Engagement: Feature Overview

15Five's Engagement feature is a science-backed engagement solution that helps you turn engagement insights into engagement outcomes. In this article, we'll walk through the ins-and-outs of the Engagement feature including benefits, key components, and best practices so you're set up for success.

In this article, you will learn...

Access and availability

⛔️ Required access to Engagement.
👥 This article is relevant to all roles.
📦 This feature is available in the Engage, Legacy Perform, and Total Platform pricing packages.

What is 15Five's Engagement feature?

15Five's Engagement feature is a tool that allows leaders to survey employees about how engaged they are. Data-rich insights with built-in AI makes it easy for leaders to quickly identify trends in results and spot opportunities for improvement, identify areas of celebration, and inform future initiatives to drive engagement.

Traditional engagement surveys are outdated and unreliable, giving you only part of the story. 15Five's surveys are research-based, so you know precisely how engaged your people are and how well they’re thriving. Our Engagement feature is rooted in the Full Potential Index: the most complete measure of how well people and organizations are reaching their full potential. Instead of giving you a surface-level view of how happy your people are in their roles, the Full Potential Index aims to understand how well your employees are thriving—because when your employees are thriving, so is your business.

Why we built Engagement

When we built our Engagement feature, we set out to find and directly address the biggest obstacles to a great work experience and culture. Some examples of what we help our customers with are...

  • Getting to the root of workload stressors so teams aren’t stretched too thin
  • Improving communication from leadership on strategic priorities and how those impact your work directly
  • Introducing professional development programs to help with your personal growth
  • Cutting down on politics and morale killers to make the office a better place to spend your days
  • Understanding uneven management practices and recommending manager coaching
  • Improving processes to make your job more efficient

What is employee engagement?

We define employee engagement as "An employee’s intellectual and emotional connection with their employer, demonstrated by their motivation and commitment to positively impact the business’s vision and goals." In other words, focused purposeful energy towards work tasks and company goals results in benefits to the organization as well as you. Read more in our "What is employee engagement?" Help Center article.


Alongside maximizing employee performance and reducing regrettable turnover, increasing employee engagement is one of 15Five's HR Outcomes: the most important things that companies should focus on to support their business goals. Every part of the 15Five platform, including Engagement, works cohesively to drive these outcomes within your organization. Our revolutionary HR Outcomes Flywheel approach enables HR leaders — in partnership with managers — to act on measured outcomes at scale and in a way that demonstrably impacts the business.

How it works

  1. Participants fill out their engagement surveys. It starts with employees taking a simple survey. Our easy-to-use surveys can be completed from any device in just 6 minutes.
  2. Leaders analyze results. Once results are in, they can be analyzed by department, team, tenure, demographics, and more using powerful dashboards. With built-in reporting, you can dive into industry benchmarks, track organization engagement over time, and identify strengths and areas of opportunity so you can make data-driven decisions and strategically coach select leaders. Spark AI spots trends in written responses and saves hours of time that would otherwise be spent going through responses manually.
  3. Leaders take action on results. Using engagement surveys at your organization won't create change unless you use the results to instigate action. Once you've analyzed results, use our action plans tool to create specific, actionable plans proven to improve engagement drivers.
  4. Repeat on a quarterly or bi-annual cadence and continue tracking engagement outcomes over time. We recommend surveying employees 2-4 times a year to track progress. Establishing a cadence upfront allows employee engagement to be part of business planning.

How Engagement surveys impact HR Outcomes

Holding regular engagement surveys within your organization can have a major impact on 15Five's HR Outcomes: maximizing employee performanceincreasing employee engagement, and decreasing regrettable turnover

Performance Engagement Turnover

Key components

Core EngageSurvey

Our recommended core EngageSurvey is designed to provide leaders with a full picture of engagement in their organization. It contains 58 statements, including the 7 statements that we use to calculate your organization's Engagement Score and questions used to measure Engagement Drivers. Participants are asked to rate their agreement to each statement question on a 5-scale Likert scale (strongly agree > strongly disagree) and also have the option to provide open-text responses to questions that are automatically generated based how they responded to Driver questions. View the core engagement survey in-app here.

