Why is the annual employee engagement survey a waste of time and money?

Money WastedIf you’re a business leader or entrepreneur, you know how important employee engagement can be. Engaged and motivated workers tend to be more productive and provide better customer service, which in turn benefits your business. If you ask someone how to evaluate your employees’ engagement, they would likely recommend an annual engagement survey. Unfortunately, that would be a waste of your time and money – and here’s why:


Employee engagement surveys are usually designed to serve as a measurement tool, rather than a diagnostic tool. Most organizations won’t ask open-ended questions, or would fail to analyze them adequately. The standardised tests, on the other hand, provide limited and often vague conclusions about your employee engagement.

Infrequent feedback

The employee engagement surveys are conducted usually in a period of 12-18 months. Think about it: do you think that getting your customers’ feedback once in 12 months would be of any help? It’s the same with employee engagement surveys. A good solution could be to have focused pulse surveys for smaller groups periodically.

Unreliable data

The annual engagement survey won’t encompass your employees’ activity throughout the whole year. Recent events and impressions tend to have greater impact on the survey scores, which skews the data and can’t provide adequate information. Moreover, some managers might try to skew the results by rewarding their employees in the month before the evaluation.

Time gap 

Finally, there is usually a gap between the time the data is collected, and the time it’s analyzed, reported and the proper course of action has been selected. You can’t know for sure whether the results you’ve just obtained are still relevant. Moreover, since the whole process takes months to complete, your employees would start wondering whether their voices have been heard at all.

As you can see, the annual employee survey is more of a waste of time and money, than an efficient way to evaluate your employees’ engagement. The large time gap between the survey and the analysis of results, plus the infrequent feedback and unsuitable format make it an inefficient and unreliable way to obtain such data.