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Survey Flow (EX)

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Attention: Many links on this page link back to pages regarding standard Qualtrics surveys, not just Employee Engagement or Lifecycle surveys. Detailed below are the differences you will need to be aware of on each page. While some content may look slightly different when creating your Employee Engagement or Lifecycle survey, feature functionality remains the same.
Qtip: This page describes functionality available to Engagement, Lifecycle, and Ad Hoc Employee Research projects. For more details on each, see Types of Employee Experience Projects.

About the Survey Flow

The survey flow is a block-level view of your survey. From here, you can customize where participants go in your survey and what they see. You can perform simple tasks like rearranging blocks, or you can add elements like branch logic that direct and personalize your participants’ survey experience. Participants will start at the top of the flow and work their way through until they reach an end point and finish the survey.

The EmployeeXM survey flow is exactly the same as the Survey Platform’s except for three key differences:

  1. Reference Surveys are not available for EmployeeXM projects; they are only available for standard Qualtrics surveys.
  2. EmployeeXM projects have fewer options available in the end of survey element. See the end of survey element section below for more information.
  3. The authenticator for EmployeeXM projects functions differently than it does in standard Qualtrics surveys. See the authenticator section below for more information.

With these differences in mind, visit the Survey Platform’s survey flow overview support page for an overview on the survey flow.

Show Block

You can use Show Block to display a block at any point within your survey. A block is a group of questions that are displayed as a set within your survey. Every survey includes at least one block of questions.

Showing a block works the exact same way in EmployeeXM as it does in the Survey Platform. For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s show block support page.

Branch Logic

Branches are useful when you want to send participants down different paths in the survey. You can use branch logic to branch participants to different survey flow elements based on variables like question responses or embedded data. It’s a bit like a choose your own adventure novel. Depending on how your participants answer certain questions, they will take different routes through your survey.

Branch logic works the exact same way in EmployeeXM as it does in the Survey Platform. For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s branch logic support page.

Embedded Data

Embedded data is any extra information you would like recorded in addition to the question responses. For EmployeeXM, there is no need to use embedded data to pull in information from a contact list since contact lists are not used for EmployeeXM. Instead, participants are uploaded into the project with their personal information, which will be automatically recorded if you are not using an anonymous link.

Qtip: Metadata and embedded data are not the same; metadata is exclusive to EmployeeXM. For more information, visit our metadata support page section.

Besides the above mention regarding contact lists, embedded data works the exact same way in EmployeeXM as it does in the Survey Platform. For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s embedded data support page.


With a randomizer in your survey flow, you can randomly present question blocks, embedded data, and other survey flow elements to your participants.

Randomizers work the exact same way in EmployeeXM as they do in the Survey Platform. For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s randomizer support page.

Web Service

Sometimes you may want to include more complex features in your survey. Maybe you want to pull in the top 10 headlines from a news website into your survey, or you want to automate a second survey distribution to be emailed to the participants of a first survey exactly two hours later. A web service would allow you to do just that by making requests to a designated URL.

Web services work the exact same way in EmployeeXM as they do in the Survey Platform. For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s web service support page.


Sometimes you need all the benefits of a unique survey link without actually creating or sending out a unique link. Authenticators allow you to do just this, letting you collect responses that are connected to your participant list without generating unique links. Authenticators make this possible by having participants “log in” to take a survey. This means that you can copy the anonymous link to a website or into an email and still track who has responded. Only people who are listed in your participant list can take the survey, so you won’t collect unwanted responses even when using the anonymous link.

Qtip: To test your authenticator, upload dummy participants to your project and authenticate as them. Before launching your survey, make sure to delete the tests from your data set. For more tips on testing your authenticator, read the testing with an authenticator Survey Platform page.

The authenticator options are the same in EmployeeXM as in the Survey Platform. You also remove your authenticator in the same way.

However, authenticators in EmployeeXM are set up differently. You have two different authenticator types: the standard authenticator and the SSO authenticator. Each behaves a bit differently and requires a specific setup. Please note the following interactions between participant invite links and authenticators:

  • If your survey uses the standard authenticator and the respondent accesses the survey via a participant invite link, then they will be automatically authenticated.
  • If your survey uses the SSO authenticator, respondents must manually authenticate, even if they have an invite link.

Standard Authenticator

The set up for standard authenticators is different for EmployeeXM surveys than for Survey Platform surveys.