Statements included in the core engagement survey are broken down into four sections:

  1. Your Work Experience: Asks respondents to reflect on their work experience.
  2. Organization Leadership: Asks respondents to reflect on the culture of leaders within the organization.
  3. Your Manager: Asks respondents to reflect on the working relationship they have with their manager.
  4. Your Coworkers: Asks respondents to reflect on the working relationship they have with their immediate coworkers.

On average, this survey takes 6 minutes to complete. This number of statements, and the "I feel" wording we use, are necessary to statistically cast a net wide enough to highlight high and low engagement within a team.

Customizable campaigns

We understand that flexibility is key to getting the insights you need. Engagement admins can create custom campaigns to fit the needs of their organization. A custom campaign can include any of the various survey options we offer. You can also create targeted campaigns, which only go out to specific subsets of your organization.

Express surveys

Express surveys allow you to quickly launch an engagement campaign that contains one of our three most popular and science-backed engagement survey: Engagement with Drivers (the Core EngageSurvey), Engagement-only, and Manager Effectiveness. Learn more about each of these survey options.


Engagement Score

The Engagement Score is an overall measurement of how engaged employees are within your organization— think of it as a "pulse" on employees’ current emotional and psychological state. This score reflects employees' personal and emotional psychological motivations for their work.


The Engagement Score is based on participant responses to 7 statements:

  1. The work that I do gives me a sense of pride.
  2. I feel a sense of happiness when I am working very hard.
  3. I find it very easy to stay focused on what is most important for me to accomplish at work.
  4. I find my work to be full of meaning and purpose.
  5. When I wake up, I feel like going to work.
  6. I am able to get into a state of complete focus while working.
  7. I love the feeling of working.

Learn more about the Engagement Score and other reporting options.


Engagement admins have the option to add eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) to engagement campaigns. When eNPS is added, respondents are asked: "On a scale from 0-10, how likely are you to recommend {Organization Display Name} as a great place to work?". Respondents also have the option to provide an open response to the prompt, "What was the primary reason for your answer?".
Measuring eNPS internally is a good practice for organizations because it provides a simple and effective way to gauge employee satisfaction and engagement and track progress over time.


Once an engagement campaign concludes, you can view breakdown and trending eNPS reporting. Learn more about eNPS in Engagement.

Engagement Drivers

There are 17 drivers that employee engagement research identifies as influencers or "levers" of engagement. These engagement drivers collectively contribute to creating a positive and engaging work environment that promotes employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall organizational success.


Engagement Driver questions are included in our Core EngageSurvey. We also give organizations the option to add driver-specific surveys to custom campaigns, which allows for the opportunity to collect feedback on only the specific drivers that are top-of-mind. Measuring drivers allows organization leaders to identify areas of celebration and opportunity to address come survey completion. Learn more about Engagement Driver reporting and other reporting options in Engagement.

Spark AI

Within 15Five's Engagement feature, Spark AI allows leaders to automatically categorize and summarize open-text feedback into themes based on Engagement Drivers — saving you hours and enabling you to quickly spot where your organization needs to take action. Learn more about how to summarize open-text feedback with Spark AI.


Data-rich insights

Engagement reporting makes it easy to decide where to focus your engagement strategy (down to the specific manager) and dive deeper into specific topics such as burnout, DE&I, and remote work. Understand engagement at the company, department, or team level, and slice and dice the data however you want to identify wins and challenges across any demographic. Plus, compare progress over time and against other companies in your industry with benchmarking. Learn more about reporting options in Engagement.

In-house advising and coaching

Insights are nothing without action. Purchasing an Insights Briefing following an engagement campaign allows your team to work with our in-house engagement experts to create an engagement strategy and help managers become drivers of engagement.

Roles and confidentiality

There are two kinds of access in 15Five's Engagement feature: 1) role and 2) results access level. Employees can be given access to Engagement as an employee, leader, Organization Admin, or Engagement Admin (as outlined above). They can also be granted full, limited, or no-results access.

