experience, we offer 20 best practices and tips in The Advanced Guide to Employee Surveys so that you can create more effective employee surveys that lead to results and improve employee retention, morale, and performance.


This guide is intended for any organization that’s ready to poll its employees or hopes to improve its annual employee survey. You’ll learn a lot from this guide if you’re a:

  • CEO
  • Human Resource (HR) leader
  • General Manager (GM)
  • Head of a Department
  • Any employees leader


  • Those who aren’t committed to change
  • Those who can’t handle seeing or sharing critical feedback
  • Those who are unwilling to turn feedback into results

For employees, there’s nothing worse than giving feedback and then not hearing anything in response. Don’t fall into that trap.


Everyone has different levels of experience and requirements when it comes to surveying his or her team. After consulting this guide, you’ll be armed with proven approaches and strategies to replace or augment your current employee surveys.


"You can't manage what you can't measure." —W. Edwards Deming

Quite simply, polling employees quickly sheds light on workplace issues, allowing the surveyor to recognize culture problems that lead to employee disengagement.

And, research reveals that employee engagement positively impacts:

  • Revenue. Companies with engaged employees experience 3-year revenue growth of 20.1 percent, compared to 8.9 percent by industry peers, according to CLC Genesee the HR consulting and employee survey division of The Corporate Executive Board.

  • Retention. CLC Genesee also found that engaged employees are 87 percent less likely to leave the organization than disengaged employees.

  • Creativity. Gallup Research has found that 59 percent of engaged employees say their job brings out their most creative ideas, compared to only 3 percent of disengaged employees.

So if you want a stronger-performing organization, it’s time to get your survey on.

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