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Planning an engagement survey

September 3, 2019

So, you’re thinking about running an employee engagement survey? Well, you probably have some questions and we hope that our 5 key questions and answers listed below will help you understand employee engagement a bit better and what to expect from an employee engagement survey so that you can decide how best to proceed.

Why does engagement really matter?

There are many different definitions of employee engagement: each tends to boil down to one proposition – engaged employees perform better than others. If you strip away the jargon and theorising, there are two main reasons; engaged employees tend to be more satisfied with their jobs and working conditions and more committed to the organisation and what it’s trying to achieve. In short, employee engagement matters because it not only increases employee performance, but this in turn links to customer satisfaction and ultimately profitability.

What survey questions do I need to ask?

The short answer is that this will vary from organisation to organisation. We would suggest using some standard normative questions to facilitate comparisons with other organisations. But there will be other issues that are specific to your business. You may already know them, but to be sure you have included all relevant subjects, it’s useful to run some focus groups with a cross-section of employees from across the organisation. The data from these discussions will provide the basis for your questionnaire.

How can I encourage people to respond?

Of course, most surveys are carried out on-line today. When using online surveys, response rates can be monitored in real-time, and reminders can be sent to non-completers to encourage responses from individuals. However, for some organisations paper may still be the preferred method, or a combination of online and paper can be accommodated.

To further encourage employees there are a number of techniques that can be utilised, two you may want to consider are donations to charity for each completion or incentivising with a prize at the end of the process.

What results should I get?

The results may be presented to you in several forms at different times: a headline report may be received at the close of the survey showing raw summary scores for all completions; you will then probably receive a full corporate report which provides detailed demographic analysis and clear conclusions with recommendations; many survey companies also offer business unit or function reports which aim to present the findings in a way that facilitates discussion of the results at a local level. You may also be interested in benchmarking, and so the results may show how your scores compare to other organisations in order to provide an overall sense of your employee engagement levels.

Effective survey reporting involves much more than simply presenting large amounts of data, it is about providing the results in a clear, comprehensible and actionable way. Engagement survey results will provide plenty of information about who are the most and least engaged people in your organisation. But to have maximum impact – and therefore to stand the best chance of stimulating some kind of remedial action – at Employee Feedback, we find it’s best to produce what we call an engagement map.

How can I use the survey to improve future engagement levels?

The first and vital action is to share the results of your engagement survey with the Senior Leadership Team. They must own the findings and be willing to commit to follow up action. Without that, very little will result. We have found that when a senior team takes ownership of the results of engagement surveys and its members commit both individually and collectively to a coherent action plan, there are invariably positive outcomes. When commitment is made public to specific measures and details of progress are published we have found that people LIKE the fact that they’re part of an engaged workforce, so the whole process becomes self reinforcing.

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