Role Description
Participant A person who is included as a participant in an engagement campaign. By default, any employee in 15Five is assigned as an employee in Engage. Can complete engagement surveys, but doesn't have access to the Engage Portal or Engagement survey results.
Leader By default, any manager in 15Five is assigned as a leader in Engage. They have access to the Engage Portal, and may or may not have results access depending on their assigned results access level.
Organization admin Can access the Engage Portal and manage feature settings and employee/group data in Engage. By default, any account admin in 15Five is assigned as an organization admin in Engage.
Engagement admin Has the same permissions as Organization admins plus the ability to create and manage engagement campaigns and view all engagement survey results.
Results Access
Results access level Permissions
Full access Employees with full access have full visibility into company-wide results and details for all groups.
Limited access Employees with limited access will only see assessment results, feedback, and actions for the groups they have access to.
No access Employees with no access can manage employee and group data, but cannot see results.

Unbiased and honest survey participation is critical for an organization to receive accurate engagement insights from a survey. For this reason, 15Five intentionally designed our system to provide trust and security to employees. To ensure this, 15Five rigidly enforces our confidentiality policy in a few different ways:

  • Participation is confidential: 15Five does not share which employees did or did not participate in an engagement survey. We do, however, allow admins to see the response rates of groups during an engagement campaign.
  • No individual survey responses are identified. No one in your organization can see how an individual responded to statements in an engagement survey. Engagement results are only available in aggregate by groups that received no fewer than 3-5 respondents (see "Minimum respondent threshold for engagement results" below for more information).
  • Written responses are always anonymous. All written responses, which we call "Dynamic Feedback," are presented anonymously and can only be filtered by a single group type (e.g. by Department). For Dynamic Feedback comments to be available for a group, at least 3-5 employees from that group must have responded to the engagement survey. If the group meets the confidentiality criteria, leaders with results access for that group can read any responses that are received even if we receive fewer than five pieces of Dynamic Feedback.
  • Minimum respondent threshold for engagement results. Survey confidentiality within 15Five's Engagement feature prevents engagement data from being displayed for groups with fewer than 3-5 members, or in instances where fewer than 3-5 people from a group respond to an engagement survey. While the default and recommended threshold is 5 respondents, Engagement and Organization Admins have the option to customize the threshold to either 3 or 4 respondents as they configure Engagement feature settings.

Learn more in our "Confidentiality for engagement surveys" article.

Best practices

Hold quarterly engagement surveys

As renowned management consultant and author Peter Drucker said, "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it." Most organizations report on KPIs at least quarterly, if not more frequently. So why not employee engagement— isn’t it worth the 6 minutes every three months to quantify employee health? Especially when you consider the changes in a quarter— with new employees, new customers, and new business— as well as the loss of employees and customers. Measuring quarterly means you'll never be surprised by shifts in engagement, and you'll always be ahead of the game.

Additionally, the speed of feedback creates a competitive advantage for your leadership team. The more frequently an organization receives feedback, the faster it can evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and then course-correct before it’s too late. Besides, employees who take a survey tend to draw from memories about the past couple of weeks or months, not something that happened a year ago.

Most importantly, employees are happy to give feedback if they see that leadership or manager is listening and acting on it. When a person feels that their feedback matters, they willingly offer it. It is up to your organization's leadership team to push results and action accountability down to managers. When 20 people each do one thing close to their own circle of engagement, actions and culture growth move really fast!

All this said, unique situations and circumstances can arise where it may not make sense not to run a quarterly survey. For example, your organization may choose to alternate between holding performance reviews and running engagement surveys every quarter. That's totally fine! At the end of the day, the most important thing is to ensure that you're using a continuous and consistent approach to driving the behaviors that positively impact your business and receiving and acting on feedback from your employees.

Ensure your employee data is accurate and up-to-date

Before sending out a survey, it's important to make sure that employee data is accurate and actionable. Starting with good data integrity will help ensure that your results are accurate and insightful.