First, you’ll need to make sure you’ve uploaded your participants and their metadata into the project. Next, when setting up your authenticator, you will need to specify a Person authentication field.

  1. Add your participants to your project.
  2. Navigate to the Survey tab.
    navigating to survey flow, adding an element, and selecting authenticator
  3. Click Survey flow.
  4. Click Add a New Element Here.
  5. Select Authenticator.
  6. Move the Authenticator to the beginning of your survey flow by clicking Move and dragging the authenticator to the top of the survey flow.
    selecting the person field and moving the authenticator to the top of the survey flow, with all other elements nested under it
  7. Nest the blocks you’d like to authenticate beneath the authenticator element by moving them beneath the authenticator.
    Qtip: Make sure all blocks that you want authenticated are nested under the authenticator element. This means they are not on the same outside tier as the authenticator in the survey flow, but are indented or nested under the authenticator.
  8. Under Authentication Type, select Person Field.
  9. Click the dropdown next to Person authentication field to choose the field you’d like participants to enter for authentication. This can be UniqueID, Email, or any participant metadata. We recommend you use UniqueID since all participants will have a unique value for this field.
    Qtip: The person field used for authentication needs to contain unique values for each participant, such as an employee ID number. If you authenticate based off of a common value, like department, the contacts with duplicate values will not be able to authenticate.
  10. Click Options and review the authenticator options.
  11. Click OK to save the options.
    Authenticator options window with the OK button highlighted in the bottom-right corner
  12. Once you’re satisfied with your changes to the survey flow, click Apply.

SSO Authenticator

The SSO authenticator works in EmployeeXM almost the exact same way as it does in standard Qualtrics surveys, except that instead of Associate Respondent With Panel, you have the option to Associate respondent with person by field. This option forces respondents to be a member of your survey’s participant list in order to take the survey. The identifying field in the participant list must match the username attribute from the SSO setup. For example, if the SSO is passing employee IDs as usernames, you will need to include employee IDs as metadata in your participants list.

Authenticator set to SSO with the option Associated respondent with person by field set to Email

When the field you’ve chosen to identify participants by isn’t Email, you will be asked to specify a corresponding SSO field in the SSO Field Mapping text box that appears.

Arrow indicates the associate response with person by field is set to Employee ID, not email; as a result, an sso field mapping box appears below

When you select “Email” as the identifier for the participant list in an SSO authenticator in an EE survey, the SSO field that is actually used to pair the participant to the Email in the participant list is different for each SSO type. The SSO field that is referenced for each SSO type is outlined below:

Shibboleth Value passed within the attribute assigned to the “Email Field” of the brand’s SSO settings
CAS Value passed as the CAS username
LDAP Value passed within the attribute assigned to the “Email Field” of the authenticator settings
Google OAuth Value passed within the “UserName” attribute
Token Value passed within the “email” parameter of the encrypted SSO token
Facebook Value passed within the “email” attribute

For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s SSO authenticator support page.

End of Survey Element

Even though you can easily change the default end-of-survey message in the survey builder, you sometimes may want a different end-of survey experience for different participants. With the end of survey element in the survey flow, you can create custom ending points, each with their own unique behavior.

The standard Qualtrics survey options to Send additional thank you email from the libraryDo not increment quota countsDo NOT record any personal information and remove panel association (not recommended), Flag response as, and Screen-out Response are only available for use with standard Qualtrics surveys. Only the below options are available in EmployeeXM.

Customize end of survey options
Besides the features listed above, end of survey elements work the exact same way in EmployeeXM as they do in the Survey Platform. For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s end of survey element support page.

Table of Contents

You can use the table of contents feature to allow your participants to easily navigate between your question blocks while taking your survey. Each survey participant will have access to a table of contents that allows them to jump to different sections in your survey and track their overall progress.

The table of contents works the exact same way in EmployeeXM as it does in the Survey Platform. For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s table of contents support page.

Text Sentiment – Topic

As respondents provide open feedback on your survey, Qualtrics can assess the sentiment of the response, topics used in the response, and the sentiment of those particular topics. Once these calculations are made, you can use branch logic to send respondents to different paths in the survey depending on the sentiment or topics present in their response.

The text sentiment – topic element will still work exactly as it does in the Survey Platform. For more information, visit the Survey Platform’s Text iQ-Powered Survey Flows support page.