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employee engagement
7 Min Read

Revamp Your Employee Engagement Survey with 15Five’s Engagement+

Courtney Bigony
Courtney Bigony

Today’s business leaders want to understand what truly matters to their people and what really impacts their performance. 15Five’s Engagement+ and its Full Potential Index templates provide unparalleled insights into the elements that build an energized, inspired, and passionate workforce. 

Some of the key benefits of Engagement+ include:

  • Evidence-based engagement surveys that measure if your people are reaching their full potential and thriving
  • The ability to integrate engagement and performance practices for a cohesive employee experience
  • Free access to the Full Potential Index

Workplace engagement today

According to Gallup, only 35% of the workplace is engaged, 13% are actively disengaged, and 52% are not engaged at all. The 35% who are engaged are involved in, enthusiastic, and committed to their work and workplace, while the 13% who are actively disengaged have miserable work experiences. The 52% who are not engaged are unattached, going through the motions, and unable to bring their best self to work each day. Though these employees are generally satisfied with work and do what’s required, they will quickly leave for a better offer. 

US organizations spend around $720 million a year on engagement, according to Bersin & Associates. Why then are so few people actually engaged with their work? 

The current concept of engagement is wrong

Leading researchers in organizational psychology have critiqued employee engagement surveys for a number of years, saying that it’s an old concept with an unclear definition, unproven results, and administered through outdated practices and technology. 

The term employee engagement was first used in the late 1990s. Since then, many definitions of engagement have appeared, and while each definition varies, many define employee engagement through related concepts, such as behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, or feelings, like job satisfaction. However, the concept of work engagement cannot be reduced to any of these.  Worse, there is little to no scientific evidence suggesting that measuring or improving the engagement-related concepts have a direct impact on improving performance.

A more accurate definition of engagement

At 15Five, we’re aiming to redefine engagement. We believe engaged employees are those who find their work consistently energizing, inspiring, and meaningful because they are leveraging their highest strengths, values, and passions.

According to Martin Seligman, who is considered the father of positive psychology, there are concrete ways to help people shift from feeling disengaged and neutral to feeling highly engaged, energized, and motivated. Yet there are very few technologies designed to promote thriving, and hardly any have made their way into the national workforce. 

15Five looks to positive psychology to inform much of what we do because of its focus on nurturing what’s best within ourselves, which we believe is key to thriving in all parts of life. For example, when employees are able to leverage their personal strengths in their roles, they’re more likely to feel motivated, engaged, and fulfilled. 

Engagement+ measures what’s most important

Engagement+ was developed using Positive Product Design and inspired by our Best-Self Management philosophy, which says if you prioritize the keys to human potential, performance and engagement will naturally result. 

Engagement+ includes several employee engagement survey templates, including the standard engagement-style questions that are driven by positive organizational scholarship, humanistic psychology, industrial and organizational psychology. Each of the templates and questions helps organizations discover where their teams currently stand and where their potential lies. Understanding your people’s potential and helping them reach it is how employees go beyond feeling engaged and begin to thrive. This can be measured using the Full Potential Index, a unique feature within 15Five’s engagement tool.

The Full Potential Index

Developed alongside Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, the Full Potential Index provides insight into whether people and organizations are reaching their highest potential and includes over 30 employee engagement survey themes that quantify thriving.

“The Full Potential Index is a one-of-a-kind tool to help individuals and organizations discover the depths of their potential and help them to reach new heights of self-actualization.”

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., humanistic psychologist, professor, and author. 

Thriving themes include:

  • Energizing work: Increase the amount of work that is intrinsically motivating, enjoyable, and aligned to a person’s deepest interests.
  • Psychological Safety: Increased psychological safety helps people feel safe to take risks, admit mistakes, and ask for feedback.
  • Personal Autonomy: Increase the freedom, independence, and control people have.
  • Strengths Discovery and Alignment: Discover and leverage unique strengths that feel natural, compelling, and energizing.
  • Values: Discover and live by the personal values that are most important to you.
  • Mastery: Increase mastery to be more effective at accomplishing challenging goals.
  • Gratitude: Increase the practice of actively seeking, recognizing, and appreciating the good in life.
  • Personal Growth Mindset: Increase the desire for personal growth and continuous development.
  • Mattering (Meaningful Contribution): Increase the desire to make a dent in the universe and have a positive impact on others.
  • Mattering (Feeling Valued): Increase mattering and feeling valued by others.
  • Passion: Feel more compelled and naturally drawn towards work by leveraging passions.
  • Flow (Challenge & Skill): Find the optimal balance between skill and challenge to experience more flow.
  • Peak Experiences: Increase feelings of intense happiness and wellbeing that are profound, transformative, and full of possibility.

Inspired by the science of job crafting

Job crafting, originally called job architecting, changes the meaning and purpose of work for people. It’s the key to creating a positive-sum game between employees and organizations. 

In many organizations, it’s common to squeeze employees into a predefined mold, which is cemented with a job description. But this approach misses a critical step: self discovery. Self discovery is an important precursor to self development and helping people find their work meaningful. 

Meaningful work helps people shift from having jobs (work as a source of income) to careers (advancement in an occupation) to callings (fulfillment from the work itself). When people find their work meaningful, levels of motivation, engagement, and satisfaction go up, while stress and absenteeism go down. 

Engagement+ digs into these elements so organizations can uncover where their people can be better supported, and understand what it will take to help them reach their full potential.

Understand the behaviors that impact performance

Unlike traditional employee engagement surveys, which are all talk and no action, 15Five’s Engagement+ is part of our whole people and performance management solution. Our solution is designed to incite meaningful conversations and action between a manager and employee, while also providing strategic insights and visibility for HR and leadership. 

Information about each theme and how users can improve their ratings is included in-app, and more in-depth learning and training can be found in 15Five’s Best-Self Academy, our online manager education platform. Used together, our tools provide unparalleled insights into the elements that create an energized, inspired, and passionate workforce. 

Courtney Bigony

Courtney Bigony is the Director of People Science at 15Five, industry-leading people management software, where she developed Positive Product Design which aligns the product to the latest science of thriving. Courtney has a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, is the founder of The Deep Feedback Movement, and a Fellow at the Center for Evidence Based Management. She was named a 2019 Workforce Game Changer by Workforce Magazine and has contributed pieces featured in Forbes and Huffington Post. Follow her on twitter @CourtneyBigony.