Keep these tips in mind as you go through employee, group, and attribute data:

  • Consider doing a data clean-up in your HRIS and request employees to update their profiles regularly for any data that they opt-in for (updated locations, demographics, etc).
  • If your organization doesn't use an HRIS, do an audit of employee data in 15Five. You can export a CSV of all employee data by clicking Download current structure on the bulk import page in 15Five, make any necessary changes, and then perform a bulk import to get the updated employee data into 15Five.
  • Consider any subsets of people you would want to be able to view engagement results for and create groups or attributes that you can use to filter results by. Check out our "People and data management options in 15Five" article for more information about groups and attributes.
  • Build your groupings around people responsibility and lines of authority, not around your budget or financial org structure (if the two aren't in alignment). Engagement survey results are nothing if not actionable and meaningfully tied to areas of influence for organizational leaders and teams.
Keep your data consistent between surveys

Changing the structure of groups or attributes between surveys will break trending data and prevent you from seeing how engagement is changing over time. Before you launch your first engagement survey, we recommend taking the time to ensure your people data in 15Five is accurate and actionable, then making minimal changes moving forward so that you can view trending data.

Avoid surveying about topics that you can't act on

Before adding questions to an engagement campaign, ask yourself: is our leadership ready to take action on the items we're asking employees about? Soliciting feedback via an engagement survey is not a toy or a novelty, and comes with some risk of harm. For example, we do not recommend including the "Diversity & Inclusion Progress" survey in an engagement campaign if you haven't consulted with a DEI consultant/expert (can be internal or external) and can't take action on results. Understand your capacity and desire for change before launching a campaign.

Response rates matter

If your people aren't responding to engagement surveys, results won't be reflective of engagement within your organization. Think of creative ways to drive up survey rates. For example:

  • Have your CEO share posts in a company-wide communication channel highlighting the percentage of people who have already responded, reminding people why participation is important and how easy is it to participate (takes less than 6 minutes and can be completed from any device), and nudging people who haven't yet responded to submit their surveys
  • Offer prizes to the teams or departments that reach a 100% response rate
  • If you're in an office, post posters around common areas reminding people to participate and sharing the deadline
  • Have managers announce the engagement survey in their team meetings or channels.
  • Remind people to submit their surveys in as many channels as possible. Oftentimes, people simply forget to submit their surveys— they're not intentionally declining to participate.
  • Act on results following an engagement survey. While this suggestion can't be done in the moment, it's vital to ensure that people remember why participation matters and how it can positively impact their work lives.

Our Global Average Response rate is 82% when following our default recommended reminder cadence. This can vary depending on the accuracy and type of contact information, industry, internal promotion efforts, and of course employee perception of action over time. Really work towards pursuing the highest rate possible!

Share results with your team...and act on them!

A 2014 study conducted by WorkLeap found that 29% of employee think that engagement surveys are useless. If you ask employees to fill out a survey and then fail to share or act on results, the hidden message being communicated is that the survey is a "tick the box" exercise that isn't important. That said, it's vital for leadership teams to...

  1. Analyze engagement survey results: Once results are in, take the time to analyze results so you know your organization's strengths and areas of opportunity. Review trends over time to see what's working and what isn't. Read through dynamic feedback or use Spark AI to generate a summary of all written responses so you know how your organization is feeling and what specific needs they have.
  2. Create an action plan based on findings: After analyzing results, decide where you want to focus on as a leadership or HR team. It's not possible to take action on every single piece of feedback you receive, but highlighting themes and creating initiatives that are focused around the most impactful data points will show your team that you hear them and are being proactive in creating a more engaging work environment. Consider having managers create action plans around an engagement driver that was low for their team. Check out our "Engagement drivers" article for suggested actions you can take to increase specific driver scores.
  3. Communicate results and action plan to your organization: You did the work — now share it with your organization! Present results publically in an all-hands meeting and communicate how leadership plans to act on results. Show your employees that their voices matter and that participating in engagement surveys really can have a positive impact on their work lives. 
  4. Report back on the success of post-survey initiatives: Consider sharing regular (monthly or quarterly) updates on the progress of post-survey actions either in a company-wide communication channel or during all-hands meetings. Sharing updates when you announce your next engagement survey can be impactful in driving the response rate, as it shows employees that their voices matters.
Hold your Managers and Leaders accountable for their actions

Following the conclusion of an engagement survey, leaders can create action plans that target an engagement driver that was low for their team. 15Five intelligently recommends actions based on results, so it's easy to take data-driven action. That said, a best practice is to require managers to create 1-2 action plans so they can focus on driving engagement before the next survey. Then, hold your people accountable for their actions. Consider having leaders who manage other managers add a talking point to their 1-on-1 agendas to discuss progress on actions, or asking a manager-specific Check-in question to see how their action plans are progressing.

