Employee Engagement

When Is the Best Time to Run an Employee Engagement Survey?


Like good comedy, timing is everything. With your employee engagement program, there are things that you need to take into consideration when scheduling an employee survey. Let’s look at the most important.

Establishing Two Key Time Periods

You should plan your survey around two key times:

  • When do you need to present the results to your executive?
  • When is the optimal time for employees to have the survey open?

When You Need to Present the Results

Certain times in your organization’s annual cycle are a good fit for presenting survey results:

  • The annual report, when company results are released, often needs to include fresh survey data. You’ll need to submit your data before the copy deadline.
  • Executive meetings are usually held monthly or quarterly. Compile your results in advance of those to secure a feedback presentation slot.
  • A quieter time of year is best for people to absorb survey results. Performance review time, Christmas, and year-end are usually busy, and analyzing results at these times can seem more like a distraction.
  • Historical survey times can be helpful because of corporate rhythms and habits. If you run a survey at a particular time of year, and it gives useful results, keep it at that time.


When to Open the Survey

You’ll need to look at your organization and identify a good time for your employees to give a survey their best attention. Times to avoid are:

  • School and public holidays – Lots of people will be on leave so you may find a lot of people miss the window.
  • Peak productivity periods – Surveying during a busy time for your employees can dramatically impact response rates and the quality and accuracy of the data. The end of the financial year and the run-up to Christmas are traditionally busy times.

How Long to Keep the Survey Open

You’ll need to decide how long to have the survey open for. Look at what your response rates have been historically. If they’ve been strong, you may be able to keep the survey open for a shorter period. Two weeks is generally a good rule of thumb for a survey administration window, particularly if all employees are taking the survey online.