We are 100% believers in the power of surveys. However, there are some right and wrong reasons to introduce them into an organization. It’s important to recognize the immediate benefits of a survey—what can or cannot be accomplished and what actions need to be taken to reach success.
Here are three wrong reasons to start employee engagement surveys:
To build trust: Employee surveys are built specifically to be anonymous, which is why they uncover hidden pain points, garner real answers, and ultimately, work so well. The keyword in that sentence is anonymous. Trust cannot be built on anonymity. You should not implement them alone thinking it will make your employees trust you more. These surveys can improve trust, but only when action is taken or conversations are had as a result of the surveys. Use engagement surveys as the springboard to build trust with your employees, but don’t depend on it in a vacuum.
To make employees like you: No one is perfect. But let’s say as a manager, you’ve recently made a couple big mistakes. Maybe you haven’t been providing feedback or aren’t recognizing your employees for hard work. Don’t beat yourself up over these things, and don’t start using surveys to clean up after yourself. If your employees have the chance to voice their concerns through a weekly survey, they will definitely appreciate it, but won’t magically start liking you more as a manager. You have to build that relationship on your own, and surveys can help. Using the data you uncover from the surveys, make it a priority to address the concerns and act on the suggestions. Listening and communicating honestly will help you build better relationships.
To make more money: Yes, engagement surveys can lead to happier employees. And yes, happy employees lead to higher productivity and improved retention, which can help your bottom line. But, if your only goal is to “make more money,” it will fail. Why? You need to be invested in your people and genuinely care about their work experience. An increase in profit that comes from engaged, happy employees should be viewed as a wonderful by-product.
Engagement surveys can improve your bottom line, build trust with your employees, and improve relationships, but they're only a small piece of the puzzle. It’s the information that you uncover from the surveys that can have the biggest impact on your business and employees. So, yes—all these things can result from employee engagement surveys, depending on the actions you take. But they should not be the sole motivator for beginning a survey program.