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Employee engagement survey – a luxury or necessity?

November 20, 2010

Research evidence suggests that employee engagement should be the Holy Grail for organisations; the employee engagement survey being the crucial first step to investigating the number of employees who would go the ‘extra mile’ along with identifying the engagement drivers. As the economy continues to be in a state of flux with budgets being squeezed and redundancies continuing to be made there is an interesting question to pose – is the employee engagement survey a luxury or a necessity?

Case studies suggest that it is the smarter organisations that realise this is exactly the right time to implement employee engagement surveys. At these difficult times it is key for organisations to be aware of the level of engagement across their businesses. Organisations would be in a better position if they knew whether their employees were really ready to roll with them or against them. This knowledge would indicate where best to inject resources to improve overall engagement and thus performance. One of the key determinants of generating employee engagement, as detailed in the MacLeod Report, is providing employees with a voice. It is therefore strategic to ensure that the organisation is ready to listen to employee views in the bad times as well as the good times. The consistency of continuing with annual surveys on its own will help to maintain previous engagement levels but actually taking follow up actions forward will further improve the level of commitment to the organisation as employees continue to feel valued during the tougher times. Another benefit of employee engagement surveys in economic downturns is that the results can often be benchmarked against industry norm groups thus providing information on how organisations compare to competitors. This information can really provide powerful insight into what need to be the target initiatives for organisations to help ensure they are ahead of the rest in the areas that really matter.

So, luxury or necessity? Obviously, as a survey business, we would suggest that they are a necessity. However, this is not just our view. Research evidence and case studies, such as those outlined in the CIPD People Management magazine, suggest that providing an employee voice, being aware of competitor ratings, and knowing where to target resources to improve engagement levels means that there are many key benefits to running an employee engagement survey even when cuts are being made.

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