Clients sometimes ask how often to repeat their employee engagement survey.  The answer for most organizations is annually.

The reason for this is that a lot can change in a year.  Clients have their final reports in hand shortly after survey completion.  If plans to address problems found in the survey are implemented in two or three months, there is plenty of time to move the needle before the survey anniversary rolls around.  We’ve seen large improvements in just one year when clients have developed and implemented concrete plans to address changes recommended in the final report.  We’ve also observed large declines in engagement within a year when events, such as economic downturns that caused layoff, a new unpopular CEO, or a cut in benefits have been implemented since the last survey.

Some organizations are on a six-month survey rotation.  We don’t recommend that for most organizations.  An organization has to be very nimble to digest survey findings and act upon them in time to effect change in employee engagement six months after the a survey was launched.  However, some firms are nimble enough to do that.

Other organizations have a slower approval process requiring buy-in at high levels or across departments when designing changes based on the survey results.  In such cases, two years between surveys is more appropriate.