Use Engagement to populate the HR Outcomes Dashboard

15Five’s HR Outcomes Dashboard provides a reliable way for HR executives to consistently capture, synthesize, and present the outcomes they are measuring and working to improve: manager effectiveness, employee engagement, employee performance, and regrettable turnover. This allows HR leaders to show clear and concise data that directly links programs like employee learning and development to outcomes like employee retention, which can, in turn, be connected to business outcomes like customer satisfaction and revenue.

As you configure the HR Outcomes Dashboard, you can choose to pull in data from engagement surveys in the following ways:

  • You can measure Employee Engagement using your organization's most recent Engagement Score.
  • You can include scores from your organization's most recent Manager Effectiveness Survey in the calculate of your organization's Manager Effectiveness Indicator.

Pulling engagement survey data into the HR Outcomes Dashboard gives you a fuller picture of employee engagement and allows you to see how HR initiatives impact engagement within your organization.


Does the employee’s personality affect their responses?
Our survey statements are designed to cancel out personality bias. Personality matters more in how you communicate results and make changes in your company.
How did you come up with the survey questions?

There's a lot of science behind this! We spend time with university psychologists, we review scholarly research, and we validate survey scales in the marketplace in order to have the most effective standardized survey questions. Every question is intentionally worded. We run reliability and validity tests regularly. In total, there are about 55 Likert scale statements in the core EngageSurvey, which take an average of 6 minutes to complete. From these questions, we show results for the important components of engagement related to the work itself, the relationships around the work, and the mission/impact of the org. Our methodology strongly recommends sending this survey 3-4x/year--so the questions might start to feel familiar--as this allows us to trend results for your leaders so they can tell what's working and what's not.

Science 🔬: Reliability and Validity of the Engagement Score Questions

What'd the difference between "Engage" and "Engagement" in 15Five?
"Engage" refers to the pricing plan that contains engagement surveys, whereas "Engagement" refers to the actual engagement survey feature.

Additional resources

Product Training videos 🎥

Our Product Team also hosts the following recurring trainings for admins:

  • Engagement Survey Prep: Launching Engage with Confidence: In this training, admins will learn how to utilize 15Five's Engagement feature to increase engagement within your organization. We'll walk through how to strategically prep your data, configure feature settings, set up an engagement survey campaign, and more! We will be joined by a member of 15Five's Strategic Advisor Team to share their expertise and answer questions you may have.
    Register here
  • Engage Reporting Analysis: Understanding the Engagement of Your Organization: In this training, admins will learn how to utilize 15Five's Engagement feature to increase engagement within your organization. We'll walk through how to understand your engagement survey reporting and insights, the best next steps to follow after a survey, communication best practices, and more! We will be joined by a member of 15Five's Strategic Advisor Team to share their expertise and answer questions you may have.
    Register here
Webinars 👨🏽‍💻
  • Fireside Chat with VaynerMedia Chief Heart Officer, Claude Silver (60 min): Join 15Five co-founder Shane Metcalf and VaynerMedia's Claude Silver as they discuss how to be the kind of leader who can fix what's broken, turn any team into a winning team, and help the people around you be better and do better. Join the revolution and learn how to be a heart centered leader who uses emotional optimism as a tool for change within your life and work.
  • Why Engagement is the Key to High Performance and Reaching Your Full Potential (60 min): Join 15Five's Courtney Bigony, MAPP, and Jeff Smith, Ph.D., as they introduce a new and differentiated approach to engagement that measurably unlocks the potential of your workforce.
  • Engagement, Elevated: New Ways to Identify and Engage High Performers (60 min): Top performers are vital to every company’s success. Now more than ever organizations are scrambling to define outstanding performance, while also rewarding and recognizing the employees who consistently move the needle forward. In this webinar, Jennie Yang, VP of People & Culture at 15Five, and Vince Huang, former Chief Product Officer at 15Five, sit down and discuss innovative ways for organizations to identify and engage their high performers.
eBooks 📖


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